More than ever emotions are more likely to drive digital sales, an opportunity for brands to reanalyse consumer behaviour and user experience.

What is a customer journey map, and why do you need one

“Do you want to find out why customer journey mapping is so valuable for your business? To put it simply – if it’s not already a part of your eCommerce strategy, you’re most likely losing out on sales.”

An eCommerce customer journey map clarifies and develops crucial parts of the customer journey. It allows you to sit in the shoes of your buyers so you can improve every aspect of how they experience your business as a whole. What to expect from our article: 

  1. What is a customer journey map?
  2. Why is customer journey mapping important?
  3. Types of customer journey maps
  4. How to create a realistic customer journey map for eCommerce
  5. What next after creating my simple customer journey map?

What is a customer journey map?

To clarify, the term “customer journey” refers to the sum-total of the experiences that each customer has with your eCommerce brand. And these interactions can be split up into 4 main stages: 

  1. Awareness – customers experience and express symptoms of a problem/opportunity, and they are researching their issues 
  2. Consideration – customers are researching specific products, services and methods to solve their issues
  3. Decision (or Acquisition) – customers are narrowing down their list to the top products and services they want to buy (here, you must understand their touchpoints so you can clearly communicate what makes you unique) 
  4. Retention – customers buy your products, and their decision to buy again from you relies on the product quality and customer service (here you can consider retargeting marketing and social media advertising) 

A simple customer journey map is a visual representation of all the possible experiences your perfect target persona could have with your eCommerce store. They consist of start-to-end experiences that result in a purchase, or they can be one-off interactions that won’t go any further. 

Why is customer journey mapping important?

Making a customer journey map is a vital part of your eCommerce strategy, as it helps improve your customer experience in a very effective way. Check out our blog on the difference between Customer Experience and User Experience for more valuable insights. 

Having an eCommerce customer journey map can look like stepping into your customers’ shoes whilst charting all the possible experiences they could have with your products and services. You will be able to impersonate their profiles, account for their various pain points, goals and objections. 

Once you do this, you can map out all your eCommerce touchpoints and link them to different stages of the overall customer journey planning process. 

Consumer Behaviour Analysis

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The more touchpoints you have, the more complicated it gets, however, each touchpoint is very important. One slip from an external force can cause a potential customer to either progress or regress in their journey, as the wrong message at the wrong time can force people to flee. On the other hand, matching your offerings to the right customer journey stage with your personal brand’s touch works like magic every time!

Types of customer journey maps

eCommerce customer journey maps can look similar, but they all have small differences depending on their end goal. There are 3 main types: 

  1. Current state journey maps

They are used to understand the way buyers interact with your business right now to prevent customers from leaving dissatisfied. They are a great method of tailoring every part of your customers’ experience from start to end. 

  1. Future state journey maps

They focus on how buyers might act under certain circumstances, and they are designed to predict and create ideal processes for them. Most likely, you will come across them when measuring sales processes and upgrading your marketing strategy. 

  1. Day in the life journey maps 

They are created to enhance the sales process and profile customers whilst focusing on their demographics to establish a clear picture of their behaviour when relating to your offerings. In case your focus lies in customer retention, these types of maps are true gems!

How to create a realistic customer journey map for eCommerce

Where do you start, and what do you need to consider when thinking about how to map customer journeys? 

1. Perspective 

Rule number 1 – detach from your professional role and start the process as if you were your everyday customer. Pick a product or service you offer and use various keywords to search for them and see what comes up (this is also a great opportunity to see if your keyword research strategy is paying off or not!). 

Take notes on how the various customer touchpoints feel and how the experience of visiting your eCommerce website unfolds. Whilst doing so, you will see if your efforts are in line with your target personas.

2. Research & Analyse

You could organise a focus group with your main demographic targets, where you pick one of your products or services and ask the group to find and buy that item online. 

Observe and record how they find the item, what paths they take and what outcomes are unfolding. Take a look at all the available data about customer interactions with your eCommerce website and social media pages. Our favourite way of analysing customer’s behaviour and interactions with our client’s websites is through our eCommerce consumer behaviour analysis process. Our software can unpack human behaviour thanks to facial expression analysis and eye-tracking, which can be easily combined with online surveying. We then take all the data and information found and use it to make informed decisions to increase CRO and UX. Getting into the mind of your buyers is so valuable for your online sales – and with our brand new eCommerce service, it’s never been more simple! 

