Ashley Kimler is a marketing team manager at Heroic Search and has been working with online content for over a decade. Here are some of Ashley’s tips for optimizing your customer journey.
In the wake of AI and other digital evolutions in business, it’s time for companies to reevaluate the way they interact with consumers. As a rule of thumb, your online customer care should be as close to an in-person experience as possible. To learn how you can optimize your key online customer journey touchpoints, consider the ecommerce examples laid out below.
What are the key touchpoints in your customers’ buying journey?
Before you can successfully convert customers into buyers, you need to understand their experience and try to see the shopping process through their eyes. The first step is to identify touchpoints in the buying journey. Touchpoints can vary from company to company, but they include any point at which a customer comes in contact with your brand before, during, and after a sale.
Essential touchpoints before an online sale:
- Word of mouth
- Social media
- Email marketing
Essential touchpoints during an online sale:
- Product pages
- Customer service contact
- Shopping cart or checkout page
Essential touchpoints after an online sale:
- Email follow-up, tracking, and delivery confirmation
Here are some simple ways to optimize these seven touchpoints:
1. Use this trick for powerful word-of-mouth advertising online
Though traditional word-of-mouth advertising is still relevant online, there’s one trick you can implement that will encourage customers to share their experience with friends and family: incentivize sharing. The best way to give online shoppers an incentive to share your brand is through a referral program.
When thredUP customers invite a friend to shop, each shopper receives a $10 credit to spend on the website. This is an excellent incentive for shoppers. To easily implement your own customer referral program, leverage a tool like ReferralCandy.
2. Make it easy for shoppers to connect with your social profiles
Whether shoppers land on your website first and follow you on Facebook, or find you on Twitter then follow a link to your website, you need to optimize your sales platform for social interactions. Make sure customers have access to your social media profiles from your website and that your social media posts link back to your landing pages. Learn about the tools you can leverage to compliment your social media marketing efforts.
3. Make sure your emails get opened with this simple tool
With best practice, most of your marketing emails are meant to nurture relationships, not trigger sales. The key to build a relationship between your brand and the reader is to make sure people open your emails. To do this, you must write engaging subject lines.
Subjectline.com is a free, online email subject rating tool. Use it to help you analyze and rate your potential subject lines to come up with those that are most likely to get opened. The results are based on billions of emails and updated frequently, so it’s on par with industry standards.
4. Fully optimize your product pages for high conversion
While each step in the customer journey is crucial, optimized product pages are central to successful sales; this is where your customers will ultimately convert. Here is an in-depth view of several crucial elements needed to optimize your product pages.
Focus on UX design
A positive encounter with your website makes all the difference in the world. If your product images don’t load on certain devices or your navigation is confusing, shoppers will immediately move away from your site. Learn as much as you can about web design principles to optimize the user experience of your brand.
Use professional-quality images
Whether you showcase your products in real-life use or with a stock image on a white background, you need to make sure to use the highest quality visuals.
MightySkins showcases high-quality images of their Oculus skins. Hire a professional product photographer who knows the best angles to showcase your product in or use your manufacturer’s high-quality images to promote your products.
Enable on-site reviews
Modern consumers trust their peers more than brands, and they like to be informed. So if you provide shoppers with honest reviews of the products they consider purchasing, they are more likely to buy. Include reviews on your product pages to enhance the level of control given to your customers.
Zappos, the top online shoe seller, provides customers with multiple reviews of their Red Wing lace-up boots. Enable on-page reviews for all products (the process varies depending on your ecommerce platform).
Disclose product availability
It’s important to disclose product availabilty for two key reasons. First, you don’t want to have to tell a customer that a product they’ve ordered is out of stock after they’ve already paid because this can be upsetting and lead to extra customer service hours. Second, knowing that a product is limited in stock creates a sense of urgency, so it can encourage a shopper to take action and order right away.
Clearly communicate total cost and delivery time
Most top ecommerce brands offer free shipping. Many of them offer free, two-day delivery. This is difficult to compete with. But whether or not you’re able to offer the same benefits as your competitors, it’s critical that you clearly communicate product and shipping costs in addition to when an order is expected to arrive.
Apple discloses it’s offer of free, two-day delivery on any in-stock iPad ordered by 5:00 p.m. on the current business day.
5. Make sure it’s super easy for customers to contact you
At any point during a sale, your customers should be able to easily contact a customer service representative. It’s crucial to make your contact information visible for shoppers. There are several ways to do this:
- Include a contact page in your navigation menu and/or site footer
- Implement a contact form pop-up or expanded menu
- List contact information on all pages
- Automate customer service with a chatbot
You can implement any or all of the above methods in your strategy. Currently, chatbots are on the rise because they allow brands to communicate the answers to frequently asked questions in a way that is convenient for customers.
Eclipse Liquids connects its customers with a customer service representative by leveraging a simple chatbot. The chatbot lets customers know that a representative will be reaching out soon and collects information. A platform like Virtual Spirits can help you do the same for as little as nine dollars per month.
6. Use these tips to optimize your shopping cart flow
Your customers might absolutely love your product, complete with enhanced product pages. Even so, you can still lose them at the checkout phase. An optimized checkout process could save your thousands of dollars in lost sales.
Here are some tips to help you optimize your shopping cart flow:
- Allow social login for shopper convenience.
- Include a trust badge in your checkout process to give customers a sense of safety.
- Give people a chance to verify their order before placing it to ensure accuracy.
- Ask for as few details as possible to place the order.
- Make order placement simple and clear.
Use the above advice to enhance your brand’s customer checkout experience and increase sales potential.
7. Follow up via email
Customers want to know that you care—it helps increase the odds of repeat purchases. Shoppers don’t expect you to personally follow up on everyday purchases asking how they like their new toothbrush. But, you need to follow up to nurture the relationship and increase the odds of repeat business.
You can start with tracking and delivery confirmation. Use a transportation management platform (TMS) to deliver automated, branded tracking information to your customers and allow them to see on-site delivery confirmation.
Next, you want to try to upsell your customers. Send emails with links to your blog content, sales, and similar products. Use an email marketing automation tool to collect and analyze personalized data; this is how you can create the best campaigns.
When leading customers through your brand and everything it has to offer, it’s best to make sure they are satisfied every step of the way. If you start with the advice above, you will be well on your way to a booming ecommerce business. Take a little extra time to strengthen each customer touchpoint and create a mutually beneficial experience.
About the Author
Ashley Kimler is a marketing team manager at Heroic Search in Tulsa. She’s been working in the online content industry for over a decade. Follow @ashleykimler and @heroicsearch on Twitter to see what she and her team share next.