The Importance of Customer Journey Planning

One of the most important yet often overlooked pieces to consider with your eCommerce business is planning the journey that you want your customer to take.

Too many businesses get caught up on working in the business rather than optimising and working on the business.

Which leads to the question, do you know the journey that you would like your customers to take? Or perhaps more importantly do you know the journey that your customers actually are taking?

Here we delve a little deeper into ways that you can look into planning your customer journey and quick ways to fix the most common problem areas.

Stop guessing, Start measuring

The one thing you are more than likely guilty of is guesswork. We all do it from time to time however now in 2016 there is no excuse for guesswork for 95% of your business as there is data available.

Just because you think you know what journey your customers take, does not mean that you are right, and more importantly it could mean that potential customers are getting lost or confused and leaving in frustration somewhere along the customer journey.

Ultimately if you have neglected or never actively spent time building or planning the journey of your customer then you are more than likely leaving money on the table and this will be impacting your conversion rate.

Website blindness is a real phenomenon and one that you most likely suffer from.

You look at your site most likely every day and if you didn’t build it you certainly had a hand in the design and layout.

Which means you automatically know where everything is and therefore biased in planning the customer journey.

The simplest way to get around this is by utilising fresh eyes.

Grab a friend or someone much less familiar with your website and task them with buying a specific product on your site, and watch them navigate it live and make notes about potential stumbling blocks and also ask them what they think of certain pages and buttons and how it could be more intuitive to them.

Tools that can help you optimise your customer journey

In today’s world your customers have never lived with such a short attention span. It is a noisy eCommerce world and time has never been a more precious commodity to the savvy shopper.

It is commonly stated that you have 5 seconds in which to first grab your potential customers’ attention when they first get to your site.

Then if you succeed at that and you sell what they want they need to be able to navigate to the checkout in just 3 clicks.

Any more on either of these and your chances of losing them to your competitors increase dramatically.

They key to being able to stop those high bounce rates is data, or more specifically knowledge.

You need to know what your customers are doing and more importantly what they struggle with.

The good news is that there are so many tools available to you as a business owner now that have made collecting relevant data easier than ever.

Google Analytics for example is a fantastic free tool which will show you a fantastic breakdown of traffic on your site, including pages which have the highest drop out rate for your visitors.

Optimizely is another fantastic tool which enables you to run A/B tests on your site to take away guesswork on a number of areas on your website, leaving you with the true numbers of actual customer behaviour.

The most neglected aspect of your customer journey

There are obviously multiple elements to consider in the customer journey from when they first discover your brand to when they are repeat customers of yours.

The eCommerce average for customers dropping out on the cart page however is 68.81% as reported by the Baymard Institute.

For this reason I strongly believe that the shopping cart is often the most neglected element of the customer journey and if optimised would result in the largest increase in revenue for your business.

The 3 questions you need to ask when it comes to your checkout are:

  1. Have you been clear with you customers up to this point? (Do not surprise them at the checkout with any hidden fees, taxes or charges. The price they see should be the price they pay)
  2. Is your checkout simple? (One page if possible)
  3. Can a customer trust your checkout? (Do you have an SSL certificate in place along with payment card logos and the appropriate payment security badges)

Interestingly all three of these points above can be fixed or addressed very quickly and simply with some design changes or by purchasing an SSL certificate.

So these are my top 3 tips to ensure that your checkout is starting with the best chance of converting your potential customers.

Of course there are other areas you can optimise but these are the best places to get started.

How to get the advantage on your competition

As mentioned throughout the article, you are not alone if you are guilty of neglecting the customer journey.

The good news is I guarantee the majority of your competitors are doing it too.

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with BarclayCard about this very subject and as they are the market leaders when it comes to innovation and they genuinely see the potential in eCommerce businesses.

We worked together on an article to help you better plan your customers’ journey.

Utilising the information we have provided you should be able to safely say that you now have a plan for your customer journey, and you have put tools and best practices in place to retain a larger number of your customers right up to the point of completing the sale.

So with that said we sincerely hope you have found this article useful and you can start planning your customer journey more effectively.