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How to create an ecommerce customer journey map (with examples)

In the highly competitive world of ecommerce, selling great products is not always enough. Customers expect fantastic experiences during every interaction with you—and if you don’t deliver them, your competitors will.

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online shopping journey map

So: how do you find the best opportunities to optimize your funnel, improve conversions, and grow your ecommerce business? With a little help from your new friend, the customer journey map .

Find new ways to grow ecommerce sales

Hotjar shows you what key user segments are doing on your site, so you can fix the problems hurting your conversions.

What are ecommerce customer journey maps?

Customer journey maps visualize the steps your customers take when moving through your conversion funnel . 

A basic map, like the one below, simply shows the key touchpoints customers go through on their journey.

online shopping journey map

An example of a simple customer journey map from CartsGuru

More sophisticated maps integrate detailed insights about the customer, such as their actions, thoughts, and needs, at different touchpoints. This allows you to take a walk in your customer’s shoes and find ways to improve your ecommerce user experience (UX) .

online shopping journey map

A map from MarketingMag.com.au revealing customer thoughts and feelings at each touchpoint

Some customer journey maps also integrate quantitative data into each step. By tracking key metrics—like your Net Promoter Score® (NPS®), customer satisfaction (CSAT) score, or customer effort score—you’ll get a data-informed view of the weak points in your journey.

online shopping journey map

A customer journey map from Tallwave incorporating quantitative data

4 (very good) reasons to create customer journey maps

Sure, your company as a whole has a basic understanding of what customers do . But does every department have a consistent, detailed view of what they’re experiencing ?

Customer journey maps provide exactly that, bringing several key benefits with them: 

1. Understand your customers’ motivations, drivers, and point points

In ecommerce, buying journeys are rarely simple. They usually entail a range of emotions, questions, and pains—ranging from “how quickly can I get this awesome dress?” to “am I really getting the best deal?” and “why is this so complicated?”

Customer journey maps give you an at-a-glance view of these vital insights, helping your entire company empathize with your audience.

2. Get your teams working together

Improving the customer’s journey, even at a single touchpoint, often requires multiple teams.

For example, imagine your new customers are confused about how to use your latest product. In this case, your customer service team could report their feedback to your content team. Your content team can then create educational product videos to provide helpful (and necessary) guidance.

Cross-team coordination like this is faster and easier when your company has a shared view of the customer’s experience.

3. Remove internal silos and clarify who owns what

Imagine a scenario where a customer buys a product and feels it doesn’t meet their expectations. When they contact your company, should customer support help them, or a technical product expert?

For growing companies, the lines of responsibility often get blurred. Customer journey maps help you determine which team is responsible for key actions and support at each step of the way.

4. Make improvements and convert more visitors into customers

With a clear overview of the customer’s journey, your team can quickly home in on the touchpoints where something’s going wrong.

For example, you might realize many customers are landing on your product page, but few are completing purchases. 

By mapping out the next steps they take and gathering data about their experiences, you discover that customers are dropping off at the shopping cart

A closer look at your behavior analytics data clearly shows visitors find the shopping cart UX confusing

With this knowledge, you can take action to simplify your customers’ shopping cart experience and track whether it helps you increase conversions .

What are the stages of the customer journey?

It’s important to remember that every customer’s journey starts before they land on your ecommerce site, and long after they make a purchase.

Most marketers consider the following stages when mapping out a customer journey:


Your customer’s journey starts when they become aware of a desire or challenge that your product addresses. This is where you can start appealing to them with content and marketing campaigns.

In the later stages of awareness, your customer educates themselves about the different products you have available.

💭 Consideration

In this stage, the customer considers whether your product is right for them. They may be trying to choose between several similar products or comparing your product with a competitor’s.

💡 Decision 

Your customer has decided your product is right for them , but is weighing up final hurdles like price, delivery time, and payment options. To complete the purchase, they’ll also have to navigate your checkout process.

💰 Retention

After the sale, your customer’s evolving perception of your company will depend on delivery, support, and the product itself. If your customer has a positive experience, they may continue spending with you.

❤️ Advocacy

A remarkable experience may result in a customer becoming an advocate at the end of their journey. This could mean telling others about your company, discussing your products on social media, or positively reviewing your business on public platforms.

How to create a customer journey map for your ecommerce company

Every customer journey map is different—the data you include will be unique to your company. But if you’re an ecommerce business of any size, there are five steps you’ll need to take:

Define your goal

Are you trying to get more sales from visitors on mobile? Or more customers advocating for you? Or perhaps reduce the bounce rate on your checkout page? 

By agreeing on a goal with your team, you can build your customer journey map with the right insights, metrics, and analyses in mind.

Gather relevant, accurate data

For your customer journey maps to be of maximum efficacy, you’ll want to gather a range of qualitative and quantitative data . The more data you have, the better—but the data you include in your map should always relate to your overall goal.  

For example, let’s imagine that your goal is to increase sales. In this scenario, you could:

Learn how customers navigate your store across the shopping journey by conducting usability testing

Use surveys and interviews to understand what information customers need during the consideration phase

Gather behavior analytics data to uncover pain points and signs of frustration during the checkout process

Gauge overall satisfaction by tracking customer NPS across their entire pre-purchase journey

💡Pro tip: using Hotjar? Your job just got easier! With our Surveys and Feedback tools, you can ask visitors both closed and open-ended questions. For example, ask customers to rate your product page, then follow up by asking how you could improve it. 

And when you’re gathering customer data, consider our new product for user-research automation, Hotjar Engage , which makes it easier than ever to interview customers and run seamless user testing.

5 types of user data you need to create a customer journey map

If you choose to create a customer journey map, you’re already engaging in data-driven marketing . Make your maps as useful as possible by taking relevant information from a wide range of sources.

1. Website journey data

Google Analytics (GA) is an essential part of your ecommerce website analysis toolkit. Its reports and dashboards give you a high-level overview of how people use and move through your site. What’s more, Google Analytics has a range of segmenting capabilities that let you gather data relating to your defined user personas.

For example:

The Behavior Flow report shows you the paths customers are taking through your site and where they drop off

The Conversion Path report shows you what platforms your customers are using at each stage of their journey

#A Behavior Flow report in Google Analytics

💡Pro tip: make your analysis easier by connecting GA to Hotjar with our Google Analytics integration . Then, leverage User Attributes to filter Hotjar data for specific audience segments you identified with Google Analytics.

2. Behavior analytics data

Now that you know what journeys your visitors take, you’ll want to see what they’re doing on each page. This is where behavior analytics tools, like Hotjar Heatmaps and Recordings , can help.

Scroll heatmaps show you where people stop scrolling on your product and support pages, showing you which parts of your page go unseen

Click heatmaps show you where people are clicking most, indicating how intuitive your UX design is and giving you ideas for improvements

Recordings let you rewatch individual journeys to find out how customers behave, where they get stuck, and what they do before clicking your call to action ( CTA )

#An example of a Hotjar Recording that shows the user’s mouse movements

3. Email queries, chat logs, and customer support logs

Your company’s everyday conversations with customers are a gold mine of insights. They reveal what users commonly get frustrated with, what information they need, and how often specific problems occur.

Ideally, use a tool to categorize and log queries and support requests from your customers. You can then hold regular reviews with your sales and support teams to see how the trends fit into your customer journeys.

online shopping journey map

Customer support platform Intercom visualizes common conversation topics

4. On-site and email surveys

Asking your customers for feedback is an effective way to understand their experiences at different parts of their journey. In addition to getting subjective, descriptive feedback, surveys also give you quantitative data (like NPS scores) to support optimization efforts.

Following an interaction with customer support: email a survey that asks respondents to rate their customer satisfaction level. Include an open-ended question prompting customers to describe what you could do better.

Following a successful purchase: target shoppers with an on-site survey asking them to submit an NPS. Then, track how this score changes as you update and improve to your checkout process.

online shopping journey map

5. Customer interviews

Having one-on-one discussions with customers is a great way to dig further into their needs, motivations, and pain points. You might find it helps to offer customers an incentive to speak with you, but satisfied customers will often do so for free. 

However, don’t focus solely on happy customers. Performing exit interviews with regular customers who change to another supplier can reveal a weak link in the customer journey.

❓Did you know? Hotjar recently added Engage , a user research tool, to our platform. Engage makes it easy to book, conduct, and analyze customer interviews, so you can find new insights more easily.

Create user personas for the customers you’re trying to serve

Depending on your goals, you might want to create multiple maps for different ‘types’ of customers. For example:

New customers + Existing customers

Actual customers + Ideal customers

B2B customers + B2C customers

Creating separate maps for your different customer types ensures more accurate, actionable maps. However, you’ll need a clear idea of who these customers are and how you can identify them. That’s why it’s a good idea to create a user persona for each distinct customer you’re trying to help.

online shopping journey map

An example persona from UXPressia

💡Pro tip: with Hotjar User Attributes, you can cross-reference data from other platforms to get insights into specific user segments. For example, use Google Analytics to create a segment of new users who visit your site after clicking an ad, then watch Recordings of their journeys.

Why are user personas helpful in customer journey mapping?

Depending on your goals, you may be interested in different user personas: to improve sales of a specific product, you’d want to understand the needs and actions of customers who bought that product. To increase repeat purchases, on the other hand, you’d need to know how existing customers navigate your site and what they need from future purchases.

In both cases, you’d want to see how their journeys differ from other customers and visitors. Understand what they do on their journeys, and you’ll find ways to serve them better.

By analyzing the journeys of people who buy your flagship product, you learn that they often visit a competitor’s site to compare products. Using this insight, you add a table that compares your product with others, keeping visitors on your site and boosting sales in the process.

By analyzing the journeys of existing customers, you learn that they begin looking at related products in your range around three months after an initial purchase. Accordingly, you start sending automated emails around month three to grow sales while increasing customer delight .

Note: traditionally, marketers created user personas with demographic information like gender, sex, and age. Today, many marketers find it helpful to use the jobs to be done (JTBD) framework.

JTBD views user personas less in terms of qualities and more in terms of goals, motivations, and desired changes . Of course, this is perfect for customer journey mapping!

Unravel your customer referral paths

Your customers interact with your ecommerce business in various places, both online and offline. Understanding how these touchpoints fit together—and delivering a consistent experience across them—is the goal of omnichannel marketing.

In some cases, their journey will be a straight line:

The prospect enters ‘best winter jackets’ into a search engine

They immediately find your blog, click through to your store, and make a purchase

A week later, the customer receives their order and goes on social media to share their satisfaction with the product

However, in other scenarios, the journey will be more complex:

A prospect hears about your clothing brand from a friend 

Weeks later, they see your brand on Instagram, visit your store, and sign up for your newsletter

The prospect then visits two other physical clothing stores to compare jackets 

A day later, they receive an email from you offering a 10% discount on jackets they previously viewed—they return to your online store to make a purchase

The customer has a small issue with the order and calls your customer support line to resolve it

As a business, you might want to serve the second customer better so they can become an advocate, too. But to map out their journey accurately, you need to know where they came to you from—in other words, their referral path.

