The Evolving E-Commerce Consumer Journey

October 15, 2018

The days of Search > Click > Buy are over. If we head back to the year 2000, choices for online shopping were limited resulting in nearly one in five people making a purchase directly after visiting a website. It’s certainly not the case today. Consumers expect to compare prices, read up on product reviews, search for complementary items, get the best deal on delivery and are primed for a potential return – before they commit to the purchase.

In short, the customer journey is now a moving target, forcing retailers to examine whether they are meeting their customer at each point of this unique, and often fragmented journey. In our latest eBook we reveal how you can be there in the moments that matter, crafting compelling strategies that move your customers through the funnel towards the sale. Join us for a snapshot of what to expect, or check follow the link to download this must-have report on “The Evolving E-Commerce Consumer Journey

  1. A Flash of Inspiration

Traditionally retailers and manufacturers have considered “awareness” the first step in the e-commerce journey. This is no longer the case. In fact, the process begins much earlier at “inspiration.” And this can happen anytime, anywhere and on any device.

A customer might be shopping for a specific product on Amazon when another item catches their eye or they could be scrolling a Facebook newsfeed when a friend’s gleaming new kitchen catches their eye prompting a decision to give their own kitchen some TLC.

In fact, we’re now a nation of multitaskers meaning double (or triple) the opportunity to let inspiration strike. Three quarters of consumers regularly text, browse and shop on smartphones while watching TV.

There’s no quick fix when it comes to instigating inspiration. If you want consumers to continue through the journey, your products must be everywhere.

  1. The Shift to Awareness

Inspiration has turned into an idea, which means it’s time to find products. This is a time for wishlists and mid-morning social media scrolls.

As new discoveries are bookmarked, this could be the moment the consumer is first introduced to your brand. This means those with the strongest search and social media presence will likely come out on top. And with 56% of consumers beginning their product searches on Amazon, it’s time to think beyond Google.

It’s time to get your brand front and centre. Make it as easy as possible for customers to find you across search, social and marketplaces.

  1. Evaluation Intensifies

Your products are now under intense scrutiny. Whilst some shoppers might casually flick through a few reviews, for others this marks the start of a methodical and potentially lengthy process. Research points to as many as 91% of shoppers who say they read online reviews, and perhaps most interestingly…..84% say they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation! And not only that, evidence suggests that reviews can be a catalyst for a quick decision, 68% of consumers say they form an opinion after reading between one and six online reviews.

Because consumers are increasingly aware that the same item may be available from different sellers — or offered by the same seller at different prices across various sales channels — this is also the time when price comparisons come into play.

Take time to consider product details, ad formats, automated repricing and your digital marketing techniques. Paying attention to the small details can be the decider between purchase and abandonment.

  1. Transition to Consideration

At this stage customers are (almost) sold on the product and are starting to consider their options. Is there a discount for email sign up? What’s the threshold for free delivery? And are there any promotions to be taken advantage of?

This is the moment to make the road to purchase as seamless as possible. Make sure to display information about frequently asked questions right where consumers can see it. Consider how you are using dynamic ads across social media and where email retargeting fits with your customers’ journey.

  1. Time to Compare

You’re almost there! The customer just needs that final nudge to get them over the line. But don’t forget by this stage they’ve probably browsed your catalogue across multiple devices.

As consumers balance their time between smartphones, laptops, TVs, smart speakers and other digital technology, they’re quickly learning to use these devices together to achieve their shopping goals. They might see a video ad and then visit the mobile site. Or they may comparison shop on Google and Amazon first before using a retailer’s app to make the purchase.

It might be time to up your persuasion techniques. 61% of consumers still prefer receiving offers via email, can you create a compelling event to spur shoppers into action?

  1. Converting at Last

The sale is finally here, but that doesn’t mean the journey is over. Consumers now expect ultra convenient delivery, that means cheap (typically free), fast and flexible.

In fact, 54% of consumers now expect deliveries in two days or less. Next day delivery is no longer a novelty, but an expected level of service when shopping online.

Make sure delivery and returns information is clear, communicate any delays in the supply chain and encourage consumers to leave a positive review. This purchase could be the start of a lasting and loyal relationship if you continue to satisfy the customer at every touch point.

No two customer journeys are ever the same. As consumers increasingly take a multi-device, multi-step approach – it’s vital for you to consider how you are engaging with them at each stage. Head over to “The Evolving E-Commerce Consumer Journey” for many more tips and tricks to ensure your customer’s path to purchase is paved with gold (not stuck in traffic on the M6!)