As online shopping becomes more prevalent, the fixed sales funnels of yesteryear become more obsolete. There are many ways to get to an ecommerce site and many more ways to engage with it before making a purchase.
It’s useful to think of this journey as a path to purchase.
So, what is your ecommerce path to purchase? Are you providing an intuitive roadmap for customers to follow, or are they floundering after a certain point—as evidenced by high bounce and cart abandonment rates?
One analyst breaks down the more flexible stages of the modern customer life cycle:
- Discover: The customer finds a brand, whether through social media, word-of-mouth marketing, an advertisement or another medium.
- Explore: Customers check out the brand, conducting product research and perhaps even reaching out to the company with questions.
- Buy: Customers enter the checkout phase, evaluating the price and fulfillment options.
- Engage: Further communications with customers can build loyalty, deliver continuing customer service and drive repeat conversions.
Let’s say your store’s goal is to sell electronics online. How can you optimize various steps in customers’ path to purchase? In other words, how can you make the discovery, shopping and buying process as streamlined as possible for shoppers?
First, you must consider how customers are finding you. Figuring out where your target audience spends time online and catering your messaging to them tends to simplify this important step. The goal here, as Nielsen writes, is “engaging your store or brand’s most valuable shoppers … through effective and unique ways to segment, identify and reach them.”
Start by studying click-through rates for various platforms: email, Facebook, blog rolls and etc. Figure out how you can best connect your target audience with the content they find useful and enjoyable. This can help kick-start their path to purchase. Keeping tabs on how many people visit your electronics store is important, and understanding where they come from is even more so.
Product and Review Research
Although customers have to do without the ability to physically pick up your electronics and examine them before buying, they can still do plenty of product research. How? By reading customer reviews, looking at photographs and perusing product descriptions. This means your electronics website needs to function as a one-stop shop for products and information. The more useful content and social proof you provide, the less purchase anxiety consumers have. This translates into higher conversion rates and more satisfied consumers.
Checking Out Online
Over one-fifth of shoppers (21 percent) abandon their carts before completing a transaction due to inefficient checkout processes. Your electronics ecommerce store needs to facilitate a secure, convenient series of steps for purchasing. Pro tip: Avoid forcing people to register before they buy. Instead, allow expedited checkout as a guest and ask afterwards if they’d like to create an account.
Of course, the ecommerce path to purchase is cyclical. That is, you want customers to repeat it over time, rather than make a single purchase from your store. Perhaps someone bought a charger or remote this time—but next time they’ll visit when they want to make a larger purchase, like a drone, tablet or piece of wearable technology. In other words, your electronics store needs mechanisms in place to follow up with buyers and re-engage them. Inviting them to sign up for future promotions delivered to their inbox or to follow you on social media is a good place to start. You can also send out a customer experience survey to gain insights and refine your store.
So, what is your customer path to purchase? More importantly, how do you intend to remove the hurdles? Doing so will boost conversion rates and customer loyalty to your brand.