So, you’ve set up your WooCommerce store, added some high-quality products, and you’re driving decent levels of traffic to your site, yet your sales are, at best, disappointing, at worst, non-existent.
If that sounds familiar, the most likely suspect to blame for your lack of success may be a poorly optimized WooCommerce customer journey.
That’s why we put together this comprehensive guide.
Below, you’ll learn about how to ramp up your conversion rates, boost sales, and even improve your brand reputation by revamping your WooCommerce store to deliver the best.
What Is a WooCommerce Customer Journey?
In the world of eCommerce, a customer journey refers to the steps your customers take from the moment they first discover your WooCommerce site to the point that they finally complete a purchase and beyond.
Each of these steps can be easily identified as belonging to one of five key stages:
Stage 1: Awareness and Discovery
Here’s where it all begins. Customers find your store through various channels, such as organic search, social media, referrals, or paid advertising. They are attracted by your products or services, or perhaps even your brand’s reputation.
Stage 2: Exploration and Consideration
Once on your site, customers start exploring. They browse your product listings, read descriptions, and hopefully engage with your website content.
From there, they begin narrowing down their options, comparing your products with others, evaluating prices and shipping options, and perhaps seeking out social proof through third-party reviews.
Stage 3: Decision
Now comes the moment of truth. The customer has chosen a product and is now contemplating the ‘Add to Cart’ button. This can be a complex process involving multiple touchpoints, such as browsing products, adding items to a cart, and completing the checkout process.
If there’s any stage that’s most likely to result in abandoned carts, this one is it, making it one of the most essential areas to focus on when optimizing the customer journey.
Stage 4: Loyalty and Retention
Of course, the journey doesn’t end when customers hit ‘Buy.’
After the purchase, you can turn those one-off buyers into loyal, long-term customers by ensuring flawless delivery, stellar after-sales support, and post-purchase marketing.
Stage 5: Brand Advocacy
If you’ve aced the journey so far, you might have gained a loyal customer. Happy customers can become brand advocates, promoting your products through word of mouth or online reviews, all of which can play a significant role in driving more traffic and sales.
Optimizing the Customer Journey for Your WooCommerce Store: 6 Essential Strategies
1. Optimize the Discovery Stage By Making It Easier for New Customers to Find You
Your target customers can’t begin their journey through your WordPress eCommerce site if they don’t know you exist in the first place.
That’s why it’s so important to up your game in the discovery phase and make a solid first impression that compels audiences to give you their time and attention.
Here, your optimization strategies should include:
A. Search Engine Optimization Based on Targeted Keywords
If you haven’t already been doing so, now is a great time to dive into some thorough and effective keyword research to discover the kind of search terms people enter into Google to find products like yours.
For example, in the search box on the top of the page, we can trigger a keyword research for an online store selling computer hardware components.
To begin, we can enter a generic term for one of our product categories, for now, “graphics card.”
Adding that term into Semrush search box, brings up a wealth of data about real search terms people use when looking up graphics cards on Google.
Here, in the output displayed, we will get to see that the term “graphics card” would have a high search volume (40,500 searches per month), but also a high KD (Keyword Difficulty) percentage of 97%, which means it’s also going to be very hard to get ranked in the top 10 search results for that search term.
Furthermore, results would also display a specific type of graphics card still has a pretty high number of searches but is less difficult. So, assuming our store has stocks of that product, this makes it a great place to start.
Clicking on that keyword will further reveal more information about it.
Here, the screen will have displayed the “search intent” value as ‘transactional’, which means people are typing “4090 graphics card” into Google because they want to buy that “particular” model.
As such, it would be wise to begin optimizing our product descriptions for this keyword, and creating valuable content that drives people toward our “4090 graphics card unit”.
To help with that, we further scroll down to the Keyword Ideas section.
Here, under the “questions section”, you will get to see that plenty of search users have questions about the ‘graphics card’.
Take a note of these questions as reported by the analytics, because answering these questions via well-structured, fully-optimized blog posts, reviews, and other content will not only help you drive traffic to your site from these search terms but also establish your brand as a trusted, authoritative source of information on this particular product.
Once customers learn to trust you through your content, they’re more likely to retain that trust when handing over their credit card information.
B. Utilize Social Media
Social media serves as an influential channel for brand discovery and engagement. For eCommerce businesses, it presents a golden opportunity to connect with potential customers.
Apart from the potential to reach an enormous audience, the visual nature of social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest makes them invaluable tools in an industry where product aesthetics matter greatly.
With that in mind, it pays to invest time and effort into crafting visually compelling and informative posts that not only showcase your products but also tell a story.
Visual storytelling can draw users in, and when they resonate with your content, they are more likely to engage, share, and, ultimately, explore your online store.
