The e-commerce consumer path to purchase can often feel like a moving target. The days of a consistent and reliable “search, click, buy” process are long gone. In its place is a complicated web of steps, each one inching your target consumer closer to the “buy now” button over the course of many days, weeks, or months.

When e-commerce was still relatively new, retailers and brands could map out the typical path a target consumer would take and use that “journey” to predict the behaviours of hundreds or thousands of other shoppers. Not so today. Constant changes to mobile technology, voice commerce and search algorithms are continually reshaping how consumers interact with brands and retailers.

Today, buying online means constantly advancing technology, hundreds of marketplaces, and millions of online advertisements. How can you ensure your ideal customer doesn’t get lost along the way?

This eBook will tackle the following topics:

  • How to meet every touchpoint
  • Tips to capture conversions
  • The customer journey
  • And more…

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Meeting Every Touchpoint

Customer touchpoints are your brand’s points of customer contact such as seeing an ad, reading reviews, or contacting customer service. Today, there are thousands of different touchpoints; each one creating hundreds of unique consumer journeys for one product.

But, not all touchpoints are created equal. Although there’s no surefire way to know precisely how people discover your products, here’s some of the most influential touchpoints in e-commerce right now.

  • 34% purchase products directly through social media
  • 90% rely on product reviews
  • 96% say free delivery affects purchase decisions
  • 63% prefer to receive offers via email, the most popular method for communicating with sellers.

As we know, facts and stats on consumer behaviours and e-commerce touchpoints give us valuable information. But, it doesn’t stop there. Brands and retailers need to take these facts and turn them into specific, optimised strategies, which isn’t always evident.

Of course, adding additional products only makes the journey and strategy more convoluted. So, it is essential to deliberately choose and fully develop your touchpoints. Each one will make an impression on the consumer that can either lead them down the path to your “buy now” button or lead them astray to a comparable product. In order to master every touchpoint and ensure a positive experience at each contact, it is first necessary to understand the multiple phases of the e-commerce customer journey.

A Flash of Inspiration

So, where does the new e-commerce consumer journey start? Inspiration, a first step often overlooked or taken for granted, is at the heart of each online purchase.

Picture this: your target consumers are scrolling when the “after” photos of a friend’s gleaming, newly remodeled kitchen appear on their feeds. The comments section fills fast with inquiries: Where did you get those pendant lights? How did you discover the tiles? Inspiration hits and suddenly, there’s a steady flow of conversation about specific manufacturing brands and retail sites.

Consumers are frequently motivated by multiple outside influences to discover products — and this inspiration can occur virtually anywhere, at any time. From actively searching to leisurely scrolling, inspiration is the proven driving force behind each e-consumer journey. And since it can strike at any time, your products must be everywhere.

Who sparks the most inspiration: Facebook, Instagram, or Amazon? Download the ebook for stats on when and where consumers’ journeys begin.

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Bringing Awareness to Capture Conversions

Once inspiration hits, it’s time to see what’s out there. One consumer is perusing search results on a marketplace mobile app to find the perfect pendant light. Another is relying on Google to figure out which items are needed to install tiles that are just as stunning as their friend’s.

New discoveries are being favourited and added to shopping lists. That’s another step in the right direction on the road to conversion. During this time, some consumers are simply getting a stronger sense for what they want while others are discovering the exact product they had in mind.

This second phase includes both introducing consumers to the brand for the first time as well as reeling back in previous customers for more purchases. With so many marketplace, wishlist, and social media options, we again circle back to the idea of one product, multiple touchpoints.

Intensifying Evaluation

Did you know 91% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations? Phase three of the new e-commerce consumer journey involves choosing the right marketplace and digital marketing techniques that can play a critical role throughout the course of evaluations.

Thanks to the multitude of online options available, consumers can customise their path to your “buy now” button. For example, quick decision-makers may skim a review or two. More methodical shoppers will scour every marketplace and product listing they can find. Therefore, brands must be proactive with their touchpoints during the evaluation phase in order to maximize their presence. This includes:

  • Product details
  • Ad formats
  • Competitive pricing strategies

Transition, Consideration, Conversion, and More

In the following phases of the new e-commerce consumer journey include transition, consideration, and conversion. The whole process could span days or take a few minutes, but rarely does it occur all at once or within a single channel. That’s why it’s so important to use one data feed to optimise data across e-commerce channels. Today’s consumers expect personalised content to help them through each step of the customer journey — regardless of purchase touchpoint.

But, the journey isn’t over yet! After the sale, there exist multiple touchpoints and they are just as important as the first ones. If forgotten or neglected, the consumer could take steps back or get off track completely, resulting in a lost sale or much longer journey.

Learn More about the Journey

Your customers are everywhere. They can browse and buy from anywhere, at any time. Today’s consumer could be visiting any number of e-commerce channels at any given time. That means you should be, too. Meet every touchpoint and enhance every phase.

If you want to know more about touchpoints and all the phases within the new e-commerce consumer journey, you can download ChannelAdvisor’s ebook.

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ChannelAdvisor (NYSE: ECOM) is a leading e-commerce cloud platform whose mission is to connect and optimise the world’s commerce. For nearly two decades, ChannelAdvisor has helped brands and retailers worldwide improve their online performance by expanding sales channels, connecting with consumers around the world, optimising their operations for peak performance, and providing actionable analytics to improve competitiveness. Thousands of customers depend on ChannelAdvisor to securely power their sales and optimise fulfilment on channels such as Amazon, eBay, Catch, Google, Facebook, Walmart, and hundreds more. For more information, visit www.channeladvisor.co.uk.