Understanding the customer journey is key when building an eCommerce strategy that works. By tracking the data at every step, gathering feedback, cultivating relationships, and harnessing the power of modern technology, online businesses can grow in conversions and revenue.
But understanding the customer journey requires a set of crucial skills, tools, and proven approaches. With the right toolkit, you can build greater awareness of your customers’ needs and provide them with a marketing and outreach strategy personalized to them. As a result, you’ll develop a stronger business.
Here are the strategies and topics you need to know about understanding the customer journey and improving sales conversions.
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1. Start with the Data
Digital commerce is defined by its generation and application of customer and industry data. Without this, you’ll fail to gain an edge over your competitors, who no doubt will take advantage of every data gathering tool and data mining process. These strategies offer invaluable insights into every stage of the customer journey, allowing you to cultivate a more powerful level of understanding.
But how do you begin to gather the data you need?
It all starts with pooling your information. Your website hosting platform will likely come with metrics you can analyze and track. WordPress, for example, offers plenty of information tracking analytics and plug-ins that can help you gather knowledge, while just about every social media has its own insights page. Take advantage of all the data available to you on both free and paid data gathering services.
These are the metrics that you should pay special attention to:
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
- Customer Churn Rate
- Average Resolution Time
While not all of these can be determined directly from the data gathering platforms you employ, they can be better assessed through brief email surveys, social media polls, and SMS messages. Then, applied to your existing comprehensive data management system, you can begin to generate useful insights.
Each metric tells you something about the customer journey. NPS lets you know how you’re doing overall, while churn and resolution time can show you where you need to improve. Invite feedback and streamline responses with data platforms. This will be even easier with an expanded information-gathering approach.
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2. Mine Your Data for Better Insights
The more data you have, the better you are prepared to improve your conversion rate. To achieve this, you need to build a system of gathering data and insights that goes beyond just the typical metrics and platforms. Coordinating a data mining and analytics approach can be vital to your understanding of the overall customer journey.
After you’ve built a network of data insights, it’s time to expand through an analytics system. Data mining for business analytics is the process of finding patterns and actionable knowledge from the information you’ve generated. As a result, you can develop all kinds of strategies to find new clients, engage more of your audience, and ultimately improve your conversions to new heights.
It all comes down to how well you’re able to wield data to generate conclusions. Here are some of the data mining techniques that will help you understand your customer journey:
- Classify data based on similarities, building groups of product sales, customer demographics, or shopping behaviors.
- Link variables through association to better understand patterns in customer eCommerce activity.
- Plan and model decisions through regression techniques to project price points, demand, and competitor information.
- Explore outliers and anomalies to identify new audiences and opportunities.
By building a system for assessing and analyzing data patterns through mining and analytics, you set your business up to better understand the customer journey. Examine patterns in the data through these techniques, then from narratives that explain relationships and lead to actionable insights.
For example, an outlier showing sales to male customers before a holiday can make for a great opportunity to expand your marketing efforts and secure conversions. All it takes is awareness and action.
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3. Personalize the Consideration Stage
The next step in understanding your customer journey requires viewing your customers as people. Data helps immensely in this regard, and mined insights can be vital in forming customer profiles that will make marketing easier. In the consideration stage, marketing efforts that are personalized to your audience demographics make all the difference.
Mastering the digital customer journey requires that you treat customers as more than just numbers. Instead, personalization is key. This means applying the data you’ve assembled to meet customer needs throughout the process, showing them why you’re the right choice over any of your online competitors.
Companies like Intelistyle can help you with that part of the journey. They have features such as Shop The Look, Visual Search, Personalized Recommendations & Attribute Tagging, that can help your customers find the right products at their right stage of their journey.
The best part is that the consideration stage of the customer journey is both an opportunity to generate more profile data while providing examples of what you have to offer. For example, offering an informative PDF or a free trial for a name, phone number, or email address can greatly improve your conversion rate.
Then, you can better use all your data to assemble personalized customer profiles for the majority of your customers. Such a profile includes demographic information, beliefs and values, and actionable insights. Here’s an example:
Description: Busy young adult looking for a service that makes cooking and trying new foods faster and easier.
Values: Saving time, new experiences, easy self-service
Actionable insight: Response to personalized email discount codes
With profiles like these, you can better understand where any given customer might run into problems with your eCommerce experience. Then, you can adapt your marketing to better meet their needs and influence a sale. Ideally, your efforts can be more individually personalized with the help of artificial intelligence analytics and automated product recommendations and offers.
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4. Understand Your Customers’ Decision-Making Process
No customer profile is complete, however, without a thorough understanding of their decision-making process. Fortunately, most consumers go through similar stages in their eCommerce journey, especially when it comes to larger purchases or subscription services.
By taking into account the range of steps in the customer journey that leads them to you, you can better craft marketing strategies built to convert more sales. These are the steps in the decision-making process you need to be aware of:
- Recognizing a Problem: What problem or challenge leads a customer to your product or service?
- Searching for Information: How will a customer seek you out?
- Evaluating Alternatives: What do you have to offer over your competitors?
- Deciding on a Purchase: How can you streamline your sales process?
- Evaluating the Purchase: Was your product or service worth it to the customer?
Understanding the decision-making process is a key aspect of evaluating the overall customer journey. Ask yourself these questions at every stage to support customer decisions in your favor.
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5. Support Customer Success at Every Step of the Journey
Finally, improving your conversion rate comes down to how well you design your digital sales process to ensure customer success. From the initial awareness element of the journey to support after a sale, you need to be there for your customers with helpful and accessible service.
Start by helping them find you. This requires a comprehensive approach to search engine optimization (SEO), complete with keyword research into how audiences search when looking for a product or service like yours. Then, supporting your efforts with helpful link-building techniques, pay-per-click ads, or affiliate marketing can also help if targeted correctly.
From the consideration to the purchasing stages of your conversion process, you need to reach out to audiences with relevant content and messaging on the platforms they are most likely to engage through. Again, personalization is key in this process. As you gather data, generate the insights and tools needed to automate personalization where possible to best appeal to all customers.
Then, customer support in the retention stage requires that you have an open and helpful platform for answering questions, resolving issues, and encouraging future business. Use chatbots to help respond to customers quickly and ensure you maintain transparent policies. With a strong commitment to ongoing customer support, you’ll grow your conversion rate long-term.
Don’t underestimate how vital ongoing customer support is to customer retention. Whether you engage your audiences through informative content marketing or offer them updates and discounts, your efforts will be worth it. Retaining an existing customer is 5-25 times cheaper than acquiring a new one with revenue increase potential up to 95%.
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Learn, Develop, and Reassess
All of these strategies for understanding the customer journey are only as effective if they are continuously improved and assessed. Data flow should be constant. Markets and customer behaviors are constantly changing and adapting to larger trends, as we saw with the Covid-19 pandemic. Your ability to gauge these changes and adapt to them will determine your ultimate sales rates.
Learn the customer journey and develop comprehensive strategies for making it as smooth and personalized as possible for your intended audiences. Data will always be central in this approach. Then, don’t forget to reassess your approach at consistent intervals to ensure your knowledge of the customer journey isn’t out of date.
By learning, developing, and reassessing your customers’ journey, you can streamline a smooth process that all but guarantees higher conversions. Start now by assessing your data.