No matter the size of your eCommerce business, the customer journey is critical to success. An effective customer journey map will help you improve engagement with customers and better understand their needs and wants.
In this article, we are going to break down customer journey maps so that you can get a grasp on just how important they are for your customer experience, and ultimately, the success of your eCommerce business.
What is a Customer Journey Map?
A customer journey map is a visual representation of the customer’s experience with your brand. It shows their steps from first engagement to purchase, and it can highlight any gaps or points of friction along that path.
It is a great way to better understand your customers, but it can also help you improve the quality of their experience with your brand. You can use this visual representation of your customer’s path to identify areas where they might get stuck or confused—and then figure out how to fix them.
A customer journey map is also known as an experience map or customer journey analysis. These terms are used interchangeably, but we’ll use “customer journey” in this guide because it’s more common in digital marketing and eCommerce circles.
Why Do You Need a Customer Journey Map?
Customer journey mapping is a strategic process that helps you understand how your customers interact with your brand. It helps you understand what they do and don’t like so that you can improve the way they experience your product or service.
The outcome of this process is a visual representation (a map) of your customer’s journey through the steps in their buying decision.
Customer Journey Mapping helps companies answer the following questions:
- How do customers make decisions about what to buy and from which provider?
- What triggers them to take action on our products or services?
- Which channels are used during each stage of the buying cycle?
- Who influences their purchasing decisions?
Customer Journey Mapping helps you understand what customers think about your product or service based on their experiences with it. As we mentioned, it also highlights where friction points exist for them, which can help you identify opportunities for improvement.
Using high-quality customer management software along with a detailed customer journey map can be a match made in heaven for companies trying to get deep insights into their customers.
Why is a Customer Journey Map Important for eCommerce Businesses?
The best way to understand the importance of a Customer Journey Map is to look at it from the customer’s perspective.
Imagine you’re shopping online for new shoes and accessories. You find a pair of shoes you like, so you add them to your cart and go through the checkout process. After submitting your information, it takes 10 minutes before you receive an email with a confirmation link; then another 10 minutes later, a second email arrives saying that your order has been processed, but there’s no tracking information available yet.
You wait another 20 minutes before calling customer service, which tells you that they’ll send out an email with tracking info as soon as possible (but can’t confirm when).
After another 30-minute wait—and still no email—you give up and go back to Amazon, where everything works smoothly!
This is a simplified example, but hopefully, it lets you get the idea. A customer journey map will help you identify where your customers are experiencing problems and how they feel while they’re on their journey.
It’s important to get customer journey mapping right when you are in the eCommerce space if you are serious about boosting conversions and customer retention.
So, to ensure you create a great customer journey map for your eCommerce business, we will share nine easy steps to follow. Let’s get started…
1. Start with Research and Data
Customer journey mapping is a great way to start understanding your customer. It’s a simple process that gives you the opportunity to identify your most common customer touchpoints and understand how those touchpoints fit together. Starting with research and data will build a strong foundation for your customer journey map.
Identify the most common customer touchpoints, like when they visit your website, when they begin their online search for products or services, where they go after visiting your site, and what drives them to purchase from you rather than another company.
You can do this through surveys or interviews with customers (whether in-person or through email). Define what success looks like for each stage of the journey map, as well as why someone would choose to use your business over others.
Finally, define clear roles within each stage of the journey map so that everyone knows who is responsible for what part of it!
2. Define the Goal of your Customer Journey Map
At this stage, you should have a clear idea of the key objectives of your customer journey map. These can include:
- Improving the customer experience and customer satisfaction
- Improving customer loyalty and encouraging positive customer feedback
- Enabling your brand to be more responsive to market trends and opportunities by providing you with real-time insights into consumer needs and wants, as well as their interactions with your products or services
When you have clear goals and objectives defined for your customer journey map, it becomes easier to understand where and how your customers interact with your brand, as well as their perceptions of those interactions.
You will also find it less challenging identifying opportunities to improve the customer experience, drive sales or increase retention by making data-driven decisions and optimizing your customer journey map accordingly, as it will be at the forefront of your goals.
In fact, currently, 88% of companies are prioritizing improving customer experience, as they understand the value it can bring when it is done correctly.
3. Define Clear Roles
You’ve got to define the roles of the people involved in the customer journey.
If you’re doing it alone, your role is easy: You are that customer. If you have a team, then think about what each member will do and how they’ll interact with customers at every point in the process. For example, if you need someone to talk to an unhappy customer on Twitter or Facebook (which we highly recommend), who will be responsible for that?
