One of the most important things when it comes to growing a business is understanding the customer journey. This journey is how a new user eventually becomes a loyal customer that makes a repeat purchase and refers their friends.
In this article, we’ll cover the basics of the customer journey. We’ll break down all the customer journey stages and help you understand how you can leverage the customer journey within your business.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is a customer journey?
The customer journey includes every interaction or experience your customer ever has with your brand. Every time a new customer interacts with your brand or product, they embark on a path through the stages of your customer journey.
This can include everything from seeing a Facebook ad to writing a Google review
Depending on the customer and your product, customers can move through the journey within a couple of minutes. In some situations, it could take them several years. For example, the customer journey for a pair of socks is typically shorter than that for a brand new car.
Every customer also experiences the customer journey in a different way. Depending on their experience, they might complete the entire journey. But if they have a poor experience or are not nurtured, they may never make it to the next stage in the journey.
What are the customer journey stages?
As a business, your goal is to move your users through the customer stages so they will ultimately make a purchase to complete their journey. In Ecommerce, this is typically done through effective digital marketing strategies.
In order to identify any gaps in the user experience, you need to be familiar with the different stages of the journey. As a customer interacts with your brand, here are the 5 stages that they will go through.
The first stage of the customer journey is to discover your brand. This is where your customers first realize your brand and products exist. There are many ways a user can enter the funnel at the awareness stage. Maybe they noticed a paid ad or perhaps they stumbled upon an organic article? Perhaps a friend recommended your brand.
At this stage, the goal is to show potential customers who you are and what you can offer them. You want to pique their interest enough so they move on to the next stage – consideration.
At the awareness stage, here are some things you can do to help build a relationship with your customers:
Share your brand story. Tell the user who you are and what you can offer them.
Provide informational content. This can include blogs, videos, or even graphics. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and content marketing are key activities at this stage of the user journey.
At this stage, things are getting serious! The customer is really considering your product and if it’s the right fit for them. It’s likely at this stage that they're evaluating the quality of your products and your brand reputation. They may even be comparing your product with competitors to determine which route they want to go.
Here are some things you can do to help your brand stand out during the consideration stage:
Provide trust signals. This includes sharing reviews, customer testimonials, or any other relevant certifications.
Answer concerns. This can be done through FAQs on your website or even through high-quality customer support.
Demonstrate product fit. Show the customer that the product is right for them and can solve a problem they’re experiencing. You can do this through free samples, demos, or other educational content.
One of the most important things in the consideration phase? Everything needs to be easily accessible. You should be providing the information so your customer can easily review it. The relationship is still delicate at this stage. If it is too difficult to find what they need to help make their decision, it’s likely that they’ll choose a competitor or abandon the purchase completely.
This is where the final decision happens – you finally close the sale!
Customers who enter the purchase stage (also known as the decision stage) have made the decision to buy. However, it’s still possible for things to go awry at this stage. Some things you can do to help guarantee a purchase and improve conversion rates include:
Remove distractions. When customers reach this phase, the only action they should be able to complete is the purchase. If you provide too much information or make the process confusing, they might abandon the process.
Identify drop-off points: Evaluate your purchase funnel closely, is there something that’s causing your customers to abandon their carts before purchase
During the purchase stage, there is also the opportunity to create larger orders by upselling the customer. This can include complementary products or recommending larger items. Upselling needs to be done delicately to avoid discouraging the initial purchase.
Despite what many believe, the customer journey stages don’t end at the point of sale. There are more opportunities to nurture your customers after they’ve made a purchase.
It’s often easier to retain or maintain a current customer relationship than to create a new one. Keeping loyal customers around also improves your customer lifetime value.
Here are some ways to improve customer retention at this stage of the customer journey:
Offer discounts or loyalty incentives
Send purchase follow ups or product care information
Reach out for feedback (and actually take it into consideration)
Customer retention is a big deal but so are customer referrals. Customers that have a great experience in the first four stages are likely to move into the final of the customer journey stages – advocacy.
Customers in the advocacy are brand loyal. They want to tell their friends, families, and colleagues (or even strangers) about your brand. They’ll recommend your products and leave positive reviews.
Word-of-mouth is one of the most successful marketing channels. Referrals create a network effect that helps more customers start their journey with your brand.
In fact, one of the biggest metrics of brand success is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS provides the company a score about whether or not customers are likely to refer their friends.
You can foster better advocacy for your brand and products by offering:
Referral programs and incentives. Make it fun and rewarding to spread the word about your brand.
High customer satisfaction. From delivering high-quality products to answering any post-purchase questions, satisfied customers are more likely to advocate for your brand.
Why is the customer journey important in online marketing and Ecommerce?
Businesses can control and enhance the customer journey through online marketing initiatives. By understanding the customer journey, you can offer customers a customized buying experience.
You can adjust your funnel to minimize distractions and give the customer what they’re looking for. This can be done through valuable content and information to take the guesswork and hidden objections out of the process.
As a result, your business will see better conversion rates and enables your business to grow.
How to improve your customer journey
The customer journey isn’t one-size-fits-all. Every customer who interacts with your brand will have different wants and needs. However, there are many marketing activities you can do to optimize the customer journey to nurture as many customers through the funnel as possible.
Here are some simple ways to improve your customer journey.
Evaluate touchpoints. Take the time to understand which touchpoints help move users through the funnel and which touchpoints cause additional friction. Analytics and A/B tests are your friends when it comes to customer journeys.
Create a simple funnel. Completing a purchase and moving through the customer journey stages shouldn’t feel like a maze. Use platforms like Popup to host your Ecommerce store. The simple funnel makes the experience distraction-free and completely customizable to your customer.
Offer a personalized experience. A unique experience can help move your users through their journey. A personalized experience builds trust and helps create relationships.
Creating a better customer journey can be simple
Customers are unique and catering to their needs can feel overwhelming. However, building a strong funnel doesn’t need to be complicated. Platforms like Popup are designed to help Ecommerce businesses build powerful sales funnels that convert visitors into paying customers.
While it might take some time to nurture users. But by understanding the customer journey stages you’ll be set up to successfully guide your customers every step of the way.
Want to control your customer journey?
Our single sales funnel gives you full control over the customer journey, leading to better shopping experiences and higher conversions.