Last updated: The Customer Journey: 3 Steps to Success

The Customer Journey: 3 Steps to Success


Listen to article

Download audio as MP3

Online shopping is more popular than ever, surpassing brick-and-mortar general merchandise sales for the first time last year. However, the modern customer journey — that is, the entire series of interactions leading to the purchase of a product or service — will continue to be a winding one, often including several devices and various behaviors before the checkout process.

That customer journey is filled with make-or-break moments, each of which can lead to retail success or failure.

Want to tip the scales towards success? Keep the path clear and easy.

In the coming year, successful retailers will be those that are able to guide their customers through their journey step-by-step, in an easy, seamless, way that delivers a delightful experience. A great customer journey that reduces confusion and eliminates friction will make shoppers want to return again and again.

This is essential if you want to boost your bottom line: According to recent PwC research, “Businesses that address roadblocks in the customer journey and close the gap between expectations and product or service delivery will not only build consumer loyalty but can also command a price premium.”

To deliver the best experience, retailers must walk in their customers’ shoes to deeply understand their journey. This means bucketing target audience segments into personas with common characteristics and then analyzing their shopping behavior. Essentially, this is about mapping the entire customer lifecycle, taking every single variable into consideration. And it has to start early, when you are designing (or re-designing) your website to optimize for end-to-end conversion.

The customer journey: Three shopping steps

Along the journey down the path to purchase, all customers travel through three essential shopping steps:

Step 1: Discovery and entry into the customer journey

Before a customer even arrives at the doorstep of your website, they have an impression of your company and the product or service you offer, most likely online — whether through Google searches, social media posts or online ads. Whether they’re looking to solve a problem or get a question answered, it’s essential that you optimize your search listings and ads so that your brand surfaces and customers can easily find what they’re looking for.

Step 2: Browsing and consideration 

Your target customer has arrived at your website. It may very likely not be on your homepage, but instead a landing page, category page, or even directly to a specific product page. Now what? Wherever they land, this is the moment to educate the customer. Give them details about the product or service, show them you understand their needs, and give them a reason to click “buy.” It’s also the time to offer recommendations and encourage further engagement.

Step 3: Shopping cart and checkout

Even when your customer clicks “buy,” the customer journey is far from over. Shopping cart abandonment is a huge issue for retailers: According to the Baymard Institute, more than two-thirds of online shopping carts are abandoned before checkout. It’s essential to make this step as simple and straightforward as possible, and don’t give shoppers any reason to change their minds. Anticipate any issues or questions they might have with payment options, credit card forms, shipping choices, return policies and data safety and make it easy for them to checkout with confidence. Promotions and upsells are perfect here, too.

Retail success depends on CX and a seamless customer journey

Retail e-commerce brands live in a data-driven environment where customer is king and experience is everything. Success depends on providing a seamless, friction-free customer journey, one that is easy and enjoyable for the shopper, so they will consider returning again and again.

Keep in mind, the work to map your customer’s journey and deeply understand the customer experience along the path-to-purchase is not a one-and-done event. Delivering a superior customer experience is a constant cycle of uncovering insights and optimizing your website. But the rewards are worth every bit of the effort it takes.

Every digital moment matters.
Are you making the most of them?

1,000 business leaders dish on how to stand out from the crowd with a great CX. Get the details HERE. 

Share this article


Search by Topic beginning with