How to Create an E-commerce Customer Journey Map

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Creating an e-commerce customer journey map is a great way of putting yourself in your customers perspective to anticipate their needs and pain points.

These e-commerce customer journey maps help you acquire a better understanding of the customer experience and offer deep insight into the consumer's mindset at every step of the purchase.

The buying behaviour of a customer is one of the most essential parts of any business. Therefore, the process a customer goes through in purchasing a product from your store is essential in increasing conversion for your business.

An e-commerce customer journey map is a great way to analyze customer experience and identify any difficulties customers face that prevent them from making a purchase.

If you create your e-commerce customer journey well, it can help your business improve its customer experience and reputation.

In this article, we are going to be sharing how to successfully map out the e-commerce journey.

Table of Content

What is the e-commerce customer Journey?

Statistics to Prove the value of customer experience

Stages of the E-commerce Customer Journey

Why You Have To Build A Customer Journey Map?

How To Create Your E-commerce Customer Journey Map?

Visualizing Your E-commerce customer Journey Map

Tools for Creating an Effective E-commerce Customer Journey Map

How E-commerce Businesses Can Improve Their Customer Journey

Conclusion

What is the eCommerce customer journey?

e-commerce customer journey map
How to Create an E-commerce Customer Journey Map 7

The e-commerce journey refers to the entire experience a customer goes through to purchase a product from a business online. From the moment they are aware of the product to when they complete the purchase and reach out to customer support.

The goal of a customer journey map is to allow brands to see their business from their customer's perspectives. This way it makes it easier for you to identify the different actions a customer needs to take across each stage and how your business should respond to and facilitate them.

Additionally, a customer journey map can help your business to optimise the customer journey process by providing a highly personalised experience and gaining valuable insights into consumers' pain points across all your marketing channels and touchpoints and the ways to improve them.

Customer journeys usually involve many channels and platforms. This includes when they see a social media or Google Ad, read your blog, see testimonials or reviews.

Therefore, a comprehensive e-commerce journey map can help you target a prospect across multiple channels and also allow you to leverage data from your customer's activity.

An e-commerce customer journey should help answer the following question:

  • How do customers discover or find your business ?
  • What motivates a customer before making a purchase?
  • What lead to sales or abandonment?
  • At what stage in the customer journey are you losing customers?
  • Do customers reasearch or go for any of your competitors?
  • Do customers have a smooth user experience on your website?
  • How could you improve your customer user experience?

Statistics to Prove the value of customer experience

  • Statistics show that 48% of shoppers abandon a brand’s website for their competitors due to poor customer experience (CX).
  • Also, 89% of consumers quit shopping from e-commerce sites after experiencing poor CX.
  • Another statistics says that 80% of customers are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences.
  • Furthermore, companies with a customer experience mindset drive revenue 4-8% higher than the rest of their industries.
  • While 84% of companies that work to improve their customer experience report an increase in their revenue.
  • About 70% of Americans have spent more money to do business with a company that offers great service.
  • Also, 81% of companies view customer experience as a competitive differentiator
  • And 68% of customers say the service representative is key to a positive service experience.

Stages of the Ecommerce Customer Journey

E-commerce customer journey
Source: Hubspot

To map out an eCommerce customer journey, we need to understand each stage of the journey.

1. Awareness

The first stage of the e-commerce customer journey is awareness. At this stage, a potential customer is experiencing a problem. So he researches to understand the problem better and see if it has solutions.

The goal of the awareness stage is to get the attention of your potential customers and direct them to your website. This stage involves how you monitor your customer's interaction with your brand. A customer at this stage discovers who you are and what you have to offer.  It can be through an advertisement, a social media or blog post, search engines, website, word of mouth, or testimonies.

Therefore, you need to extend your website's visibility to customers to raise enough awareness and interest, urging them to find out more. As an e-commerce business, you may use Google Analytics to learn how the customer arrived on your site and their behaviours. Did they find you through search, social media posts, or ads? Understanding this will give you a better idea of their interests.

