Customer Journey Mapping: Why the Traditional Way is not Working Anymore?

In today’s hyper-competitive landscape, customer interactions have become more complex than ever before. With customers no longer traveling a straight line from Point A (Awareness Stage) to Point B (Purchase), e-commerce business owners are finding it hard to turn prospects into buyers with traditional customer journey mapping. In fact, the funnel-way that suggests you should walk your leads through a number of customer experience stages, while losing some of them along the way, is a method that showed its multiple shortcomings in our present-day age.
The thing is that there is no single or linear path to purchase, since the customer lifecycles can be different as customers experiencing distinct journeys at each phase of that lifecycle. Indeed, because each and every customer has special and distinctive preferences, the journeys customers follow across various stages of the customer lifecycle are also unique too. For instance, if a “customer A” journey stopped when he saw a promotional ad on a Facebook page, clicks through the social ad and makes a first-time purchase, another “customer B” journey will start by repeating a purchase from a brand and referring it to some of his friends and family.
You see how it looks from this angle?
We are sure that every business might know what their ideal customer will look like after dedicating marketing efforts to actually draw his purchase path, but what about the customer journey that results in your business’s repeat and loyal shoppers? You should never overlook that!
So, how can you harness the power of customer journey mapping and management to actually collect the right data about your customers, about the right touch points and in the right order? In this article, we detail how to create relevant customer journeys that will lead the way to advocacy, resulting in more qualified prospects, leads and on-site conversions.

Why Do Customer Journeys Matter?

At a first sight, customer journey mapping might seem like a repetitive task marketers have to do do after each marketing campaign or a marketing action to ensure that the customer experience is consistent across all channels, but it is actually a challenging task since, all too often, marketers and brands tend to make assumptions that don’t really align with their customers’ reality, and fall into the trap of creating inconsistent experience through their customer lifecycle.
According to the “Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2019 Digital Trends” report by Adobe and Econsultancy, 44% of marketers said the biggest challenge they face in 2019 is difficulty getting a holistic view of customers across all interactions. The same report noted that almost one-third (31%) of marketers see a lack of marketing technology integration as a barrier to securing an end-to-end view of audience and customer interactions.
This leads us to say that modern customer experience is highly personalized, the modern customer has the power to define their shopping experience, and that brands are facing increasing pressure to identify weak points in their funnels and ensure that they have captured the customer journey map as their customer experiences it. So, learning the art of customer journey mapping can make this challenge much less daunting and modern marketing should be agile to test and learn from short cycles with immediate feedback from the customer.

How Today’s Customers are
Experiencing The Customer Journey?

The modern customer journey is rarely linear, and mapping it starts by breaking it up into various stages. You may ask how is that even possible if the journey is not linear and predictable?
You need to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and create scenarios that map out multiple journeys. As customers’ journeys get more complex, companies need to ensure they are anticipating the paths they may take and optimize customer experiences along the multiple touch points rather than relying on one assumed journey.
To achieve this you need to be assessing all the possibilities and to be looking at your marketing campaigns as a series of paths. Don’t worry, the unpredictable nature of the customer journey and the countless number of available marketing options is not something that will cost you time and effort. On the contrary, having multiple avenues to reach and convert customers would absolutely give your conversion rates a much-needed boost.
The great news is: Customer feedback and reviews will lead you all the way across these different avenues.
Below we’ve broken down a five-stage framework that applies to just about any business, and which will help you create valuable information and experiences at each of these stages of the customer journey allowing prospects to get to know you and customers to love and refer you.

