What is a customer journey
The customer journey is the path that a customer follows via so-called touchpoints before making a purchase decision. This path can be recorded visually in a customer journey map.
The term “customer journey” comes from the field of marketing. As a rule, consumers do not make a purchase decision immediately after first learning about a product. Usually he comes into contact with a product or a brand several times before deciding on an action. These points of contact are called “touchpoints” in marketing. The customer journey maps the path through these touchpoints.
In offline advertising, the customer journey is difficult to understand or measure, as it is usually impossible to find out where each visitor found out about a brick-and-mortar store and why they came to the store. Reasons could be, for example, a recommendation from your brother, a current flyer or an advertisement in the daily newspaper. A qualitative questionnaire could be used to find out possible reasons. However, these surveys are time-consuming to carry out. Newer approaches such as “in-store tracking” via beacons or “WLAN tracking” allow stationary stores at least to understand the customer journey within a store.
In comparison, the points of contact of the potential customer of a product or service on the Internet can also be tracked more precisely across channels using suitable tracking tools. This video shows what exactly is meant by the customer journey.
Example for the customer journey
A hobby gardener happens to find out in an opinion forum about the existence of a new, special garden tool that he finds interesting. In a prospectus from the local hardware store, which is enclosed with his daily newspaper, he can find out some key data about the product, for example the technical features and the price. His interest increases. He looks for the product on the Internet and would like to find out whether other hobby gardeners may have already reported experiences with the device. For this he uses a rating portal. The experience inspires him and he wants to buy the device. He visits the manufacturer's website and finds out where he can get it. He switches to one of the specified online shops and orders the product.
In this example there are several touchpoints:
- Opinion forum
- Hardware store brochure in the daily newspaper
- Evaluation portal on the Internet
- Manufacturer's website
- Online shop of an authorized dealer
Suitable touchpoints 
Different media can count as points of interaction or contact. On the one hand, advertising media such as advertising via TV and radio spots, newspaper supplements, advertisements on billboards and advertising pillars, as well as similar elements of classic advertising can be cited here. However, these cannot be tracked. The online contact points are therefore more interesting for online marketing, for example in the form of opinion forums, experience portals, blogs, manufacturer pages, banner advertising and similar advertising materials. They can be made visible in the form of the customer journey.
Phases of the customer journey
There are different approaches to the phases into which the customer journey can be divided. However, they all have one basic idea in common: It can be assumed that a purchase decision will usually not be made immediately.
First of all, the target group must be made aware of the product. In the next step, interest is aroused. Only later, after some information has been recorded, does the desire for the product arise, which ideally ultimately leads to action. In this case, one speaks of conversion. The principle is comparable to the AIDA model.
Exactly how many phases a customer journey contains cannot be generally determined. As a rule, however, a trip of at least five stages is assumed:
- Awareness - the customer has become aware of a product or service.
- Consideration - he is considering whether to claim it.
- Conversion - the transformation of the user into a customer through his purchase.
- Retention - the customer receives the product and is satisfied with it.
- Advocacy - he shares his customer experience with others.
In other models, the customer journey is broken down into smaller parts, for example by inserting a further phase between the five basic steps. Then the customer would go through nine journey steps on their journey. After the awareness, for example, he would first form an opinion (opinion) before considering an action. Or, before he finally becomes a brand ambassador, take advantage of other products, services and offers of a brand (expansion).
Goal of the customer journey
The intended action does not necessarily have to be a purchase or an order. Entering an e-mail newsletter or requesting information material can also be a sensible goal - depending on the individual corporate objectives.
Analysis of the customer journey
Tracking tools such as cross-domain tracking or cross-device tracking can help with cross-channel and cross-device analysis of the customer journey. Cross-device tracking in particular can be used to find out which devices the user used to access the page and what the order was.
The aim of evaluating the customer journey is to find out more about consumer behavior. Since the contact points involved become visible, it can be derived from this how the path of the interested party to the conversion can be designed even better in order to motivate them to take a certain action even more securely. It can also be analyzed how certain touchpoints are interrelated.
Depending on the data, there may be difficulties in finding out which touchpoint ultimately led the customer into the conversion funnel. Each point of contact usually has a certain share in the customer's purchase.
If the consumer hadn't become aware of the product at the first touchpoint, they might never have found out about it. Without the positive experience reports on the net, it might have stayed with pure interest, which is not followed by any action. Exact research into the causes in this area is difficult.
With regard to data protection, too, the analysis of the customer journey repeatedly poses problems for those responsible in online marketing. The customer journey can no longer be traced exactly if a user deletes his cookie or if he uses a tool that prevents tracking. In addition, the merging of different data is only permitted under certain conditions.
- ↑ Create a customer journey map in 6 steps Convertus. Retrieved on May 7th, 2020
- ↑ Customer Journey contentbird. Retrieved on May 7th, 2020
- ↑ The Customer Journey in Inbound Marketing: Everything You Need to Know Chimpify. Retrieved on May 7th, 2020
- ↑ The new hourglass of Marketing DRV Reisen 4.0. Retrieved on May 7th, 2020
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