Customer Journey Map

A customer journey map is a way from the appearance of the need for the consumption of your product. It's crucial to realize that the journey doesn't start from the interaction with your website, store, salesman, etc. This is the consequence. The journey begins with the emergence of the need for your product.

Let's imagine you own a jewelry shop. It seems to you that the journey begins with the a-woman-decided-to-buy-earrings moment. She comes to your shop and presents a discount voucher. How has she got hold of this voucher? It means that there was someone who had failed to choose a gift for this woman and gave her the voucher. Perhaps, the customer journey starts with the moment when a man has no idea for a present for his woman?

Have a look at the example of a customer journey of Starbucks. It starts with the moment when someone gets the idea of drinking coffee in the office; then, they discuss with their friends where they are going to drink coffee, drive, park their car, enter the cafe, wait in the line, and so on.

The customer journey is somehow similar to the sales funnel but on a global scale. It can be calculated for years. A funnel is a small part of your business, and the client's journey is a more scaled task.

Let's investigate how to analyze the customer journey in your business. I'm going to describe a client's journey for an online kids clothing/shoe store. This example won't be a very detailed one as for now it's important to get the concept of such an approach.
Anton Viborniy
First, we have to track the starting points of your clients' journeys. The more points, the better. You need at least 5-10 of them.
  1. A mother notices a particular product owned by other children, in photos on the Internet, or in some other place. At this moment, there appears the need and desire to find out more about this product.
  2. She starts asking her friends about the product or googling examples.
  3. She forgets about this product.
  4. She notices the product again and starts wanting it.
  5. She looks for the places where to buy it.
  6. She visits the website.
  7. She finds the product card.
  8. She studies the characteristics.
  9. She compares the product with the competitors' offers.
  10. She returns to your website.
  11. She leaves an application.
  12. A manager's call.
  13. Payment.
  14. Product delivered.
  15. Product consumed.
  16. Sharing the story about consuming the product.
  17. Repeated purchase.
This list may be even longer. I mentioned the first ones that have come to my mind.

Determining the major stages of the customer journey

Determining the client's feelings and actions during these stages

Having identified the major stages of the customer journey, we need to understand the way clients perceive these stages: what they feel, what they see, hear, what good things and bad things are happening, and how you can improve the latter ones. The best way is not envisioning but observing people's actions. If you ask people, "What would you want? What would you do in this situation?," they will lie to you.

Like in the most famous quote attributed to Henry Ford: "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."

Stage 1. The client notices a particular product owned by other children

What they feel: Interest, care about their child. Visual satisfaction and desire to possess this product.

What they see: Other children having this product.

What is bad: The clothes worn by other children may be dirty and fail to draw the attention of other potential buyers. A future client may pay no attention to new goods worn by other children.
The owner of the product may fail to tell of it and inspire curiosity among others and desire to possess the goods.

What can be done: Come up with a reason why the mother of the child wearing the product would say to another mother, "We have some new clothes. How do you like them?" (If you design only this step, the money you're going to receive will double.)

Stage 2. They start asking their friends about the product or googling examples

What they feel: Interest and occasional search fatigue. Disappointment caused by the inability to find the product at once.

What they see: Lots of other offers.

What is bad: It's hard to understand where and what to look for. The customer may come across your competitors. There are many similar offers. The client was searching for a certain product but ended up buying something different.

What can be done: Come up with the idea of how googling can be avoided and provide direct visit of the online store from the smartphone right after the information was received on the playground. Give promo codes to product owners so that they share the information about it through the grapevine.

Stage 3. The customer forgets about this product

What they feel: Get distracted by other things. Various feelings are possible.

What they see: Other offers from different areas.

What is bad: They forget about the product and might never think of it again.

What can be done: Show retargeted ads following the keywords.

Stage 4. The client notices the product again

What they feel: The need for the product. They realize how good it is and start longing for it.

What they see: The advantages of the product.

What is bad: There is no chance of remembering the website where this product can be purchased right away. They have to search for it again. They might come across your competitors.

What can be done: Send emails reminding of the goods. The client should remember immediately that they can buy this product from your website and there is no need for any alternatives on the Internet.

Stage 5. They look for the places where to buy it

What they feel: Excitement about the future purchase, the anticipation of satisfaction. They might get angry after searching for a long time, due to the absence of any information, feel irritated about inconvenient websites of your competitors, etc.

What is bad: They go to the competitors.

What can be done: Remind of yourself through emails, develop a user-friendly website and product descriptions where everything is understandable.