2. Consideration

In the consideration stage, potential customers are now researching ways to solve their problems. The customer may find something that interests them from your website. At this point, the buyer is considering purchasing a specific item on your website that can solve their problem but also weighing other options.

For example, a graphics designer is looking for a laptop that can successfully operate the latest version of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. The customer journey could begin with a problem, for example, his laptop is outdated or malfunctioning which has hindered him from performing his graphics design project. In contrast, it could start with an opportunity, like a tempting advert that sparks the customer’s interest in the new laptop, let's say an ad showing a discount of 30% off a laptop that can successfully operate Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator software. The customer might consider going for it.

The goal of this stage is to make sure your e-commerce website is leveraging all strategies by auditing the e-commerce customer experience to ensure that browsing customers are turned into paying customers.

3. Decision

At this stage, the customer starts to narrow down their options on what to purchase. Here a potential customer may be converted into an actual one as long as you can make them see that your product is what they need.

You can leverage other aspects of your business to help the customer make a purchase. It can include 24/7 customer support or an optimized checkout process or a discount and a warranty on the product. You can also provide a sense of urgency if they have added the item in the cart but are yet to pay.

Apart from the above, this is where they learn what makes your product unique and different from that of the competitor and why it is the best for them. It is important to have more different touchpoints to help you communicate effectively to your audience. It might be through your videos, images, infographics testimonials, and reviews. Just what will resonate with the customer to help them make the purchase.

4. Retention

When a customer purchases at your store you are happy and satisfied. But when they return to buy more is even more satisfying. This means they are satisfied with the customer experience and have an interesting customer journey. This leads to brand loyalty because they will first look at your site before others.  It isn’t only cheaper to retain customers but also brings more revenue in return. Research shows that the cost for acquiring new customers is 5 to 25 times that of retaining an existing customer.

However, not every business can reach this stage because it takes hard work to keep up with that standard. For example, after a customer buys your product or uses your services, their experience and decision to use or buy your service or product respectively depends on the quality of your product and customer service.

If the customer does not have a great experience with your brand, they will not patronize you a second time and may even go as far as leaving negative reviews on your site, and telling their friends and families about their poor experience.

Furthermore, you can use the retargeting strategy so that your products show up for them online.

5. Advocacy

This stage involves customers who are already familiar with your brand and are loyal. They often interact with your business through various channels like social media, webinars, websites, or blog posts. They share your post on their social media platforms and tell their friends and families about your business.

Through their testimonials and reviews, most of these customers can also become potential buyers. And research shows that 95% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase. And 94% of consumers believe that positive reviews make them more likely to buy from a business. Therefore, having positive reviews from loyal customers can increase your engagement level and ultimately generate sales.

Why You Have To Build A Customer Journey Map?

Every day customers are searching for something new online, they want an amazing, memorable experience. The best way to ensure that you give your customers an amazing experience is to create an e-commerce customer journey map to understand the entire process each customer goes through when buying a product.

Essentially a customer journey map should do the following;

1. Help show how customers views your business

A customer journey map can help your e-commerce business by allowing you to step into the shoes of your customers and see how they are interacting. This can help you make adjustments that will help you create better service for them.

2. Helps understand customer needs and pain points

When you build a customer journey map, you create a well-detailed that will uncover a range of needs and pain points throughout the whole customer journey. Therefore as you update your map regularly, you begin to discover new pain points as you go.

3. Help set more realistic goals

A good customer journey map can help your business set more actionable and realistic goals through the data you might have collected. The information that you collected through data and other empirical methods gives you an idea of what makes your business grow and develop. This can give you an insight into what type of goal you should set for your business.

4. Helps Understand your customer's needs

Knowing and understanding your customer's needs is another important reason for building a customer journey map. Knowing what your customer needs, how they think, knowing what they like and don't like can help you create the best possible customer journey.