If you’re trying to figure out how to define your customer journey, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Who is my ideal customer?
- What can I do to help them achieve their goals?
- What steps does the process look like from this person’s perspective?
- What are their needs and requirements at every stage?
4. Identify the Most Common Customer Touchpoints
As you work through the process of mapping out your customer journey, it’s important to identify all of the touchpoints between your brand and your customers.
Touchpoints are any point of contact between a business and its customers. They can be physical, digital, or emotional in nature; internal or external to the company, at any stage in their experience with that business.
For example, a customer might engage with one of your ads on Facebook before purchasing from you over email.
The act of browsing your website to make their purchase is another example of a touchpoint (as well as being present in person at one of your brick-and-mortar stores). Or perhaps when they go home after making that purchase online and start thinking about how much money they spent on whatever it was–that’s yet another touchpoint!
Having a really clear understanding of your brand’s touchpoints is one of the most important steps in the process. After all, a customer journey map pretty much revolves around the touchpoints, so ensure you know them really well.
5. Organize the Touchpoints into a Timeline
Understanding the touchpoints of your customers is a great start, but now it’s time to get a little more in-depth. Consider the timeline of the touchpoints, so you can follow the journey (literally) of your customers.
This shouldn’t be too challenging, as the timeline will make chronological sense for the most part. For example, if someone is buying a watch from your website, they need to choose from your selection of watches before they add to the cart, and so on.
However, it may not be so simplistic all of the time. At the data collection stage, you may find out that customers, on average, check your website on three separate occasions before they add anything to their cart. These types of behaviors are really important to pick up on when putting the touchpoints into a timeline.
6. Create a visual representation of the customer journey map
Once you have outlined the steps in your customer journey, it is time to create a visual representation of this map. There are plenty of ways to do this, and there isn’t a right or wrong way to present your customer journey map.
Some examples include:
- A flowchart
- A mind map
- A bubble diagram
- An affinity diagram (sometimes called an org chart)
Items that are related via the same type of relationship should be placed close together in your visual representation. For example, if you have created an affinity diagram for people at different stages of the purchase funnel, then these people will be represented by bubbles within those groupings.
7. Include Emotions and Feelings
Your customer journey map should include the emotions and feelings your customers may experience during their interactions with your brand. This will help you to create a more personalized experience, which will ultimately lead to higher levels of customer loyalty.
Your goal is to make each step of the journey as seamless and painless as possible for them so that they don’t feel like anything is broken or missing. If you’re able to do that, then their experience will be all about them—not about you!
Don’t forget to think about how people feel when they engage with each touchpoint in the journey. Use words and phrases like “happy,” “confused,” and “frustrated.”
This will help you remember what emotions customers experienced throughout their interactions with your brand or product (examples include: “I love this app!”, “This checkout process is confusing!”, etc.).
8. Make Sure it is an Accurate Representation of Reality
The most important thing is to make sure that your customer journey map is an accurate representation of reality. This includes:
- Have the Right Data:
You need to be able to gather enough data to make sure that your customer journey map is accurate and not just based on assumptions. For example, if you ask customers why they bought a product, but then only analyze those who answered via phone call, you may be missing some valuable insights from those who opted for email or text message instead.
- Have the Right People Involved in Creating it:
When creating a customer journey map for your eCommerce business, there are usually several teams involved (including marketing and sales).
Each team needs different information about their customers’ habits so as not to overlap or contradict each other’s insights when creating the map together later on down the line; therefore, it’s important that everyone has access from day one because otherwise, this could lead them down different paths when trying come up with ideas during brainstorming sessions.
9. Review and Update Regularly
The journey map is meant to be a living document that reflects how your customers interact with your brand at any given time. It’s important to review it at least once a year to make sure the information in it is current, whether that means updating data, research, or insights based on new trends, or adding new technology if it has become available since you last updated the map.
If you even think of how different customers shop now compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, TikTok shopping and Instagram shops have become a norm, and behaviors like these would most definitely need to be reflected in your customer journey.
Using CRM software such as Creatio can help to make your team’s lives easier by coordinating customer journeys and thus accelerating the complete sales cycle.
Once you’ve created your customer journey map, you can use it to make informed decisions about how to improve your business. You’ll know exactly where customers are coming from and going, where they experience problems and frustrations, and how they feel while interacting with your brand. And once we know what makes a great customer journey map, it’s easy to create one!
If you would like to learn more about how the best CRM software can help your business build and manage high-quality customer journeys, make sure to check our reviews. We are happy to help!