Select Page

Episode 1: OODA Loop in Ecommerce

The OODA Loop was developed by John Boyd, a military strategist, in the 1960’s as a decision making framework for fighter pilots in the chaos of air to air combat.

The OODA Loop is broken down into four steps:

Observation
Orientation
Decision
And Action

In our Ecommerce model, Observation is your customer’s interaction with your website. They’re checking your About page, pictures, FAQs, and getting a general sense of your business.

This will feed into Orientation. Orientation is where your customer evaluates whether they need your product badly enough, or trust your business enough, to make the purchasing effort.

From here, the customer will make one of three decisions. Either they decide not to buy, maybe buy, or buy now.

Once a decision is made, the obvious next step is to Action. If they decide to buy now, the action will be clicking on “Checkout” to initiate shipping and payment.

This all sounds simple enough, but the insight lies in the fact that this is a loop. Clicking to initiate checkout isn’t the final action. Once a visitor does this, they’ll see a set of contact and shipping inputs; and they’ll have to decide again if they want to continue. If they action positively again, they’ll see another set of inputs for credit card details, to which they’ll have to make another decision.

So “buying” isn’t just one decision and action. The process of making a purchase is at least 3-4 decisions and actions. This is why Abandoned Checkouts happen.

To recover abandoned checkouts, you probably use emails alerts, but what would work really well would be a 1-on-1 conversation, which the Scout app, or Caller HQ, for example, can enable. If you could have a Call, SMS or Whatsapp dialogue with your customer, you’re customizing the conversation through dialogue, instead of assuming the conversation your customer is expecting and pushing a static monologue through an auto-email.

But there is more. Remember the first decision your visitor had to make? To either Not Buy, Maybe Buy, or Buy Now? Well, an abandoned checkout strategy only aims to convert the visitors who initially decided to buy now. But what about those who were “maybes”? If you don’t lay out a clear ACTION for the “maybes” to take, they will automatically default to the same action that the “Not Buys” took; which is to leave your site and, eventually, forget.

To save those visitors, give the “maybes” a specific Action. For example, an Action like “Request a Call Back”. The Raven Call Back App is a good example. It offers your “on the fence” customers an option to request a call or message back. This offers “maybe” customers a productive Action.

So to recap: You can use the OODA loop to visualize what your customer is thinking. And once you map their journey you can maneuver productive actions.