When it comes to ecommerce, your success won’t depend solely on clever branding and optimal search term bids (though they help a lot). Etailers win scalable, repeat shoppers by providing simple, comprehensive, and streamlined shopper experiences. By optimizing each layer of your customer journey, you’ll delight your shoppers and keep them coming back. 

For more ways to improve your shopper experience, check out The Future of Shopper Experience

The key idea here? You need to continuously optimize throughout your buyer’s journey to both acquire and retain more shoppers. And by working within the powerful Shopify ecosystem, you can engage your shoppers at every stage of their journey with your brand. 

Here’s how you do it: 

1. Build an omnichannel, full-funnel campaign for the “awareness” stage

Both brand and product awareness are crucial to help your potential buyers understand who you are (as a brand) and what products you sell. Determine target personas for each stage of the acquisition funnel and optimize all messaging for each ideal buyer at the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel.

An omnichannel approach means that your brand voice and tone are consistent whether a shopper sees your ad on social media, in print, or elsewhere. Stick to your shoppers’ pain points and interests no matter which channel you’re using to speak with them.

Read more: The secret to sustainable growth and profitability

Both Google and Bing are great resources to help you create search engine marketing ads that will display your products at the top of the search page. You should also utilize as many social media platforms as you can and leverage SEO at the same time. The goal is to have your ads appear in the top of the SERPs and your product page or blog below the search ads or pop-up/display ads. 

Long story short: when prospective shoppers get the right message at the right time, they’re more likely to click through to your store and start browsing.

2. Analyze client behavior during the “consideration” stage

First and foremost, ensure you have the right tools in place to monitor shopper behavior. Tools such as Google Analytics and Sprout Social are great ways to see what potential shoppers are doing once they reach your site (and determining how they got there in the first place). Analytics tools help you see how shoppers engage with you on social media. You can also determine how your shoppers interact with your products, like when they add a product to their cart—and when they abandon that cart or make a purchase.

It’s also important to leverage UX and UI design and web development to guide consumer behavior. During the consideration phase, there can be potentially hundreds of millions of different, smaller journeys that happen as buyers determine if your product fits their needs. Your job is to make that decision making simple for them by giving them all the info they need in an easy-to-consume format. 

At this point, you need to think like a shopper. What information do you need in order to feel confident about making a purchase? Are your product ads giving accurate descriptions—or are shoppers bouncing around, trying to find the information they need? Once you have determined how you want potential customers to get to and navigate through your site until they make a purchase, you can then build your site with this exact customer journey in mind. 

Anticipate how users will get to your site and what they’ll search for once they’ve arrived. Using web analytics will paint you a very honest picture about how well your site is guiding shoppers to make a purchase. Are things going as planned? If not, what might you improve on your site to simplify their decision-making in the moment.

3. Analyze the purchase and post-purchase stage

During the purchase and post-purchase stages, your web analytics and overall site data will be important for determining which products are performing best with your shoppers. It’s also crucial to determine how shoppers are getting to your site—how are they finding your products? Are they coming directly from your SEM and paid social campaigns? Are they finding your products through organic search? 

Once you determine how your shoppers are finding you, evaluate your site performance. Make sure each product page loads quickly and that each is navigable. You may ask yourself if some products have stronger browse-to-purchase numbers because of loading issues on your site—and if sizes and payment options are listed in simple, easy-to-understand formats.

If you find discrepancies in site metrics, determine if shoppers circumvent your site for an easier purchase from a 3rd party seller. If so, explore what may be happening. Is price, or shipping, better from a 3rd party? Or does the other site offer an easier purchasing process because of your poor UI/UX design? Are your returns and refund policies clearly stated? Having an obvious, guaranteed, and hassle-free returns/refund policy not only increases buyer confidence—it also improves customer retention and creates return buyers.   

Examine also what worked well for shoppers who did complete a purchase with you. Analyzing this behavior can help you better anticipate both a shopper’s returning business as well as identify future prospects with similar behaviors. Another great idea: if you have a customer support team (or access to calls/complaints), you may wish to cross-examine complaints with user data and determine areas where you can refine your site. You can also look at which items repeat shoppers browse before purchase, then send them targeted emails and offers on the abandoned products to entice them back.

4. Demonstrate exemplary service and celebrate shopper loyalty

Of course it’s not just about learning what works and what doesn’t. Exemplary customer service, prompt responses to inquiries or product questions, quick shipping, and even painless or hassle-free returns have helped some of Loop’s most successful merchants generate a seamless returns process that paves a road for ROI.

However, exemplary customer service doesn’t just depend on how well your team executes phone calls and complaint messages. Other pieces of the puzzle have to do with your external communications. Make sure your shoppers are getting confirmation and tracking emails, if you’re able to do so, and reach out to thank your shoppers for their business, too. You could even use emails to introduce exclusive perks like a loyalty program or freebies for your best shoppers.

Read more: 8 promotional discounts ecommerce merchants should offer

5. Use Loop to optimize your returns and improve shopper experience

Remember that your returns policy plays a big part in whether shoppers decide to make a purchase with you. Make sure that your website prioritizes the messaging around your return and exchange policies. It’s up to you to decide what type of returns policy you’d like to adhere to. Loop has a quality guide to help you determine what type of returns policy is best for your business.

Offering returns, refunds, or even complementary item exchanges are a steadfast way to increase and maintain repeat business. Imagine being able to empower your team to drive better results by taking advantage of an automated returns process. Loop works with the tools you already use to automatically process most returns for you.

Best of all, you can gain data insights about shoppers’ returns or exchanges based on direct shopper feedback. Instead of cross-referencing site data with returns data, you can determine exactly why someone is asking for a return. You can even incentivize the customer to opt for an exchange instead from your full inventory. You might even consider offering bonus credit and extra loyalty points for those who opt for the exchange.

Book a demo with Loop today and learn how you can save time and money on your returns.