Combine data from your different tools to understand your customer referral paths

Building an accurate map of omnichannel journeys is challenging but not impossible. Ideally, you’ll look at data from two different tools.

Look for referral paths in Google Analytics. The Behavior Flow report tells you where website visitors are coming from (e.g. organic search or email). 

Use surveys to fill in the gaps. For example, when a customer signs up to your email newsletter, send a survey to ask how they discovered your brand.

Combining both these data points gives you a more complete customer journey map. And if you’re using Hotjar, our Segment integration helps you view survey responses for different audience segments by leveraging User Attributes.

#A Hotjar traffic attribution survey example

Create (and update) your maps

Having gone through the previous four steps, you can build maps for each key customer persona. Your team is now in a great place to analyze and improve critical touchpoints along the customer journey.

But don’t forget that your business is always evolving, so your maps need to evolve with it.

Update journeys as they change. As you add new products, features, and marketing funnels, map out the new journeys your customers take.

Track and update key metrics. If you’re including quantitative data in your maps, like NPS or CSAT scores, track changes and update your maps every quarter.

Start mapping your ecommerce journeys today

The more complicated your customer journeys are, the more opportunities you have to delight—or disappoint—your audiences. Customer journey maps give your company a shared framework for improving their experiences across the entire conversion funnel .

But remember: your customer journey maps are only as good as the data you used to create them. By researching the what , how, and why of your customers’ behavior, you’ll build effective customer journey maps that drive real impact.

Solve your biggest conversion challenges

With tools like Recordings, Surveys, and Feedback, Hotjar helps understand why visitors don’t convert—and gives you the insights and information you need to make them.

Ecommerce customer journey map FAQs

Can customer journey maps help us improve our web design.

Customer journey maps help you zero in on parts of the customer journey that need the most attention: i.e. the points where customers are falling off or feeling dissatisfied with their experience. 

You can then gather data around these conversion bottlenecks using behavior analytics platforms like Hotjar. If your research reveals a problem with web design , you can apply ecommerce CRO and web design principles to improve the page. Take a look at some recent web design examples to see how the best companies in the world are doing it.

How do early-stage ecommerce companies benefit from customer journey maps?

If your company is in an early stage of growth, you probably don’t have the resources to optimize your whole funnel. Customer journey maps help you identify the parts of your funnel to prioritize so you can use your resources efficiently. 

You can then start gathering data and using ecommerce design metrics to inform future improvements.

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  • Jun 3, 2022
  • 10 min read

The eCommerce customer journey and how to map it

how to map the ecommerce customer journey

Think about the last purchase you made.

How long did it take you to click ‘buy’? How many different sites, ads, emails, and stores did you check out before finally fetching your wallet?

Suffice to say that the typical buyer journey is anything but linear. Few shoppers convert right away, and every brand is challenged with adjusting their eCommerce marketing strategy to anticipate buyer movements both online and offline.

So, what can you do to stay ahead? Let’s talk more about what the eCommerce customer journey entails, and how to map your customer’s path to purchase when starting your business .

What is the eCommerce customer journey?

5 stages of the ecommerce customer journey, what factors affect the customer journey, customer journey mapping: why it’s a must, how to map the buyer journey for your business, example of a journey map.

Every so often, a buyer will take a relatively straight path to purchase. They'll search for a product, find your item, and within the same sitting, they'll complete the purchase.

But much more often, customers will be “pinballed” between various touchpoints. They’ll see between 6,000 to 10,000 ads in a day as they’re scrolling through their phones, checking their emails, or listening to Spotify. Then, once they decide to do some shopping, they’ll likely hop between Amazon, your site, and a competitor’s shop.

The eCommerce customer journey is the sum of all of these interactions (see our guide on what is eCommerce ). It begins with the moment a customer becomes aware of your brand to when he or she finally makes a purchase.

Some buyers will convert within mere days—while others may take several months or years. Tipping the scale towards the former outcome will require understanding the core stages and touchpoints of the customer journey and knowing how to make the best impact on your buyers.

Your customers’ overall journey can be broken down into five key stages.

01. Awareness

Your customer stumbles across your brand for the first time. Be it through an ad, social media, word of mouth, or SEO–they are now aware of your products. However, as noted earlier, many will not convert right away. Some may not even be looking to purchase anything at all.

At this stage, you’ll want to make sure you understand how people are finding your brand and who they are. Are they the buyer personas you expected to reach? How do demographics, acquisition source, and other factors affect what action your audience takes next?

While many visitors at this stage may just be “window browsing,” you’ve at least built some sort of brand recognition. Now it’s time to do something with it: retarget people, learn more about their interests, and guide them towards products that are most relevant to them.

02. Consideration

At this point, your buyer shows actual interest in your product. They’ve got their eyes on a particular product or set of products, and are deciding which one is worth buying.

Some may be trying to decide whether your item is a need versus a want. Others may be checking out product specs to make sure that your item is worth the price. Still others may be deal hunting or checking out options on competitive sites.

In any case, you’ll want to track which product pages people are spending the most time on, which products they’re comparing, and what other brands are on their radar. How can you convince them that your product is better? What can you do to build their confidence in your brand or incentivize a purchase?

03. Decision

Alas, your buyer makes a purchase on your site—assuming that the checkout process is easy and buyer friendly.

Your number one goal here is to make sure that the checkout process is seamless. Create a simple checkout flow, offer multiple (and secure) payment options, communicate your return policy, and provide all the information buyers need to feel supported by your brand.

Buyers should know when to expect their packages and any fees associated with their purchase. Don’t let any unwelcome surprises or lack of information lead to customers canceling their orders early.

04. Retention

Once a buyer makes their first purchase with your brand, they’ll ideally become a repeat customer . A positive customer experience—including excellent customer service, on-time delivery, and a multichannel marketing strategy—can work together to build customer loyalty .

Note that even though you’ve won the first sale, you’ll need to continuously earn a buyer’s patronage time and time again. Be consistent in your messaging. Engage buyers frequently. Offer incentives or employ strategies for upselling and cross-selling .

05. Advocacy

Happy customers have the potential to attract other happy customers. Buyers at this final leg of the customer journey are (hopefully) so happy with your product and/or service that they’re eager to spread the word to their friends and family.

Of course, this isn’t a passive activity. You’ll want to proactively nurture brand ambassadors by creating a customer loyalty program , hosting giveaways, showing appreciation, and taking other steps to inspire advocacy.

Your customers are a moving target. Between their unique preferences and backgrounds—plus their prior experiences with brands—there are tons of factors that shape the way they make their purchases.

As you track the various ways that customers interact with your brand, consider how trends like the ones below can make a big impact on the buyer journey.

Social and economic changes - e.g., the recent pandemic. These events tend to spur shifts in buying behaviors and expectations, as many types of businesses and buyers alike adapt to new realities. With each shift, consumers tend to get smarter and potentially pickier on what defines a good value and how to spend their money.

Convergence of online and offline shopping - Omnichannel retail isn’t just a concept anymore. Today, the lines between the offline and online worlds are increasingly blurred—with digital native brands like Warby Parker opening physical showrooms, and longtime retailers like T.J. Maxx investing more in online commerce. Curbside pickup, BOPIS, and in-store returns are just the beginning of what’s to come; brands should expect the customer journey to entail a greater mix of online and offline touchpoints, regardless of whether a customer originated online or not.

Corporate responsibility - Brands today are expected to do good. Inactivity or a difference in values could shape a customer’s engagement with your brand at any point of the buyer’s journey.

Choice paralysis - The proliferation of brands and products online have the ability to frustrate consumers. Make sure that your website is organized in such a way that customers know exactly where to find what they’re looking for. Make it easier for them to filter out noise and/or compare similar options. The last thing you want is for an overabundance of options—or poor site design—to deter your customers from buying. Learn more about combatting choice paralysis .

While customer journey mapping is an imperfect science, the benefits are undeniable.

In fact, 30% of surveyed retailers reported significant improvements in customer lifetime value and customer advocacy after investing in digital customer experience (CX). Roughly 23% reported an increase in average order size as well.

This exercise can help you to achieve multiple goal including:

Getting more clarity over how buyers interact with you - By carefully mapping your customer journey, you can gain a clear understanding of your buyers and their habits. A map helps you to see things from the buyer's perspective rather than your business’s perspective.

Improving customer retention rates - A map helps you to identify when and why prospective buyers are dropping. For example, an ill-worded message or one displayed in the wrong place at the wrong time could be all that’s causing buyers to regress in their journey. By making strategic changes and reducing friction in the customer experience, you can enjoy an easier time attracting and retaining buyers.

Sharpening your focus and organization - This exercise will force you to lay everything on the table–from all of your marketing campaigns to all the possible interactions a customer may have with your brand. From there, you can determine the health of each channel, who owns which touchpoint, and realistic goals for each event.

Increasing revenue - When you understand how buyers interact with your business in detail, you can more accurately cater your communications, offers, content, and promotions to influence sales. It’s all too easy to rely on assumptions or old habits when engaging customers. A journey map helps to shed light on biases and pain points that you may not have known were there before.

So how do you actually map the customer journey? Here are five steps to get you started.

Step 1. Describe your buyer personas

Before building a map, you must clearly define your target customer types. Are you looking to engage parents, young adults, or consumers with specific hobbies?

Your personas should include as much detail as possible. Make sure to base them around real data—not made-up, fake, or idealistic data. Talk to various stakeholders, interview your customers, consult social media, or perform user testing.

In other words, don't build a buyer profile based on what you think a customer should look like. Create your buyer personas using actual data you gathered from the places where they hang out and from talking directly to your target audience.

Step 2. Define the main character of your map

Now, you can decide which set of customers you’d like to analyze as part of the journey mapping process. The map will look different for each type of buyer you target, and trying to address all of them at once will only muddy the data.

To start, pick the most common persona (i.e., the most valuable or largest cohort). You’ll have an easier time collecting data this way, plus taking meaningful action from your journey map.

Step 3. Analyze on-site behaviors

As an initial step, check out the behaviors on your website and jot down the top pages that people enter your site from, where they exit or bounce, and which ones are the highest converting. Tools like Google Analytics and Wix Analytics can help to fill in these blanks.

To get more specific, make sure to filter your data according to criteria that’s most relevant to your buyer persona: geo, new versus returning users, and device (to name a few).

You may already start to see areas where people drop off and opportunities to optimize your site. You can additionally gain insight into what your buyer is more interested in buying based on where they linger on your site (though note that this could be heavily influenced by how accessible a page is from other areas of your site).

Step 4. List all other customer touchpoints

List out all the ways that your target buyer can interact with your company, both on and off your site. Include things like:

Social media

Review sites


Popup stores

Onsite banners

Physical stores

Marketplaces that you sell on

Help center

Loyalty program

Seasonal promotions

From here, you’ll want to list out all the possible actions someone could take from each channel. For instance, when someone interacts with a blog, he or she may subscribe to your newsletter, download a piece of content that you promote, click to another blog—or even request a demo. Alternatively, your visitor may bounce.