Beyond that, it’s essential to consider the benefits of adding social sharing buttons to your WooCommerce store so that your loyal customers can share your products with their online communities.
Fortunately, this can be done in no time using a WordPress social sharing plugin, such as Sassy Social Share.
Once installed, you can use this plugin to customize the look, feel, and functionality of a vast library of social media icons, making it easy for your users to share products with their online audience.
C. Add Your Products to The Google Merchant Center
Run a quick Google search for any product types you sell, and you’ll probably discover a host of product listings that stand out from the usual organic search results.
Simply try to visualize that such manner of prominent listings, complete with product images, pricing information, and even customer ratings, makes a big difference in getting new people to your store to begin their journey toward checkout.
To get your products in these listings, you’ll need to connect your WooCommerce store to the Google Merchant Center.
First, point your browser to https://merchants.google.com/, and sign up for a Merchant Center account.
Here in, you’ll need to add a few details, such as your business name, website address, and the physical address of your brick-and-mortar store if you have one.
Next, log in to WordPress, navigate to Plugins – Add New Plugin, and search for a plugin called Google Listings & Ads.
Install and activate your plugin, then, from your dashboard menu, by going to Marketing – Google Listings & Ads., and clicking on Start Listing Products.
For this to work, you’ll need to be connected to the plugin via three accounts:
- Your WordPress account
- Your general Google account
- Your Google Merchant Store Account.
By clicking Connect on each of these, ensures everything is synced up and ready to go. Go ahead, and connect your accounts on that page.
Once fully connected, you can begin to configure your product listings by:
- Selecting which languages and locations (by selecting countries or regions) your products should be displayed in.
- Adding shipping and various tax information.
On the next page, you will also need to verify your contact information to prove to Google that you’re legitimate by selecting all values, which are true and applicable to you.
Finally, you’ll need to ensure that you meet all the criteria listed in the Pre-Launch checklist in order to meet Google’s requirements.
When you’re all done on that page, you may find that you are (maybe or maybe not) displayed a list of issues that need to be resolved. This is because the Google Listings plugin adds more attribute fields to your product pages, which need to be filled in before you can get your products into Google Shopping results!
To do that, click on the ‘Edit’ link on the extreme right end for any of your problematic products.
This will take you to your product page, where you can scroll down to the Product Data box, select Google Listings and Ads, and enter all the required data.
Don’t worry if your items don’t have Unique Product Identifiers (UPIs) like Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) and Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPNs).
These two attributes aren’t required, though including them can improve the prominence of your listings if you do have them.
When you’ve completed entering the data, hit Update, repeat for each product with issues, and begin to watch as each item makes its way into those prominent Google Shopping Results.
2. Guide Customers Towards a Purchase Decision
Once your discovery stage optimizations kick in, potential new customers will begin arriving at your site to begin the Exploration and Consideration stage of their unique customer journey.
At this stage, your goal should be to give customers everything they need to make an informed purchasing decision.
You can do this by including:
A. Detailed Product Information
Provide comprehensive and easily accessible information about your products, including extensive specifications, an informative and compelling product description linking features to benefits, and clearly visible tax and shipping information.
All this information helps to build consumer confidence in your brand and your products, and the more confidence you inspire, the more likely people are to hit that Add to Cart button.
B. High-Quality Media
Nothing is as likely to make or break the success of your eCommerce store quite like your product media.
Add high-resolution images that showcase your products from every conceivable angle.
You may also want to use the Product Video Gallery for Woocommerce extension to add videos, especially if you sell something designed for practical use, such as electronics or equipment.
By default, WooCommerce doesn’t allow you to add videos to your product galleries.
Install this extension, however, and when you go to edit or add a new product, you’ll find a new Product Video URL tab.
In this section, users of the free plugin can add a video by pasting a YouTube video URL. At the same time, paid users can also embed videos from Vimeo or their own WordPress media library.
Make sure to update the product page, thus, when you view the live version of that page, you’ll find the embedded video, now visible, in the product gallery.
C. Customer Reviews and Ratings
User reviews and ratings can significantly influence a potential customer’s decision.
Although there are scores of top-rated review plugins out there, WooCommerce also has its own built-in reviews feature, which is helpful if you’re looking for a quick and easy win with your eCommerce optimizations.
You’ll find this – “Enable product Reviews” option – by scrolling down to the bottom of the WooCommerce settings page.
Ensure that all the checkboxes are ticked, thereafter, you can configure various settings relating to verified owners and star ratings.
D. Comparison Tools
Even after customers have decided for once to consider your store over any other, they still may have a wealth of potential products, options, or store choices to choose from.
The last thing you want here is – for those customers to be struck with a dreaded case of “paralysis by analysis,” – i.e., becoming so overwhelmed by the multitude of options that it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to decide.
