Although it seems to us that economics, and with it the entire sales process, is based solely on the profit and loss account, it has long been known that it is not an exact science in the strict sense. It can be called an interdisciplinary mix of mathematics, psychology, sociology and many other fields. Of course, we buy with a wallet, but this is only the last step – we are primarily driven by the emotions accompanying all contact with the brand or store. Therefore, the customer’s shopping path requires analysis and appropriate attention.
The importance of the emotional environment is openly emphasized by the representatives of show business (“we do not sell skills, we sell PPV and emotions”), but probably every modern entrepreneur is aware of the importance of non-financial aspects of sales. The customer should not only buy something, but also feel good about it.
Even the process of purchasing screws, pens or a phone case can be a carefully directed spectacle, after which the customer will leave satisfied and will probably come back to your store next time. It is not about unfairly manipulating the client and persuading him to make a decision that is unfavorable for himself, but about creating a long-term relationship based on trust and mutual respect.
The e-commerce industry, due to its specificity, generates huge amounts of data. We can – in simple terms – track every user movement on our website, in social media, and thanks to cookies and advanced profiling, virtually the entire network.
For this reason, e-commerce relies more and more on analytics every day. While intuition is still a very important element in business, it cannot compete with terabytes of detailed data on user behavior and profiles. Thanks to the huge analytical capabilities, you can get to know the customer’s expectations and see how he meets the brand, how he browses the website and makes a purchase, and whether he is satisfied with the entire experience. So you can design every element of this relationship and adjust it to the user’s expectations.
Customer path – what will be needed?
In order to be able to analyze the behavior of your website user and professionally check whether the customer’s shopping path within the website requires verification, the Google Analytics module will be the key. This powerful system provides thorough data about your website and its users.
The functionality of Google Analytics that you should pay special attention to in the context of the customer journey is Behavior Flow. This component may, inter alia, group content and individual pages and associate it with user behavior, generating detailed reports. You can also find reports that identify Multi-Channel Funnels and Top Conversion Funnels.
The HotJar tool can also help. By tracking the movements of the user’s cursor, it allows to detect those elements of the website navigation that fulfill their role well and those that should be improved.
Customer path and customer experience
The client’s path can be conventionally divided into layers. Each layer is characterized by a different level of customer relationship, which requires slightly different solutions and tools – from the multitude of available methods we have selected a few that have proven their effectiveness – of course, it is not a whole, but it is a very solid basis.
The first moment when the customer’s shopping path is revealed. The interested party is considering purchasing a new service or item. Often, he does not have specific needs yet – he is looking for gifts for Christmas or Black Friday promotions and enters a general phrase related to it in the search engine. Magic begins here, or rather advanced marketing tools that will allow you to make friends with the client and reap mutual benefits.
The first step for a brand should be to say “I am.” At this
stage, several solutions may be crucial:
– Text ad in the Google search network – the world’s most popular ad format for many years. The system displays sponsored links matching the phrase entered by the user in the search results.
– SEO – thanks to appropriate positioning, your website will be higher in the search results of a specific phrase, and thus will generate more visits and – probably – transactions.
– Advertising in social media – social media has become one of the foundations of internet marketing. On Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, users provide systems – and therefore marketers – with hundreds of information about their interests, behaviors and views. Thanks to this, it is possible to signal the presence of your brand among people who may be potentially interested in it.
– Google Display Network – a system that allows you to display ads directly on specific pages. GDN covers over 90% of the Internet, including huge portals. In order to use GDN, the advertiser must use data about the user’s interests and on this basis target the user with advertisements.
– YouTube Ads, e.g. bumper – short advertising formats displayed on the YouTube platform. In building brand recognition, the so-called bumpers, lasting a maximum of 6 seconds.
– Blog – at the stage of creating brand awareness, it is a useful tool. A blog entry, e.g. with propositions of gifts for a given occasion, may signal the customer a need for a purchase that he or she is not yet aware of.
If the actions were effective, your brand managed to gain the attention of a potential customer. This means that the tools you used did their job. You have attracted someone’s attention – not just anyone, but the person who by clicking expressed interest in your products.
This is a good start, but not only does it not guarantee success and may even mean little. Time for the second layer of the path.
The customer already knows about your existence. Now it’s time to convince him that your offer will be the best choice for him. Let’s face it – probably your brand isn’t the only one it is considering.
At this stage, two aspects will be key – appropriate content and UX (user experience).
– Well-matched content on the category or product page – an attractive and
substantive description, photos, promotional materials, video presentation,
etc. will make the client consider your offer.
– UX will make sure that the layout of the content and the navigation on the website are friendly enough so that the “pros and cons” analysis is favorable, and the process of adding a product to the basket and then finalizing the order is convenient and fast.
You may also find useful in this step:
– Ads in the Google search network – customer expectations are beginning to crystallize. At this stage, the phrases typed in the search engine become less general, for example, instead of “Christmas gifts”, keywords such as “drone with a camera” or “tricycle” appear. Thanks to Google Search Ads, your offer may appear on the first page of search results even if your page is not well positioned.
