The Silent E-Commerce Sales Killer: Customer Journey Hijacking

In today’s digital ecosystem, e-commerce leaders work around the clock to plan, design, test and deploy the perfect online purchase journeys for customers. From the moment consumers arrive on landing pages to when they checkout, e-commerce leaders spend countless hours examining customers’ paths to purchase to ensure they’re providing seamless, engaging and tailored online shopping experiences. Yet, even as e-commerce leaders work to perfect their online shopping experiences, only 2.86% of site visits are converted into sales. When considerable time and resources are being spent to enhance customers’ online shopping experiences, how can this be? The answer lies in the very tools powering the sophisticated purchase journeys on your digital properties.

E-commerce experiences are powered increasingly by third-party tools such as data management platforms, image libraries, online chat, recommendation engines, and shopping cart technology. While third-party tools are essential to providing optimized online shopping experiences, it also presents opportunities for bad actors to steal customers away from completing transactions on your website. It’s called Customer Journey Hijacking, an emerging threat to digital revenue facing e-commerce brands because of unmonitored digital third-party code. Customer Journey Hijacking is a client-side issue that continues to grow in scale yet remains invisible to most e-commerce industry professionals. With 1 out of 4 customers lost to journey hijacking, e-commerce stakeholders need to know how they can prevent this growing phenomenon from taking more of their customers and therefore their revenue.

Understanding Customer Journey Hijacking

Unmonitored third-party code

Customer Journey Hijacking happens when third-party code is used against you to divert customers away from your site. While, it comes in many forms, it always involves compromised or unauthorized product ad injection on consumers’ browsers and devices while visiting retailer websites. These unauthorized ads are meant to interrupt a customer’s shopping experience by redirecting them to complete their transaction elsewhere. For example, if a customer is about to complete their purchase journey on your website, but a pop-up ad presents a 30% discount offer on a competitor's site, they may abandon their shopping cart.

Malware injects unwanted ads on browsers and devices via compromised third-party code, the code you rely on to deliver the user experience. Once malware is running, unauthorized ads distract consumers from completing their online purchase journey. Compromised third-party code allows ads to appear in the form of:

  1. Product Ads

    Product ads identify where and what customers are browsing and insert relevant/competitive product advertising on the page.

  2. Pop-Up Offers

    Pop-up offers thrust themselves to the center of the page to gain higher visibility and click rate. Designers of these malicious pop-ups know that customers expect an offer or discount and design them accordingly.

  3. Rogue Banners

    Rogue banners in the header or sidebar of an e-commerce site appear on checkout pages and sidetrack customers from completing transactions at the most important step in the purchase journey.

  4. In-Text Redirection

    In-text redirection ads identify target keywords on pages and transform them into external links. They can also steal existing links and redirect customers to direct competitors

Impact on Digital Revenue

For e-commerce businesses, any obstacle that disrupts customers from completing online purchase experiences negatively impacts revenue growth. Our research has found that customer journey hijacking can cost brands up to 10% in digital revenue. Moreover, many consumers agree that if pop-up ads, banners, and in-text redirections appear during their online browsing, they would negatively view the compromised retailer - further damaging brand reputation and customer loyalty.

Combat Customer Journey Hijacking, Enhance Customer Lifetime Value

Just as e-commerce leaders tailor their customer experience to a user's preferences, history, and more, journey hijacking is different for each user. Bad actors who inject malware-laced ads on consumers’ devices do so in the same way e-commerce leaders design online shopping experiences.This means that hijacking happens on the client side, making server-side solutions ineffective at controlling the issue. While internal, server-side scans of your digital environment is a good start, it isn’t enough to fight customer journey hijacking because replicating the experiences of real-world customers is nearly impossible from behind the firewall.

For e-commerce leaders to get a clear view of their digital ecosystem they need sophisticated client-side emulation to see how customers are being subjected to journey hijacking via malware. Additionally, brands need comprehensive data points to understand the revenue impact of third-party code executing on customers’ shopping experiences.

Safeguarding the Customer Journey

Client-Side Emulation Elicits Problems

Client-side emulation is the cornerstone of a digital risk strategy to safeguard revenue. Any website or mobile app with profile-specific content/services (i.e., weather, news), dynamically targeted ads (i.e., sales, marketing), or customer-specific identifiers (i.e., login) relies on code that executes on each customer device differently. Brands should use scans that capture variations in how a shopping experience renders for a customer based on their country, device type, browser type, user profiles, browser history, cookie history, and business logic.

Comprehensive Insights Yield Actionable Results

Not only is client-side emulation key, but e-commerce leaders need a scan that casts a light on the right information. This includes exactly which third-party domains are a part of the digital ecosystem, how each building block of the customer experience affects performance, and how a brand’s site or mobile app stacks up against the competition.

A truly comprehensive scan will:

  • Detect what third-party code executes on your customers’ devices regardless of version, OS/browser, or geography
  • Analyze for suspicious or unauthorized code
  • Identify data trackers (cookies, pixels, beacons, web storage) collecting data on your valuable customers.
  • Gain insights into how third-party code impacts performance
  • Benchmark your site versus comparable sites’ third-party code impact
  • Identify opportunities for revenue growth

Start Today: Request a Free Digital Risk Scan

You’ve dedicated considerable resources to establishing a powerful e-commerce experience. Now it’s important digital security issues aren’t draining revenue. Comprehensive scanning by The Media Trust offers brands the digital tools to pinpoint issues that significantly affect customers and their bottom line. With a free, comprehensive digital risk scan, you can take advantage of proprietary scanning technology to pinpoint the code disrupting your customers’ experiences. More than 600 retailers rely on The Media Trust to protect their digital environment, their revenue and, most importantly, their brand. Request your digital risk scan today.

REQUEST FREE SCAN