Stage 6. They find the product card

What they feel: Anger after searching for the product for a long time. Puzzled by the price, product availability, absence of product characteristics, etc.

What they see: Small pictures. Few pictures. A bewildering interface.

What is bad: Everything is incomprehensible. An inconvenient website interface, lots of categories and unnecessary goods.

What can be done: Send out relevant emails getting rid of the need for navigating the entire website structure. Improve the usability and design of the website. Increase the website loading speed, implement additional navigation widgets that will show the previously viewed items and encourage the visitor to make a purchase.

Stage 7. They study the characteristics

What they feel: Confusion about the product and desire to compare it to other goods. They ponder on the price and value. Have doubts about the purchase.

What they see: Few product characteristics, have no idea about its availability.

What is bad: No video reviews and detailed descriptions. A high price. The customer is not entirely sure they really need the product.

What can be done: Add comments, make a video review, launch a pop-up with a discount if the customer visits a page several times. Improve the usability of the product card.

Stage 8. They compare the product with the competitors' offers

What they feel: Opportunity to find a similar product for less money.

What they see: Other websites.

What is bad: The client may buy goods from your competitors.

What can be done: Send out triggered emails, tune up retargeting. Anchor the customer's attention. Make them quit the idea of visiting other websites.

Stage 9. They return to your website

What they feel: That they have already looked here but failed to find anything.

What they see: Your website through the lens of other websites they've visited. Is your website good or bad when compared to others?

What is bad: Your website may appear to be worse than those of your competitors.

What can be done: Work on the usability. Add "You're back" pop-ups.

Stage 10. They leave an application

What they feel: Anticipation and need for the product, interest.

What they see: Your website or other goods. They may also go to your competitors.

What is bad: They are waiting.

What can be done: Improve the speed of the answer to the application, draw the client's attention to something before the manager calls. After the application, display useful content related to the product and keep the customer engaged until the manager's call. Enable payment without the manager.

Stage 11. A manager's call

What they feel: Sympathy or antipathy for the person's voice and accent. Subconscious analysis of linguistic intelligence.

What they see: They'd rather look at the product under discussion.

What is bad: No physical contact. The user needs to talk to a manager. The manager's competency, speed of responding to applications.

What can be done: Introduce funnel automation and start selling without managers. Develop scripts for managers. Come up with good content marketing to let the customer get answers through video reviews and articles and not through managers.

Stage 12. Payment

What they feel: Unrest and doubts.

What they see: User-friendly or puzzling payment system interface. Beautiful or ugly design. Feel that they might be deceived. Need support.

What is bad: They may get distracted and fail to finish the payment process.

What can be done: Obtain the banking details by selling tripwire and thus win trust before selling the main product. Provide convenient payment by several methods. Provide a video tutorial for payment. Add comments to the payment page.

Stage 13. Product delivered

What they feel: Anticipation and anger if the delivery is delayed.

What they see: The focus of attention disappears.

What is bad: The focus of attention disappears.

What can be done: Improve logistics, provide content on the use of the product during the delivery period to retain the focus of attention.

Stage 14. Product consumed

What they feel: Joy.

What they see: The product itself. (Here you can design catchy packaging, etc. For example, MacBook: the packaging brings out emotions even before you try using the device.)

What is bad: Everything depends on the product. You can't see the moment of product consumption.

What can be done: Make constant improvements to the product itself. Provide instructions on the efficient consumption of the goods.

Stage 15. Sharing the story about the product and your store with friends (this stage determines the success of your business)

What they feel: Joy or anger.

What they see: Other potential users of the goods.

What is bad: They might tell about the drawbacks of the product and dissuade others from buying it.

What can be done: Come up with ready-made stories, share them through content marketing, and get people to retell these ready-made stories to others.

Stage 16. Repeated purchase (the key stage)

What they feel: Trust and loyalty to the brand.

What they see: Revisit the website.

What is bad: Might not buy again.

What can be done: Marketing automation for constant sales stimulation. Create a chain of emails after selling the product. Create separate chains with cross-selling of other goods.

With this example, I chose not to dive into the essence of the processes but only showed the methods of how to do it. If you've got the gist, you might notice that at certain stages of the map you'll have serious holes. Your task is to find the hole that makes you lose too many leads, which they buy from your competitors.

It's crucial to be self-critical and take an unbiased look at what works well and what works bad. If your website is far from being user-friendly, you should be honest with yourself and quit inventing excuses about ignorant clients.