If there were two big questions about selling products and services online, it would be these.
- Who will buy my product? Also known as customer persona.
- How and when do people buy my product? Also known as the customer journey.
These questions sound rhetorical, but as a business owner selling products online, you need to answer them in detail.
If you don’t specifically know who is buying your product, you wouldn’t know what’s attracting them to you.
If you don’t know why you are attracting them, you wouldn’t know how to get more of such people to buy your products.
And if you don’t know how and when people buy your products, you would know how to influence them.
In this blog post, we will look at creating a customer journey and customer personas for your Shopify store.
By the end of this post, you will know how to:
- Create a customer journey.
- Create your ideal customer personas.
These two factors help you better understand your customer and will have a direct impact on your brand reputation and sales.
Let us start by understanding and defining your customer journey.
What Is a Customer Journey?
Think of customer journey as a walk alongside your target customers as they interact with your brand. Simply put, it’s the virtual version of walking in your customer’s shoes.
So, why do you need one?
Many companies get too technical talking about strategic marketing, SEO and website optimization. This is when they may lose sight of the most important thing that truly matters — their customers.
Having a customer journey map handy will help you center your focus on the customers as you go about with the other tasks.
A customer journey will take you through the complete set of experiences of your customers as they inch closer towards that final purchase.
This journey consists of six stages, each of which needs to be designed to convince and progress the customer to the next stage.
Stage 1: Awareness
How can people buy your stuff if they don’t know you exist at all!
The awareness stage holds the answer to this question.
At the beginning of the journey, the customers realize the need for which your product presents the solution.
This is when the customer starts researching to find answers. This is also your best chance to enter and make a good first impression.
The people you’re targeting don’t have any idea of who you are or what your brand is.
The focus of the awareness stage is to create that first impression.
The main goal at this stage is to let the customers know about your brand and convey the value you can add to their lives. You can do so by creating:
- Customer-centric social media posts.
- Blog posts and ebooks that your target customers will be reading.
- Marketing videos, documentaries and educational videos.
- Online ads for strategic keywords.
What you can do:Focus on communicating your presence and how you can be useful to your audience, instead of pitching about your brand.
Stage 2: Engage
Let’s say that you’re looking for a good travel planning company for the first time. Do you just book the very first company you come across or do you compare a few and pick one eventually?
I’d take a wild guess and say the latter. As customers, we are spoiled with options.
And as business owners, we’re in for a hell of a competition.
When customers are looking for a specific product or a service, they consider a few brands before choosing one.
So, this second stage is when the audience who are aware of your brand interact or engage with your communication.
Your audience can engage with you in many different ways. From calling your toll free number, live chat interactions, or social media likes and comments.
But driving the customer to this second stage is a challenge as you’re competing for the customer’s attention.
What you can do: You can set yourself apart by creating smart, interactive social media content, creating retargeted online ads and any other means to persuade the customers to engage with you.
Stage 3: Subscribe
When the audience engages with you multiple times, your next task is to nudge them to take action.
NOTE: The movement from engagement to taking action is rarely simple and linear. In the real world, your audience needs to interact with many social media posts, ads, etc. to even consider taking action. The more patient and determined you are with creative content that is relevant to your audience, the better chances of converting visitors to take action on your owned platforms.
This stage is a mini-test of how your audience trusts your brand content.
When people engage with you directly or on your content on social media or blogs, it’s a definite indicator that your brand is being considered.
And you can further reinforce the value of your brand by addressing the pain points in a creative manner at this stage.
Be casual, friendly and helpful in your customer interactions and brand content and nudge the audience to subscribe or convert.
Subscriptions don’t just mean email subscribers.
A conversion at this stage can also be in the form of:
- Social media followers.
- Signing up for discounts or early bird offers.
- Downloading any free resource.
Once the audience takes action, they will be exposed to your brand content every day. When your daily content activities relate to your audience, they start engaging with it more often.
Remember, people who follow you on social media or email are more likely to visit your website often. Your website needs to be super-simple to understand and use.
Consumers take just 0.05 seconds to form an opinion about a website.
It’s essential to focus on keeping your website updated, user-friendly and interactive.
You don’t want to bore your customers to death and chase them away!
Tip: Keep in mind that at this point, your customers are still looking at your competitors as much as they’re considering your brand. So, make sure not to be overly sales-y and instead, focus on converting customers in exchange for value.
Stage 4: Convert
The audience at this stage know:
- Who you are.
- What you sell, and
- What value you offer to their lifestyle.
So, your task is to convert this audience to a sale.
How can you take the customers over the finish line?
You can send out emails or use social media ads and search engine ads to retarget the specific segment of customers who have come this far.
Since this audience is already aware of your brand and have engaged at some point, sending out the right message can persuade them towards a purchase.
