The CEO was complaining the web site wasn't shoppable enough. The folks responsible for fixing it faced one key obstacle: there was no clear consensus what it takes to be shoppable. "It's not about just putting BUY buttons everywhere," observed one frustrated UX lead.

In my experience, many digital attempts at shoppability fall short because they focus exclusively on the purchase moment and ignore the rest of the shopper’s journey, ignoring all the other critical shopping moments.

Typical initiatives are making add-to-cart easier, checkout faster, prices clearer, and offers more prominent—all about purchase.

Of course, when millions of dollars are involved, even small percentage gains here can net significant revenue. However they don’t add up to a sustained program that answers the real need: giving customers a great shopping experience they will love.

In digital, shoppability spans a much broader journey than a typical retailer thinks about. It starts at that moment when you have a need or desire to do something, and pick up your phone to look for answers and ideas.

It continues all the way to when you are sharing your experience with friends who might follow your lead, and when your experience expands your need to a wider and thoughtfully vetted collection of gear.

Preparing the shopping experience to answer each moment of this journey is the route to true shoppability. Instead of thinking about your funnel, make the customer journey the centerline of what you do.

I’ve developed a step-by-step method for Improving shoppability that starts with three things:

(1) a set of shoppability principles to serve as benchmarks;

(2) a customer-centric understanding of the shopping journey; and

(3) measuring performance against those principles at each stage of the journey — a shoppability audit.

These concepts can help you improve the shoppability of your entire ecosystem, realizing more sales and greater lifetime customer equity.