We’ve all heard of customer journeys by now, but how many brands are actually mapping their customer journey in a consistent and effective way?
Harvard Business Review defines a ‘customer journey’ map as “a diagram which illustrates the steps your customer(s) go through in engaging with your company, whether it is a product, an online experience, retail experience, or a service, or any combination.”
Generally speaking, customer journey maps are important because they provide a guide on how a customer moves through your channels to eventual purchase, which in turn inform your sales and marketing efforts. Not only do we now know one simple mistake or pain point in a customer’s journey can cause them to drop their purchase immediately, mapping the customer journey effectively can also find business efficiencies and cost savings.
Studies report effective customer journey mapping results in an average increase of marketing ROI of 54 per cent, and is now more effective than A/B testing. Customer journey mapping also increases upsell revenue by 56 per cent.
Despite these obvious financial boons to journey mapping, few brands do it, and do it well, because the process can take time, and require the collection and collation of multiple data points from multiple places.
Common journey mapping mistakes
- Not asking your customers. How many times do we see these types of decisions being made in a boardroom, without actually asking customers? There are multiple ways to engage with customers now to get their honest answers, and yet most brands are afraid of this because they actually don’t want to know what their customers think.
- Only creating one map. One customer journey map is not enough. Different customers will have different paths to purchase. Key to a good customer journey map is developing at least three different customer personas. Each of those personas will have a different path to purchase, and each should be accounted for.
- Thinking online and offline are separate. Brands are super attached to their old models of retail. And yet, driving people to bricks and mortar stores for eventual purchase is simply not the way most people purchase anymore. A physical store is now just one touchpoint on the purchase journey and unlikely to be the end point of purchase anyway. A customer map must include all channels and touchpoints and how they can work together to facilitate a purchase. The purchase endpoint is secondary as long as it occurs.
- The journey ends at purchase. The journey does not end at purchase, and actually enhancing and facilitating customer loyalty can be far more profitable for a brand than constantly seeking new customers. In fact, a 5 per cent increase in customer retention can lead to a 25 per cent increase in profit. Therefore, any journey mapping must include nurture and retargeting following purchase.
How to close the gaps in the customer journey
The great news is, once journey mapping is done, it leads to a far more effective and streamlined sales and marketing strategy. Here are a few ways to facilitate and enhance the customer journey:
- Match your offer to the right stage with a small personal touch works like magic. A special offer, free shipping, personalised packaging and messaging, and a genuine care about your customers will be gratefully received, and enhance their experience, while also enhancing the opportunities for upselling.
- Reduce pain points. To ensure customers can make a streamlined purchase, clicks need to be reduced as much as possible. From interest on a website to eventual purchase should be no longer than three clicks. This means automating your checkout process as much as possible.
- Leverage the right technology. As an example, with Shopify POS (point of sale) helping run its omnichannel business, Allbirds enjoyed increased conversions using ‘buy in store, ship to customer technology’. It implemented smarter inventory management, allowing it to keep less stock in store which required less retail space to operate – and the use of up to 18 Shopify POS systems in each Allbirds store at once to check out customers – fast. Allbirds leveraged its customer data to enable a smooth shopping experience, but it also used an innovative tool to inform inventory decisions, and also help convert in-person customers when their desired products weren’t available for immediate purchase in store.
- Focus on experience. There is nothing more frustrating to a consumer than to go through the painstaking process of selecting a product and putting it in their cart and then purchasing, only to discover that product was never available for online purchase, or is out of stock. Good customer experience means offering the right product at the right time for purchase quickly, and then offering swift delivery. – this is table stakes in today’s consumer-driven world.
- Embrace omnichannel. An omnichannel strategy is vital. Customers don’t all come to you in the one way. Some come from internet searches, some come from foot traffic, and some come from social media. Studies show 81 per cent of shoppers research a product online before buying it in a physical store. Any good customer journey strategy must include all relevant touchpoints. Critical to this is optimising people’s experience as they move from one platform to the next in a cohesive and complementary way.
- Value your loyal customers. So many brands make the mistake of thinking purchase is the end of their relationship with that customer. A loyal customer will spend more and refer more new customers to you than most marketing efforts. According to Forrester, it costs five times as much to acquire new customers than it does to keep current ones, and Gartner says 80 per cent of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20 per cent of your existing customers.
Who is getting it right?
As an example, Tamburlaine had a strict deadline to launch its new online store in March 2019, as all data needed to be migrated before its membership renewal in July that same year.
Tamburlaine’s old online system, previously so complicated that customers either abandoned sales or had to call into customer service to complete them, has now been completely remade, resulting in less friction and higher conversions.
With pricing scripts working well, Tamburlaine started to leverage it with tags based on purchasing behaviour. It is now segmenting customers further and targeting key shopper groups with promos and products they will love.
Within six weeks of migration, Tamburlaine’s conversion rate increased 30 per cent, with more customers finding the brand and purchasing through its website. It is also enjoying more new customers than ever before. Using added analytics with Shopify Plus, Tamburlaine has also been able to create lists of customers and how they prefer to be contacted, to foster relationships and ultimately nurture a better buying experience. Members who had previously dropped off the grid were also effectively ‘recaptured and retained’.
Rediscovering your customer
A comprehensive customer journey map can make all the difference for both customers and the bottom line of the business. Importantly, it can help rediscover and reconnect with your customers, while entrusting an innovative technology partner can help scale and streamline your capability in new and exciting ways.
Leading Australian market research data brand, RDA Research, provides actionable consumer intelligence to help businesses inform decision making and growth strategies. RDA Research wanted to make its unique consumer data available for addressable digital targeting and required a data onboarding partner to help activate their data in an online environment.
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