Why understanding your customer journey in the Age of the Customer is critical for success

Digital Commerce
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Why understanding your customer journey in the Age of the Customer is critical for success

Online retailers face more competition than ever from the multitude of online competitors vying for a share of each customer’s wallet. With so many options so readily available, the convenience that online shoppers enjoy has become a challenge for retailers – the customer’s “switching cost” has become nonexistent. In other words, when every online store is just a click away, they all become interchangeable in the eyes of the customer.

This has caused retail models of the past to evaporate, and successful retail brands are constantly on the lookout for new ways to differentiate themselves from their competition. One way that successful retailers accomplish this is by tailoring their brand’s touchpoints to the tastes and preferences of their ideal audience.

Identifying your ideal customer personas is an important part of any modern retail strategy. It provides some important insights into the types of people who would be interested in buying your product. Taken on its own, however, simply knowing who to market your products to doesn’t provide a complete answer… it doesn’t provide much information on how these personas reach the decision to buy your product. For that, you need to map your customer journey.

In the same way that buyer personas provide an in-depth understanding of each type of potential customer, a customer journey provides a comprehensive map of the branching decisions that people make over the entire length of the customer lifecycle. Since different customer personas shop and browse differently, each customer’s journey will be different.

A complete customer journey begins with the customer’s initial interest in an item or contact with your brand, includes every touchpoint they could encounter decision pathway they could take, and extends beyond the actual product purchase, because delivery, after-sales service, and organic, word-of-mouth product endorsement are all important parts of the customer experience. Knowing the subtle ways in which shoppers meander through your world is crucial to reaching as many potential customers as possible and making the most of each touchpoint.

Creating a complete map of your user journey forces you to carefully consider each potential customer interaction, both deliberate and unplanned, and ask yourself what you can do to maximize the chances of guiding people closer and closer to conversion. As for customers that have completed their purchase, your goal changes to ensuring complete satisfaction, loyalty, and repeat business.

While you won’t find a single, one-size-fits-all solution that applies to all businesses (or even all products sold by the same business), the best way to map your customer journey is to ask what it would take at each touchpoint to convince a shopper to proceed to the next phase. The answer to this series of questions will give your brand’s user experience (UX) a clear and well-defined direction.

Visionet’s UX experts help map your organization’s customer journey to identify and create optimal customer experiences that enable you to meet aggressive revenue goals across digital channels. Our creative team provides expertise in UX, information architecture, and creative design that optimize your brand’s digital customer experience.

When combined with our eCommerce technology, digital strategy, and digital marketing services, Visionet UX can help you revitalize each facet of your global brand’s digital footprint. Please contact Visionet Systems to learn more.

AJ Leale
AJ Leale has worked at the forefront of e-commerce innovation, including early implementations of online stores for Ann Taylor, Brooks Brothers, PetSmart, Jockey, MSC Direct, and dozens of other leading brands. He has helped hundreds of retailers and manufacturers with digital commerce transformation, and his experience in unified commerce spans several e-commerce, order management, point of sale, and ERP systems.