The purpose of this exercise is to audit all the CTAs you include on a single page, as well as links and other messaging that may influence a visitor’s behaviors. You’ll moreover want to look into whether reality aligns with expectations.

When you compare your list of expected behaviors with the data you gathered from Google Analytics, Wix Analytics, and other sources—do the results align? How can you better define the purpose of each channel, and match your goals with a visitor intent?

Step 5. Visualize the journey

Finally, you can document all of your findings into one easy-to-reference map. The scope of your journey map can vary depending on your goal. For instance, you could show the complete customer journey (as shown below) or hone in on just a part of it where you see the most room for improvement.

A map may cover everything from a buyer’s emotions, to their actions, to roles and responsibilities on your team at each stage. It can serve as both a tool for predicting buyer behaviors and keeping your team organized.

That said, there are several types of journey maps you can create:

Current state map - This shows how customers interact with your brand today. You could use it to compare behaviors between two different segments of buyers, or to uncover how customer emotions and behaviors vary depending on how they find your products (as an example).

Future state map - This illustrates the ideal journey that you want your customers to take. It helps your team rally around specific goals and identify critical points of a customer’s journey.

Day in the life map - This is similar to a current state map, except that it doesn’t start and end with a buyers’ interaction with your brand. It aims to understand all of their daily activities and lifestyles, with the goal of developing new, meaningful touchpoints.

Service blueprints - This takes a simplified version of one of the maps above, then adds in details about the various people, technologies, and processes that take place behind the scenes. The purpose is to audit and optimize how your team functions in the background to support the customer journey.

Let’s imagine that you own an online shop for pet supplies. You want to create a current state map in order to see how your core customers (new dog owners) are interacting with your brand. Your map may look something like this.

This helps your team keep track of the most effective campaigns, products, and channels. You’ll likely look to expand upon this map soon, as you get even more granular in your research or launch new campaigns.

There is no right or wrong way to create an eCommerce journey map. The framework outlined here is just meant to provide a good starting point. Once you have a baseline, you can continue to modify and rework your journey map to fit your unique business.

Remember that the customer journey is constantly evolving. Re-evaluate your eCommerce journey map once a quarter or at least once every six months. Aim to reduce friction in the customer journey and put assumptions to the test.

online shopping journey map

Allison Lee

Editor, Wix eCommerce

Allison is the editor for the Wix eCommerce blog, with several years of experience reporting on eCommerce news, strategies, and founder stories.

  • Sell Online

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How to Make Sense of the Ecommerce Customer Journey


No one can deny how big the ecommerce market is. Global ecommerce sales are projected to nearly double to $6.5 trillion by 2023. Its share of total retail sales is also growing, particularly in the wake of the COVID pandemic.

So we know the sector is massive, but how complicated is it? Surely it is just a simple matter of finding the product you want, buying it, then waiting for delivery. Or is there far more to the ecommerce customer journey? There are multiple factors, from lead times to customer service, that makes an ecommerce business a good ecommerce business (or not). 

Modern business, especially ecommerce , is about identifying and utilizing the best tools available. And that covers everything from live video conference software to good CRM management systems. 

Smaller businesses need to find such tools without breaking the bank. Fortunately, they can choose from the best free business apps that will provide great service without denting the budget. Having the ability to be agile and to adapt to changes can be a major positive for your business. 

If you look at a successful online retailer such as Larq , you will see a well-constructed site that is easy to navigate and that also offers links to their various social media platforms. This is a good example of how an ecommerce site should look. It shows they have looked at the customer journey and optimized their site to make it a positive one. 

You need to know each stage of that journey, how those stages affect customer experiences and their relationship with you, and how you can improve the journey at every level and customer touchpoint . Let’s look at how the customer journey unfolds and what factors of customer journey mapping that are important for you to understand.

What is the Ecommerce Customer Journey?

That quote about life from Ralph Waldo Emerson can also be applied to ecommerce businesses. While it is easy to think about the destination—that purchase arriving in the customer’s hands—it is also very much about the journey and what happens en route to that final destination. Just as with life’s journey, every stage of the ecommerce journey has its own features and qualities. 

Our customers no longer buy just a product, they buy the whole experience of being a customer, they buy your brand qualities, your mission and values, and more. They buy into the ease of your processes, the information you provide, the convenience, the quality of your aftersales (and presales if needed) customer service. In short, they look at the whole package you offer.

We all do process mapping for our businesses as a matter of course, so we should be doing the same for the customer experience. You need to understand every aspect of how your business operates, from dealing with logistics to ensuring your customers are happy. 

And do not be afraid to use shortcuts. The very reason tools such as templates are offered is to make it easier for you to conduct business. They can save you time and money and it can be easy to find one that suits you. 

It is not only the price of something that matters to them, it is everything that surrounds it, including how they access your site or app (and how easy it is to use), how you communicate with them across different channels, possibly even using companies like Slack , and how quickly you respond to their inquiries. In short, it is about providing an ecommerce customer journey map that meets all of their needs. 

Focus not only on your customers’ journeys, but also on their relationship with you; that’s important whether you are a small business or a large international one. Investing in customer relationship management (CRM) software is highly advised, especially when you have a multichannel or omnichannel business. 

There are also other aspects to consider. Many people now ask ‘ what is affiliate marketing ’, as offered by MaxBounty, and what is its place in online retail? If you use a strategy such as affiliate marketing, then you need to make sure that a customer’s journey is consistent across all the options open to them. Whether they find you via your own channels or through an affiliate.  

5 Stages of the Ecommerce Customer Journey

So we recognize that the customer journey is far more than a simple buying process. We also recognize that we need to know how to develop a successful ecommerce fulfillment strategy that helps us win and retain customers. Knowing the main stages of that journey is essential to both mapping it and ensuring that it is as optimized as possible. 

And when a business operates across many channels (omnichannel or multichannel ), you need to recognize that their journey may differ greatly depending on which channel they are using. 

1. Awareness.

Every journey has a starting point, and in the ecommerce business, that starting point is awareness. This is the stage where the customer discovers your product/service and your brand. This is also where you discover how they found you. Did they find you via a search engine (thus validating your SEO strategy)? Did they see an ad on social media or in a more traditional medium? 

You can not only see where they came from but also what behaviors they are showing once they have ‘arrived’. Do they look at particular landing pages that give you an idea of what products they are interested in? You could also describe this as the first learning stage; the customer is learning about your business and you are learning their preferences and needs. 

2. Consideration. 

In this stage, the customer begins to show real interest in particular products or services and move beyond general browsing. For example, with a cosmetics company such as Bliss World , they may start looking at the vegan skincare range, letting you see that this is their specific interest product-wise. 

From your organization’s perspective, this stage of behavior allows you to analyze what works and what doesn’t. Those analytics can help you reduce bounce rates and encourage further investigation by the customer. 

3. Conversion. 

One of the magic words in ecommerce, but this stage is not always a guaranteed sale. In some cases, this stage can include those customers who have added a product to their cart (or to their wishlist) but have not yet proceeded to actually buying it. In most cases, though, we do consider this to be the stage at which a prospective customer becomes an actual customer who adds to your conversion rate. 

It is at this stage that you as a business have to begin delivering on any promises you may have made to get the customer to this point. Part of that delivery is making sure all your processes, such as marketing, sales, customer service, etc., are aligned and are delivering the same message and quality of service. 

4. Retention. 

Another of those magic words. Having a customer make a single purchase is satisfying, but having them return again and again to buy is even more satisfying. This means they are very happy with most or all aspects of their journey and experience to date. From this point they begin to exhibit brand loyalty and may always look at your site before others. 

The thing for businesses to be aware of at this stage is that providing an excellent experience once is fairly easy, but providing it time and time again is where the challenge lies. 

5. Advocacy. 

This stage is the Holy Grail of the customer journey but do not expect to achieve it with every customer. Most companies fall short at stage four, but those who do manage to retain customers are then hoping that those people become advocates and brand ambassadors with a high lifetime value. At this stage, your best customers are not only buying but interacting at a high level. 

They will interact with you across most if not all of your touchpoints, such as your homepage, any blogs, social media, etc. More importantly (from your marketing perspective), they will be sharing information that you post on their own platforms and will actively advocate and talk about your products/services. That can also include recommending you to people and writing reviews. 

Building an Ecommerce Customer Journey Map

An ecommerce customer journey map is a visualization of all the potential experiences a customer may have with your organization. Such a map also highlights the sequences those experiences are most likely to occur in. It can allow you as a business to identify strengths and weaknesses, and thus make improvements where needed. 

That customer journey may consist of all the stages we previously listed or they may only cover some of them, if customers do not move to later stages. What you need to focus on is that a customer journey map will show you all the possible permutations of what the customer experiences, whether only one or two stages or all five.

How Do You Build Ecommerce Customer Journey Maps?

Being able to map the customer journey offers many benefits, but if you have never undertaken this exercise before, where do you start? What things do you need to consider before starting? 

1. Perspective.

The first important thing to note is that you need your map to be from the customer’s perspective. So, detach yourself from your professional role and start the process as if you were an everyday customer. This can also help you understand the overall customer persona. 

To do so, pick a product or service your company offers. Use various terms on search engines to see what results come up. Read any associated material including reviews, articles, and blogs. Then visit your actual site to view the product there. Take notes on how the various customer touchpoints felt and how the experience of visiting the site unfolded. 

2. Research. 

Put together a focus group that consists of your main demographic targets. Ideally, they will not know what company or brand has formed this group. Pick one of your products or services and ask the focus group to find and buy that item online. Observe and record how they find the item, what paths they take, and what outcomes unfold. 

Once the focus group has finished their exercise, take the results and compare them with your experience from part one. By analyzing the two exercises, you can see if you and your customers think in the same way, and will also have a wider overview of touchpoints and interactions.  

3. Understanding.

You now have a better overview of how customers interact with your business and how the various touchpoints perform. You now need to understand what those various actions mean in terms of engagement strategy. Did any touchpoint perform particularly badly? By analyzing the information you have collected, you can see what action you need to take next. 

Your aim is to have your ecommerce site performing at an optimum level at every touchpoint you (and your customers) have identified. Those touchpoints can range from your own site to your social media platforms to search engine rankings. They can also include independent touchpoints such as review sites. 

4. Goals and pain.

You now have some of the foundations of your customer journey map in place. But it is more than just identifying the touchpoints and engagements you have observed. You also need to understand the goals of the customer and the pain points they experience. It can help greatly if you list some of the insights gained from your observation and data collection:

Goals . What is the customer’s ultimate goal(s)? What is it they want to achieve?

Emotional response . What parts of the process make the customer happy? Or what elements make them unhappy or frustrated? 

Pain points . What things cause issues for the customer and would they like to see improved? 

5. Visualization.


Image source  

You should now have enough (likely a lot) of information that tells you what the customer experiences. The problem is that this information is not easy to digest, so you want to simplify it and create a visual that is easy to look at and understand. How you format it will depend very much on your own specific business model. 

