Digital commerce: Focus on journey not destination
It’s long been said that, when it comes to digital commerce, conversion is king. For many marketers and brands, closing a sale and successfully converting a browser into a buyer is by far the most important part of the customer journey.
While it’s true that conversion rates offer an important insight into whether a site, app or campaign has been successful, we as marketers need to be careful about focusing too much on the single conversion event, and not enough on the journeys involved in getting there. Instead, our goal should be to understand the broader customer journey so that we can generate as many of these conversion events as possible over the lifetime of the customer.
For us, a prospect clicking ‘confirm order’ may be the most important part of that journey, but for the consumer themselves this is just one tiny step in a far longer chain of decisions and experiences with the brand.
According to the latest research from Episerver, as many as 83 percent of shoppers intend to do something other than make a purchase the first time they visit an ecommerce site. Similarly, four out of five shoppers do not pre-plan the purchases they intend to buy — they’re simply looking around.
The idea that marketers and online retailers are focusing so heavily on conversion means a huge chunk of the customer’s broader interactions with the site/brand are being missed. Instead of leading with a direct effort to convert, marketers need to invest in content, education and wider experiences that sit around their brands.
At the most basic level, this means implementing dynamic, integrated content that engages users across a site. At a more complex level, it can mean developing advanced omnichannel CX strategies designed to forge personal, emotional connections with shoppers — beyond transactions.
In order to develop these connections, brands must work hard to ensure they are not only providing memorable experiences but consistent ones as well.
To achieve this, it’s important to invest in a strategy for scaling and delivering experiences that are relevant to shoppers’ personal needs, primary goal on a first visit and, later, position in the buying cycle. Those marketers who fail to provide these consistent, high-quality experiences can suffer from major financial consequences, with Episerver researchshowing 98 percent of online shoppers saying they have abandoned a purchase because of a poor experience with on-site content.
By thinking about these experiences early on, and creating opportunities to build personal, memorable connections throughout all stages of the customer journey, brands can go beyond the tunnel-vision of purely conversion-driven retail.
In doing so, they will build better relationships with customers, secure greater differentiation from competitors, encourage greater loyalty and, ultimately, ensure a greater lifetime value from their customers