This enables you to create content and touchpoints that are currently missing at certain stages of your buyer lifecycle. 

5. Helps create a smooth experience

A customer journey map will create a smooth experience for your c customers throughout their purchasing journey and remove any obstacles in the buying process Remove friction and obstacles in the buying process

How To Create Your Ecommerce Customer Journey Map?

istockphoto 898988912 612x612 1
Customer journey map, the process of the customer buying decision, a road map of customer experience flat vector concept with icons: Image Source: Pixabay

There is no official template to build your e-commerce customer journey map. It depends on your business, product, or services. Therefore you can explore and be creative when creating your e-commerce customer journey map.

However, there are some basic things you need to do before starting

1. Set your goals

Before you start building your customer journey map, you need to first identify what you want to achieve from the process. Identifying them would make it easier for you to choose the most effective ways to target your audience.

You need to ask yourself if your business wants to:

  • increase conversion and overall sales of the online store;
  • discover customers painpoint and problems in a given scope of the journey;
  • brainstorm the solutions for discovered problems
  • reduce the number of refunds
  • increase the number of reviews

The goal here is to track your progress and define the scope of the area you want to map.

2. Define customer personas

e-commerce customer journey
How to Create an E-commerce Customer Journey Map 8

To better understand your customer, you need to develop a customer persona to get into the shoes of your customers so you understand how they behave. According to Oberlo, a buyer persona is a fact-based representation of the person who will spend money with you. This profile is created through market research and collecting online data about your existing buyers. A customer persona helps you visualize what your ideal online customer is likely to experience while shopping on your website. 

Characteristics to be considered when creating a customer personae include demographics, lifestyle, behaviour patterns, motivations, information sources, and shopping preferences.

You can use tools like Google Analytics, to collect feedback from buyers with surveys and questionnaires. Note that personas have to be based on real data.

Then you need to combine their traits into numerous specific personas with memorable characteristics, even a name. The closer the personas are to the customer segment they represent, the higher chance you can improve the shopping experience for them in real life.

3. Identify Touchpoints for Each Stage

E-commerce customer journey
Source: Survey Monkey

It is very important to highlight every possible way that a customer might interact with your business at every stage of the customer journey.

A touchpoint to anytime a customer comes into contact with your brand before, during, or after they purchase from your store

Various touchpoints can include:

Before purchase

  • Word-of-mouth and referrals.
  • Social media channels
  • testimonials and reviesw
  • Advertisement

During Purchase

  • Store
  • website
  • Promotions
  • Catalogue
  • phone system

After Purchase

  • Customer support
  • Transactional email
  • Follow-ups
  • Marketing email
  • Thank you cards

The goal here is to put yourself in the customer's position and try asking yourself the following questions:

I have a problem (I want a new laptop to design graphics)?

“Where do I go and how do I get there to find a solution to this problem?

I find the right laptop that can operate Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator?

I’m making my purchase decision?

I reach out to the business for support after the purchase?

I make my next purchase for similar products?

You can also use Google Analytics for identifying the most popular parts of your site. Make use of the Behaviour Flow and Goal Flow reports to see how prospective customers are moving between different touchpoints and which flows are the most common.

4. Identify the pain points

You have created your customer avatar and identified your touchpoints, it's time to identify various pain points.

To do this, you need to put yourself in your customer's shoes and try to be empathetic with your customer’s emotions while going through their journey.

You need to ask yourself the following:

  • What is my customer thinking and feeling at each stage
  • What questions do they have about your products?
  • What is stopping them from buying your product?
  • What is the motivation behind them checking out your website?
  • How is my business fulfilling the customer’s goals? 
  • What are their needs, expectations, and concerns for each of those points
  • What is the motivation behind them checking out your website?

When you get into the mind of a customer, you will be able to come up with strategies to improve your customer service processes from the beginning to the end.

