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How to Create Customer Journey Maps That Convert in 2024

How to Create Customer Journey Maps That Convert in 2024

In this day and age of customer experience, succeeding as an eCommerce business entails way more than just having the finest products on display in your online storefront.

Without understanding precisely what your customers expect and desire at every touchpoint in their buyer’s journey, you'll stay far from achieving optimal sales.

But you can’t get inside the customers’ minds, can you?

Plus, with the average cart abandonment rate hovering around 70% across industries, how can you lessen the hurt from the fact that the bulk of your almost-customers spent quite some time adding products to their cart only to close the tab and leave? How can you shorten a prospect’s path from being a visitor to a customer?

Creating a customer journey map helps with all this. Essentially, a customer journey map gives you a better grasp of your customer’s experience across the various touchpoints in their buyer’s journey, thus helping you optimize your cart conversions and revenue.

Keep reading to learn the what, why, and how of creating the perfect customer journey map.

What Is a Customer Journey Map?

Today, knowing how to create a customer journey map has become the beating heart of any successful ecommerce strategy. It's like having a GPS for your customers' needs and desires, guiding them smoothly from the first 'Hello' to the final 'Thank you for your purchase.' It's not just about pinpointing where your customers are now, but also predicting where they might be heading next.

With the digital landscape evolving faster than you can say 'conversion rate optimization,' customer journey mapping is more critical than ever. It's the one tool your ecommerce business can't afford to overlook if you're keen on turning those virtual window shoppers into loyal, cart-checking-out customers.

Overall, a customer journey map is a compact visual representation of a customer’s overall experience with your eCommerce brand. It helps you look at your business, content, and processes through the customer’s eyes, so you can visualize their shopping experience as they move through the different stages of your sales funnel.

There are several types of customer journey maps, including:

Current State Mapping

The most commonly used journey map format, current state maps help you visualize the actions your customers presently undertake and the emotions they experience while engaging with your eCommerce brand.

Here's what they look like:

Future State Mapping

Once you have a current state map, you can consider visualizing what an ideal customer journey would look like if you filled the gaps at suboptimal customer touchpoints. Unlike current state maps, future state maps are focused on your business’s vision and long-term strategic goals.

Here's what they look like:

Day in the Life Mapping

Cue “Every Breath You Take” because this journey map gives you a chronological visual representation of the customer’s journey in their day-to-day activities (with or without your company’s involvement). These maps can help identify unmet customer needs and give you fuel for new marketing campaigns.

Here's what they look like:

Why You Should Create a Journey Map

It’s rarely as simple as a customer becoming aware of a product you offer, visiting its product page, and making a successful purchase.

People tend to be indecisive, and the typical customer journey isn’t linear from point A to point B — rather, it’s a cyclical, multi-channel trek.

With customer expectations at all-time highs, your end-to-end brand experience needs to be seamlessly connected across channels and teams, so customers can pick up where they left off and move toward a sale.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of creating a customer journey map:

  • Better understand how customers feel about your brand and what they expect
  • Increase customer engagement across the funnel
  • Remove or improve ineffective touchpoints
  • Tailor your marketing campaigns to specific buyer personas
  • Target new customer segments
  • Make your customer-facing teams more proactive
  • Boost customer retention rate
  • Inculcate a customer-first mindset across all teams

According to recent Salesforce research, 76% of customers expect consistent interactions across departments. What’s more, 66% of customers expect brands to understand their unique needs, yet another 66% say they’re usually treated like numbers.

So, in short, if you wish to empathize with and exceed the modern customer’s growing expectations — and not make them feel like mere numbers — creating a customer journey map is certainly a worthwhile investment of your time.

Setting the Stage for a Converting Customer Journey Map

Setting the foundation for a successful, converting customer journey map starts with establishing clear objectives that align with your marketing goals. Think of these objectives like the destination you're typing into your GPS—without it, you wouldn't know which direction to start driving.

Your goals may range from increasing customer retention, driving more repeat purchases, boosting average order value, or simply enhancing the overall customer experience.