3. Define Stages & Goals

Once you understand how customers interact with your business and how various touchpoints perform, you can start creating clear stages (the ones we talked about in the beginning – awareness, consideration, decision and retention). This is why (once again) you need to find your target persona from the very beginning so you can identify the unique stages that people will go through. 

Now start brainstorming what are your customer’s goals, needs, desires and pain points for each general stage of the customer journey map. Don’t shy away from getting your hands dirty when collecting data! Direct customer feedback is invaluable. Get to know people’s emotions along with their reasoning for purchasing or not from you. Go ahead and ask people what emotional experiences they seek when interacting with your eCommerce brand. Write down: 

  • Goals – What is the customer’s ultimate goal? What is it they want to achieve?
  • Emotional response – What parts of the process make the customer happy or unhappy?
  • Pain points – What things cause issues for the customer, and would they like to see improvements? 

4. Identify Touchpoints

Ensure you outline all potential touchpoints for each stage and not just for your website experience! Ignoring social media channels or other types of interactions will lead to an incomplete customer journey map. 

Take into account all of the following: 

  • Word-of-mouth 
  • Outbound marketing channels: online ads, awareness campaigns, offline advertising
  • Inbound marketing: content (like blogs), SEO results, organic social media campaigns
  • Social media channels
  • Customer support
  • Website
  • Apps
  • Email
  • Packaging and delivery 

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Alongside touchpoints, identify all the unique sequences or paths customers may take. Ask yourself – which actions do people take after clicking on a Google Ad as opposed to an Instagram Ad, for example? To find out the most common touchpoints your customers have, check Google Analytics, especially the “Behaviour Flow” and “Goal Flow” reports. 

5. Identify Key Truths

When making a customer journey map for eCommerce, the moments of truth occur when people make an important decision such as buying. Usually, there is at least one moment of truth associated with each stage of your customer journey, and the most important ones look like this: 

  • Discovery – when a prospective customer decides to engage with your brand for the first time
  • Purchase – when a customer buys something
  • Experience – when a customer uses your product and forms an overall impression of your brand and service
  • Loyalty – when a customer decides to re-engage with your brand and become a repeat buyer 

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Knowing how to develop an effective content marketing strategy at each moment of truth will encourage people to move along your customer journey map much faster.

Consumer Behaviour Analysis

6. Visualize it

By now, you should have plenty of information that tells you how your customers’ experiences look like. Now it’s time to simplify it by creating a clear visual that is easy to digest and understand. 

Take a look at HubSpot’s free customer journey map templates and start brainstorming your next successful map along with your marketing teams! A great idea would be to dedicate teams for each touchpoint type, such as social media, email marketing, website, etc. 

7. Analyse & Fix Gaps 

Now that you have a great eCommerce customer journey map with all the touchpoints and pain points, it’s time to analyse the gaps. For example, a simplified one-page checkout may be the solution if your customers leave their cart because of a very complicated checkout process. 

Or, if someone doesn’t get to the end of your articles, maybe it’s time to find out how to write a blog post that converts. To achieve the best results, we always recommend carrying out A/B testing for conversion rate optimisation purposes. Make sure to highlight the most problematic areas on your customer journey map and prioritise them. Rank all of them according to the impact improvements could have on your overall customer journey. 

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Pinpoint all the moments in which people are experiencing strong emotions! These are amazing opportunities to form stable relationships and nudge customers towards purchasing. Tailor all your content and CTAs to best meet their needs or leverage positive emotions. 

Check out these 10 examples of customer journey maps which differ in their form, details level and approach for some quick inspiration.  

What next after creating my simple customer journey map?

Customer behaviour is always changing, so you can’t settle with only one map and hope it will work forever! First of all, you must understand what is a customer journey map and then keep working on it every couple of months to ensure you are always ready to provide your potential buyers with a smooth shopping experience. Aim to be consistent and give the same positive customer experience throughout the whole customer journey map for your eCommerce business. Your online store has to be as accessible as your physical store – that applies to every channel, platform, and touchpoint where your customers interact with you. 

If you want to increase your eCommerce conversion rates and find out where’s best to invest your time and money to get real results, book your FREE Consumer Behaviour Analysis Consultation with us. With Lnet Digital by your side, all your digital marketing will be expertly taken care of so you can focus on what you love!