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How to Create an Effective eCommerce Customer Journey Map

Statistics show 48% of shoppers abandon a brand’s website and move on to the competitor due to poor customer experience (CX). And 89% of consumers quit shopping from ecommerce sites after experiencing poor CX. The best way to solve this problem of high abandonment rate is to develop an effective customer journey map against your brand’s story that features desired CX. 

The goal here is not to explain every step that customers go through in the process, but to identify how they act or behave. Here are five effective steps to create an effective ecommerce customer journey:

1. Use Customer Perspective

To be effective, journey maps should reflect your customer perspective. This can be challenging to comprehend at the beginning. However, it helps you to step back from what has previously worked and allows you to step into your consumer’s mind. Storyboarding is one way to deepen your understanding of your customers and build empathy. Airbnb uses this method to consistently place customers at the heart of its strategy. Joe Gebbia, the company’s co-founder says storyboards bring words to life, showing things that words cannot. 

Airbnb_How to create an effective ecommerce customer journey mapping_Get Elastic
Source: Innovation Tactics

Buyer personas can also help with this a great deal because they enable you to narrow down to who your clients are and what they need. For instance, if you sell kids-wear online, you can have several buyer personas and a customer journey map can be developed for each. You may have a journey map for children-wear customers and another one for customers who buy toddler-wear. While both customer types are important to your business, both will take a different path; from the time they contact your business to the time they buy from you. One customer journey map doesn’t fit for all. 

2. Include Different Departments

The process of developing journey maps presents a great opportunity for people in different departments to work together. This is important because collecting customer-related information from each department ensures that customer frustration instances are not left out. In isolation, individual departments may appear to be doing well. Your marketing department could report improvements in customer retention rates, the accounting department could say revenue is increasing and sales are up, and the IT team may have optimized your ecommerce site for mobile devices. However, there will be a scope of improvement in each of these functions when you engage teams. Having representatives from these teams at the table when creating journey maps proves valuable in identifying flaws within your system. 

3. Analyze Consumer Behavior

report by McKinsey & Company found businesses that use behavioral insights generated from customer behavior data recorded 85% sales growth. In order to understand why your visitors take the actions they do, you need to monitor and understand how they behave on your ecommerce site.  While you may have information such as subscription rates, click rates and conversion rates readily available, you will need to go further and analyze customer behavior to know what sections of your site visitors spend more time. 

Google Analytics can be a useful tool when it comes to generating customer behavior flow reports. The information in such reports will be critical in enriching your journey map because it places you in your customers’ shoes (who navigate your ecommerce site). Effecting the necessary changes on your website can go a long way in improving conversions and boosting sales. 

4. Define the Stages 

Once you have a good understanding of your customers and have analyzed their behavior and received input from your team, it’s now time to map the stages in your customer’s journey.  There are several ways you can do this – you can use a whiteboard, a wall with sticky notes or computer software to generate the map. Whichever way you choose, brainstorm through the process as this enables you to put down your thoughts and develop better content. 

Before you start sketching your customer journey map, ensure that you are clear on how customers find your business – identify which channels will get them to your site. Also, determine the stages they will go through to complete a purchase. To identify the number of stages your journey map will have, imagine yourself going through the journey. What steps would you take before purchasing a product? Usually, a customer will go through five stages namely awareness, research, evaluation, purchase and after-sales. It is at your discretion to decide which of these five stages applies to your customer journey.

5. Establish Touchpoints and Actions 

Once the stages on your customer journey map have been clearly defined, you will need to establish what actions your customers will be required to take in every stage. To do this, identify customer touchpoints where your customers go as they navigate through your website. For instance, determine which pages they will go to and what products or information they will interact with. Some important touchpoints include emails, homepage, blog and landing pages. 

For example, reminder emails on cart abandonment can provide important touchpoints for your ecommerce business because that helps to increase conversions. Since you already know the products that your prospective customer is interested in, your focus should be on simplifying the process of completing the order. Boohoo, is an online fashion retailer that makes great use of cart abandonment emails. For each touchpoint, consider the actions that your customers will need to take and plot those on the journey map. 

LEGO has created a customer journey map that is more like the “experience wheel”. Designed in a simple yet interesting way, what it analyzes is the experience of the customer taking a flight to New York City. You may create these types of maps even when brainstorming or at the time of ideation. Look towards your product/service through the eyes of your customers. 

Lego_How to create an effective ecommerce customer journey mapping_Get Elastic
Source: Mind the Product

Lancome is another brand with a successful customer journey map. This kind of analysis helps in creating a successful marketing and communications strategy.

Lancome_How to create an effective ecommerce customer journey mapping_Get Elastic
Source: Wootric

Creating journey maps enables you to develop an in-depth understanding of how your customers make purchase decisions. These maps can serve as useful customer support tools in the sense that they highlight areas that your business should focus on enhancing your customer experience.

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