Ecommerce Digital Transformation: How has the customer journey evolved?

BFCM 2022

YesPlz.AI, November 2022

(The above video is from the YesPlz series on digital transformation in eCommerce)


With Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) 2022 around the corner, we’re going to put ourselves in the mind of a typical eCommerce shopper. What are their fears? Anxieties? Desires?


A lot has changed in the past 2+ years–from the mentality of shoppers to their willingness to adopt new technologies to their attention spans. Inevitably, as we move into a more technology enabled future, fashion AI and AR are leading the way to support and solve for new behaviors in eCommerce. 


In the second part of our 4-part podcast series, we sit down with Digital Commerce Consultant Christina Stensvaag (Former VP of Product Management at ShopStyle & Sephora, former Head of Digital Product Management at American Eagle) and Jiwon Hong (CEO of YesPlz AI) to discuss the changing tides of shopper behavior, just in time for BFCM 2022–and how eCommerce digital transformation can provide the foundation to tap into what customers really want.


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The COVID Effect on eCommerce Digital Transformation


Before we dive into the changing customer journey, it’s inevitable to talk about one major event that launched shoppers into the digital future, whether they were ready or not: COVID.


When analyzing the mental model of the 2022 consumer, it’s impossible to ignore the lasting effect of COVID on shopper behavior. Any shopper that experienced life during COVID became accustomed to navigating fashion eCommerce as a necessity–all while experiencing constant connectivity at home. 


COVID accelerated behaviors that then became needs.


Let’s break down what that means.


Pre-COVID, shoppers were moving towards digital adoption and becoming more sophisticated little by little–but certain segments were still more comfortable shopping in-store. During the pandemic, online shopping became a need rather than a luxury, resulting in increased digital sophistication like never before. 


With increased sophistication also comes increased expectations–shoppers began to expect a richer online experience.


Another changed behavior pattern from COVID: pre-COVID, shoppers would only browse mobile and make final purchases on their laptops. Now, they’re comfortable completing the entire transaction on their phones, making the mobile customer journey that much more important.


Expect shoppers to complete transactions on mobile this BFCM, against a gradient background


Fast-forward to BFCM 2022–and we can still see the same patterns. But, with an added context: even more available technology, like fashion AI and AR, to meet those sky-high expectations.


Shopper expectations are high–but how can eCommerce digital transformation help?


By experimenting with and improving each part of the eCommerce user journey, your eCommerce can identify which parts of the journey are becoming bottlenecks for shoppers. Ecommerce digital transformation can help fill in those gaps with technology such as fashion AI. 


BFCM Expert Tip: Shoppers have higher expectations than ever in 2022. Experiment before to make sure each step of the purchasing process is intuitive.


Identifying Customer Sentiment–and How to Use eCommerce Digital Transformation to Design for it


When identifying sentiment, think about the eCommerce user journey as a whole–and the different sentiment that can change throughout the purchase journey (including pre and post).


Why is it so important? Listen to this story with sentiments in parentheses:


-A shopper wanted a specific color that wasn’t available in-store (Frustration)


-She was reassured by the store that they could ship the color directly to her home and quickly (Relief & Trust)


-The shopper completed the transaction, but on the way home realized there was no paper trail of the transaction. How would she track the order? Was she sure that the order was successful? When would she receive the product? (Anxiety and stress)


What started as a positive shopping experience turned into a negative, anxiety-provoking experience because of a poorly-planned step in the customer journey.


Although the larger goal was met (fast shipping), the retailer didn’t consider the ease of the journey, leaving the shopper with a negative sentiment.


And let’s not forget basic psychology–a negative emotion has more staying power than a positive emotion; losing brand love can only take a split second but result in a lifetime of negative brand perceptions.


Are you creating anxiety free shopping experiences for BFCM 2022?


How can eCommerce digital transformation support customer sentiment?


By gathering feedback from shoppers, you’ll be better positioned to decide where eCommerce digital transformation will best fit your needs. For example, if shoppers are consistently dropping off after viewing product details, perhaps AI tagging can offer a technology-first solution to providing accurate product details.


Get feedback form real shoppers as a BFCM 2022 tip


BFCM Expert Tip: Don’t be afraid to get feedback from real shoppers. Talk to them to understand your own eCommerce’s strengths and weaknesses. Consumers want to give you their opinions.