You may decide to create more than one visual, especially when you are a larger company and may have different teams working on different areas. For example, if you have a dedicated social media team, you may decide to create a journey map that particularly pertains to social media touchpoints, pain points, experiences, etc. 

Why is the Customer Journey Important?

Do you really need to make a customer journey map? What benefits does it bring you? Knowing why it is important is as crucial as understanding the whole process itself. There are many reasons why it is not only important, but should be an integral part of your ecommerce business. 

Efficiency . It can help you streamline the customer experience and journey by identifying if there are too many steps or touchpoints between the customer starting their journey and ending it. 

Effectiveness . Does the required journey make sense to your customers? Acknowledging that we all do things differently, from how we search to how we navigate a site, creating a process that has a general effectiveness for most is a major benefit of a customer journey map. 

Understanding . Knowing and understanding your customers, how they think, what they need, what they like and don’t like, is another crucial factor in determining how to create the best possible customer journey. In fact, this is an area where many organizations fail as they focus more on creating the perfect journey for them, rather than their customers. 

Setting goals . A good customer journey map can help you identify and set better and more realistic goals. The combination of a human perspective and the hard data you have collected ensures you are more in touch with what makes your business thrive and grow. It also helps you monitor and tweak in real time as you move forward. 

Planning . Every business has one eye on the future; new products and services, expansion, etc. Having an accurate customer journey map, and understanding it, means that you can more accurately focus on those future events. 

Reducing pain . Pain points are the bane of any online stores and can lose you customers if not identified and remedied. You may be surprised by how many pain points exist once you have completed your journey map. Once you have identified them, you can take action to remove them or to reduce their effects. 

How Ecommerce Stores Can Improve Their Customer Journey

For companies looking closely at their customers’ journeys for the first time, it can sometimes be daunting when flaws and gaps are identified that are having a very real effect on your business. Mapping the customer journey is one thing, but knowing how you can act on the data you have identified and improving the customer journey and experience is another. 

1. Create touchpoints at every stage.

Anywhere a customer interacts with your brand is a touchpoint. Seeing an ad, visiting your site, looking at independent reviews, contacting your business to find store locations, and finally making a purchase. All of these are touchpoints. Going back to the five stages of the customer journey we discussed earlier, you need to have touchpoints for each stage. 

Each touchpoint serves a purpose and plays its part in optimizing the overall customer journey. So each touchpoint you create has to fulfil its specific purpose (ad attracting interest, checkout process quick and uncomplicated, etc.) Ensuring you have multiple touchpoints that fit their respective stages and work properly is essential. 

2. Optimize your website for every device.

It is worth remembering that around half of all internet traffic originates from mobile devices . So if your website performs poorly when accessed from a mobile device, you are in effect alienating half your potential customer base. Optimization is key to offering a good experience to all. 

It can help to look at great websites that are well optimized, such as Skullcandy , so you can see what is needed. The screenshot below shows how well you can view their products from a mobile device, making online shopping easier for customers. 


And there are a few factors to take into consideration when optimizing your site:

Test your site . Knowing your site works well on mobile devices is absolutely crucial. You can do this manually at first simply by accessing your site via several different devices. Look especially at loading times and how the site looks on a small screen. For more in-depth testing, use Google’s free testing tool . 

Web host . Make sure your web host offers the speed and resources required to make your site fast and responsive. A slow and unresponsive home page and website will put customers off. You also want a host that guarantees the minimum of downtime. 

Apps . Consider launching an app to complement your website. They are not as expensive as you think and they can help boost both sales and engagement . 

3. Use proactive customer support.

Don’t wait for problems to happen and for customers to contact you. Anticipate the problems or questions most likely to occur and provide answers and solutions that will keep your customers happy. Offering proactive customer support has a number of benefits. 

Better customer retention rates. Being proactive means you’re more likely to have happy, loyal customers.

Less calls to your support team. By solving problems proactively, customers can see the solutions themselves and thus will make less calls to you, freeing up your team to deal with more complicated queries and also reducing waiting times. 

More first time customers. People talk about the good service they receive and that includes proactive support. When satisfied customers share their experiences, that can lead to new first-time customers. 

Increased productivity. Proactivity means better communication. And that means your team has more time to listen to and help customers who call and to collect more information and data.

Communication. You are probably already using video and messaging collaboration tools for sales teams , so why not ensure you also have great tools to communicate with customers. Chatbots and AI are great ways of proactively helping your customers find information. 

4. Personalization is key.

It is neither a secret nor a surprise that people like a personal touch, and that is true whether in ‘real life’ or in online shopping and ecommerce marketing. That means going beyond using their name (which you can do with website automation or in marketing emails) and also recognizing their particular interests and buying habits. 

Using tactics such as dynamic content marketing, which can customize content according to buying preferences, location, age, gender, etc., means you are offering a personalized approach that can lead to increased sales and better customer retention. Automation and analytics can be the two drivers when it comes to personalizing the customer journey, so use them wisely. 

Smaller businesses may feel they could be overwhelmed by these demands, but with so much technology and automation available on a budget, it is not that difficult to do. There are many mobile apps for small business owners that can help with factors such as communications and social media posting, so see what tools can both help you and save money that may be spent elsewhere. 

5. Gather data as much as possible and be flexible.

Data is not a one off exercise. Collect as much data as possible in the early stages, but keep collecting it always. Collect data not only on customer behavior and the customer lifecycle, but also general info via surveys, polls, etc. on your social media platforms and via email. The data you collect is a hugely important resource and offers you several benefits and potential uses.

And it is, of course, not just about collecting data, but about analyzing it and interpreting it efficiently. Consider using one of the many tools, such as Google Analytics, to help you with this. Identify what metrics, such as KPIs, matter most to you. A good KPI helps show your business is healthy. 

Data is not just a collection of information, it offers tangible benefits that can help your business grow by developing strategies for the future . 

Understand the market . Collecting and analyzing consumer data helps you understand how your ideal customers behave online. It helps define and segment particular demographics, understand better what customers want, and see ways to improve the overall experience throughout the customer lifecycle. 

Expand your database . The more information you have on customers, the bigger, and more efficient, your database is. And with detailed data, you can segment your customers (and potential customers) into groups that make more personalized strategies, such as dynamic content marketing, easier to achieve. 

A larger database allows you to use a variety of strategies. For example, instant messaging can be a great way to boost your ecommerce sales.  

Better marketing . By constantly collecting data, you get better insights into which of your marketing strategies and campaigns have worked well. The more data you have, the easier it is to identify which sorts of campaigns are best, and what platforms reach more of your ideal customer base and generate more leads. 

Those campaigns could be via social media or you could identify what sort of email campaigns best drive sales.  

Customer relationship management is perhaps one of the most important factors for ecommerce businesses to consider and it is worth investing in good CRM software to help with this. You may understand the customer journey, but managing that journey on an ongoing basis is a big task. 

Aim to be consistent and to ensure you provide the same positive customer experience throughout every journey. Your online store has to be as accessible and helpful as any physical store would be. And that applies to every channel, platform, and touchpoint where your customers interact with you. 

Ecommerce businesses range from massive multinational corporations to small solo entrepreneurs. Customers range from occasional purchasers of low value items to regular buyers of high value goods. No matter who you are or who they are, you should be aiming for parity so that every journey and experience is positive.

Pohan Lin avatar

Pohan Lin is the Senior Global Web Marketing Manager at RingCentral, a global UCaaS, VoIP and video conferencing solutions providers. He has over 18 years variety experience in web marketing, online SaaS business and ecommerce growth. Pohan has a passion for innovation and communicating the impact that technology has in marketing.

MacBook standing on a desk. On the screen a yellow couch is visible.

Create an e-commerce customer journey map with a free tool

Customer journey mapping in e-commerce is a diagram that illustrates the steps your customers go through in engaging with your online business. It starts when they first become aware of your products, to completing a purchase. It can extend to after-purchase care.

Buying and selling products on the internet is as popular as ever. There are many small and medium sized businesses entering online shopping space thanks to popular e-commerce sites like Shopify or BigCommerce. If they want to build up their market share and not lose out, they need to ensure smooth customer experience.

It all boils down to one thing—

Mapping e-commerce customer journey.

It lets you understand customer's complex interactions with your brand and meet their needs.

This article covers the following topics:

  • Why journey mapping for our e-commerce is important?
  • Creating an e-commerce journey map with examples
  • Online shopping challenges and how to solve them
  • Bonus: e-commerce journey template

Why is journey mapping in e-commerce important?

Designing a customer journey map in e-commerce is key to:

  • Understand customer interactions across different touchpoints (ads, newsletter, T&Cs, customer support, and many more)
  • Identify customer's pain points
  • Improve satisfaction scores and increase the number of returnig customers
  • Improve existing operations based on concrete data
  • Identify potential new target groups
  • Strategize how to reach customers in the future

Sounds good?

Let's see where to start!

How to create an e-commerce customer journey map?

At Smaply, we know the ropes of making customer journey map . So even if you have never done this before, we'll guide you through the process. You can even use Smaply's free customer journey mapping software with our tips and tricks to speed the process up.

1. Empathize with customer personas

There is no customer journey map without a customer. So you have to think about who our customer is—or should be to understand their needs and expectations.

The first step is to create a persona that represents this target group in a customer-centric way. Defining a persona in e-commerce can help you answer some important questions:

  • What does the user need/want?
  • What channels and devices does the persona use in order to research products?
  • How price-sensitive is the user?
  • What are their concrete expectations about their online shopping experience?
  • What products does the persona value?

By answering these questions, you can get a better understanding of your target group. The questions above are just examples. You could also include country specific questions or cultural differences. Just think about which information might be helpful for their e-commerce journey.

Check out the example profile of a persona in a customer journey map for an online shop.

Illustration of the persona Carl, an actor who enjoys sustainable shopping end fashion.

Keep in mind that when you run an online shop, you should also examine potential customers or leads.

2. Define the scope of the e-commerce journey map

When creating a journey map, you can choose between various scales and scopes.

When you start out, we recommend that you use a high-level journey map to visualize the whole experience the user has with your brand. From finding to your e-commerce site, searching for the right product, the check-out process, and up until the product delivery.

Then, you can create a more detailed map to dive deeper into a specific step. For example, you might want to focus on the product search on your website through different category pages or the check-out funnel.

Many e-commerce shops lose customers during the check-out process. It might be useful to investigate this step. Is the process intuitive? Or is it confusing for customers?

3. Analyze experiences, step by step, stage by stage

Now, we have to map down the user’s journey.

Every e-commerce journey map consists of several stages and steps:

Stages of e-commerce: Awareness > Consideration > Decision > Delivery and Use > Return

Once we’ve defined the stages, think about the different steps and touchpoints customers experience when they are interacting with your online shop. The level of detail of each step depends on the overall scale of the map that we’ve defined above. Ask yourself:

  • What are the steps within each stage?
  • What are the customers’ goals and pain points at each step of the journey?
  • What are your own business goals for each step?
  • Where do your current customers drop out of the journey, leave our website?
  • Do they get the right information at the right time?

