The importance of mapping the buyer’s journey

The importance of mapping the buyer’s journey

If you run an eCommerce business, it should come as no surprise that not every person who lands on your website actually intends to make a purchase. Interestingly, the majority of e-tailers don’t spend enough time trying to convert those with no intention to buy, considering them a necessary evil.

If you own an online store, you should be asking yourself who these non-purchasers are and what exactly is holding them back. Not only can the buyer’s journey shed light on the issue, it can also help you optimize your site content, ensuring that consumers move through each phase of the process until they’ve actually made a purchase.

What is the buyer’s journey and why does it matter?

The buyer’s journey refers to the research process consumers undertake prior to making a purchase. As a consumer embarks on the path to purchase, online retailers must educate them so that they progress through each phase until they’ve been converted into an actual paying customer.

The path to purchase consists of three phases: awareness, consideration and decision. Because consumers require different types of information as they move through each phase of the journey, gaining a solid understanding of the various buyer personas you deal with as well as what information is meaningful to them at any given time is vital to the success of your business. Why? Because providing the right information at the right time to the right persona will help you engage consumers for a longer period of time, ultimately resulting in increased conversion rates and more sales.

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What content are consumers looking for?

1. Awareness

In the first phase, the consumer has come to the realization that they have some sort of want or need. They are not aware of your online business, nor do they know what they’re looking for just yet. Their journey begins by conducting broad Google searches to acquire neutral, educational information that will allow them to zero in on what they want.

Because the consumer hasn’t figured out what their pain point is yet and doesn’t know about your business, you need to create brand awareness so that your online store lands on their radar. To do so, you should first ensure that your website content is optimized for SEO so that it shows up on Google’s results page. The content in question should be informational as opposed to promotional such as blog posts, white papers or research reports.

2. Consideration

At this point in the journey, the consumer has defined what they are looking for and is ready to dig a little deeper. They conduct further research and comparative analysis based on their initial search results and begin interacting with the companies that interest them the most.

The consumer is not ready to be sold to just yet, but it’s important for e-tailers to facilitate communication should they want the visitor to move onto the next phase of the journey. If your eCommerce solution offers a Live Chat feature, make sure to activate it. You should also ensure that your customer service department’s contact information is made prominent on the pages that yield the most traffic.

3. Decision

Now that the consumer has a clear idea of what they want, it’s time to convince them that your products or services are their best bet. To do so, you must present them with information that builds trust and that explains how your products or services work. You should also make sure your site’s checkout process is as smooth, simple and pleasant as possible.

Case studies and customer reviews can help foster trust, while product comparison pages and detailed product descriptions are great for convincing a consumer of the superiority of your product offering. Interactive content such as live demos and trials for B2B customers and how-to videos for B2C customers are powerful and effective ways to show a consumer why they should purchase from you.

The duration of the buyer’s journey depends not only on your product or service offering, but on the consumer and how quickly they can identify where to find what information they need on your site. Using the right CTAs to move consumers from one phase to the next and using marketing automation software that allows you to target each buyer persona through measurable email nurture campaigns can do wonders for your online store’s conversion rates.