The Purchasing Experience
So Happy Heidi has been enticed by your offer, she has decided your product or service can best help her solve her problem, meet her need. You’ve helped her on a marathon journey so far through awareness and evaluation (Me! Me! Me!) and now you want to reap the awards. Can you coax her again into parting with her hard-earned money?
This Purchasing phase on her customer journey is about more than just money though, it is where Heidi may register for a course or at the gym, buy your service or product, and go through post-purchase anxiety. Or not.
Remember what the market surveys show –
- 67% of all e-commerce visitors abandon their shopping cart,
- 89% of consumers say they have switched brands because of poor customer experience,
- Yet 44% of your customers are willing to pay more for superior customer experience.
Heidi’s objectives of the buying experience are quite simple.
- As quick and painless as possible.
- Confirmation of a good buying decision.
Consider your objectives of the purchasing phase.
- Heidi actually buys, she doesn’t abandon you.
- Heidi likes doing business with you.
- She will want to buy from you again.
- She will want to recommend you to her friends and family.
- She will be happy to see you offering appropriate accessories, complimentary items or differently priced options
So your website buying pages or your in-store shopping experience need to meet both these sets of objectives.
A few weeks ago I was in Gramedia a stationery chain store in Denpasar buying some books and pens. There were two cash register service points, both very busy, and of course, Murphy made sure the one I was waiting on had a computer malfunction. The sales assistant did all the right operational things, quickly called the supervisor who came to reset the computer. But it was taking forever to load and reset and in the meantime, all the people in our queue were ignored; a quick song and dance act or a joke from the sales assistant would have provided some useful diversion. In the finish, I had to abandon my purchase (politely) as I had reached the limit of my time available before my next date with destiny. This was an operations problem affecting a sale, and there was no backup system on hand (read manual sales docket) to help me meet my need. They lost me.
Purchasing Touch Points
What customer journey touch points apply to the purchasing journey experience?
- Booking or Registration Form options. Having Heidi pre-register as though it’s a privilege to buy from you is not smart. It doesn’t happen in a shop, why should it be necessary on a website? If your current e-commerce offering requires people to give their details before they buy, update to something more realistic.
- Keep your registration forms simple and logical. Provide pre-filled information wherever you can to make Heidi’s task simple and painless. Same with shipping address details.
- Confirmation of items ordered. Your items are on every page of the checkout process, easing your mind. Just like they are on the counter in a shop.
- Managing uncertainty. Do you have the context-related FAQ on hand? Can Heidi speak to or chat with a real person if necessary to help her through the process? Does that customer service personnel have access to Heidi’s purchase information? Or her customer history?
- Payment methods. Personally, I always prefer paying with PayPal if that is an option, or by debit card in a shop.
- Shipping services and options. Are your shipping fees and their relating methods and times clearly spelled out? Does your cart provide a consolidated bill so Heidi doesn’t have to do the math herself?
- Delivery tracking service. First introduced by FedEx, many shipping companies now provide this service.
- Returns policy. This needs to be really clear. Of course, people buying from Bali are not as likely to expect returns as they are in the US.
- People who bought this also looked at… Turn a one-item sale into a multi-item sale. Remember that over 30% of people who buy will likely buy another item if asked to do so. Heidi is often one of these.
- Thank you follow-up. Beat post sales depression with a thank you and confirmation of the benefits of Heidi’s purchase from you to solve her problem. Maybe it’s a flyer popped into the bag?
- Joining instructions… If Heidi has purchased an ongoing service from you then welcome her into the process. You need to give her a repeat of the next steps she needs to take to take advantage of her purchase. Make these easy and logical.
Website Analysis Tools
Web analytics software is essential for understanding your website visitors. You need detailed statistics about the visitors to your website—where they came from, and which links they clicked on once they arrived. Your objective is to reduce the rate of abandonment.
- Google Analytics (www.google.com/analytics/) helps you track where your visitors came from, and which links they clicked on. Despite being free, Google Analytics is surprisingly sophisticated, and it is sufficient for most websites.
- Crazy Egg heat map (http://crazyegg.com/ ) show exactly where visitors clicked—even if it wasn’t on a link. Crazy Egg shows you which parts of your pages your visitors click on. You can see what parts of the page Heidi thinks should have a link but don’t – maybe she would like more information here or would like to enlarge a photo.
- ClickTale (clicktale.com) shows videos of visitors’ screens. It is a bit like Crazy Egg but also measures keystrokes and movements of the mouse. You can watch Heidi’s interaction in a flash movie as if you were standing over her shoulder.
- ClickTale has five reports that allow you to see how visitors are interacting with your forms. For example, the Drop Report shows you the percentage of visitors that dropped out at each field while filling in a form; knowing this information will allow you to fix the form fields that are losing you, customers.
- Olark (www.olark.com) live chat lets Heidi tell you what’s missing from your site. Live chat is free, doesn’t imply commitment, its right there, and doesn’t require waiting for someone at the end of the phone. Olark can give you immediate information about pages or products that are giving Heidi problems. It can help you respond immediately to Heidi’s questions, concerns, and objections. It can tell you what’s working well by default, which of your answers, reassurances, and counter-objections persuade visitors to take further action.