When a prospect lands on your website deciding to buy, it’s crucial to have a smooth checkout experience.
88% of online shopping orders are abandoned before converting to purchase mostly due to issues with the online experience.
What you can do: While in the previous stage – subscribe stage – the goal of your website is to be informative and interactive, in this stage – convert stage – you don’t want your website to drive prospects away with a pesky pop-up or a long loading time. Optimize your website pages, cart checkout process to speed up purchasing.
Stage 5: Service
The customer journey doesn’t just end with the purchase.
In fact, this is the opportunity to convert a customer into a satisfied customer.
Your brand reputation among your customers depends on the quality of your customer service and the user experience you deliver.
The goal at this stage is to be considerate to relationships.
Here’s something you can do to help customers: If there’s any learning curve to your product, create useful support articles, how-to videos and free self-help resources. If your customer has a problem with your product, try as much as possible to fix the issue. If the customer is unhappy with your product, create simple return policies and exchange options.
Your complete focus should be to create great relationships with your customers now, that will lead to repeat purchases or referrals in the future.
Stage 6: Feedback
Understanding how your customers feel about the product and their overall experience can give you deep insights to improve your brand.
You do this by asking your customers for feedback.
We know that getting feedback from customers is a major challenge.
We would suggest you create a feedback system that can be automatically implemented.
Reach out to your customers through emails, SMS, online surveys, feedback forms, or phone calls.
Ask them questions about the product quality, customer support and delivery experience.
Nurture your customers with rewards, interactive messages and special coupons and discounts.
When a customer is happy with your brand, they’ll talk about it with their friends and it can bring you a new stream of visitors.
Tip:Remember that happy customers are often responsible for creating high revenue and successful referrals. You can ask such satisfied customers to leave good reviews and feedback on the social media pages, product pages and company pages on third-party websites.
Now that we have a well-defined customer journey, it will be impossible for you to personalize this journey without knowing your audience’s tastes, likes, dislikes, etc.
Your customer journey map is effective only when you know the type of audience you want to attract.
Let’s look at creating personas for your brand or product.
What Are Customer Personas and How to Create Them for Your Shopify Store?
A customer persona is the fictional representation of your ideal customers.
Each persona is a mirror image of a group of customers with their likes, dislikes, favorites and personal opinions.
Of course, not all customers are alike.
Some may like the color pink and some would absolutely hate it.
And some may be huge fans of soccer while some would prefer tennis.
Your customers have diverse tastes, but by mapping different customer personas to their characteristics, you can understand them better and create a customer journey that entices them to move to the next stage.
How To Build Customer Personas for Your Shopify Store?
Start by gathering customer information.
You cannot create customer personas with no proven data and solely based on your assumptions.
Your customer personas should be backed by solid data that are collected from the online shopping behavior on your Shopify Store, customer surveys, customer service interactions, Shopify Store analytics and a lot more.
You need basic information like:
- Family details
- Language and country (if you’re shipping worldwide)
- Digital footprints
- Likes & dislikes
If you’re already running your business on Shopify, then you can obtain most of these details easily.
If you’re just starting your Shopify Store, then the best way to get this information is to look at your competitors.
Group customers into personas.
Armed with the required data, you can then begin separating the customers based on a few main characteristics.
Let’s say that you have a Shopify clothing store. You can group the customers who buy only on special occasions, the customers who shop for gifts, another set customers who shop when there’s a seasonal deal, etc.
Splitting customers into the right personas is the key.
Fill-in the blanks.
You’ll have all the required customer information only in an ideal world!
In reality, you may realize that you lack certain information from your customers as you begin grouping them.
You can use feedback forms, social media content and behavior, email or phone interviews and other analytics reports on Shopify to gather more information.
Identify the underlying motivators & buying concerns.
Study each persona and understand their motivators and concerns.
What drives ‘Jack’ to purchase from our Shopify Store?
What does ‘Paula’ expect when she lands on our store?
How does ‘Annie’ feel as she navigates through our store?
These are just a few questions you can ask your customer personas. Ask more such questions to really understand what the customers feel as they interact with your Shopify Store.
Tip: Notice how we’ve used names instead of straight-up generic references. By giving a name and a photograph to each persona, you can humanize them and connect with them on a personal level.
Wrapping it up
Turning your Shopify store into a consistent success demands you – the business owner – to keep up to date about the best marketing techniques.
That’s why we built our blog.
We create resourceful content dedicated to ecommerce store owners, like you, with actionable tips to achieve higher revenue and brand reputation.
We post helpful content each week. So, bookmark this blog and keep visiting this as an ecommerce business guide.
If you find any aspect of managing your Shopify store difficult, do let us know in the comments section below. We shall try and create helpful content around the challenges.
To learn how to become a proactive Shopify seller, visit www.autochat.io.