The “whys” behind mobile shopping adoption


“Users’ intention to use mobile shopping websites was positively affected by users’ perceived enjoyment and usefulness…and negatively affected by their perceived level of anxiety”
-Research Trends in Mobile Shopping Behavior, July 2021

Mobile is integrated into our everyday fabric of shopping–it represents the complete internet experience. But, how is your eCommerce designing for the mobile customer journey?


According to experts (see the quote above), when shoppers think they’re going to have a delightful and functional shopping experience (i.e. they find the products they’re looking for, in an effortless–and even fun way), they’re more likely to use mobile.


But, if there is any perceived anxiety and shoppers lose trust in the mobile experience, they won’t use it.


How do shoppers choose a mobile site? Research shows that they consider:


1) whether the retailer has the right products available


2) whether they can easily search, make product comparisons, and purchase easily


3) assurance to ease anxieties (generous return policies and overall reassurances from the retailer)


This BFCM, you can make the mobile experience even better by creating a delightful, effortless product discovery experience, complete with product recommendations, enhanced trends (see below), and an easy-to-navigate checkout experience. Make the most of your mobile site–because that is likely where shoppers will be.


Mobile Trends for BFCM 2022:


AI product discovery and AR fitting room tips for BFCM 2022 with rocket ship


With increased expectations from customers and higher quality of technology, we’re seeing new mobile enhanced trends like:

-Live stream shopping

-Augmented Reality Try-On from big retailers like Amazon

-Brands extending the online experience into a complementary offline space, such as Everlane and Rothy

-Apps to virtually try-on clothing, such as DressX’s new app


BFCM Expert Tip: Use eCommerce digital transformation to create a delightful, anxiety-free shopping experience. With AI-powered product discovery and recommendations, as well as AR fitting rooms, technology can support a transformative online experience. 


Shopper attention spans are shorter than ever–but that’s an opportunity


It’s 8 AM on a busy morning train in New York, and unsurprisingly, riders are staring into their phones. But, what are they looking at?


Whether in Seoul, San Francisco, or New York, people are browsing mobile and shopping for clothing on the metro–but in 3 to 5 minute windows of attention.


Shoppers are browsing mobile for short periods of time before work, during lunchbreaks, and before bedtime. 


3 minutes is the window of opportunity for eCommerce to show shoppers the exact products they want to see. And, with such short attention spans, shoppers will quickly bounce to other websites if they aren’t immediately engaged with accurate product recommendations, easy-to-use search, and a seamless shopping experience. 


And, let’s not forget about site speed. A slow loading eCommerce produces cortisol–the equivalent response from watching a horror movie.

A BFCM 2022 tip that shoppers only have 3 to 5 minute windows of attention, against gradient background


BFCM Expert Tip: Seize the opportunity to capture shopper attention short windows of time through eCommerce digital transformation.


The Customer Wishlist –And How eCommerce Digital Transformation Can Provide Solutions


What do customers really want this holiday season?


YesPlz created a holiday shopper wishlist–complete with ideas of how eCommerce digital transformation can support shoppers’ wishes


1. Effortlessly find what they’re looking for via search
Tip: Try an AI-powered search filter & virtual mannequin to make the search journey as seamless as possible


2. Accurate and relevant product recommendations
Tip: Use AI recommendations to provide recommendations that always fit shoppers’ tastes


3. An anxiety-free online shopping experience
Tip: Take a cold, hard look at user stats–are users bouncing off during one specific page?


4. Websites that are optimized for mobile
Tip: Design product filters for mobile, paying attention to overlays on mobile that may interfere with the search process. Learn more about mobile optimization for eCommerce product filters.


5. Fast loading times
Tip: Utilize tried and tested tools to test page loading times


6. To see the products they want in under 5 minutes
Tip: Explore fashion discovery tools that use technology to make relevant recommendations


As the customer journey continues to evolve, it’s more important than ever to utilize eCommerce digital transformation to support changing sentiment and expectations.


By identifying problems, experimenting with solutions, and harnessing the power of technology, eCommerce digital transformation can make this holiday season unforgettable for shoppers.


Make the most of this holiday season by creating a strategy for eCommerce digital transformation.


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by YesPlz.AI

We build the next gen visual search & recommendation for online fashion retailers

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