Describe your customer's journey step by step to empathize with him.

There's one important thing to keep in mind at this point—

The customer journey starts before users get to our website. It starts with a need, a desire for a more or less specific product. Also, the customer's e-commerce journey does't end at the checkout. Nor when users hold the product in their hands.

Customers experience and interact with your brand after completing the online purchase. For example, when contacting support, returning to your shop, or recommending the brand to their social network.

5. Visualizing processes

This is an often neglected step in mapping e-commerce journeys.

You can also focus on the backstage activities happening during the journey. What needs to happen behind the scene, outside of the customers’ view to deliver a smooth experience? Close to a service blueprint, visualizing different levels of processes helps webiste owners better understand who’s involved at what step of an experience and who is responsible for their optimization.

In the below map you can see a strong focus on enabling processes could look like.

Illustration of the backstage processes happening in an ecommerce business.

For comprehensive and complex journey maps with advanced lane and content types like those above, use a digital customer journey mapping software .

Examples of journey maps in e-commerce

This simple e-commerce journey map illustrates the steps of two different personas and compares their experience. It visualizes:

  • Channels they use
  • Their emotions
  • Involvement (dramatic arc)
  • Ideas for improvement
  • Backstage lane that provides a rough idea of  the processes that are invisible to the customer

online shopping journey map

This example of online shopping experience map shows a strong focus on backstage processes. It clearly differentiates between processes that are visible to the customers, and processes that aren’t. Hence, it gets very close to a service blueprint.

online shopping journey map

What are the challenges of mapping journeys in e-commerce?

Getting lost in all the data.

In e-commerce, it is common to collect loads of data about users, their preferences, purchase history, and needs. It can be extremely useful and help get a better and more holistic understanding of your customers. However, using all this data too early in the process of mapping e-commerce journeys can prevent you from understanding of the big picture.

Quantitative data (e.g., from Google Analytics) is a good resource for sure, but remember to look at qualitative data, too. For example, try to interview some of your customers after the purchase or send them a customer survey to get some qualitative insights.

The good thing about qualitative data is that it helps us find the biggest pain points easily. If there’s a hole in the street and three pedestrians point to it, we don’t need another 10 folks to confirm this, right?

Also, quantitative data will never give you an answer to the “why”:

  • Why did users visit your page?
  • Why did they buy from your site, and not another?
  • Why did they abandon the cart?

Some more questions that could be interesting to dive into are:

  • How did they research the product in the first place?
  • What online and offline channels did they use?
  • How do they evaluate the experience on our website?
  • How do our users think your page could be improved?

Consider context and think cross-channel

Many different channels influence the e-commerce journey: website, shopping app, review portals and word of mouth…

Even though a big part of a service is being used in an online context, it does not mean customers don’t have any offline experiences. Consider physical context and direct, personal interaction! Is your online shop accessible to everyone? What do customer reviews tell others about your customer service? This is something you will  learn from Google Analytics!

Call to action: create online shopping journey maps!

Empty template for an e-commerce journey map

It’s time to create your own journey map!

Download this set of paper templates , or start creating digital journey maps with Smaply !

Create user-focused journey maps to understand the user experience and innovate your services. Smaply lets you easily create e-commerce journey maps, personas, and ecosystem maps with an in-app template.

Sign up now, it's free!

online shopping journey map

Antonia Cramer

Antonia keeps her eyes open for questions people interested in service design are looking to answer, and helps us provide resources to support their learning ambitions. With her background in digital communication she has great knowledge on how to create content that is easy to access and understand.

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How to Create a Customer Journey Map? Template, Examples

Appinio Research · 01.11.2023 · 32min read

How to Create a Customer Journey Map Template Examples

Are your customers truly at the heart of your business strategy? Understanding their experiences and interactions is key to success. In this guide, we'll navigate the intricate landscape of customer journey mapping, equipping you with the tools and insights needed to create exceptional customer experiences. From deciphering customer touchpoints to harnessing the power of emotions, we'll dive deep into every aspect of crafting an effective customer journey map. Let's explore how to transform your customer relationships and elevate your brand.

What is a Customer Journey Map?

A customer journey map is a powerful tool used by businesses to gain a holistic understanding of their customers' experiences throughout their interactions with the brand. It is a visual representation that illustrates the entire journey, from the initial awareness stage to post-purchase engagement.

Components of a Customer Journey Map

  • Stages:  A typical customer journey is divided into stages, including awareness, consideration, purchase, and post-purchase phases. These stages represent the key milestones in a customer's interaction with your brand.
  • Customer Actions:  Within each stage, customer actions are documented. These actions can include visiting your website, researching products, making a purchase, seeking customer support, and providing feedback.
  • Touchpoints:  Customer touchpoints are the points of contact where interactions occur. These can be digital, such as website visits and social media interactions, or physical, like in-store visits and phone calls.
  • Emotions and Pain Points:  Effective journey maps also incorporate the emotional aspects of the customer experience. They highlight where customers may feel frustration, delight, confusion, or satisfaction.
  • Moments of Truth:  These are pivotal moments in the journey that significantly influence a customer's perception of your brand. Moments of truth can be positive, such as exceptional customer service, or negative, like unresolved issues.

Importance of Customer Journey Mapping

Customer journey mapping is more than just a visual representation; it is a strategic tool with significant business implications. Here's why it's essential:

  • Enhanced Customer Experience:  By understanding the customer journey, businesses can identify pain points and areas for improvement, leading to a smoother and more enjoyable experience for customers.
  • Improved Customer Retention:  Identifying moments of truth and addressing pain points can foster customer loyalty and increase retention rates.
  • Higher Conversion Rates:  A well-optimized customer journey can boost conversion rates at critical stages, such as during the consideration and purchase phases.
  • Data-Driven Insights:  Customer journey maps are grounded in data and feedback, providing actionable insights that guide decision-making and strategic planning.
  • Cross-Functional Collaboration:  The process of creating a customer journey map encourages collaboration among different departments within a company, ensuring a unified focus on the customer.
  • Competitive Advantage:  A thorough understanding of the customer journey can differentiate your brand from competitors by delivering a superior and personalized experience.

In summary, customer journey mapping is a vital tool for businesses looking to deliver exceptional customer experiences, enhance brand loyalty, and remain competitive in today's market. It provides valuable insights that drive strategic decision-making and continuous improvement efforts.

How to Prepare for Customer Journey Mapping?

Once you've recognized the importance of customer journey mapping, it's time to prepare for the process ahead. Proper preparation lays the foundation for a successful journey mapping endeavor.

1. Define Your Goals and Objectives

Before diving into customer journey mapping, you must be clear about what you aim to achieve. Your goals and objectives should drive the entire process. Consider these questions:

  • What specific insights do you hope to gain from the journey mapping process?
  • Are you looking to improve specific touchpoints, reduce customer churn, or enhance the overall customer experience?
  • How will you measure the success of your journey mapping efforts?

By defining your goals upfront, you can focus your efforts and ensure that the resulting map aligns with your business objectives.

2. Identify Your Target Audience

Understanding your audience is at the core of effective customer journey mapping. Your customers are unique, and their experiences may vary widely. To create a customer journey map that resonates, you must define your target audience . Consider factors such as:

  • Demographics :  Who are your typical customers in terms of age, gender, location, and income?
  • Behavior:  What actions do they take when interacting with your brand?
  • Preferences:  What are their communication preferences and channels of choice?

The more detailed your understanding of your audience, the more accurate and actionable your customer journey map will be.

3. Gather Relevant Data and Information

Data is the lifeblood of customer journey mapping. To create a comprehensive map, you need to gather as much relevant data as possible. Sources of data may include:

  • Customer Surveys:   Collect customer feedback to understand their pain points, preferences, and expectations.
  • Customer Support Tickets:  Analyze support tickets to identify common issues and areas for improvement.
  • Website Analytics:  Dive into website data to see how customers navigate and interact with your online presence.
  • Sales Data:  Examine sales data to gain insights into the customer buying process.

Effective data collection is essential for a successful customer journey mapping initiative, and Appinio can be your trusted ally in this endeavor. Appinio empowers you to gather valuable customer insights swiftly and efficiently. With access to a diverse pool of respondents, you can tailor your surveys to target specific audience segments, ensuring that you capture a comprehensive range of perspectives.

Harness the power of data-driven decision-making with Appinio, and transform your customer journey mapping into a dynamic and responsive strategy. Dive into the world of insights – book a demo today!

Book a Demo

The depth and quality of your data collection will significantly impact the accuracy of your customer journey map. Remember to maintain data privacy and security throughout this process.

4. Assemble Your Team

Customer journey mapping is not a solo venture. It requires a cross-functional team with diverse perspectives and expertise. Assemble a team that may include members from:

  • Marketing:  Marketers can provide insights into customer segmentation and messaging strategies.
  • Sales:  Sales teams can shed light on the buying process and customer interactions.
  • Customer Support:  Customer support representatives can share knowledge about common customer issues and pain points.
  • Product Development :  Product teams can contribute insights into product-related touchpoints and improvements.

Collaboration across these functions ensures a holistic view of the customer journey. Remember that each team member brings a unique perspective that can lead to valuable insights.

With your preparations complete, you're now ready to embark on the journey mapping process.

What is the Customer Journey?

Now that you've laid the groundwork for your customer journey mapping project, it's time to delve into the core concepts that will enable you to create a comprehensive and effective customer journey map.

Customer Touchpoints

Customer touchpoints are the various interactions and moments of contact that customers have with your brand throughout their journey. These touchpoints can occur across multiple channels, both online and offline.

To effectively map the customer journey, it's essential to identify and analyze these touchpoints:

  • Website Visits:  Consider how customers navigate your website, which pages they visit, and where they drop off.
  • Social Media Engagement:  Examine how customers interact with your brand on social media platforms and the sentiment of their interactions.
  • Email Communication:  Evaluate the effectiveness of your email campaigns and the responses they generate.
  • In-Person Interactions:  If you have physical locations or provide face-to-face services, assess the customer experience during in-person interactions.

By mapping customer touchpoints, you gain insights into the various channels customers use to engage with your brand. This insight is invaluable for improving the overall customer experience.

Customer Emotions and Pain Points

Understanding customer emotions and identifying pain points are central to creating a customer journey map that resonates with your audience. Emotions play a significant role in shaping the customer experience, so consider the following:

  • Emotional Highs and Lows:  At which touchpoints do customers experience high levels of satisfaction, delight, or frustration?
  • Moments of Confusion:  Identify areas where customers might feel lost or encounter difficulties.
  • Customer Feedback:  Analyze customer feedback, reviews, and surveys to uncover recurring emotional themes.

By acknowledging and addressing these emotional aspects of the journey, you can take steps to enhance the overall experience and create more positive interactions.

Customer Needs and Expectations

To create a customer journey map that genuinely aligns with your audience, you must pinpoint your customers' specific needs and expectations at each stage of their journey.

