Ask yourself: do you know how your customers end up in your store?
If not, you’re not doing it right.
Customers don’t appear in your online store ready to spend money by sheer luck. Their journey to purchase consists of different stages, and it may differ a lot for businesses in different niches. Understanding that journey is key to attracting, engaging, and retaining customers like a pro.
If you want to increase your chances of converting visitors into loyal customers, you need to understand what the customer journey is, how it works, and how to optimize it.
In this comprehensive article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about improving customer journey in ecommerce, from customer journey mapping to analytics and everything in between.
What Is a Customer Journey?
Customer journey (also known as buyer’s journey) refers to a customer’s path from initial awareness to final purchase and beyond. It’s the entire process a customer goes through when interacting with your brand, including getting acquainted with your brand, browsing your website, researching your products, making a purchase, and
In a nutshell, a buyer’s journey is the steps any customer takes before making a purchase decision. Think of the last time you purchased something. You probably followed a process similar to this:
- You realize you have a problem and need a solution. In the customer journey, this is called the awareness stage.
- After understanding the problem, you researched some possible solutions. We call this the consideration stage because this is the point where you start considering options and shopping around.
- After narrowing down your list to one or two solutions, you search for the best place to buy them. This is the decision stage.
This is the buyer’s journey, as it was first described in 1978. At that time, it was a relatively simple concept. Customers entered the journey from the awareness stage and exited at the decision stage. The entire journey was expected to be linear, with customers moving in a straight path from one stage to another.
What Are the Customer Journey Stages?
Compared to the customer journey described above, the modern buyer’s journey is very different.
Why, you may ask?
Your customers have access to the world’s knowledge at their fingertips. They have no real reason to follow the linear journey described above. They can start the purchase process, spend a few weeks considering the solution, and then decide not to buy anything at all — we’ve all been there.
Although the three discrete stages — awareness, consideration, and decision (or purchase) — still exist in this journey, customers go through them in a staggered,
Plus, you might already know that selling to an existing customer is cheaper than attracting a new one. That means it would be impractical not to consider customer retention in your buyer’s journey.
While every customer journey is unique, there are some common stages that most modern customers go through. These stages include awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, and advocacy:
- In the awareness stage, customers become familiar with your brand and products.
- In the consideration stage, they evaluate your offerings and compare them to alternatives.
- In the purchase stage, they make a buying decision.
- In the retention stage, they come back for repeat purchases and interact with your brand.
- In the advocacy stage, they recommend your brand to others and become loyal fans.
Understanding the customer journey is crucial for any ecommerce business because it helps you identify the opportunities for improvement in the customer experience. By optimizing the customer journey, you can increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and, ultimately, sales.
Example of a Buyer’s Journey
Let’s imagine you run an online store selling laptops. Your target audience is
A customer lands on your site by searching for new Windows laptops on Google. Here, they find a blog post about recently launched laptops.
Using this blog post, they make a list of different laptops offered by different brands. Because they’ve heard a lot about Dell, they decided to focus their search on Dell laptops. They type in new Dell Windows laptops on their browser and find a list of Dell laptops. They look at their prices and find the Dell model that would be perfect for them.
Now that they’ve made a choice, they need validation. Their next search is for Dell [model] laptop reviews. This query takes him to your blog, where they find an
Finally, after deciding that this is the right laptop for them, they want to find the best deal for it. They type in Dell [model] laptop coupon codes.
After finding a coupon code, they search for buy Dell [model] laptop online. Your site shows up as one of the results. They recognize your website name because they’ve had multiple positive interactions with your brand before. Because of the positive brand equity you’ve built up, you end up making a sale.
After acquiring a customer, you’d want to retain them. You do this by sending them an email after a few weeks asking about their experience and offering additional tips for using the laptop. This leads to customer satisfaction and potential advocacy through
You don’t stop there because you want to make your customer a loyal fan. You continue to nurture the relationship through personalized emails and exclusive offers for repeat purchases. By providing an excellent customer journey, you turn a
As you can see, the customer journey is not just about making a sale; it’s about creating positive interactions and building
Why Is the Customer Journey Important?
Understanding your customer journey is crucial for the success of your business. Rather than aggressively promoting your products, you can effectively attract customers by guiding them through each stage of their journey.