– PLA product ads (Product Listing Ads) – a solution that requires Google Merchant Center, which enables direct advertising of a specific product with its photo, description and price Ads are displayed both on a dedicated Google subpage and in search results.
– Customer opinions on Google, on forums and in social media – finding information about a given company, product quality and its approach to customers on the Web will take several seconds. Make sure not only that the product complies with the description, but also what your attitude is and how you deal with controversial situations – the image crisis may delay the development of your brand for years.
– Landing page – the page that the user gets directly after clicking on the link. It can be a category or product page in the store or any other subpage, but often the name of the landing page functions in the collective consciousness as a subpage created specifically for the promotion and sale of a specific item or service.
– Blog – a substantive blog will help create your brand’s image of an expert in a given industry, and at the same time it is a great source of organic traffic and sales support. Entries about a given product category give space to present the assortment with an emphasis on its advantages.
– Price comparison websites – these convenient aggregators of stores and products allow the user to quickly reach similar offers and compare them with each other. Price comparison websites are used by millions of potential customers – make sure you are present on such websites and properly present your product range.
– FAQ (list of frequently asked questions) – after a while you are able to identify certain issues in the relationship with customers that appear repeatedly. So you can prepare a list of the most frequently discussed topics and collect them in one place – thanks to this you will immediately “put your coffee on the bench” and save time – both for yourself and your potential customer.
Time to get the conversion done.
– Dynamic remarketing – is useful in
virtually every step of the sales path, but it plays the most important role at
this stage. Thanks to remarketing implemented not only in Google Ads, but also
in social media (e.g. on Instagram and Facebook), you will remind about your
existence and offer. You can also “ask” customers who registered on
the website and even added a product to their cart, but for various reasons did
not complete the transaction, to complete their purchase.
– YouTube Ads with particular emphasis on YouTube for Action – a special video ad format adapted to increasing conversion. It consists of a CTA, a header and – after playing – a special panel encouraging to click a link.
– Web push – notifications from websites displayed by browsers. Thanks to them, you can remind a potential customer about your offer, who is currently browsing other websites.
In addition to advertising tools, it is worth paying attention to other facilities at this step that are of great importance when converting – for example, the quick payment module, which allows you to complete the transaction almost immediately.
After-sales care (Service)
In order for the brand relationship with the customer to be durable, it cannot end up simply “pushing out” the product. For this reason, you should take care of comprehensive after-sales care after the transaction.
– Technical assistance – few entrepreneurs
assume that the product may be defective or simply require some less obvious
action on the part of the client, but in a certain percentage of cases such
situations will arise anyway. A competent technical support department will provide
the customer with assistance, support the building of an expert image of your
brand and, above all, give the customer the impression of mutual feelings.
– Friendly warranty process – if the product obviously does not meet the customer’s expectations due to its defects, you must take responsibility for this inconvenience and take care of the repair or replacement of the product with a full-fledged one. If the customer sees that in the event of justified difficulties they can count on your brand, they are more likely to come back for more products.
– Additional materials, such as a FAQ containing technical issues of the product described in a friendly form – thanks to them the customer can find an answer to the issue bothering him without involving the technical support department.
You have successfully sold the product and met the customer’s expectations. You have built a relationship – now you have to maintain it and make the customer return to your store when the need arises again.
What will be useful at this stage?
– Dynamic remarketing – you already know
your clients’ profiles and can offer them another offer. The remarketing
potential is huge – thanks to this tool, customers can find your brand again,
e.g. when scrolling Instagram or – thanks to the Google advertising network –
even while browsing messages on various websites. If the customer is already on
your remarketing list, you can send messages to them at any time – for example,
when you offer new promotions on Black Friday and the customer has previously
purchased products from a given category.
– Newsletter – e-mail marketing is considered an anachronism by many people, but it is still an effective and cheap tool for marketers. Thanks to the newsletter, you can send the client information about new promotions, changes in the offer or simply remind that your brand still exists.
– The loyalty program allows you to “retain” the customer for longer, because – in the most popular form of such a program – the more he spends in your store, the greater the benefits will be. These can be discounts on products or material prizes.
– Social media – thanks to social media, you can keep in touch with the customer by providing him with information about products, promotions and the brand as such. Although organic reach in leading portals is unlikely to return to the state from a few years ago, social media, even with a small advertising budget, will allow you to reach current and potential customers.
Why is it worth mapping the customer’s shopping path?
Focusing on a holistic analysis of user behavior on the website has nothing but benefits – it allows both you and advertising systems to better understand the motivations and actions of customers. The main advantage of dividing the customer’s shopping path into the stages presented above is the ability to adapt the entire advertising message (content, format, channel, graphics) to a given stage, which significantly increases the chance of conversion. The customer’s shopping path is therefore an element of optimization of your activities in all areas – paid advertising, promotion, UX or even SEO.