A guide to customer journey mapping for e-commerce businesses

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With the move to digital, it is increasingly difficult for companies to understand their customers’ needs and reach out to them through conventional means. However, businesses can remain competitive in an evolving landscape by leveraging customer journey mapping. Read on to find out how this can benefit your business and how to get started.

E-commerce has become the go-to method for shopping for many people in this digital age, with over 61% of Australians indicating online shopping as their preferred channel. However, this convenience comes with its downsides as well. It is increasingly difficult for businesses to physically observe customers, connect with them and build loyalty that converts to present and future sales. This is where customer journey mapping comes in. A customer journey map illustrates the key stages and experiences of customers when interacting with your company, the pain points in this process, and how users of your product perceive these interactions. This helps your company identify other means for effectively engaging your consumers to offset the downsides of digital channels. Customer journey maps also provide your organisation with information that lays the groundwork for developing holistic strategies for optimising the shopping experience at each stage, translating to higher conversion rates.

By studying your customers’ journey, your company can better understand their needs. This helps your business’ marketing campaigns speak better to each stage of the buyer's journey, increasing the return on marketing investments. In addition, your business can also better deliver on customers’ expectations, which improves consumer loyalty. Companies need to do everything they can to stand out from the crowd in today’s competitive e-commerce marketplace. As such, customer journey mapping is an essential tool that no business can afford to ignore.

Stages in customer journey mapping

To help you get started with mapping, we have summarised  the standard stages involved in a customer’s experience with your business. Each stage represents a different level of engagement with your product or brand:

1. Awareness

In the awareness stage, a prospective user of your business’ service or product first becomes aware of a problem or need and searches for a solution. Customers at this stage may not be aware of your brand specifically, but know the general category under which your products fall. To reach these consumers, it is essential to highlight their needs and show how your business can help them as a trusted solution provider. This helps your company build relationships with prospects and set the stage for future sales.

2. Consideration

When customers actively investigate their options by researching products and prices to identify the best solution, they proceed to the consideration stage. If your customers are dropping out of the consideration stage, you may consider enhancing your marketing efforts or product offerings.

3. Purchase

At this point, the prospective users of your company’s product are ready to act. It is thus crucial to remove barriers or friction points that will discourage them from completing the purchase. Businesses must understand what actions customers will take during this stage and what information they need to make a purchase decision. With this understanding, your business can create a streamlined and seamless purchase experience that leads to more sales and higher customer satisfaction.

4. Retention

In the retention stage, the last lap of the journey after a purchase, the goal is to build customer loyalty and encourage repeat business. PwC’s 2022 Consumer Intelligence Series Report found that more than 50% of consumers will stop purchasing from a brand after having a bad experience. As such, providing excellent service is vital for retaining your customers. When competitors are just a click away, speed of response is of the essence, and logistics can be a crucial differentiator in driving an exceptional online shopping experience. In fact, based on the Australian Retail Outlook 2022 powered by KPMG, 46.67% of businesses anticipate an increase in consumers’ expectations for speedy deliveries over the next 12 months. However, in the Australian Retail Outlook 2021, 34.12% of retailers identified their biggest challenge as managing their supply chain. This highlights the importance of partnering with a reliable logistics provider like DHL Express, which has an extensive delivery network to ensure smooth and efficient last-mile supply chain operations.

Five steps in customer journey mapping

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Beyond understanding the stages involved in the consumer journey, formulating an effective customer journey map requires understanding customers beyond their basic demographic information. This is where the following five steps can provide you with guidance:

  1. Goal setting: To be able to define the scope of your customer journey map, it is vital to have a clear goal in mind. As such, identifying appropriate, attainable objectives is the first step in the mapping exercise. Your business can start by gathering diverse perspectives from internal stakeholders across different touchpoints. This can provide valuable insights about each phase of your existing customer journey, areas for improvement, and measurement metrics.

  2. Determining personas: When goals are set, detailed personas can be created for the different target audience segments that your business has. Customer data and insights can be gleaned from your e-commerce platforms, surveys, social media and customer-facing teams to build realistic audience personas.

  3. Define customer touchpoints: Customer touchpoints form the bulk of your user journey map. As such, it is essential to identify and track how customers behave and interact with your brand at these points of contact. It should also be noted that these points of contact should reflect where actual interaction takes place.

  4. Customer journey mapping: Once all of the touchpoints and personas are defined, this information can be pieced together in a customer journey map. This process will help highlight gaps, obstacles and red flags in existing processes.

  5. Mapping the future: After the completion of the mapping, the different stakeholders in your company can now brainstorm solutions for the roadblocks identified and suggest further improvements to the map. The final comprehensive customer journey map can then be implemented and continuously refined along the way.

Customer journey mapping best practices for e-commerce businesses

No two customer journeys are the same, and advice for customer journey mapping may vary across industries. However, there are common best practices to help you get the most out of your mapping exercise. Firstly, customer journey maps should constantly involve members across the organisation to avoid gravitating towards solutions that reflect common wisdom. This also ensures stakeholder buy-in and seamless implementation at each stage. 

Just as your business continuously evolves, an effective map should be frequently updated with fresh data. In such cases, e-commerce businesses can make good use of tools like Google Analytics to track changes in the customer journey and gain timely insights to fine-tune your customer journey map. Customer journey mapping can strategically position your e-commerce business for success in this competitive digital landscape when done correctly. 

At DHL Express, we understand that the customer journey is constantly evolving. That is why we are always looking for ways to help your organisation to refine processes in your customer journey map through our services.

Enhance stages in your customer journey map with DHL Express

As an experienced leading provider of international shipping services, DHL Express has a comprehensive range of services that can meet your business’ diverse shipping and logistical needs, including time definite delivery via air shipping. With operations in over 220 countries and territories, we can deliver your packages quickly at the best value shipping rate to increase your profits and customer satisfaction. Whether you are looking to send a package from Australia to Singapore or anywhere in the world, you will benefit from our global presence. 

In addition, DHL Express offers advice on shipping procedures and other services including real-time tracking. Your customers will appreciate the ability to stay up-to-date on the status of their shipment with these value-added services. With DHL Express, you can rest assured knowing that your logistics needs will be handled with the utmost care and efficiency to ensure the best possible experience for your customers. Open your account with DHL Express today.