What Is Purchase Flow - DSers eCommerce Basics

Purchase Flow

Purchase flow in e-commerce refers to the series of steps that a customer goes through when purchasing an online platform or website.

What Is Purchase Flow

Purchase flow in e-commerce refers to the series of steps that a customer goes through when purchasing an online platform or website. The user's path is described, from product selection through payment and the conclusion of the transaction.

A good purchase flow aims to make it as smooth, simple, and transparent as possible for customers to make their purchases. Critical factors include speed, ease of use, clarity of information, and reliability. Designing and optimizing the purchase flow can help increase conversion rates and reduce abandonment.

What Does Purchase Flow Include

When customers purchase from an e-commerce website or application, it typically includes the following steps:

  • Product discovery

The customer finds the desired product by browsing, searching, or making recommendations.

  • Product selection

The customer selects the specific product they want, including any options or variants.

  • Shopping cart

The customer adds the product to their shopping cart. They may add multiple products and quantities.

  • Account login/registration

If the customer doesn't already have an account, they may be prompted to log in or register for an account.

  • Shipping/payment selection

Customers select their preferred shipping and payment options, such as shipping speed/cost and a credit card or PayPal.

  • Order review and confirmation

The customer reviews their order details, including products, prices, shipping costs, payment method, and total. They then confirm the order.

  • Order confirmation

The customer receives an order confirmation with their purchase details, order number, and next steps.

  • Shipping notification

Customers receive shipping notifications when their order ships and delivers.

Why Is Purchase Flow Important

The purchase flow touches on many critical success factors for an e-commerce business: conversions, user experience, trust, efficiency, and data. Improving the flow based on metrics and customer feedback should be an ongoing focus.

Here are the main reasons why purchase flow is important:

  • Conversions

A smooth purchase flow with low steps and friction points can significantly increase conversion rates. Customers are more likely to complete a purchase if the process is simple and fast.

  • User experience

The purchase flow is a critical part of the overall user experience on an e-commerce site. Customers will form an impression of the brand based on how easy or difficult it is to buy from them.

  • Trust

Elements of the purchase flow like security, payment options, and order confirmation help build trust with customers and reassure them it is safe to buy.

  • Cost efficiency

Reducing abandonment through an improved purchase flow can significantly increase revenue with limited additional marketing spend.

  • Data collection

The purchase flow provides opportunities to collect important customer data like contact info, payment details, and shipping addresses. This data can be used for marketing and personalization.

  • Optimizability

The purchase flow can be tested, measured, and optimized using tools like A/B testing, funnel analysis, and customer feedback. This helps improve conversions over time.

  • Customer lifetime value

A good initial purchase experience can increase customer satisfaction and the likelihood of repeat purchases, raising lifetime value.

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