When you’re researching 2022 customer experience trends and exploring how to stay innovative in your eCommerce business, you need to understand more than ever the customer journey. A customer journey map is something any eCommerce business should have because it helps you get into the minds of your customer.
You may think that you’re addressing their wants and needs, but with a customer journey map, you could identify new preferences, technology, and buying trends that can create significant positive changes in your business.
The Customer Journey
A customer journey is a story of your users and how they act when they visit your website. If you formally document your customer journey, you’re creating a map of the behavioral scenarios that could occur using available and existing data.
A customer journey template is a way to formalize the behaviors.
These templates are a marketing tool that anyone can create fairly easily.
It’s important to understand every customer’s experience at each stage of their journey to make necessary long-term improvements. You can start to visualize how a customer might feel at each touchpoint. Then, you can reduce friction or issues, improve customer retention, and have data that allows you to make informed decisions for your business.
Customer journey maps can be a visual storyline of the engagements customers have with a product, service, or brand. When creating a journey map, you’re going straight into the mind of a customer. This helps you understand their needs, perceptions, and processes.
You lay out each touchpoint a customer may have from first hearing about you through advertising or social media, for example. Then, the map includes the direct interactions they have with your brand. These interactions might include your website, products, or your support team. From there, a map has all the actions a customer takes to complete a given objective across a certain period of time.
To design a customer journey map, there’s no right or wrong way to do it, but some of the steps you might want to take include:
- Create buyer personas. These are fictional characters, but based on data, research, and what you know about your current customers, it represents the average person buying from you. You imagine as specifically as you can what this person’s age and job function might be, their personal goals, and more. Then you can put yourself into the shoes of this person to develop their journey. You can have multiple personas to represent different segments of your audience.
- From there, decide what to measure based on what you want to achieve.
- Organize your map with touchpoints and the stages of the journey. A touchpoint is any time your customer interacts with your brand. This could be advertisements on social media or Google all the way through to someone on your team sending them a thank-you note as a follow-up after a purchase. Each time customers engage with your brand, there’s an action behind it that’s goal-driven.
- When people are creating maps for the customer journey, they’ll usually make a simple graphic. This can be based on a combination of anecdotal and analytical data and research. The graphic should show when a customer gets frustrated or stops interacting. With a map, you might, for example, uncover that slow loading times are the issue on your site, and that’s where the average customer starts to experience friction and frustration with your brand. Another example is the failed checkout. Your customer might not get the right card number, or they feel like your checkout experience is too complicated and takes up too much time.
The customer journey isn’t often linear. Buyers tend to go back and forth in their journey, and it often involves multiple channels. That’s why you might need to experiment to find the methods that are going to work best to visualize the journeys of your customers.
Significant milestones in the buying process, along with user actions and pain points, also include emotions. Think about how a customer feels at every stage and whether these are likely negative or positive emotions. The final element of a customer journey map is solutions. You work with your team to come up with how you can improve the buying process, reducing the pain points of your customers and increasing the positive emotions they experience.
Finally, you might take the customer journey yourself once you map it out. This is how you’re going to be able to best analyze your results and start to make improvements.