eCommerce Customer Journey: What Turns Browsers Into Buyers

If you ever wondered how I can get more browsers of my online store into actual buyers. This article is going to walk you through the importance of knowing your eCommerce customer journey.

Because let’s face it, you spend a lot of time and hard work to make your online store as amazing as possible. So you want it to be profitable as well!

The thing is, all online consumers aren’t created equal. There are various stages of how eCommerce shoppers buy. 

Today I’ll be breaking down some consumer habits so you know how to best serve your customers. No matter what part of the customer journey they are on.

What is an eCommerce Customer Journey?

Having an online retail business has similarities to having a brick and mortar. One of those similarities is how customers shop your business. 

You may wonder what an eCommerce customer journey is and why it is important to know.

In simple terms, an eCommerce journey is the process of when a customer first becomes aware of your products to when they make that final purchase. 

I know you want your visitors to make it to checkout. But first, here are things to know about the customers that land on your online store.

5 Types of Customer Journey’s to Know

Your website will attract a variety of customers all in a different stage of the buying journey. Where they are in the journey depends on a variety of factors but mainly their goals. And how they arrive at your online store will also be an influential factor. 

For example, customers who land on your website via an ad versus an organic search will have a different buying intent based on the page to which they are drawn to. 

Here are a few types of customer journeys you should know.


These types of shoppers are the lookers, the ones seeking inspiration and ideas. They land on your site to see what you offer and if it piques their interest. They aren’t necessarily in the “ready to buy” stage because they are just getting to know your brand.

Here are some types of products should you show them.

Be prepared to show your top sellers, most popular items, and share important information about your products with them. 

This would also be a great opportunity to get them onto your email list so you can continue to build a relationship with them and get them connected to your brand.


The shopping behaviors of research shoppers is just that, research. They are looking for information for a future purchase. Researchers are going to be interested in product information, visuals that inspire them, and product reviews.

How can you win over a research shopper?

Increase their trust in your eCommerce brand by using social proof. That could be, rave reviews from customers, videos, etc. Anything that reinforces their decision to trust you as the best option for them.

Showcasing what others have said about your products reinforces trust that your products match the quality of your claims.


The name says it all, shoppers who are bargain hunters are looking for a deal. They are price conscious and usually have a set amount that they will spend.

When bargain hunters are shopping, they prioritize price as the deciding factor on whether to proceed. 

How to get bargain hunters to purchase?

Be upfront with pricing, shipping costs, and show them the deals. Point them toward your smaller investment products so they can get a feel for what they’ll receive at that price point.


Product-focused customers understand what they want and they have made their decision. You want the product-focused customers’ experience to be simple and streamlined. So having a well-optimized eCommerce site is important. Because they’ll want to add the product to their cart and quickly check out. 

How to serve a product-focused customer?

Make their checkout experience simple & seamless. Don’t inundate them with tons of pop-ups or distractions that are going to slow them down from getting to the checkout.

Also note these customers will most likely be your repeat customers or loyal customers. Don’t change the way they interact with your business. They have already formulated a habit of how they shop your business.


Can be any combination of the shoppers we previously discussed. These shoppers can also be a grifter, meaning they rarely shop your brand but know someone else who adores your products. With one time shoppers, they are in and out, so a quick checkout process is a must. 

What do onetime shoppers value the most?

One-Time shoppers value short or a no registration required process to check out. They want to have clear pricing, product-information, supporting product reviews, and a seamless checkout. 

If you want to turn onetime shoppers into return customers. Invite them to join your email list where you can give them an opportunity to learn about your brand. Wow them with your easy to navigate experience and communication style.

There is no doubt you will have a combination of all 5 types of eCommerce shoppers that peruse your online store. The goal is to understand their shopping habits so you can get the greatest return for their visit and position your brand as the go to!

Why Knowing Your Customer Journey Is Important?

You may wonder why knowing your customer journey is important. As an online retail business, just like having a physical store, your customers have a variety of shopping styles. 

When we shop, there is an actual psychology of how we make buying decisions. Some of your shoppers will be risk averse and will put great importance on how much they will spend. 

As a luxury brand, you’ll also have the shoppers who are buying as their future self. Meaning once they get their desired product, they can become more of who they want to be. Putting price at the lower rank of importance in how they shop. 

Knowing this will allow you to serve your customers no matter where they are on the buying journey. Giving you a greater opportunity to build stronger relationships with your customers. 

Therefore, reinforcing the importance of brand to your community and beyond.

How to Create A Simple eCommerce Journey Map For Your Online Store

Before you can create a shopping journey for your customers. It’s important to know what’s the right customer experience for your brand.

Since I primarily focus on working with luxury brands. Simple is better in most cases because it allows you to focus on the most important experiences and elements of your business. 

Define your goals

With that being said, start with your goals. What do you want your ideal customers to know and do?

If you have an existing website, then look at any data you have about your customers, such as heat maps, your Google Analytics, behavior flow report. This information will help you see how customers are already shopping and navigating through your website.

Hotjar (aff link) is a company that will give you access to heat maps and other analysis tools for your eCommerce website.

Also check out What eCommerce KPIs You Should Be Tracking for your online store.

Once you have your information, the next step is to create your buyer personas.

Buyer Personas

Using the information you know about the type of shoppers that land on your website. You can start to plan out a buyer personas based on how they become aware of your brand.

For example, maybe the bargain buyer hears about your brand via social media. What state of mind are they during the buying process?

Go through and think about all the typical shoppers of your brand and see what common traits they have and pull them into various categories.

Define What Motivates A Purchase

Knowing what type of person is shopping your store, you can then figure out what motivates or inspires them to purchase. A new customer may have heard great things about your products from a friend. They may want to start with something of a smaller investment to get a sense of your brand. Or they may decide to join your email list to learn more.

Look at each of your personas and list out what motivates each one to get to the checkout page.

Map your eCommerce Buyer Journey

As your customers are going through the buying journey, they are at various stages. Using the map below, you can see a simple eCommerce buyer journey map. 

It begins with first becoming aware of your brand and what you sell. Then that leads into a consideration phase of deciding if they are ready to purchase. 

Once they purchase, they’ll then receive your product (s) and decide based on their overall experience if they want to become a loyal customer with your business.

Now that you know more about the buyer’s journey when it comes to your eCommerce business. You can use this information to help you create a better shopping experience for your customers.

One that helps you move more of your website visitors into actual paying customers because you know what information they need to know that will motivate them to get to that checkout page.

Before you go off to work on your eCommerce buyer’s journey, don’t forget to grab your complimentary Shopify website conversions guide. Using this guide in combination with the information presented here will help make sure that you are creating great customer experience for your business.


Hi, I'm Karen, the founder + strategist/Shopify expert behind The May Creative. I help modern luxury brand owners craft elevated eCommerce experiences on Shopify & Klaviyo. So they can scale their business & reach their next level of success. Connect to learn more about working together. Or check out the other articles below and listen to the podcast.


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