Other benefits of customer journey include the following:
- Increased brand awareness and recognition: By providing a seamless and positive experience, customers are more likely to remember and recommend your brand to others. This leads to increased brand awareness and recognition.
- Differentiating your brand from competitors: In today’s competitive market, having a unique and positive customer journey can help differentiate your brand from competitors. This can give you a competitive edge and attract more customers.
- Increased customer lifetime value: By focusing on the retention and advocacy stages of the customer journey, you can increase the lifetime value of your customers. Loyal customers are more likely to make repeat purchases and recommend your brand to others, leading to increased revenue.
- Optimizing marketing strategies: The customer journey helps you understand which marketing channels are most effective at attracting potential customers and converting them into loyal fans.
We’ll show you how to accomplish this below.
What Is a Customer Journey Map?
A customer journey map is a visual representation of the steps your customers go through when interacting with your brand. This helps you understand and track the entire process from initial contact to purchase and beyond.
What Is Customer Journey Mapping?
Customer journey mapping involves creating visual representations of the entire customer journey, including various touchpoints where customers engage with your brand. Additionally, it entails understanding their emotions, behaviors, and motivations at different stages.
The goal of the customer journey mapping process is to gain a deep understanding of the customer’s experience so you can improve it at every step.
To create a customer journey map, you can use a customer journey map template or customize your own. Some key elements to include in a customer journey map are buyer personas, touchpoints, pain points, opportunities, and goals.
Customer personas are fictional representations of your target customers. They include demographic information, behaviors, motivations, and pain points.
Creating buyer personas helps you understand your customer’s needs and tailor your content to meet them.
Customer journey touchpoints are all the points at which a customer interacts with your brand. This includes both online and offline interactions such as social media, email marketing, customer service, etc.
Customer Pain Points
Pain points are obstacles or frustrations that customers can experience along the journey. These include anything from a slow website to poor customer service.
Opportunities are areas where your brand can improve and make the customer experience better. Identifying opportunities helps you prioritize your efforts and resources.
Goals represent what your customers hope to achieve at each stage of the customer journey. These can include finding a solution, getting their questions answered, or receiving support.
Best Practices for Mapping Your Customer Journey
If you haven’t created a customer journey map yet, now’s the time. Here are some best practices for mapping your customer’s journey:
Create Your Buyer Persona
Research and analyze your customers’ behaviors, motivations, and pain points. This is where buyer personas come in handy. A buyer persona is a fictional customer that represents your average customer’s demographics and psychographics. It helps align every aspect of your customer journey map with the right audience.
Identify Your Customers’ Needs and Touchpoints
To create a comprehensive map, identify all touchpoints where customers interact with your brand. Put yourself in their shoes and consider every possible way they could come across or engage with your business — both online and offline.
Discover Pain Points and Opportunities
Once touchpoints are identified, look for pain points and opportunities. Analyze customer feedback and complaints and use behavior analytics tools to find areas for improvement and a better experience. For instance, if there’s an influx of customer queries on social media with slow response times, focus on improving this area.
Document the Customer Journey
Map touchpoints to outline the customer journey. Start from awareness and document each step until loyalty is achieved. Include emotions, behaviors, and motivations at each stage for a clear understanding of customer needs.
Continuously Review and Improve
Understand that the customer journey is dynamic, so you must regularly review and improve the journey map. Conduct customer surveys, analyze data, and make necessary adjustments for a seamless experience.
Pay Attention to Customer Journey Analytics
Once you have created your customer journey map, it’s essential to track and analyze data to identify areas of improvement. Customer journey analytics can help you understand customer behavior, preferences, and pain points throughout the entire journey.
This step is crucial for finding the areas of improvement in your existing customer journey and for gaining a deeper understanding of the customer lifecycle. That’s why it’s worth expanding on this topic — so keep reading!
What Is Customer Journey Analytics?
We’ve already discussed the importance of regularly reviewing and improving your customer journey maps. That brings us to the next point — how do you know that it’s time to improve your customer journey map? That’s where the customer journey analytics comes in.
Customer journey analytics are a set of metrics and tools that help you track, measure, and optimize the customer journey. By analyzing customer data, such as website behavior, demographics, and purchase history, you can identify patterns and trends that shed light on how customers interact with your brand.
