4 Deadly Reasons to Focus on Your Customer Journey

It used to be that retail stores would advertise on magazines and billboards and choose a storefront in a strategically-located area with heavy foot traffic.  Walk-in customers would decide whether to go inside based on how interesting their showcase was. Then, once inside, they would be greeted by a (hopefully cheerful) sales representative, tasked with making sure they had everything necessary to make a purchasing decision.

Think about it now.  Today’s retail stores carry out a large percentage of their business online, and purchase online ads targeted to a segmented population: their target market.  They can filter by time of day, day of the week and a segment that meets a certain criteria.  The ads direct potential clients to the website where the challenges are now to make sure that the customer finds what they are looking for and proceeds to a purchase.  Much more information is included with the products: customer reviews, detailed specs, return policy competitiveness and more.

From beginning to end, understanding the steps a customer takes from the moment he is getting inspired about a product to the moment he actually purchases is the key to increasing conversions.  This journey is known as the “customer journey.”  This journey changes by industry, market, seasonality and more.  

customer-journey-online-performance
Design your customer journey wisely.

Reasons why you should understand your customer journey?

  • More $$$.  Better understanding who your customers are will help you understand their needs – and how to fill them.  
  • Repeat customers.  Tailor your product or service to that need.  The closer you come to meeting the need, the more successful your product/service will be and the more repeat customers you will have.  
  • Increase ROI – Return on Investment by focusing your marketing dollars and tailoring the message.  Budgets are not endless and the key is to focus your budget on what will work best for your company.  
  • Increase conversions the more you understand your customer’s journey, the more visitors will want to buy from you.

Phases on a customer journey and how to focus on each one:

  1. Awareness:  Potential customer detects a need and they need a solution to fill it.
    1. Your strategy should focus on:
      1. General advertising
      2. Interest groups
      3. Content creation, inspiration
  2. Discover: Potential customer researches what the options are to fill their need and compares prices, reviews, purchase methods, convenience, etc.
    1. Your strategy should focus on:
      1. Making it easy for consumers to find you. We will get into more detail about the purchasing path later, here is a link from google you will find useful
      2. Making sure consumers find you in more than one channel
      3. Providing authentic reviews
      4. Having a competitive price
      5. Various delivery options
      6. Providing comparison tools and expert recommendations
  3. Purchase: Customer generates the purchase.
    1. Your strategy should focus on:
      1. Payment method
      2. Optimizing steps from the moment someone chooses a product until they have to pay for it
      3. Website speed
      4. Payment security
  4. Use: Customer uses the product and fills the need
    1. Your strategy should focus on:
      1. Quality of the product
      2. The product does all that is included in the description on the package
  5. Bond:  Customer uses the product over and over, builds trust and dependency on it
    1. Your strategy should focus on:
      1. Storage of the product
      2. Recommendations for storage
      3. Guarantee
      4. Replacement options

Understanding your customer’s purchasing path is one of the key components of creating a successful marketing strategy.  In fact, I would assert that creating a marketing strategy without understanding your customer is a waste of both time and money.   

To start, write these phases down on a simple document and then review which one of your current strategies targets which phase.  This will show you how you are spreading your marketing dollars.  If you have a small budget you will want to focus on the items that bring you the most conversions within the “purchase” phase.  

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Connie Marianacci is an accomplished professional of e-commerce, marketing and strategy with over 10+ years of experience increasing online productivity, results and effectiveness. @cmarianacci

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