The AIDA Model: A Typical User Journey in E-commerce

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The user journey has so many touchpoints online that brands need to be active always and everywhere. Users may want customer service on Facebook, to order through Instagram, read reviews on Google and watch YouTube tutorials. 

People tend to spend out of desire online rather than necessity, so consumers can afford to take their time jumping between touchpoints to research your brand, read reviews, and compare price and quality before making a purchase decision.

Due to so many customer touchpoints, the customer journey needs to be carefully managed with the right channels set up for the right kind of interaction at each stage of the user journey. 

Users are signing up to more than just a product, they will choose a brand based on the experience as well. Convenience, information, support, valuable communication are all things that will influence the consumer’s interest in, and eventually desire for your product. 

The most important thing to remember is that it takes time and multiple visits to your website for a prospect to become a customer. It helps to visualize the steps a user goes through in this journey and optimize each interaction with your users. These interactions need to have a controlled outcome, so they can lead your prospects to the next stage and eventually lead them to conversion.

One method of framing the stages of the user journey is the AIDA method and I will go through each of these steps and some touchpoint examples in this article. 

The AIDA Customer Journey Mapping Method

According to the AIDA method, there are four stages a consumer needs to go through before becoming a customer or subscriber. Those stages are “Attention/Awareness”, “Interest”, “Desire”, and “Action”. For successful marketing according to this method, we must ensure our content attracts attention, generates interest in our product or service, stimulates desire for it, and then spurs action to buy it. 

Let’s have a look at each stage and example touchpoints in more detail.

Step 1: Attract Attention/Build Awareness

To prepare for the first stage in the user journey, it is a good idea to define your customer personas and research your target audience. You want to find out your audience’s problems and passions. With this information, you can make content to solve those problems and to appeal to their passions. 

We can actually split this stage into two different considerations: 

  1. The attention we want to attract to our product or solution. 
  2. Build awareness of the problem the product is solving. This problem could be a personal problem the consumer has, or a wider problem in the environment, for example, that they were not aware of.

It is important to make this content accessible to your audience via social media, Google, as well as other websites. If your content is compelling enough, your audience will start to become curious about your product and enter into the “interest” phase.

Cross-device tracking tip:

Make sure your users can access your content and website on various devices as well. The user journey spans over a period of time and your prospects are not always going to be interacting with your brand on one device.With that said, you also need to make sure you have your user tracking set up to be able to identify a single user on their different devices. This will afford you richer insights into your users’ journey and how they engage with your site, products, and content. 

Image for AIDA model article to show how important mobile-optimized sites are
Source: Qreuz

Hubspot carried out a survey of 3,400 marketers in 2020. They voted having a mobile optimized site as being the number one tactic for boosting site performance and ranking, so it really is worth your while to invest in a high-performing mobile site for your users. By 2021, you stand to miss out on 72.9% of retail e-commerce sales if you don’t go “mobile first”

Source: Qreuz

“Awareness” touchpoint examples: 

  • Paid CPC/traffic ads
  • Facebook/Instagram/LinkedIn page
  • Facebook/Instagram/LinkedIn posts
  • Blog posts

Step 2: Generate Interest

Once your target audience is interested, they’ll want to learn more. Your main task in this stage of the user journey is to make it easy for interested customers to find out more about your brand and solution. If you want their interest to grow into desire, you must allow your prospects to build a connection with you. An interested consumer will want to know through knowing more about who you are, what your brand stands for or at the very least, what they stand to gain by becoming a customer. 

How can you share information about your brand?

  1. Having a clear mission statement
  2. Display what you do and your value on your homepage
  3. Describe benefits of your solution on your product pages
  4. Offer case studies and showcase reviews

“Interest” touchpoint examples: 

  • Paid ads again to remarket to those who are aware of your brand
  • Blog posts
  • Search engine optimization for your brand and keywords
  • Product page to get the facts about your product
  • Homepage to get an impression of quality and reliability
  • About page to learn more about your company
  • Review page to see what value you have brought other buyers

Step 3: Stimulate Desire

If the “interest” stage is successful, then you will have users enter the “desire” stage of this marketing funnel. In this step, you will want your consumer to be able to envision your product or service as a part of their life. Now the user can see the solution your offering provides to their problem and holds a certain affinity with your brand. Your goal here is to make your potential customer obsessed with your product by giving them more and more reasons to add it to their lives. 

A key strategy for this is optimizing your storytelling on your homepage, on your product page, in your blog, on your social media and in your newsletters. Your story telling has to frame your solution so well that your users’ eyes light up at the thought of having your product in their hands or your service available to them. 

However, as well as appealing to your audience’s emotions, you also want to satisfy their need for logic too. Leave no room for any doubt of your authenticity to disrupt the seduction of your user. Make sure your site is fast, secure and reliable. Have customer service obvious and readily available through an about and contact page with a means for people to actually reach you if they’d need to. So now they have no reason to not fall for your product, as they should.

“Desire” touchpoint examples: 

  • Review page to validate their want for your product
  • About page to check returns policies, just in case 
  • Product page again to envision item in their life

Step 4: Spur Action

If everything goes to plan in the first three steps of this marketing model, you should have some prospects enter the “action” phase of AIDA. This should be the easiest step if all other steps were done well. Your audience has already made the decision to become a customer and they understand why. Now the question is when

The answer you want is NOW!

So you must utilize urgency here. Consider having limited offers on your store or a countdown to same day posting to activate a reason to act on their desire immediately.

There should also be minimal friction between your customers’ want for your product and the ability to actually get it. Make sure there are clear and relevant CTAs on your homepage, your pricing and your product pages. Wherever you suspect a user to be in the “Desire” phase, make sure there is a CTA giving them the easy option to act on it.

This is the step you’ve been leading up to the entire time, so make sure you are ready for it! 

“Action” touchpoint examples: 

  • Paid ads optimized for conversion
  • Sales offers
  • Product page
  • Checkout page

Check out our graphic below for an example user journey map using the AIDA method with multiple touchpoints and examples. 

example user journey map with the AIDA method

Final Thoughts

The purpose of this article was to outline what a typical user journey looks like. Each brand could see its own variations in this. It is important for you to get to know your own target user’s behavior and typical journey.

Implementing a user-tracking system which provides you with enriched data across various devices and user sessions will help you identify patterns and common drop off points in your user’s journey. This information will allow you to optimize each of the AIDA steps for further conversion success. 

If you have made it this far, thank you for reading and I hope you have found it helpful. If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you in the comments below.

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