5. Analyze and Improve your customer experience

After you have identified your touchpoints and pain points, you can now use that to improve your customer experience

To do this, you have to put yourself in your customer’s shoes while going through their journey. for example, What is the motivation behind them checking out your website? What questions do they have about your products? What is stopping them from buying your product?

To ensure an effective user experience, you have to address each pain points like website speed, payment options, difficulty when contacting customer support etc.

Optimizing your website for mobile devices can also guarantee an awesome user experience.

When you consider all these, you would be able to create an e-commerce journey map that will improve the customer experience.

 

Visualizing Your Ecommerce customer Journey Map

After you have defined your goals and customers, identified various touchpoints and pain points, you can start visualizing your customer journey. To do this you have to rely on the data you have collated like identifying the stages your customers go through when interacting with your business, their goals, pain points etc.

Here is an example of an e-commerce customer journey Map

An e-commerce customer journey map of a graphics designer

User Journy map image 2
Image Source:Statusbrew

Tools for Creating an Effective E-commerce Customer Journey Map

Building an e-commerce customer journey map is important to cater to the unique touchpoint and goals of your business.

Below are some of the tools that can help you develop an e-commerce customer journey map of tools that can help you create an effective e-commerce customer journey map

Venngage

Lucidchart

Uxpressia

Smaply

Nielsen Group

Hubspot

Clarabridge

How Ecommerce Business Can Improve Their Customer Journey

Successfully mapping out the e-customer journey is one thing, but knowing how to improve them to deliver an awesome customer experience journey is another thing.

Note that the e-commerce journey does not end with your map, it has to be constantly updated because as you advance in your business new pain points and touchpoints are being discovered. Knowing how to improve your customer journey is very important for your customers to keep coming back.

1. Create touchpoints at every stage of the journey.

Touchpoints are anywhere your customers are interacting with your business. which can include reviews, testimonials, Ads, blog posts, etc.

Each touchpoint you create serves a specific purpose at each stage and its process in ensuring a smooth customer journey throughout the journey. Each touchpoint serves a purpose and plays its part in optimizing the overall customer journey. Therefore, having multiple touchpoints that correspond with their respective stages is essential.

2. Ensure your Website is well Optimized

This is one of the most important factors you have to consider as an e-commerce business. Having a website that is well optimized for every device( mobile desktop, tablets ), is really important to ensure a smooth customer experience.

You can use Google’s free testing tool to check if your website is well optimized or you can do it manually by accessing your website via different devices.

An app also can be created to complement your website. Make sure the app is unique and offers what the website does not.

3. Initiate a responsive and 24/7 customer support.

In this situation, you don't wait for problems to occur or your customers to call you. You must think forward and anticipate the problem they might encounter at that particular stage of the journey and provide answers and solutions that will keep your customers satisfied.

You can do a video of some FAQ about your business and put it on your social media channel and youtube channels. To get this FAQ, you can ask customers to give their feedback or conduct a survey.

4. Frequently Collect And Analyze Data

Data can give you insight into the behaviour of your customers. Collecting data on customer behaviour via surveys, polls, social media platforms, and emails can help your e-commerce business create a better customer experience and generate more sales.

Conclusion

Managing customer relationships is one of the most important elements an e-commerce business has to take seriously. Understanding the customer journey is one thing, but managing and updating your map regularly is another task entirely.

Therefore, you must be consistent and make sure you provide an effective and uniform positive customer experience throughout every journey.

Make sure your e-commerce store is accessible and helpful across various channels, platforms, and touchpoints where your customers interact with you. 

Opeyemi Olagokehttps://woculus.com/
Olagoke Opeyemi Dare is a writer, digital marketer, and researcher with over 2 years of experience as a researcher. He is currently an intern at Spark Connect where he focuses on the fundamentals of digital marketing, social media marketing, and copywriting. He has written different articles and papers for various blogs and academic research projects respectively.

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