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How to Trick Out Your Customer Journey

author Bolt Team

Bolt Team

Thank you for joining our ThinkShop discussion around “Tricking Out the Customer Journey to Increase Conversions.

Let me start out with the context for the recommendations that you’re going to be seeing.

Out-of-the-Box Functionality Should Only Be the Beginning

I thought I’d start with some good news for any merchant out there that is upgrading their current shop or migrating to a new platform, building a new site from scratch or even going from B2B to B2C.

The modern templates that come with the latest ecommerce frameworks have built-in best practices, from the homepage all the way through the checkout process. These ecommerce platform companies have put millions of dollars into their platform and you are the lucky recipient of all their technology and research. So, some of those features in our mega menus that allow customers to drill through your catalogue and get to products faster are page builders for your content-focused pages like landing pages, About Us pages, how-tos and all those keyword rich content areas and extensions that provide enhanced features and functionality. Quick views or modal windows that show product details without leaving the category pages, auto search, and intelligent search and dynamic search are all different flavors of search.

You also have quick carts, of course, that include a variety of checkout payment and shipping options, and third party integrations. So there’s usually a community of dedicated developers that are constantly providing new innovations, and providing those to you in the form of integrations that can be added to your ecommerce experience. But why stop here? Why stop at the out-of-the-box functionality? Let’s take it up a notch and take it to the next level by finding opportunities to trick out the customer journey.

Start with a Strategy

To start with, let me touch on the standard waterfall website development process because that’s how most sites are developed these days, especially when you’re starting with a new site:

You start with a strategy phase. This is really that key collaborative phase between the web developer or agency and the client. Then after that’s been determined, you go to the architectural phase, and then to the user experience and user interface design phase, which is really where I do most of my work. Then those files are passed off to the development team – the front end development and the back end development team – for integration. Once that is done, you do the testing, and then you go to support. After that point, and potentially post-launch, you go to Marketing Services to drive traffic back to your new site.

Now, I wanted to focus on the strategy phase for a second, because this is really where you make the most impactful decisions around tricking out the customer journey. And you should never skimp on your website strategy, because this is where your web agency can provide the most value, and they can only do this if they understand your brand, your goals, your pain points, and your business requirements based on the size of your business.

I’ve participated in strategies that have required just a few people over a couple of weeks and I’ve participated in strategies that require a team of 10 or more on the partner side, and then maybe even 10 or more people on the client side for over two months in order to work through everything. This is the stage of an architect planning to build a house or a building. You really need to have all of the plans in place and the expectations clearly set on both sides before you start that process. So you can’t underestimate the strategy aspect of the web development process.

Understand Your Customer Journey and Its Pain Points

Next, I’ll get into my patented three step process. And before I get into this, I want to emphasize the importance of working with an agency that’s not a yes-man or yes-woman type situation. The web design and development process should be a collaboration between you and the agency. Obviously you are the expert in your business, and they are the experts in the latest ecommerce technology and usability solutions. This includes having your web agency not be afraid to push back on you and make recommendations if they feel you’re going down the wrong path. That’s pretty important right from the get-go.

The number one here is to identify pain points in the customer journey. These pain points usually occur on primary website pages like the homepage, the category pages, product detail pages, and all the way through the cart and checkout. Customers can also experience pain points when trying to become a member, filling out a form, searching for a product and 100 other places.

The first key here is to identify the pain points in the customer journey. So how do you do that? Here are a few ways you can hone in on those pain points:

  • Number one of course is listen to your customers and note their issues with the site. This can also be done with customer polling, or another great resource is to ask your online sales team or your support people what the most common questions are that they’re helping customers with.
  • Another way is to see where the customers are dropping off based on your analytics. It’s very easy to review your analytics and identify pain points in the customer journey where they’re dropping out of the process. And obviously those are our key points you want to identify.
  • A third way is to undertake focused user testing. This is more costly and time consuming, so not a lot of companies go into that. It’s primarily for the larger brands but there are a lot of these various ways to identify those pain points in the customer journey.

Develop a Road Map (and Start Small If Needed)

After you’ve identified those pain points, you should prioritize them in order of importance, and then brainstorm solutions, which is where that collaborative web agency comes in. They probably already solved these pain points that your customers are experiencing a number of different ways.

That being said, they don’t know the nuances of your business and your customer personas. So, you as the business owner would need to provide oversight and input and this brainstorming activity should help you come up with a shortlist of solutions to solve all of the pain points.

The third part is a little bit harder as it covers your high priority issues and your solutions that apply to them. You do some estimating and maybe the best solution for a problem requires 200 hours or more of additional development – way above your budget for launch.

If that’s the case, hopefully there’s another option that’s a better match. And remember, if necessary, you can launch with a lesser option and then phase in the top solution when you have the budget further down the road.

By going through this three step process, you can really identify where on your website you need to focus your time and budget to trick out that customer journey and improve conversions.

Want to learn more? Watch the full webinar.

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About Richard Parr, VP. Creative Services, Kensium
Richard manages the User Experience and User Interface design teams at Kensium. He brings over 30 years of design experience working in both the industry and academia. His expertise is in conceptualizing and executing marketing campaigns through appropriate online channels.

About Kensium
Kensium is a 300+ agency Web Development Agency, end-to-end customer and consumer ecommerce solutions partner who believes that all merchants can excel using digital technology. Kensium’s mission is to simplify digital commerce for retailers, wholesalers and distributors – with guidance, technology and support that’s best suited for them.

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