Setting SMART Goals for Your Customer Journey Map

Before diving into the mapping process, you need to set SMART goals - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These goals guide your journey mapping and directly influence its design and outcomes.

  • Specific: Your goals should be straight to the point and clear. Instead of saying, “I want to enhance the customer experience,” try, "I want to reduce customer queries about product usage by 15% by improving the product description and FAQ section on the website."
  • Measurable: A measurable goal could be, "Increase customer retention rate by 20% in the next quarter." This gives you a clear target to hit and lets you measure your progress through concrete data.
  • Achievable: Make sure your goals are within reach considering your resources. If you're a small online bookstore, you can't expect to outdo Amazon in terms of sales in a year. An achievable goal might be to "Increase quarterly sales by 10%."
  • Relevant: Ensure your goals align with your overall business strategy. If your focus is on customer acquisition, your goal might be to "Increase website traffic by 15% in the next two months."
  • Time-bound: Goals should have a timeline to create a sense of urgency and motivate your team. An example of a time-bound goal could be, "Decrease shopping cart abandonment rate by 25% in the next six months."

Having a well-defined SMART goal doesn't just provide direction, but it gives you a concrete measure of success. It becomes your yardstick to measure the effectiveness of your customer journey map. If the objective is to increase customer engagement, for instance, you'll be monitoring actions like email open rates, click-through rates, and time spent on your website.

This alignment of objectives with your marketing goals also ensures that every step of the customer journey is purposeful and valuable. It allows you to create touchpoints that guide your customers toward the desired actions that align with these goals.

Comprehensive Research for Informed Mapping

Before you can even think about drawing a doodle—let alone a fully-fledged map—you gotta roll up your sleeves and dig deep into research! You see, understanding your customers is the heart and soul of knowing how to create a customer journey map. It's like detective work—only your clues are data points, and your perp is a more profitable business model.

You've got a few tools at your disposal to help you get the job done. Customer surveys and feedback forms such as post-purchase surveys are like your trusty magnifying glass, bringing the details into focus.

Then, you have your analytics platforms. They're like your sniffer dogs, tracking the faintest hint of customer behavior. Triple Pixel, powered by our proprietary Total Impact Attribution Model, allows you to track customer interactions across channels, devices, and teams. With the Triple Pixel, customer journey mapping becomes more accurate and data-driven.

Learn More The Triple Pixel Today For More Accurate Customer Journey Mapping

Don't forget about your sales and customer service teams. They're your informants on the street, always ready with insight into the customer's wants, needs, and expectations. And of course, social media is a goldmine of information, offering unfiltered commentary on what your customers love and loathe about your brand.

But the secret sauce? That's how you use the data. You gotta combine all these sources to get a 360-degree view of your customers. Look for patterns and trends—those are your smoking guns. Once you've gathered all your evidence, you can start to visualize the customer journey, pinpointing where your business is nailing it and where it needs a little more TLC.

Crafting Personas for Targeted Journey Maps

Creating detailed customer personas is like crafting characters for your favorite sitcom – each with their own quirks, preferences, and tendencies. These personas play a crucial role in developing more personalized, targeted customer journey maps. They help you to understand who your customers are, what they want, and how they interact with your brand.

Crafting these personas isn’t just about guessing who your customer is, it's a precision art. Think of it like baking - you need the right ingredients, in the right quantities, mixed in the right way. The main ingredient? Your research data.

Detailing Customer Segments and Behaviors

Start by segmenting your customers based on demographics like age, location, and income. Then, delve deeper. Look at behavioral data like purchase history, browsing habits, and customer feedback. What products do they gravitate towards? Do they abandon their shopping cart often? What complaints or compliments do they have?

Next, try to understand their psychographics - their interests, values, and attitudes. Social media can be a treasure trove for this. Do they engage with sustainability content on Instagram? Are they leaving rave reviews for tech-savvy products?