Consider the following questions:

  • Desired Outcomes:  What are customers trying to achieve at each stage of their journey?
  • Expectations:  What do customers expect from your brand at different touchpoints?
  • Information Needs:  What kind of information are customers seeking, and where do they expect to find it?

Understanding customer needs and expectations allows you to tailor your map to meet those requirements effectively. It also helps you identify opportunities for proactive engagement and value delivery.

As you move forward with customer journey mapping, keep these three fundamental elements in mind. They will serve as the building blocks for creating a detailed and actionable map that will help you enhance the overall customer experience.

How to Create a Customer Journey Map?

Now that you've gained a solid understanding of the customer journey and its key components, it's time to roll up your sleeves and start crafting your customer journey map. We will guide you through the critical steps involved in the creation process.

1. Select the Right Template or Format

Choosing the appropriate template or format for your customer journey map is the first crucial step. The choice depends on factors such as the complexity of your customer journey and the level of detail you wish to include. Common formats include:

  • Visual Diagrams:  These are graphical representations of the journey, often resembling flowcharts. They provide a visual overview of the customer's path.
  • Spreadsheets:  Spreadsheets can be used to create detailed, data-driven customer journey maps. They allow you to input specific metrics, timelines, and customer actions.
  • Specialized Software:  Various software tools are available specifically designed for customer journey mapping. These tools often come with pre-built templates and features for collaboration.

Consider your team's familiarity with the chosen format and ensure it aligns with your objectives. The chosen format should facilitate the clear communication of insights.

2. Map the Customer Stages

To create an effective customer journey map, you need to identify and define the stages your customers go through when interacting with your brand. These stages typically include:

  • Awareness:  The initial stage where customers become aware of your brand or product.
  • Consideration:  Customers evaluate your offerings, comparing them with alternatives.
  • Purchase:  The stage where customers make a buying decision and complete a transaction.
  • Post-Purchase Experience:  After the purchase, customers assess their experience with your product or service.

Understanding these stages helps you structure your map and align it with the customer's journey from discovery to satisfaction.

3. Document Customer Actions

At each stage of the customer journey, document the specific actions customers take.

  • Visiting your website:  Track the pages they view and interactions they make.
  • Engaging on social media:  Note the types of engagement, such as likes, comments, or shares.
  • Making a purchase:  Record the product or service bought and the transaction details.
  • Providing feedback:  Document instances where customers offer feedback, whether positive or negative.

By documenting these actions, you create a roadmap illustrating how customers engage with your brand throughout their journey.

4. Identify Key Touchpoints

Key touchpoints are the critical moments of interaction between your brand and the customer. These touchpoints significantly influence the customer's perception of your brand. Examples of critical touchpoints might include:

  • Homepage visit:  The first impression customers have of your website.
  • Customer support interaction:  How effectively and empathetically your support team handles inquiries.
  • Checkout process:  The ease and efficiency of the purchasing process.
  • Product delivery or service fulfillment:  The customer's experience after making a purchase.

Identifying these touchpoints allows you to prioritize them when making improvements to the customer journey.

5. Incorporate Customer Emotions and Pain Points

As mentioned earlier, emotions and pain points are integral to understanding the customer journey fully. When creating your map, consider:

  • Emotional Impact:  Include icons or indicators that represent the emotional highs and lows experienced by customers at different stages and touchpoints.
  • Pain Points:  Highlight areas where customers might feel frustration, confusion, or dissatisfaction.

By visualizing these emotional aspects, your map becomes more empathetic and actionable.

6. Highlight Key Moments of Truth

Moments of truth are pivotal points in the customer journey that significantly impact the overall experience. These moments can be both positive and negative. Examples of moments of truth include:

  • Resolution of a customer issue:  How effectively a problem is resolved can create a lasting impression.
  • Personalized recommendations:  Providing tailored suggestions can enhance the buying experience.
  • Timely communication:  Prompt responses to inquiries or order updates can boost customer satisfaction.

Identifying and emphasizing these key moments on your map helps ensure they are addressed and optimized.

With these steps, you're well on your way to creating a detailed and insightful customer journey map that will serve as a valuable tool for enhancing the customer experience.

Customer Journey Map Template

Creating a customer journey map begins with a well-structured template that serves as the foundation for your visualization. While every map should be customized to fit your specific business and industry , here's a basic template to get you started. You can adapt and expand upon it as needed.

1. Customer Persona

  • Name:  Give your customer persona a fictional name to humanize the journey.
  • Demographics:  Include details such as age, gender, location, and occupation.
  • Goals:  Outline the main objectives and needs of this persona in their interactions with your brand.

2. Stages of the Journey

  • Awareness:  Describe how the customer becomes aware of your brand or product.
  • Consideration:  Detail the process of the customer evaluating your offerings.
  • Purchase:  Explain the steps leading to a successful transaction.
  • Post-Purchase:  Highlight the experiences and interactions that occur after the purchase is made.

3. Customer Actions

  • List the actions:  Within each stage, enumerate the specific actions the customer takes. This could include visiting your website, subscribing to your newsletter, or contacting customer support.
  • Timeline:  Create a timeline for each action to show the sequence of interactions.

4. Touchpoints

  • Identify touchpoints:  For each action, identify where the interaction takes place. It could be your website, social media, email, phone, or in-person.
  • Channels:  Specify the channels used, such as website, mobile app, social platforms, or physical locations.

5. Emotions and Pain Points

  • Emotions:  Capture the emotional state of the customer at each touchpoint, whether it's frustration, delight, or satisfaction.
  • Pain Points:  Document areas where the customer might encounter difficulties or experience frustration.

6. Moments of Truth

  • Highlight moments:  Identify the pivotal moments that significantly impact the customer's perception of your brand, both positive and negative.
  • Importance:  Indicate the level of significance or influence each moment holds.

7. Opportunities for Improvement

  • Actionable insights:  Based on the journey map, list potential improvements and opportunities to enhance the customer experience.
  • Responsible Parties:  Assign responsibility for each improvement to relevant departments or team members.

8. Monitoring and Measurement

  • Key Metrics:  Define the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help you measure the success of your journey map.
  • Frequency:  Specify how often you will revisit the map and update it based on new data and insights.

Remember that this template is a starting point. You can customize it to align with your specific industry, customer segments, and objectives. As you gather data, engage with customers, and analyze feedback, your customer journey map will evolve and become a dynamic tool for improving the overall customer experience.

How to Interpret the Customer Journey Map?

With your customer journey map in hand, it's time to roll up your sleeves and extract valuable insights. Let's explore how you can analyze and interpret your map effectively.

1. Identify Opportunities for Improvement

Your customer journey map is a treasure trove of insights waiting to be uncovered. Start by closely examining the map and identifying areas where improvements can be made. These opportunities might include:

  • Pain Points:  Pinpoint where customers encounter frustration, delays, or roadblocks. These are prime areas for improvement.
  • Communication Gaps:  Identify instances where customers may not receive clear or timely information.
  • Missing Touchpoints:  Check for stages in the journey where there might be gaps in engagement or opportunities to connect with customers.

By identifying these opportunities, you set the stage for enhancing the overall customer experience and increasing customer satisfaction.

2. Address Pain Points and Friction

Once you've identified pain points in the customer journey, it's essential to take action to address them. Consider implementing the following strategies:

  • Streamlining Processes:  Simplify and optimize processes to reduce friction and make interactions smoother.
  • Improving Communication:  Enhance communication channels to ensure customers receive timely and relevant information.
  • Offering Solutions:  Develop solutions that directly address the specific pain points identified in the map.

Addressing pain points and friction not only improves the customer experience but also contributes to customer loyalty and retention.

3. Leverage Positive Touchpoints

Your customer journey map is not just about identifying issues—it's also about recognizing what's working well. Leverage the positive touchpoints to your advantage by:

  • Replicating Success:  Identify elements of these positive interactions that can be applied to other stages or touchpoints in the journey.
  • Enhancing Personalization:  Use insights from positive touchpoints to tailor your messaging and offerings to individual customer preferences.
  • Fostering Engagement:  Encourage more frequent and positive interactions by amplifying the aspects customers enjoy.

By amplifying positive touchpoints, you can create a consistently delightful customer journey that strengthens brand loyalty.

4. Align with Customer Needs and Expectations

Your customer journey map should be a reflection of your customer's needs and expectations. To ensure alignment, take the following steps:

  • Regularly Review and Update:  Keep your map current by revisiting it periodically to account for changes in customer behavior and market trends.
  • Customer Feedback Integration:  Continuously gather and incorporate customer feedback to adjust your map as necessary.
  • Measure Performance:  Use key performance indicators (KPIs) such as Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS), and Conversion Rates to evaluate how well your map aligns with customer needs and expectations.

Alignment with customer needs and expectations is the cornerstone of a successful customer journey map. It ensures that your efforts are customer-centric and result in a more satisfying experience.

With your insights gained and improvements identified, it's time to move on to the next step: implementing changes based on the customer journey map.

How to Implement Changes Based on the Customer Journey Map?

After thoroughly analyzing and interpreting your customer journey map, it's time to put your insights into action. Implementing changes based on your map is critical to enhancing the customer experience and achieving your goals.

  • Cross-Functional Collaboration:  Collaborate across departments, including marketing, sales, customer support, and product development. Effective communication and teamwork are essential for successful implementation.
  • Prioritize Actionable Insights:  Not all insights from your map may be equally actionable or impactful. Prioritize changes that align with your objectives and have the potential to make the most significant difference in the customer journey.
  • Develop an Action Plan:  Create a detailed action plan that outlines the specific changes, responsibilities, timelines, and resources needed for implementation. This plan will serve as your roadmap for executing improvements.
  • Test and Iterate:  Before making broad changes, consider conducting pilot tests or small-scale implementations to assess their effectiveness. Continuously gather feedback and refine your approach based on results.
  • Monitor and Measure Impact:  Implement key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the impact of your changes. Monitor metrics such as Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Net Promoter Score ( NPS ), and Conversion Rates to gauge success.
  • Feedback Loop:  Maintain an open feedback loop with customers to gather their thoughts and reactions to the implemented changes. Customer feedback is invaluable for fine-tuning your efforts.
  • Documentation:  Keep detailed records of all changes made based on your customer journey map. This documentation helps track progress and serves as a reference for future initiatives.

Examples of Effective Customer Journey Maps

To gain a deeper understanding of how customer journey mapping can be applied in real-world scenarios, let's explore some examples of companies that have successfully leveraged this strategy to enhance their customer experiences.

Example 1: Airbnb

Airbnb, the global vacation rental platform, excels at using customer journey mapping to create a seamless user experience. Their journey map spans from the moment a traveler starts searching for accommodation to the post-stay phase. Airbnb identified vital touchpoints, including website navigation, host communication, the booking process, and the stay itself.

How Airbnb Uses Journey Mapping:

  • Personalization:  Airbnb tailors its website content based on user preferences and search history, ensuring a personalized experience.
  • Clear Communication:  Hosts and guests can communicate through the platform, streamlining interactions and reducing friction.
  • Post-Stay Engagement:  After a stay, Airbnb encourages guests to leave reviews, fostering trust and transparency.

