In 2010, the Harvard Business Review published an article about the idea of "customer journey mapping." The concept was simple in theory: Chart the trajectory from initial customer contact to closing the sale, and tie up any loose ends that could act as barriers along the way.
Since that time, however, customer interactions have become much more complex. Getting a prospect to a product page on your brand's website no longer equates to a sale. With a near infinite number of online distractions paired with demanding customer expectations, even the best laid plans can go awry. To prevent that from happening, here are three ways you can improve your website to support a more seamless customer journey.
1. Facilitate omnichannel
Omnichannel is more than just a buzzword: It's the heart and soul of the customer service zeitgeist, and brand manufacturers can't fake it. It's no longer enough to simply have a presence in multiple channels (social, mobile, in-store) or to be accessible through the various communication platforms (phone, email, text, web-chat, etc.). The entire experience needs to be integrated, so a customer can navigate from one channel to another without missing a beat.
Why is this so important to the customer journey? Because it helps establish a unified customer experience. You can no longer look at your website exclusively as a destination. It must also act as a portal to other channels.
2. Showcase your sellers
Speaking of your website not being the final destination, just as modern customers have preferred shopping channels, they also have preferred sellers. Take the example of Amazon Prime. Shoppers will pay an annual fee to gain certain benefits from the online retailer, and they want to make the most of that membership. So even if those customers end up on your brand's website, they may prefer to buy elsewhere. Unfortunately, indirect navigation from your site to a seller's can derail the customer journey. If the customer ends up on his or her preferred seller's homepage, there is no guarantee that yours is the brand they will ultimately end up purchasing from.
The good news is that this complex problem has a very simple solution. By using a tool such as PriceSpider's Where to Buy, your brand can automatically identify seller product pages across the web. This makes it possible to link directly from your brand's product detail page to those third-party product pages with no intermediary. At the end of the day, you can't stop customers from buying through the seller of their choosing. However, you can use your site to make sure it's your brand that ends up in their preferred shopping cart.
3. Reviews, review, reviews
"92% of online customers read reviews before making a purchase."
Today, 92 percent of online customers read reviews before making a purchase, compared to 88 percent back in 2014, according to Vendasta. For one, this means that reviews and ratings have effectively become a part of the customer journey. Reasonably, your prospects want to see what other people have said about a product before putting money down. Thus, it's in a brand manufacturer's best interest to make those ratings and reviews readily accessible, and not just for the sake of transparency. According to Econsultancy, customer reviews actually increase conversions.
This logic applies to your brand's product pages, but also sellers' pages. If for instance, you make seller ratings and reviews available on your site, you conveniently provide customers with the information that they will seek out one way or another. Now you're not just showing where your products are available. You're also being transparent about what customers on those channels have said about your brand. And by giving shoppers all the information they crave in one interface on your website, you simplify the customer journey and accelerate buyer behavior.
Contact PriceSpider today to learn more.