From Discovery to Purchase: An Introduction to eCommerce Customer Journey + Map

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“Amazing things will happen when you listen to the consumer.”

Jonathan Midenhall, CMO at Airbnb

The success of any eCommerce business hinges on understanding the customer journey – from the moment of discovery to the final purchase. 

But what is the customer journey and how do you map it?

If you’re looking for answers to these questions, then look no further.

In this article, we will explore the intricacies of the eCommerce customer journey and provide you with steps to comprehensively map out the customer journey on your eCommerce store.

But before we dive into the details let’s understand what eCommerce customer journey really means!

What is the eCommerce Customer Journey?

The eCommerce customer journey refers to the process and series of steps that a customer goes through from the moment they become aware of your brand to the point of making a purchase. It encompasses all the touchpoints and interactions between the customer and your eCommerce business, both online and offline.

Understanding the eCommerce customer journey is crucial for eCommerce businesses because it allows you to gain insights into the customer’s behavior, needs, and preferences at each stage of their journey. By mapping out the customer journey and analyzing the various touchpoints, you can identify opportunities for improvement, personalize the customer experience, and ultimately increase conversions and sales.

The Stages of the eCommerce Customer Journey

The eCommerce customer journey can be broken down into four main stages:

Awareness

In this stage, potential customers become aware of your brand and offerings. They may come across your brand through various channels such as advertisements, social media, search engines, or recommendations from friends. The goal is to capture their attention and introduce them to your brand.

Consideration: 

Once customers are aware of your brand, they enter the consideration stage. Here, they actively research and evaluate their options. Customers compare products, read reviews, seek recommendations, and assess the value and benefits your brand provides. It is crucial to provide relevant and helpful information during this stage to influence their decision-making process.

Purchase: 

The purchase stage is where customers make a decision and complete a transaction with your brand. They have decided to purchase your product or service based on their research and consideration. This stage involves the actual transaction, such as adding items to the cart, providing payment information, and completing the checkout process. It is essential to make the purchasing process seamless and secure to encourage conversions.

Retention: 

After the purchase, the focus shifts to customer retention. The retention stage aims to build customer loyalty and encourage repeat purchases. Providing a positive post-purchase experience is crucial. This includes timely order fulfillment, excellent customer support, personalized communication, and a smooth return or exchange process. By delivering a great experience, you increase the chances of customers coming back for future purchases.

Advocacy: 

The advocacy stage goes beyond retaining customers; it aims to turn them into brand advocates. Satisfied customers who have had a positive experience with your brand are more likely to recommend your products or services to others. They become your advocates by sharing positive reviews, testimonials, and referrals. Encouraging and nurturing these brand advocates can help attract new customers and strengthen your brand’s reputation.

By understanding and optimizing each stage of the eCommerce customer journey, you can attract new customers, influence their decision-making process, drive conversions, foster loyalty, and benefit from positive word-of-mouth marketing.

Why is Understanding the eCommerce Customer Journey Important?

Understanding the eCommerce customer journey is crucial for several reasons:

  • Personalization

By understanding the customer journey, you can personalize the customer experience at each stage. This can include targeted advertisements, personalized product recommendations, and tailored messaging.

  • Identifying Pain Points

By mapping out the customer journey, you can identify any pain points or obstacles that may be preventing customers from making a purchase. This could be a confusing checkout process, slow shipping times, or a lack of product information.

  • Improving the Customer Experience

With a better understanding of the customer journey, you can make improvements to the customer experience. This could include streamlining the checkout process, offering faster shipping options, or providing more detailed product descriptions.

  • Increasing Conversions and Sales

Ultimately, understanding the customer journey can lead to increased conversions and sales. By addressing pain points and improving the customer experience, you can make it easier for customers to make a purchase, leading to more sales for your business.

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How to map your eCommerce Customer Journey?

A customer journey map is a visual representation of the stages and touchpoints a customer goes through when interacting with your brand. It helps you understand the customer experience and identify areas for improvement.

Here’s how you can create an eCommerce customer journey map for your business:

Step 1: Define Your Buyer Persona

Before you can map out the customer journey, you need to understand who your target audience is. This is where creating a buyer persona comes in. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer, including their demographics, interests, and pain points. You can use Hubspot’s Make My Persona Tool for free. Whether it’s B2B or B2C, it will help you create an eCommerce buyer persona easily.

Step 2: Identify Touchpoints

Next, you’ll want to identify all the touchpoints a customer has with your brand. This can include your website, social media channels, email marketing, and more. Make a list of all the touchpoints and the stages of the customer journey they fall under.

Step 3: Map Out the Journey

Using your buyer persona and touchpoints, you can now map out the customer journey. This can be done in a visual format, such as a flowchart or a spreadsheet. Start with the discovery stage and map out each touchpoint a customer may encounter until they make a purchase.

You can download use the map below:-

Step 4: Identify Pain Points

As you map out the customer journey, pay attention to any pain points or obstacles that may arise. These could be anything from slow website loading times, bad post-purchase, inaccurate website tracking, broken website experience,  and low conversion rates to a lack of product information on their product page. 

Make note of these pain points and the stage of the customer journey they occur in.

Step 5: Analyze and optimize

Once you have your customer journey map, it’s time to analyze and optimize it. Look for areas where you can improve the customer experience, such as streamlining the checkout process or providing more detailed product information.

You can also use customer feedback and data to identify any pain points or areas for improvement. Continuously monitoring and optimizing your customer journey map will help you provide a better experience for your customers and increase conversions.

Examples of how your favorite brands make sense of the eCommerce Customer Journey Map

Sure! Here are a few real-world examples of companies that have effectively used customer journey maps to improve their customer experience, personalization, conversion, and sales:-

Starbucks uses customer journey maps to understand the entire customer experience, from the moment a customer enters a store to the post-purchase follow-up. By mapping out each touchpoint and identifying pain points, Starbucks has been able to streamline its ordering process, create personalized recommendations, and enhance its loyalty program.

Airbnb uses customer journey maps to understand the needs and expectations of their guests at every stage of their travel experience. By analyzing customer feedback and behavior, they have been able to improve their website usability, provide better search filters, and offer personalized recommendations for accommodations and experiences.

Disney is known for creating magical experiences for their guests, and they achieve this by using customer journey maps. They have mapped out the entire guest experience, from planning a trip to leaving the theme park. By understanding the emotions and desires of their guests at each touchpoint, Disney is able to create a seamless and unforgettable experience.

Uber uses customer journey maps to understand the needs and pain points of both riders and drivers. By analyzing data and feedback, they have made improvements to their app interface, optimized pickup and drop-off processes, and implemented safety features to enhance the overall ride experience.

These are just a few examples of how companies have used customer journey maps to improve their customer experience. By mapping out the customer journey, identifying pain points, and taking action to address those pain points, companies can create a more seamless and personalized experience for their customers.

Conclusion

I guess by now you must have understood how important it is to have the customer journey on your eCommerce store mapped out.

It not only helps you understand the purchase flow in-depth but also helps identify drop-off points that you can use to improve their journey from discovery to purchase. 

By placing emphasis on customer satisfaction and personalization, you can enhance conversions and sales, fostering long-term loyalty and advocacy.

If you’re feel confident enough to map out your customer journey after reading this article, GREAT!

But in case you’re not sure where to start, you can use our 150+ point website audit to hit the ground running.

Don’t worry, you won’t have to pay much, it’s absolutely FREE.

I hope this article was helpful!

See you in the next one.

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