By mapping the entire journey and optimizing each touchpoint, Airbnb has become a customer-centric platform known for its user-friendly experience.

Example 2: Disney

Disney, a pioneer in the realm of customer experience, utilizes customer journey mapping extensively to create magical moments for visitors at their theme parks and resorts. Their journey map covers everything from planning a trip to the actual park experience and beyond.

How Disney Uses Journey Mapping:

  • Pre-Visit Engagement:  Disney engages customers even before they arrive by providing tools like the "My Disney Experience" app for planning and reservations.
  • In-Park Experience:  The company uses RFID technology for seamless entry, mobile food ordering, and interactive experiences within the park.
  • Post-Visit Connection:  Disney continues to engage with customers through personalized emails, offers, and surveys to gather feedback.

Disney's commitment to understanding and optimizing every stage of the customer journey contributes to its reputation as a world-class destination for families.

Example 3: Amazon

Amazon, the e-commerce giant , relies on customer journey mapping to enhance the online shopping experience. Their journey map encompasses the entire shopping process, from product discovery to delivery and customer support.

How Amazon Uses Journey Mapping:

  • User-Friendly Interface:  Amazon's website and mobile app are designed for ease of use, allowing customers to browse and purchase products effortlessly.
  • Recommendation Engine:  The company employs advanced algorithms to suggest products based on a customer's browsing and purchasing history.
  • Efficient Fulfillment:  Amazon's streamlined logistics and delivery services ensure prompt and reliable product deliveries.

Amazon's commitment to creating a frictionless shopping journey has made it a trusted and customer-centric e-commerce leader.

These examples showcase how diverse industries, from hospitality to entertainment and e-commerce, utilize customer journey mapping to create exceptional experiences. By examining their approaches, you can draw inspiration and adapt similar strategies to cater to your unique customer base and industry demands.

Remember, successful customer journey mapping is an ongoing process, so continue to refine and optimize based on customer feedback and evolving trends.

Continuous Customer Journey Optimization

Creating a customer journey map is not a one-and-done task; it's an ongoing process. To ensure your map remains relevant and effective in improving the customer experience, consider the following practices for continuous optimization:

  • Regularly Update the Customer Journey Map:  As your business evolves and customer preferences change, revisit and update your customer journey map accordingly. New touchpoints may emerge, and existing ones may evolve.
  • Gather Customer Feedback and Data:  Continue to collect feedback from your customers through surveys, reviews, and other channels. Use this data to refine your map and stay aligned with customer needs and expectations.
  • Adapting to Changing Customer Behaviors and Trends:  Keep a close eye on emerging trends, technologies, and shifts in customer behaviors. Be agile and ready to adjust your customer journey map to stay competitive and customer-focused.
  • Benchmark Against Competitors:  Analyze the customer journeys of your competitors to identify areas where you can differentiate and excel. Learn from both their successes and their mistakes.
  • Employee Training and Awareness:  Ensure your team members across various departments are well-trained and aware of the customer journey map. Encourage a customer-centric culture within your organization.
  • Regularly Review and Revise Metrics:  Assess the KPIs you use to measure the effectiveness of your customer journey map. Make sure they remain relevant and align with your evolving goals.
  • Experiment and Innovate:  Don't be afraid to experiment with new strategies, technologies, or approaches to enhance the customer journey. Innovation can lead to breakthrough improvements.

By continuously optimizing your customer journey map and staying attuned to your customers' evolving needs, you'll be better equipped to provide exceptional experiences that drive loyalty and business growth. Remember that customer journey optimization is an ongoing journey in itself.

Conclusion for Customer Journey Maps

Customer journey mapping is your compass to providing remarkable experiences for your customers. Following the steps outlined in this guide, you can now create effective maps, identify opportunities, and continuously optimize the journey. Remember, it's all about putting your customers first and making their interaction with your brand a journey they'll cherish. As you embark on your journey mapping endeavors, remember that the customer experience is ever-evolving. Stay agile, gather feedback, and adapt to changing customer behaviors and expectations. By doing so, you'll not only meet but exceed your customers' needs, fostering loyalty and driving your business toward long-term success.

How to Create a Customer Journey Map in Minutes?

Unlock the full potential of customer journey mapping with Appinio , the real-time market research platform that empowers businesses to harness real-time consumer insights for smarter, data-driven decisions. In just minutes, you can conduct your market research effortlessly, making it an integral part of your daily decision-making process.

  • Instant Insights:  Move from questions to actionable insights in a matter of minutes, ensuring you have the most up-to-date information to shape your customer journey map.
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  • Global Reach:  With access to over 90 countries and the ability to define the right target group from 1200+ characteristics, Appinio enables you to reach your desired audience wherever they are.

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The Online Shopper Journey Explained: How to Create a Seamless Customer Experience


Customer experience is the key to eCommerce success. It is how you make your customers feel when they interact with your online store, products, and service.

In this article, we will explain what customer experience is, why it matters, and how you can enhance the online shopper journey.

What Is the eCommerce Customer Journey?

The eCommerce customer journey is a series of steps a potential customer takes before eventually purchasing. It starts with becoming aware of the product or service, considering whether it meets their needs, and then buying it.

But the journey doesn't end there. The eCommerce customer journey also includes post-purchase engagement and loyalty, which can lead to repeat purchases and referrals.

So why is the eCommerce customer journey important? Because it helps you understand your customers better, optimize your marketing strategies, and deliver a better customer experience.

By mapping out the eCommerce customer journey, you can identify the touch points where customers interact with your brand, the pain points where they face challenges or frustrations, and the opportunities where you can delight them and encourage them to take action.

The eCommerce customer journey is not linear or uniform. It can vary depending on the product, the customer, and the channel. However, there are some common stages that most customers go through, such as awareness, consideration, decision, and retention.

In this article, we will explain each stage of the eCommerce customer journey and how you can improve yours to increase conversions and retention.

Stages of The eCommerce Customer Journey

To understand and optimize your eCommerce customer journey, you need to know the different stages that customers go through before and after buying from you. In this section, we will explain the five main stages of the eCommerce customer journey and how to improve each one.

This is when potential customers discover your brand and products through various channels, such as social media, search engines, blogs, or word-of-mouth. They are looking for solutions to their problems or needs, and they become aware of your offerings.

At this stage, your goal is to capture their attention and interest and educate them about your value proposition. You can do this by creating engaging content, running targeted ads, optimizing your SEO, and leveraging social proof.


This is when potential customers evaluate your products and compare them with other options. They are looking for more information, such as features, benefits, reviews, testimonials, or demos.

They are also considering factors such as price, delivery, warranty, or customer service. At this stage, your goal is to persuade them that your products are the best solution for their needs and that they can trust you as a reliable seller.

You can do this by providing clear and compelling product pages, offering free trials or samples, showcasing customer success stories, and providing live chat or phone support.

This is when potential customers are ready to buy from you. They have narrowed down their choices and decided that your products are the ones they want. They are looking for a smooth and easy checkout process, a secure payment method, and a confirmation of their order.

At this stage, your goal is to remove any friction or hesitation that might prevent them from completing their purchase. You can do this by offering multiple payment options, displaying trust badges, providing free shipping or discounts, and sending order confirmation emails.

This is when existing customers continue to buy from you. They have had a positive experience with your products and service, and they are loyal to your brand. They are looking for more value, such as new products, recommendations, rewards, or referrals.

At this stage, your goal is to increase customer lifetime value and advocacy. You can do this by sending personalized emails, offering loyalty programs or coupons, requesting feedback or reviews, and encouraging referrals or social sharing.

This is when customers become brand advocates and actively recommend your products or services to others. This is the most powerful form of marketing, as it’s based on word-of-mouth and referral traffic.

At this stage, your goal is to amplify customer satisfaction and loyalty. You can do this by rewarding customers for their advocacy, featuring them on your website or social media channels, creating user-generated content campaigns, and asking them to join your online community.

How To Create An Online Shopper Journey Map

An online shopper journey map is a visual representation of how customers interact with your eCommerce store, from the moment they become aware of your brand to the moment they make a purchase and beyond.

It helps you understand their needs, expectations, and emotions at each stage of the journey, and identify the opportunities and challenges they face along the way.

Creating an online shopper journey map can help you improve your customer experience, increase conversions, and build loyalty. Here are the steps to create one:

1. Identify Your Target Audience

Before you can map your customer journey, you need to know who your customers are. You can use buyer personas to segment your target audience based on their demographics, psychographics, behaviors, and goals.

Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers that help you understand their pain points, motivations, and preferences. You can create buyer personas by conducting market research, surveys, interviews, or using analytics tools.

2. Define The Stages Of The Journey

Next, you need to define the stages of the customer journey that your personas go through when they shop online. These stages may vary depending on your business model, product type, and industry.

But, as we’ve already discussed, you need to map out how you’ll work with customers across the five stages of the customer journey.

3. Outline the Touchpoints

A touchpoint is any point of interaction between the customer and your brand, such as a website visit, an email, a social media post, or a phone call.

You need to outline all the touchpoints that occur at each stage of the journey and how they influence the customer's behavior and perception.

You can use analytics tools, customer feedback, or user testing to identify the touchpoints and measure their effectiveness.

4. Gather Customer Insights

To create a realistic and accurate customer journey map, you need to gather insights from your customers' perspectives. You need to understand what they are thinking, feeling, and doing at each touchpoint and stage of the journey.

You can use qualitative and quantitative methods to collect customer insights, such as surveys, interviews, focus groups, reviews, ratings, comments, or metrics.

5. Map the Journey

You need to map the customer journey using a visual tool or template that shows the stages of the journey, the touchpoints at each stage, and the customer insights for each touchpoint.

You can use different colors, icons, shapes, or graphs to illustrate the customer journey map and make it easy to understand. You can also add opportunities or pain points that you discover along the way and figure out how you can address them.

6. Add Customer Emotions and Actions

To make your customer journey map more comprehensive and human-centered, you need to add customer emotions and actions at each touchpoint and stage of the journey. Customer emotions are how customers feel about their interactions with your brand, such as happy, frustrated, satisfied, or disappointed.

Customer actions are what customers do as a result of their emotions or needs, such as browsing your website, adding items to their cart, abandoning their cart, or contacting support.

You can use emoticons, words, or scales to indicate customer emotions and actions on your map.

7. Identify Pain Points and Opportunities

One of the main purposes of creating a customer journey map is to identify pain points and opportunities for improvement along the way. Pain points are any issues or challenges that customers face that prevent them from having a positive experience or achieving their goals.

Opportunities are any areas where you can enhance the customer experience or provide more value to customers. You can use symbols, colors, or labels to mark pain points and opportunities on your map.

8. Validate and Iterate

Once you have created your customer journey map, you need to validate it with real data and feedback from your customers. You can use various methods, such as surveys, interviews, or analytics tools, to test your assumptions and verify your findings.