Finally, bind all these insights together to create distinct customer personas. Each persona should tell a story, capturing the essence of a segment of your audience. Remember, these personas aren’t static – they should evolve as you continue learning about your customers.

By knowing your 'characters' inside out, you can design a customer journey map that truly resonates with them. It’s like writing a script that’s tailored to each character, ensuring they have a memorable experience in each episode with your brand.

Outlining Key Stages and Milestones

Alright, let's break it down! The customer lifecycle journey isn't a straight line—it's more like a winding road with a few pit stops along the way. Think of it as a road trip where the destination is customer loyalty.

  1. Awareness: This is the "Oh, hey there!" stage. It's when potential customers first stumble upon your brand, whether through social media, search engines, or a good ol' word-of-mouth recommendation.
  2. Consideration: At this point, customers are like, "Hmm, interesting. Let's see what else is on offer." They're checking out your products, comparing them to competitors, and reading reviews. It's all about posting your brand as the rock star solution to their needs.
  3. Purchase: Here’s where they take the plunge! The customer decides you're the best fit for them and makes a purchase. But remember, a sale isn’t just about a transaction, it's the beginning of a relationship.
  4. Retention: This is the "Hey, come back soon!" stage. You’ve got to keep your customers engaged with email campaigns, personalized offers, and stellar customer service. The goal is to turn a one-off purchase into a repeat visit.
  5. Loyalty: The final destination! Your customers are now your biggest fans. They keep coming back, they're raving about you to their friends, and they're even defending your brand in the comments section.

Now, let’s chat about those crucial milestones, or as I like to call them, the 'make-or-break moments'. These are key actions or behaviors that signal a potential conversion.

For example, when a customer signs up for your newsletter, adds an item to their cart, or even spends a certain amount of time on your website. Recognizing these milestones helps you to intervene at the right time with the right message, making that road trip to loyalty a whole lot smoother.

What Does a Customer Journey Map Include?

Before you dive head first into creating your eCommerce customer journey map, you must gather some intel about your potential and existing customers.

Here are a few things you might add to your customer journey map:

  • The buying process. The typical path you intend your customers to take to reach their goals, including all the major milestones in the customer journey (such as Facebook ads, your Amazon listing, etc.)
  • Customer actions. What does the customer do at every stage of their journey? They may check product reviews, get a friend’s opinion, save products to their wishlist, etc. Add these various actions to your map.
  • Emotions. As the adage goes, people buy on emotion and justify with logic. No matter what they’re buying, customers are feeling some emotion (excitement, anxiety, etc.), and adding these to your map can help minimize negative sentiments about your brand.
  • Pain points. These are any issues or inconveniences that stir negative emotions in the customer. Including these helps identify the stage of the funnel where things are going wrong and deduce the reason why.
  • Solutions. Some potential ways to enhance your buying process so customers can easily find what they want and checkout seamlessly.

Essentially, you want to include as many touchpoints (instances where customers can form an opinion of your business) as you can in your customer journey map to unravel more opportunities for improvement in the buyer’s journey.

How to create a customer journey map

With the what and why of customer journey mapping clear, let’s dive into the steps involved in creating a useful customer journey map.

Step 1. Set a Goal for Your Map

What is the exact purpose of your map? Without setting a clear objecting behind its creation, it may not have a tangible impact on your customer experience and bottom line.

Identify the audience segment you’re mapping the journey for. Don’t group too many segments into one — be specific about who you’re creating the map for.

Work with your customer-facing team members who touch different areas of customer experience, such as social media marketers and customer service reps. To set a SMART goal, gather their unique perspectives and insights about different areas of your current customer journey, where you can make improvements, and how you will measure those improvements.

Based on this, build a buyer persona — a fictitious ideal customer profile with all of their demographics and psychographics listed out. A clear persona helps you orient every aspect of your journey map towards customers. To create an accurate persona, the next step is to...

Step 2. Ask Customers About Their Buying Journey and Motivations

What better way to learn about your customers than to profile them directly?

