Should “customer journey” be part of your eCommerce vocabulary?
Absolutely! Customer journey mapping can help you learn how people behave when they visit your website, what you can do to improve their experience, and how to increase sales while encouraging repeat purchases.
So what is a customer journey anyway?
“A customer journey map tells the story of the customer’s experience: from initial contact, through the process of engagement and into a long-term relationship.”
Just like any other kind of story, the customer journey has a beginning, middle, and an end. Sometimes it’s also referred to as the sales funnel. Though there are many models of what a customer journey looks like, most include some variation of these phases:
This phase refers to customers who haven’t made a purchase yet. They could have looked at your website, clicked on some products, or even added some items to their cart.
This phase looks at customers who are either seriously considering making a purchase or have already made one.
This phase involves turning customers into repeat purchasers, maybe even making them advocates for your store.
There are many different ways to define the customer journey. A bit later in this blog post we will look at a version with five phases. But first, let's unpack why this is so important for you and your eCommerce business.
Why should you care about the Customer Journey?
Image via: superoffice
Every customer goes through a lifecycle with a brand, starting with even just being aware that a company exists. If things go well, that customer may eventually become a regular customer, or even an advocate for your business.
By tracking where customers exist on this cycle, it allows you to promote and grow your business strategically. By separating your customers into different stages, you are able to visualize them as different groups with individual wants, needs, and interests.
It’s also an excellent way to highlight strengths and opportunities within your sales funnel, and make the most out of your marketing efforts by making sure the right people receive the right message at the right time.
In a nutshell, customer journey mapping can help you:
- Move people through your sales funnel
- Increase engagement
- Target the right customer with the right promotion
- Drive conversions and repeat purchases
- Build trust and brand loyalty
Let’s look at some examples of "customer journey" focused promotions:
Can you guess which stage of the customer journey this would speak to? These kind of offers are appealing to customers who are just discovering your business or thinking about making their first purchase. On the other hand, if you send this to someone who is already a regular customer, it will quickly find its way to the recycling bin.
Here’s a different kind of offer:
Promotions like this work well for turning existing customers into repeat purchasers, or advocates for your brand. On the other hand, if someone has only looked at your store once, they likely won't be interested in signing up for a membership or rewards program.
As you can see, knowing which customers are on which stage of the customer journey can be very useful when coming up with the right promotional strategy.
What are you waiting for? If you haven’t started customer mapping now is the time. Let’s look at some different approaches for creating your very own customer journey map.
Customer journey mapping 101
The customer journey will look a little bit different for every business. Here are three steps for creating your own customer journey map.
Step 1: Do your Research
There are two types of research you can conduct when building your customer journey profiles: analytical and anecdotal.
Analytical research refers to analytics that are quantifiable, such as how much time people spend on your website, how many times people have clicked on a link, or the conversion rate of a web banner.
Anecdotal research is sometimes trickier to conduct, as it relies on personal testimony and uses informal gathering methods. Social media can be a great way to gauge the general attitude of your customers. You can also try putting out surveys or trying to get customers to fill out a quiz.
Step 2: Identify customer touchpoints
A touchpoint is anywhere that people interact with your brand. Common touchpoints include ads, your website or social media pages, or brick-and-mortar store locations, as well as when customers receive your product in the mail, and re-engagement tactics like follow up emails and surveys.
Try to identify any obstacles or opportunities at each touchpoint so that you can build a strategy that moves customers smoothly through your sales funnel.
Step 3: Create a map
Now that you’ve done your research, and analyzed the various touchpoints, strengths, and opportunities in your customer journey, the final step is to create a visual map.
If you aren’t a graphic designer, we recommend getting one to help you out. In addition to being visually appealing, you want your customer journey map to be clear, concise, and easy to read, so that anyone you work with will be able to understand and articulate your business goals and opportunities.
Your customer journey map should have somewhere between 3-5 categories, each with sub-tactics or descriptions that tell the story of how your business operates.
Here's an example:
Image via: childforallseasons
Notice how this map breaks out the different stages of the customer journey, as well as highlighting different touch points, strengths, and opportunities? As you can see, customer journey mapping can be a very useful tool for articulating the goals of your business and planning successful marketing campaigns.
At this point, you might be excitedly scribbling down the first draft of your very own customer journey map — or maybe you’re thinking, “this seems like a lot of work.”
Fair enough. Depending on the size and scale of your business, you may not need something this intricate. However, that doesn’t mean that customer journey mapping has no place in your small to medium sized eCommerce business. Let’s look at an easier way.
An easy way to track customer journeys
Here's an easy and effective way that you can start gathering data and building your customer journey map today, with just two apps.
The first app is called Bold Brain and it’s free!
If you use Shopify, you may have already heard about or tried our Bold suite of eCommerce apps. They are easy to install and integrate right into your store, giving you access to a diverse toolbelt of functionality you can use to sell more or manage your eCommerce business.
Add the Power of AI to your Shopify Store
What if you could tell what your customers were thinking, and the kinds of promotions they would like, by tracking their activity right on your store? Sounds pretty great, right?
For years, companies like Amazon have used this kind of technology to track the way we behave on their site and try to get us to buy more.
You’ve probably seen something like this before:
Don't worry, an employee at Amazon isn't literally watching your browse the web, then updating the page in real time with recommendations. That would be a little intense!
These are called smart recommendations, meaning, the site automatically generates them based on your browsing activity.
Bold Brain works the same way. All you have to do is turn it on, and it will gather information, integrate with your other apps, and make suggestions that are tailored to your customers interests.
This app is used to create rewards programs, offer V.I.P. promotions, manage referral programs, and more.
But that's not all.
Now, when combined with Brain, Loyalty Points is able to track each customer's journey, right in the dashboard of your Shopify store. That’s right, you don’t even need to hire a designer to create a fancy infographic. Working together, these apps will segment your customers into different stages of the customer journey for you.
Bold Loyalty Points breaks your customers into five carefully thought out segmentations. These include:
Awareness - have just looking around.
Consideration - have browsed products, added items to cart, or subscribed to your mailing list.
Acquisition - have made a purchase.
Retention - have completed more than one order or redeemed loyalty points.
Advocacy - have referred other customers, or shared or tweeted on social.
Once you install and activate Loyalty Points and Brain, your store will automatically start grouping your customers into these five stages. As Brain tracks your customers behavior on your store, it will begin to populate each stage of the customer journey with analytics, just like this:
Look at all that data!
Not only does this allow you to see how many customers are in each stage of the sales funnel. it also shows you the audience value, number of orders, and other key sales metrics that you can use to run marketing campaigns.
The app also integrates easily with Mailchimp, so you can run segmented email marketing campaigns to each customer segmentation.
Imagine how it will make your customers feel when an offer shows up in their email inbox that is tailored to their individual wants, needs, and interests!
Embrace the future of eCommerce
You can start tracking your customers journeys on your eCommerce store today.
Head to the Shopify App Store and try out the Bold Loyalty Points App, then integrate with Bold Brain for free. We hope you found this blog post helpful. Leave a comment below and let us know about your favorite customer journey mapping strategies!