Customer Journey Metrics
Customer journey analytics encompasses a range of metrics that provide valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences. Some examples of these metrics include:
- conversion rates, which measure the proportion of visitors who take a desired action,
- bounce rates that indicate the percentage of visitors who leave a website after viewing only one page,
- time on page, which gauges the average duration visitors spend on a page,
- cart abandonment rate, which reflects the percentage of customers who add items to their cart but do not complete the purchase,
- customer lifetime value, which estimates the total revenue a customer generates over their entire relationship with a business,
- customer satisfaction scores that measure the level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction customers have with a product or service.
Collectively, these metrics contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the customer journey and help businesses optimize their strategies for better customer experiences and outcomes. By analyzing these metrics, you can identify areas where customers are dropping out of the journey and take action to improve those stages.
Customer Journey Analytics Tools
Similar to customer journey mapping tools, there are also various analytics tools available to help you track and analyze data related to the customer journey. Some popular options include:
- Google Analytics — This is a free web analytics tool that offers insights into website traffic and user behavior. It includes features such as conversion tracking, demographic segmentation, and goal setting.
- Kissmetrics — This tool focuses on providing insights into customer behavior and retention. It offers features such as cohort analysis, funnel reports, and A/B testing.
- Mixpanel — This is a popular user analytics tool that helps track user interactions with websites and apps. It’s primarily used for tracking customer behavior.
Also, don’t forget to make the most out of the tools you already use. For example, your email marketing platform reports might provide you with insights into customer engagement and interaction with your email campaigns. Your CRM software may also offer data on customer interactions throughout the sales process. As for your ecommerce platform, it can provide information on customer purchasing patterns and behaviors.
Implement Customer Journey Orchestration
Customer journey orchestration is the process of delivering personalized and consistent experiences to consumers across all customer touchpoints. After you create a roadmap of the ideal customer journey, you can then use automation and personalization tools to deliver that experience.
Some examples of customer journey orchestration tools include email marketing, retargeting ads, push notifications, and chatbots. These tools play a crucial role in providing a seamless and relevant experience at each stage of the customer journey.
Email marketing allows you to engage with customers directly through personalized messages, keeping them informed and connected. Retargeting ads help you
Push notifications enable you to deliver timely and targeted messages to customers’ devices, ensuring they stay updated with your latest offerings. Chatbots, on the other hand, provide instant assistance and support, enhancing the overall customer experience.
By leveraging these customer journey orchestration tools effectively, you can significantly increase the chances of conversion and foster
More Resources for Positive Customer Experience
In the Ecwid Blog, we have tons of helpful content for business owners, including our own Ecwid Ecommerce Show podcast. These resources can help you dive deeper into customer journey mapping and analytics, as well as other essential aspects of running a successful business. For example:
Customer Service Tools Every Business Needs
In this podcast, we discuss the top customer service tools that can help you build stronger relationships with customers and improve their overall experience with your brand.
Retaining Customers with a Smart Loyalty Program
Customer retention is an essential aspect of any successful business. In this podcast, we share ways to create a loyalty program that will keep customers coming back for more.
How to Increase Customer Loyalty With Email Marketing
In this blog post, we dive into the power of email marketing and how it can be used to drive sales and foster customer loyalty.
See all episodes of the Ecwid Ecommerce Show here.
Let’s Sum Up Creating a Customer Journey
Improving the customer journey in ecommerce is essential not only for closing more sales but also for building lasting relationships with customers.
You can attract and retain loyal customers by understanding the customer journey, creating customer journey maps, using customer journey analytics, orchestrating the customer journey, and optimizing each stage of the journey.
Let’s sum up some of the main points that we discussed above:
- Understanding the customer journey is crucial for optimizing ecommerce experiences and fostering lasting customer relationships.
- A customer journey map is a visual representation of the various stages a customer goes through interacting with a brand.
- Customer journey analytics is a set of metrics and tools for tracking, measuring, and optimizing the customer journey. Key metrics include conversion rates, bounce rates, time on page, cart abandonment rate, customer lifetime value, and customer satisfaction scores.
- Numerous analytics tools are available for tracking and analyzing customer journey data, such as Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, and Mixpanel.
- Customer journey orchestration involves delivering personalized and consistent experiences across all touchpoints. Tools essential in this process include email marketing, retargeting ads, push notifications, and chatbots.
Remember, the customer journey is not a
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