Here are some methods and sources to get insights from your current and prospective customers:

  • Questionnaires
  • Website user testing
  • NPS email surveys (post-purchase and newsletter subscribers)
  • Customer interviews
  • Social media polls
  • Customer support data logs
  • On-site user behavior and analytics (using tools like Hotjar and Google Analytics)

And here are a few valuable questions you can ask:

  • How did you get to know about our brand?
  • How easy or difficult did you find our website to use?
  • Did you face any issues in the checkout?
  • What was the deciding factor for your purchase?
  • Did we help you achieve your goal?
  • Did you require customer support? If yes, on a scale of 1 to 10, how helpful was it?
  • Any suggestions for us to make your shopping experience better?

Integrate all these qualitative and quantitative insights from real customers into the buyer persona you build.

Step 3. Ask Salespeople and Customer Service Reps About Customer Pain Points

While your customers are the best source of input for your journey map, at times, they themselves aren’t aware of their exact pain points.

They might feel that something is missing or isn’t quite right — without being able to pinpoint exactly what’s not working for them.

In such cases, consult your salespeople and customer service reps. They can help translate customers’ vague descriptions into actionable information that you can comprehend and work on. Furthermore, your customer support team can also share specific instances of customers reporting unique or one-off issues that you can take into account in your journey map.

Step 4. Map Out Buyer Touchpoints

As mentioned earlier, buyer touchpoints are all the places customers engage with your brand — website, social media, paid ads, email marketing, business review platforms, phone calls, etc. — before, during, and after a purchase.

Listing out as many touchpoints as possible is a key step in creating the customer journey map because it gives you insight into what actions your customers are performing.

For this, look at your business from the customer’s perspective and walk yourself through their journey step-by-step. Include all the things (actions, obstacles, emotions) touched upon earlier.

As an eCommerce website, in particular, looking into your Behavior Flow report and Goal Flow report inside your Google Analytics can be invaluable in visualizing the path your visitors take to complete a conversion.

Now, it’s time to organize all the data gathered about your customers into an elegant visual — be it a table, a timeline, a fishbone diagram, or whichever format you feel fits the bill. Any format is fine, as long as you include all the customer touchpoints, actions, roadblocks, emotions, channels, and the assigned ownership of a touchpoint (marketing, sales, design, customer service, etc.).

You can use the tabular current state format (courtesy of HubSpot) we shared earlier or use an online collaborative data visualization tool like Lucidchart or Miro. Let your team collaborate on the map by letting them comment or edit it directly. Also, customize your map’s various elements with different shapes and colors for easier visualization and analysis.

Step 5. Evaluate and Adjust Your Map Based on Customer Feedback

With the customer journey map ready, the final step is to analyze it to find gaps in the journey, poor transitions between stages of the funnel, and notable pain points that you must prioritize.

Take note of all the resources that go into creating the customer experience, such as CRM software, chatbot, customer service tools, etc. This will help determine if you need to invest in additional tools such as a profitable A/B testing program or find better alternatives for existing ones to help your teams improve the customer's journey.

Present your map’s analysis to all relevant teams to bring everyone onto the same page about the areas that need to be improved and how each member will play a part in enhancing the customer journey.

For example, you could have your developers make changes to the website (such as boosting the page load speed or simplifying navigation), marketers write longer product descriptions for better clarity, or perhaps your customer support reps respond faster to customer inquiries on social media.

Regardless of how big or small the changes are, they’re almost certain to be fruitful as they are driven by data from customers and their pain points.

Lastly, note that creating a customer journey map isn’t a one-and-done deal. Your customers’ expectations are constantly evolving. You’re likely introducing new products to your eCommerce store. Thus, review and test your customer journey map every quarter or six months to detect gaps and opportunities to further refine your customer journey.

Validating and Refining Your Journey Map

Once your customer journey map is in place, it's time to bring in the real players - your customers. Testing your journey map with actual customers gives you a more realistic perspective on how well it aligns with their needs and preferences. This can involve walking them through the map, asking for their feedback, or having them interact with your brand while you observe and take notes.

