Customer journey and order processing in e-commerce or online shopping app or website in 2022.
Online sales(retail e-commerce) in the US in 2021 have reached US$ 767 billion. If you are a business with a brick & mortar store, this is the right time to venture into online sales by having your online store. Online shopping is not limited to only electronics, clothes, or some fancy items. It has expanded to everything, which could be put in a box and shipped across distances, so no matter whatever you are selling or what you have wanted to sell there is always a scope to go online and improve your sales revenue & profits.
you have already heard it...
Really, like hundred times...!
Then, here is the flow diagram of how shopping experience & order processing will happen in a typical app & website setup.
The mobile app/website will fetch the products data from the backend and displays it to the visitor. The customer will add the items to the cart they wish to purchase, then verify the mobile number & enter the delivery address and transfer the payment. After this backend generates a new order & notifies the warehouse about it. Once the item is packed, information will be sent to the shipping provider, then the shipper will pick up the item & deliver it to the customer. If the customer is not happy about the product he returns it. yeah no fuss, just that simple.
On the technical side, there are actually two separate systems working in the process one is a customer-facing mobile app & website where the customer shops the item and the other is a client-facing web app where the client/staff updates the data. so let's go one by one.
1. Customer-facing mobile app & website
This represents what users see and interact with. Here is how the customer journey goes...
- Products List & Add to Cart - the products you are selling with images, description, quantity, size details spread among various categories & subcategories are presented to the customer in your website or Android/iOS app. Customer will select the items they wanted to buy and is presented with an option of "add to cart", so that once the user is done choosing all the products to purchase they may proceed to buy. For example If a customer wanted to buy shoes, the app will present them with various colors of the same model shoe available with different sizes, so that customer could select the size & color of his choice before adding it to the cart.
- Authentication - Before making a purchase we ask every new customer to verify their email address or signup with a social provider like Apple, Google, Facebook, etc and for repeated customers, we ask them to re-verify their account if they are signed out. By getting login details, we could give a unique Id to every customer and with a unique Id, we could store the customer purchase history, payment details, delivery address of the respective customer and make it accessible only to that account holder.
- Mobile number & Delivery address - For every new customer mobile number will be verified. Delivery address details will be noted. For repeated customers there will be no mobile number verification, however, the app will provide them the option to select the old address for delivery or they can type in a new address too, depending on their requirement. Every delivery address is checked against ZIP codes to confirm whether the business provides delivery over there or not. If the delivery is available to the provided address app will proceed to the payment screen. Otherwise, users will be suggested to change the delivery address.
- Payment collection - Here customer is provided with the option to make payment with the payment processor of business choice and the payment is collected. The user could now leave the website or app and the product will be delivered to him without any intervention, except they choose to return or cancel the order.
- Cancel or Return Orders - Depending on the store return & cancellation policy, customers are allowed to cancel the order before the delivery of items and also could initiate the return by selecting the proper reason once the item got delivered.
2. Client-facing web app & Backend
This is where business & its employees or backend process the order...
- Order Confirmation - Once the order is placed by the customer & payment is received, Backend will create a unique order Id with tax details and mark the items as to be delivered to the ordered user. Further, it will also send an email/SMS about order acceptance & status. The items to be shipped appear in the client-facing web app dashboard with quantity, address of delivery, etc.
- Integrate shipping provider - When the warehouse personnel packed the item & mark the item as "ready to be shipped", an automatic notification will be sent to partnered shipping provider about pick-up of the product along with the selected date & time slot.
- Status of Order - Depending on the feedback provided by the shipping partner, the backend will send the email/SMS to the customer regarding the probable date & time of delivery. The user could also check the delivery time/status through the mobile app or website with a login.
- Product Delivery - Shipper delivers the item to the customer & one more email will be sent to the customer regarding receipt of items. If the customer is happy with the product, the transaction will be marked as complete and he will be requested to write a review about the product, however, if he wanted to return the item next steps will follow.
- Accept/reject returns - If by any chance user marked the items to return, the details will appear in the client-facing web app dashboard and customer care could decide whether to accept return or not depending on return policy. If the item is accepted for return, the customer will be asked to choose the reason for return. However, if customer care decides not to accept the return, the same will be informed to the user via email/SMS.
- Collect Returns - Once the order return is accepted. An automatic notification will be sent to the shipping partner and a probable date & time of return order pick-up will be received. Further, the time & date of return pick up will be informed to the customer through email/SMS. Once the shipping partner collects the items & returns the same to the warehouse, the order will be marked as complete or returned. Now client may credit the earlier collected amount to the customer account.
The above covers the simple process flow of customer journey & order processing in a typical online store, but we could add a few more tweaks to improve customer satisfaction & revenue. Few of those are.
- Discount or coupons - These include, discount codes to avail offers on special occasions, discount on the minimum amount spent in online store, welcome coupons to customers on first purchase, etc.
- Gift wrapping - The shopping experience could be enhanced by providing gift wrapping, hand-written/custom greeting cards either as free service or with additional charges.
- Referral bonus - Here backend will generate a unique sharable referral code for every user so that when a new user purchases some item on the app (by entering a referral code), the referer will get additional cashback on the next purchase.
...and many other options, which suit your business niche like within 24hrs delivery for selected items, influencer discounts, gift engraving, pre-registration, etc. could be added.
Finally, our suggestion is no matter, whether you are just starting the e-commerce journey or already a reputed business, always go with tailored website & mobile apps, which resonates well with your target audience, so that you own all the user data and don't have to pay commission to an online middleman (like shopping providers or platforms). But remember we design, develop & maintain custom mobile apps & websites to suit your unique business needs, so when you need one just let us know.