The Stages Of An Online Purchase And How To Improve The Customer Experience

The shopping experience is one of the most important factors to take into account when we study and delve into an online purchasing process.

A purchase process is all those phases that the consumer or customer of a product goes through from the moment they have a need until they are happy to purchase a product or service that meets their needs to the utmost satisfaction.

In this article, we will take a walk through the different stages of an online purchase and we will see what added value you can give the consumer to optimize them.

1. The importance of the shopping experience

A pleasant, safe, and comfortable online shopping experience is the key to encouraging the customer to buy again in your store. It is increasingly difficult to differentiate yourself from your competitors and an original and effective way to do it is by focusing on the service you are giving to your client. Every day it is more personalized and they look for different ways to surprise the public.

2. Stages of the online purchase decision process

The stages of the online purchasing process that a customer takes into account from the moment a need arises until it is covered are the following:

  • Realize that you need it.
  • Do your research to find out how to meet that need.
  • Decide which option to choose from those found.
  • Buy the chosen option.

3. Phases that will improve the online shopping experience for your customer

The online shopping phases that we have to take into account so that the shopping experience is ideal are:

3.1) An attractive home page

The home page of your online store is the first impression that a user has of your brand and of what you sell. Try to give a good image with the help of large and attractive banners, always in accordance with the style or design of your online store.

In them, you can offer the products you have in a promotion or show a special category. Adapt your home page according to the season of the year or if it is a special day such as Valentine’s, Christmas or summer.

The personalization to your customer is a key element to improve the online shopping experience. Every time you can know more about the client through a good client management tool (CRM) and social networks. This allows you to know their tastes, what they are looking for in your store and what environment interests them.

It allows you to adapt your experience Marketing strategy to your client in a personalized way. So if you see that your client publishes photographs of mountain excursions on social networks, offer him a product related to nature that may be useful to him.

Don’t forget to congratulate him on his birthday or anniversary with the company and offer him a discount as a gift. You can present these actions on your home page or create an emailing campaign.

If you don’t have a customer service phone number, you should have the option to send a message to answer questions. Even if you are quick to answer emails, the client does not know when he will receive a response from you and that creates a feeling of unease and impatience. The client always looks for an immediate answer .

So I recommend offering personalized treatment through the integration of a chat in your online store to create a more enjoyable and effective online shopping experience. In this way, you will be able to answer their questions in real-time and show that you are always available to the customer.

3.2) A professional product sheet

I imagine that you have been told a thousand times how to present a product sheet: use large images with a white background and high quality, make known all the characteristics of your product, use cross-selling or up-selling techniques, etc.

An added value that you can bring to your product file is the testimony of the online shopping experience of other consumers.

The stars as a method of evaluation of your product is already quite seen, although it is still as effective as at the beginning. Let users leave comments and opinions about your product .

Marketing is a thousand times more effective than you can do. It is also very important to add buttons for social networks, for example, to “like” your store on Instagram or to tweet the product.

This content will be published in the stories and profiles of the users, it will be visible to the entire network of friends. They will be sharing the online shopping experience with their friends. Again, a friend’s opinion is worth a thousand times more than yours.

3.3) A secure payment

More and more people are daring to buy online, although there are still people who do not take this step by giving information about their bank account or credit card. Use trusted and secure payment stamps to create a reliable online shopping experience.

Add these stamp icons to checkout pages to inspire confidence in your customers. These are some of the stamps that you can integrate:

The more forms of payment you offer, the more options the customer has to have an online shopping experience adapted to their preferences. The different forms of payment that you can present in your store are: bank transfer, credit card, Paypal or cash on delivery.

Although the latter is a bit risky because the customer can return the product without paying the shipping. 

It is also important to add a section on secure payment and payment methods in the “General conditions” of your online store. In this way, the client always has access to this type of information and you inspire tranquility to the user.

3.4) A pleasant shipment

The shipping phase is the one that will unquestionably decide whether it has been a successful or disastrous online shopping experience. The desire to have the product at home quickly is very high which may not always be fulfilled.

So I propose to focus on other aspects that you can really control and improve to impress your client. The presentation of the package that the customer receives is the first direct contact that the consumer has with your product.

Take advantage of packaging techniques to excite your customer. Invest in a tissue paper that wraps the product in a funny way and in a nice box with a bow, it will be a little more expensive, but it is very nice to receive a package of these characteristics, so they will probably repeat the shopping experience online in your online store.

Many times problems arise in this phase of the purchase and most of the time it does not depend on you. Whatever happens, don’t forget to communicate with your client and inform them. If the package is late, send them an apology message and let them know how late it will be.

If the package or product arrives in bad condition, send him another one (don’t wait for him to return it) and add a gift for the inconvenience. It is inevitable that these things will happen, but you can fix them and surprise your client even more.

3.5) A simple return

A return doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Sometimes it is not the size we need and we have to return the product. To end good online shopping experience, clearly define the steps to take to return a product.

Don’t use complicated words and add a link to create the shipping label. Although if you prefer, you can send the label inside the package so that he only has to fill it out and send it.

If you can afford it, I advise you to return shipping free. It is a way of worrying about the customer getting the ideal product. Although you also have the option to offer free shipping only when the products are defective and not when it is a size problem.

Always remember to write everything down in the “Return Policies”. Many times it is a hassle to wait at home for the courier to come to take the package. In this case, the customer can go to the collection points and Click & Collect that allow you to both collect and send packages.

It is always advisable to offer different options so that the customer can choose the one that best suits them and optimize their online shopping experience.

You have already seen that not many resources are needed to improve the online shopping experience in your store. Be attentive to your client, inform him whenever necessary, keep him excited and satisfied with his purchase, and never forget your relationship, because it is a very special relationship. 

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