What do you think is the most important point in improving your retention as an ecommerce app? It could be the mini-surveys you do before your customers churn, or maybe the discounts you offer now and then… But that’s not what users think: According to Wyzowl, 86% of people say they’d be more likely to stay loyal to a business that invests in user onboarding.

Yet for most companies, user onboarding is a one-time “task” that the product team is responsible for, and it shouldn’t be that way. Marketing, sales, and especially customer success teams need to constantly supply the onboarding process with insights and improvements.

You shouldn’t miss the opportunity to boost your retention, right at the start of a user’s journey.

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What is User Onboarding?

User Onboarding refers to the process that starts from the first login of a new user and ends up with them becoming a regular user. 

Yet, businesses should prefer to push this process until users become genuine advocates of the product.

There are 3 common ways companies onboard users:

  1. User Manuals: written content describing how users can utilize your product, usually visualized with screenshots. They tend to take more time to go through and bore users.
  2. Walkthrough Videos: screen recordings of you teaching your product. These usually go over the main UI elements and specific tasks. These videos are much more interesting than user manuals, yet they lack interactivity.
  3. Interactive Product Tours: interactive walkthroughs that aid users accomplish tasks on their own. These tours usually consist of multiple guides that show users different parts of the products. Possibly the best way to onboard users.

The material and the content of user onboarding differs from company to company, however, it is crucial for businesses regardless of the industry.

Since you’re more interested in e-commerce, let’s see how exactly it affects e-commerce businesses.

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Why is User Onboarding Crucial in E-commerce

Shouldn’t I develop new features and stabilize my product instead of improving a user onboarding flow that I already have?

No, no you shouldn’t.

At this point, you’re probably offering some amount of value to your customers, however, if they aren’t reaching these values, they’ll drop like flies.

At this point, keeping customers is not nice-to-have, it is a necessity. 

They need to keep coming back to your product and make it a part of their life, which is only possible through a solid, interactive, and quick user onboarding experience.

With the right user onboarding, you can create users that get the value they seek and stick around to get some more.

If you get users to their Aha! moment during this period, they’ll end their journey of seeking a solution to their problem, and settle for your platform.

When you offer a not-so-good user onboarding experience, however, they will get frustrated and will quit on day 1.

It is much simpler and less resource-demanding to make users that love your product the moment they meet it, rather than trying it later in their journeys.

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How can you improve the User Onboarding experience of your E-Commerce Business?

I hope you have a few reasons to improve your user onboarding experience at this point.

But we need ways to improve it, not reasons at this point.

I’ll go over 4 ways of boosting the efficiency of your onboarding process, especially for e-commerce businesses. Let’s go:

1- Personalize the experience

Personalization is the cornerstone of any successful user experience of an e-commerce business.

You have to know what your users want and promote products that they’re interested in. This way, you improve the possibility of them using your platform for a longer amount of time.

And pushing personalization during onboarding is not a new concept; platforms that offer value in a wide variety of topics always prefer to narrow down the experience to what the user is interested in.

During the onboarding of your users, do not push products that are completely unrelated to their initial interest. Instead, go for products that customers usually buy together.

Also, you can make them choose categories they’re interested in too.

Personalization will help users directly access the value that they stumbled upon your platform in the first place, keep feeding value to your users to help them adopt your platform.

2- Reduce the time-to-value

Users signup for your product because of a single sentence you tell them: your value proposition. 

You promise them a way to make their life easier, and they expect you to deliver during user onboarding.

The problem is, they want you to deliver now, rather than after 3 hours of training videos or pages of user manuals. With great customer onboarding, you can get users to value in minutes.

The quicker users get to value, the more satisfied they will be, and the more time they will spend shopping on your e-commerce app. Having active users in your product can surely play a big role to boost your retention.

Here’s a list of tips you can use to reduce your time-to-value.

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3- Introduce interactivity

Interactivity is the ultimate method of teaching.

Your users will come to your e-commerce site with a single specific task at first, and instead of making them watch how it’s done, you need to involve them.

Encourage them to do the task on their own, with interactive product tours. If you are a relatively small company with nearly no development resources, you might not be able to introduce interactive product tours to your site.

Which brings me to the last tip:

4- Give third-party tools a try

Did you know that there are tools that could easily do months of development and design work, in minutes?

Ignoring the value of these tools is like hewing down knives and bottle openers from wood when there is a dollar store just across the street selling swiss knives. You don’t need to be a technical person and spend days developing a user onboarding element, it’s as simple as dragging and dropping. 

With user onboarding tools such as UserGuiding, you can create your desired onboarding experience yourself, without any coding.

Here’s why and how you should buy your user onboarding, instead of building it.


In e-commerce, every customer matters, whether they are new to your platform or one of your first customers.

In order to make the maximum profits, you need to ensure that every user gets well onboarded to your platform and adopts it in their daily lives.

Designing the best progressive onboarding might not be possible at first, so after your first iteration make sure to utilize customers’ feedback to improve the onboarding process.

Frequently asked questions on user onboarding

How can businesses measure the effectiveness of user onboarding in ecommerce?

Businesses can measure the effectiveness of user onboarding in ecommerce using various metrics, including: Conversion rates, User engagement, User feedback and User retention.

Why is user onboarding important in ecommerce?

User onboarding is important in ecommerce for several reasons: Enhancing user experience, Increasing conversions, Reducing churn and Building brand loyalty. A smooth and user-friendly onboarding experience can leave a lasting positive impression on users, fostering trust, and loyalty towards the brand. Users who have a positive onboarding experience are more likely to become repeat customers.

What are some best practices for user onboarding in ecommerce?

Provide positive feedback and encouragement as users progress through the onboarding process. Celebrate milestones or completed actions to motivate users and make them feel accomplished.
Tailor the onboarding experience based on user preferences or previous interactions. Use user data to provide relevant product recommendations or customized onboarding content.