The Buyers Journey
A potential customer will follow multiple paths through the buying process before deciding to give their hard earned money to you.
Consumers are now purchasing online more than ever and as a result, the decision process and buyers journey has become more rigorous and harder on the retailer than ever.
People are a lot savvier when it comes to exploring their options and performing market research before deciding on which company to buy from.
And with the internet making all of this information so accessible, you really need to optimize your website accordingly in order to give the visitor every reason to want to buy from you.
During this journey, it is important to know who the consumer is, what motivates them, their emotions, and other relevant aspects which may be reflected in the buyer persona. Understanding this information about your website's visitors can enable you to cater to every stage of the buyers journey and increase your conversion rate as a result.
What is The Buyers Journey?
"The buyers journey is the process that buyers go through which consist of research, consideration, and decision stages before choosing to purchase a product or service."
If you have ever researched multiple vendors, read all the different reviews, and tried to find as much information as possible about every option available; then you’ve taken part in the buyers journey.
The journey is based on storytelling and design thinking that allows you to map the path of your users and tailor their experience with you to it.
Throughout this journey, we can see the different points of contact between customer and brand and its importance for the outcome of this relationship.
Buyers Journey Stages
While there are three predominant stages, there can be as many as seven buyers journey stages and the buyer doesn’t necessarily need to go through them all or in exact order before making a decision to buy from you:
The consumer has a need and wants to find a solution.
Discovers different products, brands, and trends.
The consumer begins to analyze the different options available in the market.
Starts to evaluate multiple vendors and compare them.
After having valued all the options and narrowed them down, the user makes the final purchase decision.
Communication from the vendor such as purchase receipts, delivery information, and customer service.
The consumer may be so happy with their previous experience that they return.
The buyer could go from awareness to interest and then quickly jump to consideration and purchase within a very short amount of time. On the other hand, the buyer may just make it to the interest stage and then decide that you don’t offer what they are looking for.
This is why it’s so important to keep the buyer hooked at every stage so you can answer their objections and facilitate the purchase at any time.
Buyers Journey Map
To streamline your buyers journey, a content marketing strategy can be the ultimate tool that works for you. Optimizing the key points of contact in the midst of all the interactions that a customer could have with you is the key to increasing your conversion rate.
This means that you can create different types of content that is targeted to specific stages of the buyers journey. Considering that a potential buyer could arrive on your website at any stage of the journey, it's vital to be able to convert them at any point.
You can divide these stages into three core sections:
Awareness | Consideration | Decision
Awareness Stage Content
The buyer is getting to know you and discovering different retailers, so they look for content that entices them and remains in their memory.
- Blog Posts
- Guides/How To’s
Consideration Stage Content
Now the buyer has absorbed the lighter forms of content and is still trying to make a decision. They want to dig deeper and learn more about what you offer.
- Case Studies
- Email Marketing
Decision Stage Content
You have got the attention of the buyer who has already absorbed at least one form of your content and maybe even made a purchase. Now it's time to build loyalty and send valuable content that invites them to continue counting on you.
- Product Demonstrations
You can map out your buyers journey based on this criteria.
By analyzing the entire journey, you can clearly identify the points of the route where there are more problems and cart abandonments occurring. This enables you to fine-tune and optimize the problem areas of your website so that every part of the journey your buyer goes through is as effective as it can be.
Tips For Enhancing The Buyers Journey
When it comes to recreating the ideal buyers journey of your customers, it’s true that "each master has their book". There are no magic formulas, but you have to find the best solution for each case according to the particularities and needs of the company and the website's visitors.
Remember, everyone who lands on your site could be at any stage of the journey, so almost everything you do on your website could in some way contribute to their buying decision.
Define The Objectives
Before getting down to work, you have to see what you want to map the buyers journey for and what is the most appropriate approach.
If you already know how your website's users behave and where your site is struggling at converting, then you can create appropriate content and optimize that part of your website to combat this.
So if you're visitors make it to the shopping cart and checkout pages but these two pages are responsible for the majority of lost sales on your site you can tweak those two areas and also offer some discounts or promotions on those pages to increase the conversion rate.
The content on your website can be a major deciding factor in regards to your visitors purchasing from you.
Paying attention to every single detail can really make the difference in the conversion rate of your site and having an effective content marketing strategy could do wonders for you.
At the very least, you can start a blog for your website. A blog helps you to position your website within search engines, as you can target specific keywords that your audience would search for, and thus drive traffic to your website.
This can also make you look like an authority within your niche, which can earn you respect and credibility. Imagine if all of your competitors just sell products and that’s their sole focus, while you put out free content that their audience would love to see. Where do think the traffic will flow to?
As mentioned before, there are many different types of content that you could utilize on your website and there's also different types of content that can cater to the various stages of the buyers journey.
Having this content readily available and promoted through various channels can capture a potential buyer during a particular stage and covert them into a customer.
One of the reasons why the conversion rate could be low is because the structure of your website is causing the issues. This could mean that the navigation is not very intuitive for users and that people struggle to find what they are looking for.
These issues are comprised of a bigger picture known as User Experience, which encompasses every aspect of a visitors interaction with your website.
Think with simplicity, such as Booking.com for example.
The first thing you see when you enter their website is a minimal amount of fields where all you need to do is enter the destination, the dates of accommodation and the number of people, before being shown a series of options available accordingly.
There is a checklist of preferences to be ticked: Apartment or hotel? Do you want a shared bathroom or a private bathroom? What is your maximum budget per night?
In practice, even if you only have a few minutes to make a booking, it can still be done because of how easy the website is to use.
Based on this example, try to think about your website and how intuitive it is:
Are categories in which you have divided the products are clear and well distinguishable?
The products are ordered in the correct way so that it is impossible to find a refrigerator in the smartphone category?
Have you created specific filters to eliminate, progressively and on the basis of user needs, products that do not interest them?
Try to put yourself in your visitor's position and think how long you would stay in your store where the categories are not well defined and everything is all over the place.
Also, make sure that your website can works perfectly from mobile devices. Remember that many of the users will find you via smartphone or tablet your website will need to properly function for them.
Without doing this, you could lose a large chunk of your audience and, consequently, you would not be able to increase the conversion rate of your website. It is useless to have a perfect site in every aspect from a desktop device but a large portion of your traffic comes from mobile devices and your site doesn’t function for them.
Solutions Over Sales
The goal of an eCommerce website is obviously to makes sales. But, you can't make sales without the buyer being convinced and assured that you're the right option to purchase from. While sections of your website should be optimized for sales and be laser-focused on this, such as the shopping cart and checkout pages, other sections of your site should be more relaxed.
Creating great blog posts and informative content doesn't need to just have sales in mind. While they can, and should, contain links to your products as an upsell or cross-sell, the purpose of the content should be to create value for the reader.
This can be done by only recommending products or services that are completely relevant to the piece of content the visitor is reading, and with minimal force as well. The content should serve as a resource, with friendly recommendations for what you sell as a compliment, rather than an advertisement.
This approach can lead to far better conversions as there is no force placed on the visitor. They can consume your great content and be more inclined to buy something from you as a result.