For your ecommerce business, you rely heavily on crafted content to communicate your brand, product value, and product availability. Each time you make a sale, your customers embark on a journey that takes them from the point of initial brand discovery to final purchase .
The modern customer has the freedom to choose from a wide variety of products and platforms to receive the items they need. Your ultimate goal is to guide them to your business and keep them coming back. To achieve this, focus on creating a streamlined customer’s journey within their overall customer experience.
What is a Customer Journey?
The Customer Journey refers to a decision making process that each customer undergoes when they engage in a marketplace. The specific customer journey will look different depending on the product that is being purchased and the platform through which the customer will finalize this purchase.
Despite the nuances of the customer journey, there are always three major processes involved:
- Awareness - the customer discovers a need for a product or service to solve an existing or anticipated issue.
- Consideration - the customer analyzes their issue and searches existing products and services for a resolution.
- Decision - the customer discovers a resolution, interacts with a business, and purchases a product or service.
No doubt, you have embarked on a customer journey countless times. You’ve most likely also established customer loyalty with a select few brands because they fulfill your unique needs. Keep these experiences in mind as we go forward.
Customer Journey Mapping
When it comes to your own unique business, you can anticipate and streamline the customer’s journey by mapping out the ways your customers will become aware of a problem, discover your brand, and make the decision to purchase your product.
Your first step is to establish a common customer profile and gather data about your intended demographic. You’ll need to be able to anticipate how they move through all three stages of the Customer Journey. Then, you can tailor your own business to meet their needs and deliver your product to them. The more data you collect, the better your user profile will be at mapping the Customer Journey.
In the Awareness step of the Customer’s Journey, you’ll want to identify crucial problem solving behaviors like how the customer finds information and what factors affect the way they prioritize the issue your product will solve. By identifying these, you can make sure you advertise on the right platforms and frame your products in an appealing manner.
In the Consideration step of the Customer’s Journey, you’ll be looking at how your specific customer weighs purchasing options and what potential competitors are offering. Answering these questions will allow you to make your products more visible and provide much-needed definition from your competition.
In the Decision step of the Customer’s Journey, you’ll be examining why a customer has chosen you and your products specifically, as well as what their expectations are surrounding your product. Discovering these factors will enable you to continue to offer quality products and more thoroughly tailor your ecommerce services.
The Customer Journey vs. the Customer Experience
Mapping out the Customer Journey is just one aspect of good Customer Experience, albeit an important one. In the Customer Journey, the customer moves through steps to make a purchase. In the Customer Experience, the customer has a relationship with your brand that isn’t always sale-focused.
The Customer Experience includes the activities and marketing that come before and after a sale, as well as the customer interactions that occur along the way. When you post on social media or reply to a customer’s praise of your quick delivery, you’re strengthening the Customer Experience. When you streamline your website for one-click ordering, you’re strengthening the Customer Journey.
Though the Customer Journey is integral to your success, nothing compares to the importance of the customer experience. The Customer Experience goes beyond transactions and utilizes elements such as touchpoints that help guide customers to your platforms and foster brand loyalty. Defining your customer’s perception of your brand and products is a major factor of Customer Experience as well.
Connecting the Customer’s Journey to the Customer Experience
Once you’ve identified your customer and anticipated the way they navigate through the Customer’s Journey, you’ll have the tools you need to develop a Customer Experience Strategy. The Customer Experience Strategy is simply the process or framework you use to tailor your business, website, or app to achieve a better customer experience.
You’ll use the information you collect in the Customer’s Journey to develop and deliver a better Customer Experience and enhance overall customer satisfaction. As the Customer’s Journey evolves through innovating your products and platforms, you’ll discover opportunities for growth. The ultimate goal is connecting the people you hope to serve with the products that you’re passionate about marketing.
Mapping the Customer’s Journey, understanding how it informs Customer Experience, and innovating accordingly will lead to loyal customers who advocate for your brand and propel your business.