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Typical Stages of a Consumer Journey in e-Commerce

Mehreen Siddiqua Dec 13, 2017
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The eCommerce industry has a broad coverage that expands to a myriad of devices and various online channels. Literally speaking, there are already paths laid out for the consumer that can lead them to your platform. However, the decision to take every step is triggered by certain motivators, your offerings, brand credibility and the time of the season. While these crucial details create all the difference, sometimes the length of the process exhausts a consumer the most.

A consumer can take hundreds of different paths or channels to reach you. The customer journey mapping process is not only their physical or digital footprint but also comprises of their potential and motivations.

An online consumer journey leading to purchase usually comprises of these 5 stages:

Awareness: When the consumers has discovered your brand. A customer is usually introduced to an e-commerce site through various advertising tools or social media campaigns.

Consideration: Once your name is registered in the minds of your potential customers, they will search to check if you offer the products or service they need. Technically, at this stage your potential customers are going to get filtered.

Preference: Based on their research, the online shoppers establish a preference in terms of which website they want to purchase from.

Purchase: This is where the customer makes a purchase decision but they will consider repurchase if they experience a smooth checkout and payment system.

Are you guiding your consumer?

From statistics, it has been confirmed that 88% of customers use reviews to guide their purchase decision. Clearly, customer reviews have higher importance and they seem to be a source to lead customers to a purchase decision. Likewise, reviews can prevent a customer from taking a purchase decision. Marketers can facilitate this stage of decision making by integrating unbiased user-generated reviews in their platforms.

Check out the top questions that will enable you to map other aspects of their journey. Let’s take a look.

  • How has the consumer ended up interacting with your brand?
  • If your consumer relies on digital experience, then what devices are they using?
  • Why is your customer hesitant to move to the next stage of the journey?
  • What are the motivating factors, if your customer goes to the next stage?
  • What are the touchpoints and opportunities between you and the customer?

To get answer to all those questions, let’s explore the stages of consumer journey through an e-commerce platform.

The find stage

We can officially call this the discovery mode of the consumer. They will skim through various categories to locate a product/service they want. While they are doing that, the product pages should load faster or the visitor will have an urge to change website or drop the search altogether.
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Shop stage

At the shop stage, a consumer does a selection and comparison of products. hence if the best sellers are visible to them or products relevant to their search, there is good chance they will add them to cart. Provide them hints throughout their journey and propose similar items that your customers might want to select as well.

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Checkout stage

The e-shoppers have added and viewed their cart and this is where they move to checkout stage. Now the consumer expects to place an order without too many things to worry about so this stage should be simple and convenient.

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Pay stage

At the checkout stage you can either select COD or credit card payment. The later would add one more step to your online purchase ordeal. Believe it or not, some people tend to abandon shopping cart at this stage.

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Receive stage

At this stage the consumer gets the product or service as promised or decides to return product if it falls below satisfactory levels. This is a difficult step but still holds opportunity to turn a dissatisfied customer into happy customer.

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Mehreen Siddiqua

She is a millennial with a sense of humor that she embodies in visuals. A Digital Marketer focusing on Social Media Marketing by profession, exploring diverse avenues and ventures in tech while honing entrepreneurial skills. Currently she is the communications coordinator and strategist for Arpatech looking into e-commerce, consumer behavior and digital business models.