It is basic knowledge that customers are now in the power seat when it comes to choosing their preferred products or service providers. This is mainly due to the increasing number of options available to them on a daily basis.
To stand out from competitors, businesses need to ensure the customer journey they provide is of high quality. To achieve sustainable business success, it helps to remove or at least minimise the obstacles facing your customers during their purchase journey.
Obstacles negatively affecting customers’ buying journey commonly include but are not limited to:
- A site not being mobile-friendly and/or optimised for mobile devices
- Unnecessarily complicated site navigation maps
- A high number of clicks required to achieve simplistic goals
- Slow load time and unresponsive site buttons
- Too few payment options
- The unavailability of delivery and/or return options
But what is an online customer journey?
The customer journey relates to the path a consumer follows before initiating interaction with a brand. The desired destination of this journey is to convert the consumer into a customer. For instance, for an e-commerce business, it starts when a consumer commences searching for specific products that the brand sells.
Next, the consumer discovers the brand and visits the brand’s website to view their products. Now that the consumer has seen the available options, they can add the preferred products to their cart and complete the purchase.
This sounds simple enough; however, numerous factors could possibly influence the outcome. Including the look and feel of the store, how easy it is to find products, what the product descriptions look like, and more.
Benefits of understanding your consumer’s online journey:
- Identify popular customer touchpoints
- Recognise high-converting channels
- Segment customers based on behaviour
- Understand what products customers are looking for
It is important to remember that every consumer is different. From different search patterns and how they interact with brands across various channels.
Your online shopper could have searched for specific products based on their needs, on a search engine. They could have discovered your brand in one of the search results, visited your site or mobile app and not converted until they were retargeted with marketing a few times. As mentioned previously, the customer’s online journey can be riddled with obstacles.
A few useful solutions to smooth-out your customer’s online journey
Ensure that your website is mobile-responsive, if not mobile-first. This should be implemented on all pages but especially where consumers are browsing products, adding items to their basket and completing transactions. But there are more areas where a mobile-first strategy needs to be implemented, including:
1. Digital Ads
Your digital ads must be mobile-friendly and point to mobile responsive landing pages, improving conversion rates thanks to their speed and SEO benefits.
2. Social Media
With your customers spending more time on social media via their mobile devices, your marketing campaigns must be mobile-centric. Ensure that your videos are captioned for on-the-go scrollers and optimised for mobile loading.
3. SMS Campaigns and Messaging
Yes, SMSs are still relevant and highly effective. With the various other messaging tools like Facebook Messenger available to you, you are in a position to always be in touch with your consumer.
Consumers check their emails on their phones numerous times per day. Keep subject lines under 40 characters and make sure all hyperlinks lead to mobile-friendly pages.
5. Mobile Apps
Engage customers with push notifications, give them resources to use in every moment of their customer journey, allow them to purchase your products, and more.
The customer’s shopping experience should be seamless, starting at browsing all the way through to placing an order. The checkout process should be simple for shoppers to grasp at first try. One way to do this is by ensuring the information needed in each field is clear. Always prepare to provide answers to obstacles your consumer might face, such as shipping and return information.
The number of clicks
An overly-complicated checkout process can lead to higher drop-off rates. Asking a shopper to add their job title or surname (adds about 2 clicks or taps) or their date of birth (adds up to 11 clicks or taps) could deter customers from completing transactions.
Slow load times
Users expect websites to be fast and efficient. Invest in well managed hosting with great support. If pages take longer to load, it negatively affects the site’s overall User Experience. This facet of the consumer’s journey is vital. As once the site’s user experience deteriorates, the conversion rate will subsequently follow suit.
There are a variety of technical reasons why your website could be experiencing slow load times, including:
2. There’s excessive overhead in your database.
‘Overhead’ refers to unrelated items in your site’s database and can cause database queries to take longer than necessary.
3. Your site’s CSS has not been optimised.
Your site’s CSS (the code responsible for styling its pages) can delay loading if left unoptimised.
4. Bulky and unoptimised image files
The presence of unoptimised image files can consume a high volume of bandwidth, which translates into much slower loading times. Ideally, images sizes should be less than 1MB and saved in JPEG format.
5. Caching Issues
Caching is when browsers store static copies of your website’s files so that user’s browsers can display the cached data instead of reloading it.
You can improve load time performance by using premium plugins, which are well supported, and by using managed as well as optimised hosting for your business websites.
Sufficient payment methods
You should ensure that the site offers multiple payment options to reach a broader scope of consumers’ preferences.
Delivery and Returns
Customers want their purchases to arrive as soon as possible and for free. And if they are unhappy with their purchase, there should be a return option. This process should be as simple and easy as possible.
Walk in the customer’s shoes
Once you are able to visualise how your visitors interact with your brand and determine why they stay or leave, you can achieve a better experience for current and future customers. Simply put, only once you understand your consumer’s online journey will you be able to identify and solve existing obstacles.
Azapi can assist your business in creating an optimised customer online journey map, allowing you to identify any consumer journey obstacles and ensure a higher successful transaction ratio.