How to Create a Successful Onboarding Process in eCommerce (1)

  • Today, we are going to explain what an onboarding process in eCommerce is and, what is more how to do it correctly.

  • In the e-commerce world , customer acquisition and retention are paramount. In this post, we will focus on an intermediate process that takes place between these two key moments in the customer's lifecycle.

    eCommerce onboarding is midway between transactional and user experience  It is a critical aspect that often doesn't receive the attention it deserves, given its overall impact on the customer.
  • What is eCommerce Onboarding?

  • We can define it as the design of the process that a user goes through from their initial decision to make a purchase on our store until they become a regular customer.

    Lets clarify these concepts with an example. The most common one is the user registration and account creation process. There's a set of data we need to collect about our new customer to establish their profile: address, contact information, email, payment details, and more.

    An optimal onboarding process ensures that all this flows in an intuitive, user-friendly way, even preventing abandonment due to accessibility barriers or a lack of trust. Additionally, it's quite common to include detailed information, guides, and tutorials to streamline interaction, saving on technical support inquiries.

    In summary, the onboarding process can be seen as a way to create a positive user experience from the first point of contact.
  • Tips for Designing an Onboarding Process for an Online Store

  • While this methodology might seem a bit intimidating, having a couple of key ideas in mind will show you that it's not so complex and that it works.
  • #1 - Project Your Value Proposition

  • The first thing to keep in mind is to base your approach on an analysis of user behavior, understand their expectations and needs to exceed the former and fulfill the latter.

    Therefore, dissect your store and services. You must answer this question: What features genuinely provide value? This should be clearly conveyed throughout the onboarding process.

    Is your advantage in pricing, quality, premium customer service, manufacturing, exclusive products, sustainability, or something else? Use this to shape your copywriting and customer approach.
  • #2 - Balance Resources

  • Next, determine the level of human involvement or automation you want. Here are two alternatives:

    • High Contact: Direct involvement of your customer support team (via phone, chat, or email).
    • Low Contact: This is a more autonomous process. It requires more significant implementation and the use of more complex tools, but it frees up resources in the long and medium term.

    With this in mind, you can decide whether you want high-contact onboarding, low-contact, or create a middle-ground alternative that combines elements of both.
  • #3 - Stages of the Process

  • Now it's time to create Journeys and Paths. Essentially, anticipate user interaction, where it happens, and which stages of the process are critical. Determine what the user does to reach these points and provide the appropriate stimulus to move them to the next stage ( It's quite similar to touchpoints in a Customer Journey, although focused specifically on that initial moment).
  • In reality, each flow depends on the structure of the online store (or app) and the business model. Here's a simple example:

    • User Registration: This is a critical moment where user information is collected. It's essential to keep it simple and fast. Requesting too much information at this stage can increase friction and lead to user abandonment.
    • Welcome Email: This is the first interaction outside the website and, therefore, one of the most important. Use it to express gratitude, highlight product advantages, provide resources (such as the previously mentioned tutorials and knowledge bases), and persuade the user to return, possibly with an offer.
    • First Access to the Customer Area: If the user has successfully accessed the online store, it's essential to make them feel supported. Pop-ups explaining the next steps can be very effective. This guides the user through the onboarding process. However, don't overwhelm the customer; it's crucial to allow them to skip the tutorial if they don't need it.
    • Follow-Up Emails: Keep the user's interest with a series of resources sent over time and ideally based on their behavior. The flow branches here, as you'll send different content to users based on whether they've made a purchase or not.
    • Analysis: Tracking and analyzing how things are working is essential  because the onboarding process must always be evolving and improving.
  • This is our first look at the onboarding process in an online store. Do you find it interesting? Stay tuned for future posts where we'll expand on this topic.

  • Images: Unsplash.

Laia Ordoñez

Laia Ordóñez is a copywriting & eCommerce content marketing expert. She is Content & Marketing Manager at DueHome, a copywriting & content independent advisor, and Oleoshop's blog's editor-in-chief.

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