The Best Source of Leads are Referrals
From Your Happy Customers

Stage 1: Brand Awareness:

This is before your customers know you even exist. This is an important stage because it is where your leads will become aware of your businesses. Traditionally, marketers step up huge marketing efforts to actually target a large prospects base by using ads, promotions, SEO tactics and media. However, not every customer begins his journey through ads, or google search. In this connected world, a large number of leads might just hear about your brand from a friend or relative, and that’s when he becomes interested in learning more about your brand and why not purchasing your products.
As a matter of fact, referrals are key here. Your user-engagement strategy should be focused on giving real, authentic and unique pieces of content, and your social media feed, and website/platform should be spiced up with User-Generated Content.
Pro tip: Millennials, and Gen Zers find that user-submitted visual review more valuable than a professional photo supplied by a retailer or brand. Request photos and videos from your loyal shoppers and help them refer their friends to your brand by giving them the tools needed to submit photos and video reviews, all while keeping it easy for them (directly from their phones). Our solution will help you do it.

Stage 2: Consideration:

Once they know you, your customers need to like and trust you. At this point, things like blog posts, social media updates, and most importantly, your community involvement, will move them to trust your brand.
This is a critical stage because today’s consumer is faced with a myriad of options when it comes to choosing the product that he wants to buy online. At this very point, the unpredictability of your customer journey comes in as the number of your leads will decrease since some of them would opt for your competitors’ product instead of yours. Here, having a repository of customer reviews, referrals, testimonials, or any authentic and real association you may have with other credible organizations is very important. Spiegel studies suggest that 95% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase, and 20% of shoppers leave for another brand or retailer site if there aren’t reviews (or enough reviews) on-site.
Pro tip: Put your satisfied customers front-and-center to reel in more leads while they’re in the research phase. Going beyond simple reviews, our tool will make of your lead’s searching experience a pleasurable & visual one giving them cues into what exactly they’re getting from other trusted shoppers.

Stage 3: Purchase:

Congratulations! You now have a potential customer who is just seconds away from buying your product. This does not mean that your job is done. In fact, your onboarding should make it a great experience for your customers. Else, your lead would dive away of your product page. That’s why, you should think of ways to delight and help them make informed decisions.
Leveraging the power of SEO tactics should be on top of your priorities when it comes to structuring your product pages. Besides, to boost conversions, you should add value before you sell. How is that? You guessed it right: by including UGC and, most importantly, by harnessing the power of social proof and utilizing product reviews.
Pro tip: A video review would do the job and more. When someone lands on your page, the likelihood for him to purchase typically peaks, and his feeling of trust intensifies, when encountered with a video of a real user testifying to his previous real-life experience.Our easy to plug widget is your way to make this happen!

Stage 4: Retention:

Back to basics: the customer journey isn’t over when someone makes a purchase. Make sure they understand the value they got from you, and make them feel important. Indeed, people love to feel special: one great way to do that is by creating a sense of community and rewarding your customers for always coming to you is a great way to build better brand-customer relationships.
Another great way to maintain a strong relationship with your actual customers as well as grabbing the attention of future ones is by looking at your existing customer feedback. More likely than not, customers feel special when they feel that their feedback is taken into consideration by a brand.
Pro tip: Analysing your customer feedback gives you critical insight on what your users really want. Recommend.io gives you insights into your product via your customer’s reviews and feedback, whether it be negative or positive. So, you don’t have to second-guess what your customers want.

Stage 5: Advocacy:

Generally, marketers and business owners ask: how can I turn my prospects into customers. The real question should be: How to turn customers into enthusiastic brand advocates? Why it’s so important to get this right> because everything afterwards will get much easier. In fact, once your brand becomes referral worthy, your happy customers will share the burden of getting leads to become purchasers with you. They will tell others about you and refer your business to them which will help you focus on adding more value while empowering your customers in the long run.
Pro tip: And of course, to empower your happy customers, you must give them easy tools to highlight their great experiences with you online. Through its leading, innovative and data-driven capabilities, recommend.io is your perfect partner to get more product reviews, collect relevant feedback, and make informed decisions along the whole journey of your customer.

Now that we have dived in all the steps and stages to understand how a customer journey is mapped, how customers actually experience shopping and how they inform brands to make better products, it’s time to prioritize your customer feedback in your marketing efforts.

Luckily, recommend.io is here for help. Put your marketing tactics in place and we will take care of collecting, curating and analyzing your customer feedback through the full circle of your customer journey.

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