Many understand the customer journey as an activity of going through the product page, buying an item, and finally using the product upon delivery. But, only if it were that simple! In this channel-less customer experience world, the eCommerce customer journey until a successful purchase might pose to be an uphill battle for a business.
Getting from point A to point B for an eCommerce purchase is not a linear process, as anyone may presume. It can include anything from hearing about the brand to exploring the product, discussing the specs with the customer service executives, reading through the reviews, navigating through checkout, and the welcome back experience.
These are the customer journey touchpoints that contribute towards convincing a customer to make a purchase. And, the corresponding customer experience management across each of these touchpoints is the driving factor towards a purchasing decision.
73% of all people point to customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions – PWC
In this era, where consumers demand an omnichannel experience and seamless traction, overseeing their journey with the brand becomes essential. And, this is possible with eCommerce customer journey mapping, without which you will be strolling the street blindfolded.
It is much like acting as a shadow of your customers to understand things from their perspective. Moving one step ahead, these customer journey maps also play a vital role in fostering digital transformation, which, in a way, is about catering to the changing customer expectations.
Yet again, all this narrows down to — How do you map your customers’ journeys? Before we answer that, let’s understand what is customer journey mapping all about.
What is Customer Journey Mapping?
Imagine a beautiful road with no speed breakers, no traffic, no pedestrians to block the way – what an ideal scenario for a long ride down the road. What if your customers experience the same seamless journey when interacting with the digital commerce interface?
And, this is where eCommerce customer journey maps come into the picture.
Customer journey maps can be referred to as visual representations (hypothetical/real-time) of every experience a customer has with your interface. This holistic view can help gather a lot of important data about both the delights and disappointments that the customers experience.
These eCommerce journey maps are about surveying the entire pathway to the customer’s destination and mending all the cracks that you encounter on the way.
What are the Benefits of Customer Journey Mapping?
Without customer journey maps, the gap between the customers and the retail brands will continue to persist.
The experience and expectation gap in the retail industry is around 21% – PWC
The aim of customer journey mapping is to ensure that your customers have a seamless and consistent experience at all touchpoints. It boils down to the ability to understand the customers and build ongoing communication with them across marketing channels.
Here’s how it can help your teams deliver better customer experience:
- For a Designer – Customer journey maps help designers figure out the limitations in the eCommerce website design. The visitor’s retention rate and interaction time help understand their likeability towards the design.
- For a Customer Experience Manager – They get an idea about how the visitors move through the sales funnel. In case there are any bad experiences or breakpoints in the flow of actions, they can be detected and fixed for a good eCommerce experience.
Key Components of Customer Journey Map in eCommerce Setup
There is no point living in the “You know nothing, John Snow” phase when you can actually know a lot about your customers. To begin with, here are the five components that answer how to create a customer journey map.
1. Buyer Personas
The buyer personas are profiles of your visitors/customers that hold their source to the information buried in your databases. Creating them might seem an unnecessary task, but it is truly what will offer value in the long run.
While creating these buyer personas, remember to categorize them based on the following dimensions:
- Demographic Dimension – This explains who the buyer is based on the persona’s location, gender, age, income, or even their marital status.
- Psychographic Dimension – This part explains as to why the persona wants to buy from you. It largely covers the spending habits, needs, their social media presence, and expectations from the brand.
Both these dimensions together help in creating a buyer persona that holds true information about your existing and new customers.
This part highlights the expectations of the buyer personas when they interact with your website. What are they looking for? How do they expect the interface to look? How do they expect the interface to respond?
3. Journey Stages
These cover all the stages a user passes through when interacting with the eCommerce website. In the context of your eCommerce business, these stages could include – discovery, navigation, analysis, buying, support, and return.
4. Mindset and Emotions
What the visitor does and feels when interacting with your eCommerce platform needs to be analyzed too. Are they optimistic? What perception do they have about your brand? Are they feeling angry, excited, or frustrated with the experience?
The insights that you gather from the earlier steps point towards the opportunities that it creates for you to make things better. It is more about how you plan to move forward with all the new information at hand.
Here’s a customer journey map template that covers all the five components discussed above.
And, while creating these eCommerce customer journey maps, do contemplate on how to make the user experience design valuable at each step of the journey.
We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better – Jeff Bezos
Analytical Approach to Customer Journey Mapping
You can easily find customer journey mapping tools that help you improve your customer experience with analytics. These data analytics tools can do everything – Where does the customer belong to? How much time did they spend on the website? What made them leave? What page were your customers on when they abandoned you?
Google Analytics, for instance, could prove to be helpful here. Another tool BrandMentions helps you track the number of times your eCommerce brand was mentioned on any of the trending social media platforms. Where the positive mentions can motivate you, the negative ones could be your chance to make things better.
What to Consider When Creating Customer Journey Maps
It might seem to be a difficult task to include all user groups in your customer journey model. Millions of customers, thousands of personas, and hundreds of minutes. So, how do you know all your customers?
Here are some tips and tricks that could help you down the line.
- Create a customer journey framework for the primary customers, i.e., your target audience. This is possible by researching your target groups well.
- Leverage the power of CRMs to enhance the customer experience. They can greatly help streamline sales processes.
- Do not adopt the hit-and-trial approach by presuming to read the minds of your customers. Do involve your real customers.
- Pick up the weak points from the eCommerce customer journey maps and try to optimize the customer journey. Because personal touch ranks above all when attracting loyal customers.
- Do not rely on one buyer persona alone. Like, David may have a different objective, and Leena might have another. You need to have separate maps for both as both falls under a diverse target group altogether.
eCommerce customer journey mapping can act as a reality check for businesses that fail to realize the shortcomings in their customer experience. With these revelations and the implemented solutions, you can be sure of offering a customer experience that mirrors your brand promise.
Customer journey maps offer a win-win situation, where customers get to experience a flawless journey, and businesses get to see a startling conversion rate. Moreover, as more offline stores are moving online and vice-versa, customer journey maps become even more important to offer an omnichannel experience throughout.
Mapping customer journeys is indeed the first step towards diminishing flaws and fostering your brand’s relationship with the customers.