Following the Ecommerce User Journey

Mar 25, 2021 | E-Commerce

Understanding how your customers decide to make a purchase is key to growing your ecommerce business. We break down a common funnel model and the marketing tactics used in each.

A graphic representation of the ecommerce sales funnel

Knowing the path your customers take to a purchase is important for every business, but it's especially crucial for online retailers, which depend solely on traffic generated by ecommerce marketing and social media.

Research from Smart Insights shows that only 3.3% of all page sessions result in a conversion or transaction—so where is everyone else going?

The user journey (also known as the ecommerce sales funnel) is how we conceptualize this path and optimize each step to maximize a user's progress to the next step. Every person who walks away without reaching the end of the path (a conversion or sale) is a lost opportunity.

That journey can have any number of different steps or qualifiers, depending on who is teaching it and what industry it's for. Here at Informatics, we often reference a four-step funnel: Awareness, Interest, Consideration and Purchase.

What does each stage entail, and what ecommerce marketing tactics should you consider to keep users moving?

1. Awareness

This is the opening stage of the user journey, where we're working to make sure that potential customers know of and remember our brand. We want to make sure we're surfacing in applicable searches and "in the mix" when it comes time for them to really shop.

The ecommerce marketing tactics here are similarly broad in nature, and revolve mainly around brand awareness ads on Facebook and having SEO-friendly content throughout your website. Additional brand awareness ads could include channels like Spotify, Podcasts, and Pandora. 

2. Interest

Once you've introduced your brand, you want to continue building interest and trust with your audience. Make sure you show off your best products to catch their eye, but also be an authoritative, trusted resource to help them when they're ready to start researching.

At this stage of the ecommerce sales funnel, tactics may include:

  • SEO-rich blog posts that aim to inform or educate
  • Brand-centered content on YouTube or social media
  • Google display advertising
  • Facebook prospecting (lookalike) ads that target the audiences of similar products

3. Consideration

Once you've got your customer's head, capture their heart to close the sale. Step up the flash, and describe the benefits (not features) your customer will realize by using your product or service. How will it change or improve their lives?

At this stage of the user journey, customers are ready to buy and likely searching to determine the exact product, the best price or a preferred seller. We want to be where they are, so our ecommerce marketing tactics will include:

  • Google search ads
  • Google shopping ads
  • Google retargeting ads
  • Product-specific videos that show the benefits in action
  • Testimonial posts or blurbs on product pages

4. Purchase

This is obviously the end goal, but it doesn't mean we're done. While landing page conversion rates vary by industry, a great majority of customers will put items in their cart or half-fill a form before leaving.

The most successful ecommerce companies work to reduce shopping cart abandonment rates and draw customers back to try again. This requires understanding where, exactly, your customer gets frustrated and leaves.

Maybe your cart system isn't smooth, you're surprising customers with shipping costs or your form has too many fields. Test different landing or checkout pages to iron out any bumps or distractions.

Dialing in your sales funnel can be tough work, but the results are more than worth it. If you need help optimizing your user journey, or just have questions about where to start, reach out to the marketing experts at Informatics—ecommerce is kind of our thing!