The customer journey to search for essential and nonessential products has changed due to COVID-19. Consumers who are used to the instant gratification of two-day shipping may be frustrated when they have to deal with pandemic-related shipping delays and limited product selection. These frustrations with their usual shopping destinations may cause people to turn to other retailers as they hunt for the products they need.
Changing consumer behavior offers quite the opportunity for businesses looking to attract first-time buyers. If you’re among them, take note: To attract new customers, you need to understand the kind of experiences they’re seeking. Your audience data can tell you precisely what you need to know.
“Data can tell you a lot about your business,” according to data technology company Pearl. “It serves as the anchor to nearly every business function, and it dictates steps of the customer journey in marketing by humanizing consumers in the eyes of a brand. Without the use of data collection in business, you’d never learn enough about your contacts to help build audiences for targeted marketing campaigns.”
Without data collection, you’d also miss out on a wealth of information you could use to improve your customers’ online shopping experience. And with customers seeking smooth and reliable buying experiences, that data is truly critical.
As you build a plan to entice first-time buyers to your website, consider including these three strategies for using your data to provide them with a seamless experience from your homepage to checkout:
1. Map your customer journey.
Data from your existing customers can help you identify each step in your customer journey. That’s helpful for your marketing efforts — but it doesn’t stop there. Customer journey data also includes touchpoints on your website that can help paint a picture of the pages customers visit right before they make a purchase.
If your data shows that customers tend to check out your “About” page or access information about how you source your products during purchase visits to your site, ensure those pages are thorough and updated. If customers often browse similar products to those they’ve added to their carts, add a feature that shows them those products instead of making them search through your site to find them. Once you know where customers spend their time on your website, you can make sure those pages are in tiptop shape.
2. Identify and fix page load or page speed issues.
Data can also show you where your customers spend too much time. If a product page fails to load quickly or takes too long to navigate from one stage of checkout to the next, customers will lose interest or get frustrated and move on — possibly to a competitor’s site. If you notice patterns in users bouncing from the same page or set of pages, chances are you might have a speed or loading problem.
You can use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to learn more about your website’s speed problems and how you can fix them. Look into both mobile and desktop speeds; if you find with both, prioritize the platform your customers use most. Whether your site is slow to load the first page from a web search, slow to respond to a customer’s input, or slow to move between pages, removing those speed bumps will help keep new customers from bailing on you.
3. Personalize the customer experience.
For this third suggestion, you’ll need to switch perspectives. Instead of thinking about how data can help improve the online shopping experience for all first-time buyers, consider the ways it can improve the experience for each first-time buyer. Personalization has been a hot topic for the past few years, and it’s still relevant today because many consumers are more willing to purchase from brands that use personalization strategies to provide offers that are relevant to them.
An AI-based tool can help you tap into the data you have from a consumer’s search history on your site — however brief it might be — as well as the information you’ve collected over time from similar existing customers to provide those relevant suggestions and recommendations. When you get a recommendation right, it can save buyers time and boost your chances of earning an upsell or cross-sell.
Now that you have some insight into how you can use data to make real changes, challenge yourself and your team to dive deeper into your data than you have before. With all the information you have at your fingertips, you’ll be able to make improvements to your online shopping experience that attracts first-time buyers, keeps them interested through to checkout, and might even bring them back for more.