You can use a range of methods to test your map. Surveys and questionnaires can be sent out to a broad customer base, where you ask them about their experience at each touchpoint. User testing is another useful method where you observe how customers interact with your brand during their journey. This could involve tasks like navigating your website, purchasing a product, or contacting customer support. The goal is to identify any friction points or moments of delight that might not have been captured in your initial map.

Refining and Iterating Your Journey Map

After the testing stage, you'll have a wealth of feedback and observations to work with. Now it's time to refine your map. This might involve removing unnecessary steps that cause friction, adding touchpoints that customers find meaningful, or adjusting the journey to better match customer behavior.

Remember, refining your map isn't a one-time task, but rather an ongoing process. As customer behaviors and expectations evolve, so should your journey map. Regularly review the map and make adjustments based on new customer insights or changes in your business. This iterative process helps ensure your journey map remains a useful tool that accurately represents your customers’ experiences and continues to drive improvements in your customer journeys. And hey, don't be afraid to shake things up - sometimes even the smallest changes can lead to big improvements!

Leveraging Your Customer Journey Map for Marketing Success

Your customer journey map is far more than just a pretty visual - it's a treasure map leading you to your marketing optimization gold. You can utilize this tool to identify key opportunities for improving your marketing strategies. For example, if a particular touchpoint in the journey is marked by high customer drop-off rates, it might be time to tweak your ad targeting or content at that stage.

Integrating the Map into Marketing Campaigns

Suppose your customer journey map shows that customers often pause before purchasing, seeking more information about your products. In that case, this is your cue to create enriched content that answers their questions and assuages their doubts. This could be in the form of detailed product descriptions, informative blog posts, or engaging video content.

Similarly, if your customer journey map reveals that a certain demographic segment responds well to specific marketing channels, you can use this insight to optimize your ad targeting strategy. For instance, if younger audiences engage more on Instagram, it would be wise to increase your marketing efforts on this platform.

Overall, the customer journey map provides a strategic framework for your marketing efforts, helping you understand what content to produce, where to advertise, and how to resonate with your audience at each stage of their journey. It's like having a walkthrough guide for a video game - you know exactly where to go, what to do, and what to avoid to win!

Keeping Your Customer Journey Map Current

In the constantly changing business landscape, your customer journey map must stay fresh. Think of it like a living, breathing document that evolves alongside your customers and your market. Now, you might be wondering, "When should I dust off the ol' journey map for a little update?" Great question!

Several triggers should prompt an update. First off, any significant market changes should have you sprinting towards your journey map. If there's a shift in consumer behavior, a new competitive threat, or even a global event that changes the way we shop (hello, online shopping during pandemics!), it's high time to reassess your map.

Secondly, pay attention to your customers' feedback. If you're hearing recurring comments or complaints about a specific stage in the journey, go take a closer look. Your customers are handing you a magnifying glass, pointing you toward the issue – make good use of it!

And lastly, new product launches should trigger a journey map update. New products might attract different customer segments or change the way your existing customers interact with your brand. So, always ensure your journey map reflects these changes.

In essence, keeping your journey map current is like staying tuned to your favorite radio station - it keeps you in the loop, grooving to the rhythm of your customers and the market!

Learn More About Your Customers With Triple Whale

The better you know your customers — their pain points, emotions, desires, and needs — the better you can sell to them.

By shifting your focus to the customer’s POV, you can create a more compelling and satisfying customer experience. Additionally, a customer journey map serves as an elegant framework to identify engagement and enhancement opportunities, improve customer acquisition cost and advertising ROI, and boost conversion rate and internal efficiencies.

With an ecomOS like Triple Whale, you gain insights into all the metrics that matter to your eCommerce store’s growth. Get centralized clarity into every customer purchase from a variety of customer touchpoints (search, social, email, and what have you!).

So what are you waiting for? Create the perfect customer journey map by tracking meaningful first-party customer data with Triple Whale today!

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