That’s where tools like the COMPE – WooCommerce Compare Products plugin are useful.
This excellent WooCommerce extension makes it easy to create detailed and attractive comparison tables featuring two or more products, all of which you can edit via the WordPress customizer.
3. Increase Conversion Rates With Decision-Stage Optimization
You’re almost there! Customers have found a product that suits their needs, and they’ve decided to make a purchase, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to follow through with it there and then.
Even if they attempt to, a poor checkout experience can frustrate customers to the point of leaving your site, increasing your abandoned cart rate in the process.
To prevent that, we recommend investing in upgrading the standard WooCommerce checkout process using a plugin such as WooCommerce Fast Cart, which adds attractive, functional, and highly customizable shopping cart tools designed to reduce friction, and cut down on the number of abandoned carts.
Elsewhere, you may also want to consider using conversion optimization plugins such as OptinMonster to create pop-ups, opt-in forms, and other features designed to convince hesitant shoppers to complete their purchases.
To do that, you’ll first need to create an OptinMonster account, or log in to your existing one.
Next, complete the setup wizard, select ‘reduce cart abandonment’, and ‘show targeted offers’ as your goals.
Once you’ve done all that, select the ‘Create Your First Campaign’ option.
In the next screen, you’ll be presented with multiple options for encouraging users to complete their purchases. For this guide, we’re going to use a standard pop-up to offer first-time customers a 10% discount, if they go ahead with their purchase.
To do that, we first select the ‘Get a Discount Code’ template from the expansive library available.
After giving our new campaign a name, we can use the highly intuitive drag-and-drop editor to create an attractive, captivating pop-up.
When you’re as happy with your pop-up as we are with ours, switch the ‘Display Rules’ Tab, select ‘When’ from the conditions options as displayed on that screen, and choose Exit Intent.
This means that when visitors display any behavior that appears as though they’re leaving your site, your pop-up will appear, offering them a 10% discount if they stick around, and complete their purchase.
4. Turn One-Off Customers into Repeat Sales With Loyalty, Retention, and Advocacy Optimizations.
Beyond the initial purchase, the true magic of eCommerce lies in cultivating long-term relationships with your customers. This final stage focuses on transforming one-time buyers into loyal, repeat customers and brand advocates by following the things below.
A. Using Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs reward customers for repeat purchases with points, discounts, or other exclusive offers.
Prominent tools like Points and Rewards for WooCommerce offer an efficient, user-friendly management system to help you devise and develop an enticing program that keeps customers coming back for more.
B. Offering Personalized Recommendations and Offers
Personalization is all about making the shopping experience more relevant and convenient for your customers so that they will view your brand as one that not only understands your needs and preferences but also goes all out to meet them.
This is another task that OptinMonster can help with.
Instead of ‘Exit Intent’ being the condition that triggers an offer or list of product recommendations, you could create offers based on your customer’s shipping address (for example, free shipping for deliveries within a 10-mile radius of your brick-and-mortar store), or based on their previous shopping history.
C. Using Automated Email Marketing for Post-Purchase Follow-Ups
Finally, it’s worth considering how WooCommerce marketing automation tools like ShopMagic can help you nurture post-sale relationships with your clients.
You could, for example, use it to create follow-up emails thanking customers for their purchase, and ensuring they know exactly how to contact you if they face any problems. Including an exclusive “new customer discount”, or offer in that email would be even better.
You could also use it to send customers automated, personalized emails encouraging them to leave a review, or even upsell emails with product recommendations based on their purchase history.
How to Optimize the WooCommerce Customer Journey for Your Online Store: Key Takeaways
The WooCommerce customer journey can be a lengthy, and sometimes, complex process with multiple steps, all of which need to be fully optimized to ensure the success of your online store.
That’s why we made sure to share as many tools, techniques, and best practices in this guide as possible so that you’re armed with everything you could possibly need to entice visitors to your store, and keep them coming back for more.
Since there was a lot to take in, let’s finish with a quick recap of the most important lessons learned:
- There are 5 key stages to the customer journey – Discovery/Awareness, Consideration, Decision, Loyalty and Retention, and Brand Advocacy.
- There are a host of plugins that expand the core WooCommerce functionality to improve customer experiences and boost conversion rates – The likes of OptinMonster, Google Listings & Ads, and COMPE will all prove invaluable in your eCommerce optimization efforts.
- Make things personal to increase sales – From new customer discounts and thank you offers to personalized product recommendations, the more convenient you can make it for customers to find products they need and/or love, the more likely they are to buy you.
Finally, if all that sounds like more work than you have time for right now, remember that UnlimitedWP is here to help. Talk to us today about our WordPress care and maintenance plans, and find out how we can help you reach the next stage of success with your online store.