It’s the goal of any e-commerce website: Make the purchase! Companies spend time and money trying to optimize this process to maximize the result of the customers e-commerce experience. They do redesign after redesign of their website hoping to increase that conversion rate just a bit more.
The problem is most companies jump into making large changes to elements of their website, this can be risky along with a hefty price tag. They also have the mentality that their customers are still linear in the purchasing process.
In other words, most campaigns have the goal of driving a person from point A to B. In turn, they still develop campaigns that try to drive people through a carefully scripted process.
However, with the advent of social media and interactive content, the landscape has changed and as digital marketers and designers we need to look beyond the linear selling process and look to the customer buying experience.
No Longer A Golden Path
Below is an example of one of the many routes a customer can take in the e-commerce process and even this example could be altered in dozens of ways.
The point is that through out the online buying process there are many influencers, starts and stops that will affect the customer’s behavior. Of course all sales reach the same goal, but no two paths are the same. The same can be said when it comes to any engagement conversion, e.g. joining a mailing list, a follow on Twitter, etc.
We have to begin to be observers of how customers are now interacting with the content and how all the touch points can affect the sale. Is your core brand message consistent across all touch points? Is there a clear and concise call to action at each touch point? Or are your users finding dead ends in the experience?
To take a completely holistic view, the e-commerce process can even involve content outside of your own website as our example graphic shows. A user might add an item to your shopping cart and then pop open a new browser tab to read reviews on other websites about your product or search for a promo code.
User Experience Design To Guide The Journey
For your next e-commerce project, define the business problem at hand then develop the user personas that you’re targeting. Understand at what touch point your users will be entering the conversation and map out their journey. Find the right methodology that will work for you and continue to iterate that process.
Test, Test, Test
We’ve touched upon this before, the importance of testing. With the change of technology comes the change in human behavior. What may have worked yesterday, may not work today. Even the best designers generally don’t get it right the first time, you have to learn behaviors early and quickly and make the needed adjustments so that you can continue to optimize your conversion rate.