Why do you need to think about your client’s purchase process before setting up your website?

Published:Written by: Miha Breskvar

Websites are an important entry and presentation points for new customers as well as being a tool for verifying and certifying sales products or services. They are not just fonts, colors and designs, they are digital courtyards of transparent and quickly accessible information and useful content. This content needs to be properly arranged in order to successfully lead your clients through the purchasing process.

A large part of the purchasing process, from the first thought of a product or service to the actual purchase, happens online, specifically via websites. If your website is not optimally adapted to the individual stages of the buying path, the buyer can either pass you by or even be put off entirely because of your poorly formatted pages.

Purchase process plans are very diverse, every buyer searches for, researches and buys in their own unique way. However, some elements are very similar, websites that customise their pages to key customer habits are much more successful than those who fail to do so.

Website visitors or potential buyers want to see a website that is attractive, welcoming and transparent, and above all must offer a good user experience. Click To Tweet

In today’s world, the technical side is quite simple to take care of; there are ready-to-use tools and systems that allow for the personalisation of content, monitoring visit history and individual buyer behaviour, soft management of customers through the sales funnel, and their classification and treatment of each customer group. What usually bothers website owners is the creation of a conceptual concepts that drive these mechanisms.

In the following, we will share with you some examples of bad practice which occurred because of lack of consideration for the purchasing process (of all) website visitors, but we also offer some practical advice on how to avoid such mistakes.

What not to do and advice for improvement

Useless pop-up on an endless loop: The customer gets a newsletter with new interesting content on the website. A few seconds after clicking onto the page a pop-up appears displaying “Sign up to our newsletter” but the visitor is already signed up. You have lost one of three clicks and unnecessarily distracted the visitor’s concentration or even put them off completely. Tip: The display message should be linked to the content that brought the visitor to the page and offer the next step or additional information that the visitor is interested in.

An example of broken links: A visitor clicks on an exceptional offer for a particular sunglasses model, and brings them to the home page of an online sunglasses store, where the model they wanted is hidden among countless other models. Tip: links which a visitor clicks in a newsletter, on Facebook or in other ads and invites them to specific content, must really lead there. If a visitor shows interest in clicking on content, this content needs to be displayed on the website as attractively as possible, to expose it, offer further information and lead them to the next conversion or step on their purchasing path.

The next step on the purchase path is missing: Monitoring visit history, conversions, and behavior is important for planning the next steps. To a repeat visitor who bought Gore-Tex mountain shoes last week on a website, the pop-up should not display a spray ad that ensures waterproof footwear. A man with waterproof shoes may need good hiking trousers, a jacket or a rucksack, but he does not need a spray for protecting shoes from the water – logically, right?

Buying paths, motorways and trails

Specialised websites with a narrow range of products or services usually have very specific visitors, which are also quite similar. It is therefore easier for such sites to adapt the purchasing process and to anticipate the following steps of their visitors. On general pages where the structure of visitors is broader, visitor identification and categorisation and monitoring their behaviour requires much more work, and thus also a variety of different tools and systems. However, you need to be familiarised with these tools and how to use them, their capabilities, together with the characteristics of the purchase paths, must already be taken into account when designing the website.