User Onboarding for Ecommerce, SaaS Apps: Major practices

Mar 5, 2021 - By Jake Rheude

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In the SaaS and Ecommerce world, onboarding is the process of guiding users to find the value in your product. It can be through tutorials, customer support, or product tours.

For example, you are providing an e-commerce app. User onboarding is about letting clients know how your app can help them run their e-commerce site. After all, business owners would sign up in the hopes that it can help optimize their business processes.

Meaning, user onboarding allows your app users to discover how they can best use your app or software and the benefits it can provide them.

User onboarding also enables you to showcase what your app and software can do. This can lead to successful B2B model adoption.

The Elements of User Onboarding

If you want to ensure a successful client onboarding, you must have the right elements. That said, let’s teardown what a progressive onboarding looks like.

Excellent First Impression

You must create a great first impression. You need to come up with a clean, clear copy that’s easy enough to understand.

If you can’t explain to the user in a way that anyone will understand, then you’ll be losing prospects. Try to keep your app information succinct yet straightforward at the same time.

Focus on the user’s pain points, the key driver that will draw people into your solution. Then, entice them to learn more.

Create Targeted Milestones

Targeted milestones compel your users to make the most out of your apps. This includes generating the client’s first 100 sales or acquiring the first 100 customer feedback.

Doing so allows you to build user loyalty and will keep them motivated in making their business grow.

Mind you; constant positive reinforcement will keep your users engaged with your app. It will also motivate them to move through the next step of the process.

Welcome Screens

This is one of the most common elements for any user onboarding experience. Welcome screens introduce the user to the app.

There are times that it doesn’t include content apart from the welcome message. Other times, it’s combined with log-in or signup options.

Product Walkthrough

Product walkthrough usually takes two forms. It will either be a video of how the product works or a slideshow format with a series of screens.


You don’t need to wait for a customer to check up on you. Instead, you need to stay proactive and tackle problems that can hurt your customers’ experience with your brand.

An excellent growth hacking technique is to schedule regular check-ins to ensure that your customer stays happy and excited about your app. Offer them real ways in which you can help.

User Onboarding Best Practices

Now that you know what an ideal onboarding looks like, it is time to learn how to make the best onboarding experience for your potential clients.

Know Your Customers

Not all users are the same. Although you might have a large number of people downloading your product, you need to find a broader definition of who those people are. This information is crucial if you want to provide the best onboarding experiences.

If you’re designing an onboarding feature, you might have come up with distinctive product attributes.

Let’s say you’ve already come up with buyer personas for client onboarding before you start designing, or you’re in the early stages of the process. Having a new user onboarding template allows you to have an informed decision in explaining different app features.

A template will enable you to answer “How can I describe this app feature to a particular client?”.

Give Users What They Want

As we mentioned, users downloaded your app because they think it will benefit them.

That’s why you need to offer them what they want from the get-go.

For instance, you should quickly highlight the core benefits of your app. For example, a travel app will present itself with three short sentences:

  • Log in from anywhere in the world.
  • Set your location.
  • See other user’s recommendations for the best places to visit.

Streamline Your Registration Process

According to a 2017 Clutch study, 72% of app users would like the entire onboarding process to take less than a minute. That’s because a lengthy onboarding process can frustrate their users.

After all, they opted to use your app because they need it. And they need it now.

The solution? A simplified and streamlined signup and onboarding process.

That said, only ask for necessary information. You can also let them signup via Google or Facebook to save time. Another tip is to mention password requirements the moment a user will click on a relevant field.

The key here is to reduce friction in the registration process. Because the lower the friction, the more users will be enticed to sign up for your app.

Reduce Friction

User friction is almost inevitable, but a great design can also encourage successful web signups.

Here are some of the common reasons users often experience friction:

  • Your landing page is often too drawn out or complicated.
  • Your landing and marketing pages don’t often align with each other.
  • A brand fails to communicate trust signals to its users.

Social log-ins and signups on emails can significantly reduce user friction in the signup process. Still, some businesses will need information that comes with a full signup form.

Whenever possible, try to keep it simple. Opt for a UI design, and along with a great UX. Try to build on user trust with customer reviews, seals, and testimonials throughout the process. You can also use a new user onboarding template.

Gamify Your User Onboarding

Gamification is a common buzzword you’d hear these days. It is also crucial in creating one of the most successful user onboarding flows.

The concept behind it spans many ideas. However, with user onboarding, you can make the whole process fun, interactive, and enjoyable. That way, they will be enticed to proceed to the next step.

It also provides you with higher chances to move a user through the funnel to success.

Use Progress Monitoring Bar

Apps that offer a sense of achievement fare well than those that don’t. That said, it would be best to have a progress bar above the registration form.

Doing so allows you to manage user expectations. On the other hand, it makes your clients aware of how far they need to go to finish the registration. That’s because they have a visual indicator that encourages them to complete the process.

Test and Iterate the Onboarding Experience

User onboarding is not something that you set and forget. You should test and iterate it to ensure that your conversion rates are increasing.

One element you can test is the mobile user onboarding process. For one, you won’t know whether a user is signing up through your mobile app or desktop website. Hence, it would be best to offer a consistent user experience, regardless of your potential client’s device.

Offer Self-Service Support

It is inherent for new customers to have questions about your app or products. But if you don’t provide 24/7 support, then there’s no guarantee that you’ll be there to provide help.

That’s where self-service support comes in. It helps expand your team’s bandwidth and offers solutions even if customer service reps aren’t available.

A proper user onboarding process allows you to boost your number of monthly active users. And we hope you can achieve such promising results by following the onboarding best practices listed above.

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About author

Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing at Red Stag Fulfillment, a fulfillment warehouse that allows you to start your e-commerce website. He has years of experience in ecommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.

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