Getting your product enrichment right will do wonders for your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. If you’re searching for a product, you don’t want to...
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Around 67% of consumers will pay more for better experiences, so you need to constantly improve your offering. A solid foundation of a quality eCommerce customer journey is rich product data. If you sell products online, it’s not just a case of making sure customers can find what they need when they need it. You need to help them build opinions on your products and your brand. Ultimately, their opinion determines whether they choose to buy your products, or if they’re going to look elsewhere.
From discovery to delivery – and everything in between – this guide will dig deep into how you can leverage your product data to refine the eCommerce customer journey. Firstly, we’ll look at what the online buyer journey looks like. Then, we’ll outline the different types of product content customers expect to see at each stage of the online buyer journey.
What’s the online buyer journey?
The online buyer journey is all the interactions an online shopper has with a business before buying online. Along the way, they’ll digest different pieces of information to ensure they’re making an informed decision. At Pimberly, we refer to it as the circular buyer journey as it’s essentially a continuous cycle. The diagram below shows the different customer touchpoints, along with the types of content that enrich the shopping experience at each stage:
The importance of rich product content in the eCommerce customer journey
A key benefit of selling online is the fact that more and more people are opting for desktops and devices instead of hitting the high street. With more and more consumers browsing and buying online, there’s plenty of opportunity for you to differentiate yourself with rich product content. But how exactly do you stand out from the crowd when the environment is becoming more and more competitive?
Firstly, you need to understand what your customers need. Then, you need to take it up a level by exceeding expectations! This applies to every single touchpoint and interaction your customer has with you, from discovery to delivery, and beyond!
To help you achieve long-term growth, we break down some of the key things that will help you improve the customer eCommerce journey.
The pre-checkout experience
Make sure customers find you by nailing SEO
You could have amazing products but if you’re SEO isn’t up to scratch, potential customers won’t be able to find them. Ensuring product data is unique and contains the right keywords is a surefire way to boost your ranking in SERPs. Never use the generic product descriptions provided by suppliers or manufacturers. Inject your brand personality and tailor your product information to suit your customers’ needs.
As well as using Google Analytics to identify target keywords, you can look at product reviews to understand the language your existing customers are using to describe your products. This will also help you identify the questions your customers are asking and the pain points they’re looking to solve. Answer these questions and address the pain points in your product descriptions for optimal Click Through Rates (CTRs).
Ensure your product attributes are also clearly listed, as these are often the key criteria customers will be on the lookout for, including:
- Technical specifications
Get your customers excited about your products
Once you’ve got those all-important visitors on your site, the aim will be to convert them. First impressions count, so your page load time needs to be swift to ensure you don’t lose potential customers at the first hurdle. Slow-loading pages in eCommerce translate into lost revenues, so make sure your pages load within 3 seconds or less.
Always include high-quality product images and videos, graphics, and User-Generated Content (UGC) on your product pages, as well as user manuals and sizing charts where applicable. This enables your customers to visualize what the product looks like, the purpose it will serve, and how they can use it. Your prices and promotions should also be really easy to find, so highlight them early on in the online buyer journey.
All these elements will help you build a solid Product Experience Management (PXM) strategy. PXM essentially gives you an arsenal of product information that will set you apart from the competition and get your customers excited about what they’re about to buy. You can reinforce this even more with product reviews from your existing customers, so people know what sort of experience they’re going to get. What better way to find out than to read about what other customers are saying?
Be consistent across channels
The online buyer journey is far from linear and, increasingly customers are browsing products across several different channels and on multiple devices. Therefore, providing a seamless omnichannel customer experience and ensuring you delight customers is vital, regardless of the device or channel they’re using. Also, if you’re not already optimizing for mobile, you should be. In 2024, mCommerce is on track to account for 42.9% of eCommerce sales – that’s a whopping $620.97 billion!
As well as nailing the experience on your online channels, you should also be thinking about the in-store experience if you have a brick-and-mortar presence. Increasingly, customers will browse online to decide on the products they want to buy before purchasing in-store. 90% of consumers expect consistent interactions across all channels, and they should get the same information at all touchpoints. After all, there’s nothing worse than finding the perfect product online just to show up in-store and find that it’s nothing like what you wanted.
Dazzle and delight with digital assets
We know getting visitors onto your site is just the first hurdle. Converting those visitors to customers and money in your virtual till is a whole other task. Luckily, rich product content that enables visitors to find you in the first place will also massively improve the overall online customer experience. Images, videos, 360 views, manuals, and user guides are indispensable assets you can leverage to enhance the eCommerce customer journey.
A quality Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution will enable you to tailor your digital assets for different audiences, channels, and geographies. For instance, you can leverage your digital assets to show different use cases depending on the demographic of the customer. Moreover, you can ensure you’re always meeting the specific requirements of the channels you’re selling on by amending the number of images and videos you publish. Lastly, you can specify which product assets you want to display depending on the territory of your customer. All these factors will enable you to create a seamless customer purchase journey for each and every one of your visitors!
Another important thing to note with high-quality images and videos it that they enable you to replicate the in-store experience. Online shoppers can’t try products, touch them, or get a feel of the materials. High-quality digital assets enable customers to properly visualize the products and see them in action. Moreover, your digital assets are a great way of displaying related products, kits, and bundles to boost your Average Order Values (AOV).
Offer plenty of options
Around 94% of online shoppers will go elsewhere if they can’t find the information they’re looking for. Ensure your product descriptions are concise, relevant, and answer any questions customers might have. If they’re coming to you, you don’t want to leave any room for second thoughts. Consider offering a live chat option so they can quickly get the answers to any questions they have.
Finally, make checkout as easy as possible to make sure you don’t lose customers at the last hurdle. Around 50% of online shoppers will abandon a purchase if their preferred payment method isn’t available, so cover all grounds. Make sure you offer guest checkout as an option to keep it simple. If it’s a returning customer, make sure there’s an autofill functionality so they don’t have to re-enter their details. In other words, you need to deliver a totally seamless checkout experience that’s quick, easy, and straightforward.
The post-purchase experience
The gold standard for a post-checkout customer experience follows a simple trajectory:
- A thank you message with the order confirmation and details of what’s been bought and when it will be delivered
- Continued updates on the item’s progress: when the order has been packed, when it leaves the warehouse, when it’s reached the distribution center, when it is out for delivery, and when it will arrive
- Further update that the item is going to be delivered in the next hour and how to track it
- Confirmation of delivery
- A final touch can be clear returns information, so customers know what to do if they’re unhappy with their purchase
Deliveries and returns
A key driver for online shopping is convenience, so offer plenty of options to suit all your customers’ needs. Firstly, offer as many delivery options as possible. Delivery is what defines the new world of post-purchase customer experience. It’s a key consideration for customers when they’re choosing who to buy from. In other words, having plenty of delivery options can act as a strong differentiator.
To add to that, 13% of shoppers won’t repeat a purchase if there’s an issue with the delivery. To overcome this issue, consider using different carriers to minimize the risk of something going wrong. Secondly, you can take it up a level and give customers the option to change the date or redirect the delivery if they need to. If you sell cross-border, there are key bits of information you need to provide to ensure deliveries go smoothly.
Cross-border delivery checklist:
- Ensure you have an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number and give it to your carrier management firm
- Double-check the accuracy of the recipient’s name and address
- If you’re using a tracked service, provide the email and telephone number of the recipient
- If you’re VAT registered, your VAT no. needs to be supplied so you’re treated as a business for duties and taxes
- Use the correct commodity codes
- Ensure you know the tax implications for each EU country you ship to
- Check to see if you need to complete and attach a CN22 or
Making the returns process as easy as possible will also set you apart from the competition. Again, offer plenty of different ways for customers to return unwanted purchases such as locker systems or Buy Online Return In-Store (BORIS). Being clear about your delivery and returns policies early in the online customer journey is crucial. Ensure you’re providing clear details on your product detail page, so customers know what to expect. This will contribute to much lower cart abandonment rates because, after all, there’s nothing worse than losing a customer on the checkout page!
Provide everything needed for a positive post-purchase customer experience
Providing customers with totally accurate information is vital if you want to build a loyal customer base and ensure they come back to you time and time again. However, it’s important to remember the eCommerce customer journey continues post-purchase. You want your customers to enjoy what they’ve bought and get the best possible use from it.
Improve the post-purchase experience by providing how-to videos so your customers know exactly what they can do with your products. If the product needs to be assembled or used in a specific way, be sure to include clear instruction manuals. Lastly, you can further refine the post-purchase experience with live chat functionalities or customer communities. This means your customers can self-serve and find all the information they need, whenever they need it.
Delivering rich product content and amazing customer experiences (CX) with PIM
Without rich product content, your products can’t exist online, and your customers can’t find or buy them either. The more products you have, the more data you’ll have to manage. Dealing with large volumes of data and digital assets is time-consuming without the right solutions in place.
That’s where Product Information Management (PIM) comes into play. It gives you a central hub where you can store, enrich, and distribute product data to all your sales channels. Regardless of whether you’re an aspiring apparel and fashion brand, or a mighty manufacturer, streamlined product information processes will be central to your success.
Having this central hub will give you a clearer view of your entire product range. It means you can create richer, more appealing, and super enticing product descriptions. Your customers will love it, and so will search engines. At a time when online competition is on the rise, getting your products in front of the right people at the right time is crucial.
Your digital assets can also be managed with a powerful PIM. This will hugely contribute to the quality of the customer experience, giving them further confidence in their buying decisions. In fact, you can store any amount of data in a PIM system. Buying guides, customer reviews, translated product data, and different currencies – the sky is literally the limit.
Make the most of powerful automation and workflows that enable you to create seamless online buyer journeys all while gaining more time to focus on wider business objectives. If you’re looking for a platform that will grow with your business and your changing requirements, PIM offers just that!