You may discover new insights or gaps in your map that require you to revise or update it. You should also iterate your map regularly to reflect any changes in your business, market, or customer behavior.

9. Use the Journey Map to Drive Improvements

Creating a customer journey map is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end: improving the customer experience and achieving your business goals.

Therefore, you need to use the journey map to drive improvements and actions that will enhance the customer journey and deliver more value to your customers.

To use the journey map effectively, you need to:

Communicate it: Share your journey map with your team, stakeholders, and partners. Explain the purpose, process, and findings of your journey mapping project. Highlight the pain points and opportunities you identified and how they affect the customer experience and your business outcomes. Use storytelling techniques and visual aids to make your journey map engaging and memorable.

Prioritize it: Based on your journey map, prioritize the areas that need improvement or optimization. Consider the impact, feasibility, and urgency of each improvement opportunity. Use a matrix or a scoring system to rank them and decide which ones to focus on first.

Implement it: Based on your priorities, create an action plan that outlines the steps, resources, and timelines for implementing the improvements. Assign roles and responsibilities to your team members and partners. Track and measure the progress and results of your actions using relevant metrics and indicators.

Update it: As you implement your improvements, monitor and evaluate their effects on the customer journey and experience. Collect feedback from your customers and analyze their behavior and satisfaction. Update your journey map accordingly to reflect any changes or new insights. Repeat the process as needed to keep your journey map current and relevant.

Why Is the Customer Journey Necessary For eCommerce Platforms?

The customer journey is necessary for eCommerce platforms because it helps them understand and improve the customer experience, which is crucial for their success and growth.

The customer experience is the sum of all the interactions and emotions that customers have with a brand, from the first contact to the post-purchase stage. It affects customer satisfaction, loyalty, retention, advocacy, and ultimately, revenue.

According to a study by PwC, 73% of consumers say that customer experience is an important factor in their purchasing decisions, and 43% would pay more for greater convenience.

Moreover, 65% of consumers say that a positive experience with a brand is more influential than great advertising.

By mapping the customer journey, eCommerce platforms can gain a comprehensive understanding of the customer’s needs, expectations, and pain points at each stage of the journey.

They can also identify the opportunities and challenges they face along the way, and how they can address them.

By using the customer journey map to drive improvements, eCommerce platforms can enhance the customer experience and deliver more value to their customers.

They can also align their operations and messaging with customer expectations, leading to more efficient and effective communication and marketing.

How Can You Enhance Your Customer's Experience?

Enhancing your customer's experience is not only beneficial for your customers but also for your eCommerce business. A positive customer experience can increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, retention, advocacy, and revenue.

According to a study by Adobe , companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies enjoy a 10% year-over-year growth, a 10% increase in average order value, and a 25% increase in close rates.

So how can you enhance your customer's experience and achieve these results? Here are some tips and best practices to follow:

1. Always Ask For Their Feedback

One of the best ways to improve your customer's experience is to ask them for their feedback.

Feedback can help you understand what your customers like and dislike about your eCommerce store, products, and service. It can also help you identify their needs, expectations, and pain points.

You can use various methods to collect feedback from your customers, such as surveys, reviews, ratings, comments, or social media. You can also use tools like GetFeedback to create and manage feedback campaigns across multiple channels.

2. Optimize for Search Engines

Another way to enhance your customer's experience is to optimize your eCommerce store for search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) can help you rank higher on search results pages and drive more organic traffic to your store.

SEO can also improve your site's usability, speed, and relevance, which can positively impact your customer's experience.

You can use various techniques to optimize your eCommerce store for SEO, such as conducting keyword research, creating quality content, optimizing your site structure and navigation, using meta tags and schema markup, improving your site speed and mobile-friendliness, and building backlinks.

3. Have Good Customer Support

Having good customer support is essential for enhancing your customer's experience. Customer support is how you help your customers with their questions, issues, or complaints. Customer support can influence your customer's satisfaction, trust, and loyalty.

You can provide good customer support by offering multiple channels of communication, such as phone, email, chat, or social media. You can also use tools like ProProfs Desk to manage your customer support tickets and queries efficiently and effectively.

4. Personalization Is Necessary

Personalization is another way to enhance your customer's experience. Personalization is how you tailor your eCommerce store, products, and marketing to suit your customer's preferences, behavior, and needs.

Personalization can increase your customer's engagement, relevance, and conversion rates .

You can use various methods to personalize your eCommerce store, such as using customer data and analytics, segmenting your customers into groups or personas, creating personalized recommendations or offers, sending personalized emails or messages, or using dynamic content or landing pages.

5. Analyze Customer Behavior

Analyzing customer behavior is also important for enhancing your customer's experience.

Customer behavior is how your customers interact with your eCommerce store, such as what pages they visit, what products they view or buy, what actions they take, or what feedback they leave.

Analyzing customer behavior can help you understand your customer’s needs, motivations, and pain points. It can also help you identify the opportunities and challenges in your customer journey and optimize your eCommerce store accordingly. You can use various tools to analyze customer behavior, but naturally, we think you should give Woopra a try .

The Bottom Line

To conclude, enhancing your customer’s experience is vital for your eCommerce success.

By following the tips and best practices mentioned above, you can create a positive and memorable customer experience that will increase your customer satisfaction, loyalty, retention, advocacy, and revenue. Start improving your customer’s experience today and see the difference it makes.

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How to Create an Ecommerce Customer Journey Map and Optimize for Sales

March 10, 2022

online shopping journey map

Elise Dopson

622793b178122f14b9f021ae How to Create an Ecommerce Customer Journey Map and Optimize for Sales customer journey map

“I saw an ad for running shoes on Instagram, so I visited the store’s product page, read a review, and bought them.” — your (ideal) customer

As much as we’d like to think the steps someone takes to purchase from your store are always this simple, the reality is: they’re often far from it! Consumers switch between devices, channels, and platforms in the weeks leading up to a purchase.

And this information—their journey—can be crucial for you as you scale your brand.

A customer journey map shows the activities shoppers undergo prior to purchasing a product online (and can even extend to post-purchase activity). By understanding the pathway to purchase through your ecommerce site, you can better craft the right messaging to reach target customers , at the right time.

Below we’ll share how to create your own customer journey map, with tips on how to spot drop-off points and fix them.

The result? A positive customer experience that makes someone’s decision to purchase faster, easier, and friction-free.

This guide will cover:

What is a customer journey map?

The benefits of customer journey mapping, how to build a customer journey map.

A customer journey map is a visual representation of how people purchase products. You might see it called the “buyer journey” or “user journey map” as well.

In the case of ecommerce brands, a customer journey map shows:

  • When a customer first became aware of a problem
  • The options they considered when searching for a solution
  • Why they decided to purchase your product

Take a look at this customer journey map example below by Nielsen Norman Group , which shows the touchpoints a customer has prior to buying a new car.

So-called “Emotional Eric” goes from seeing a TV commercial about a car company, through to downloading the mobile app, visiting a dealership, and driving away with a new vehicle. The map displays Eric’s thoughts, feelings, and considerations at each point in the journey, giving the dealership’s marketers greater insight into what Eric needs to see before converting.

Example of a customer journey map

There are up to 24 million ecommerce websites in the world—many of which sell comparable products to those in your own inventory. Customers have more choices than ever. But what made existing customers—those who’ve given you their hard-earned cash—choose you?

Understanding the customer’s thoughts, feelings, and objections at each touchpoint gives you greater insight to improve your online store’s conversion rate.

Using the example of Emotional Eric, the dealership selling the car can use the customer journey map to:

  • Personalize messaging . Purchase decisions depend largely on the content someone sees throughout their journey. Greater insight into thoughts, motivations, and customer pain points helps the dealership’s marketers produce materials that cater to Eric’s needs—from dedicated landing pages to social media posts.
  • Understand channel performance. Your ecommerce brand may spend equal amounts of time on Instagram and Facebook. But a customer journey map could reveal TV commercials and Facebook advertising are the two channels that drive the most awareness with new customers. It makes sense to maximize ROI and double down on those channels instead.
  • Prioritize user experience changes. If we come to learn Eric is disappointed by the quality of images in the mobile app, uploading new images can become a priority for the dealership. It’s a leak in their customer journey map that needs to be plugged to prevent other prospective customers from abandoning a purchase.

Nik Sharma tweet

Not convinced on the power of journey mapping? High-performing teams are 1.6 times more likely to use customer journey management.

Though these personalization tactics aren’t just marketing checkboxes to tick. It’s a purchase motivator for the 65% of people who’d become a long-term customer of a store that provides a positive experience throughout the entire customer journey.

“Customer journey mapping heavily relies upon how the information is relayed to its target audience. The message should be clear and concise so that even a layperson has no trouble understanding the message.” — Albert Vaisman , founder of Soxy

When creating your own ecommerce customer journey map, you can focus on components of the journey (instead of taking on absolutely everything).

Though, as seen below, the highest performers are three times more likely to use customer journey orchestration, and two times more likely to analyze customer interactions over three or more channels over time. There’s a connection between how detailed you map your customer journey and the results you’ll reap!

This can guide your investment in the process.

Stats on journey-based methods

#cta-visual-pb#<cta-title>Create a high-converting shopping experience that meets customers where they’re at<cta-title>Your perfect store is waiting for you to build it. Start building with Shogun today

Ready to uncover the steps a customer takes before purchasing your product? Here’s a step-by-step journey mapping process to create one for your ecommerce business.

1. Segment your audience

It’s impossible to lump all customers in one bucket. Different customers have different preferences, and use cases differ from product to product.

People who buy your toothpaste bundle won’t be solving the same problems as customers purchasing a teeth whitening kit.

“Some ecommerce brands don’t research enough, or the research they carry out is weak. You can’t start making a journey map through guessing.” — Ai Hiura , CMO and chief editor at FAVERIE

When building your customer journey map, don’t paint all customers with the same brush. Segment your audience by the traits they share, such as:

  • Demographics. The beauty of ecommerce is selling products to anyone, anywhere. But scaling a global brand comes with its own challenges—like cultural differences. The shopping habits of European consumers differ from American consumers. You’ll want to consider segmenting out customers based on geographic location.
  • Job to be done. The JTBD framework expresses the goal someone wants to achieve when purchasing a product. If you’re selling sneakers with your ecommerce website, for example, this can range from “look fashionable” to “support my feet when running.” You’ll want to identify your customer’s “jobs to be done” for various, finer segments of your audience.
  • Product price. Customers purchasing expensive items have longer customer journeys than with cheaper items. The same applies to subscriptions. The higher the commitment, the longer the purchase journey. You can segment your audience by average order value ranges as you create your map.

2. Uncover common touchpoints

Once you’ve isolated your customer personas with segmentation, it’s time to conduct research.

Our goal at this point is to uncover the touchpoints a potential customer has prior to purchasing. Here’s how you can find them.

Collect customer data

There’s no better way to understand your customers than talking to them.

Aaron Masterson, founder of Local Furniture Outlet , says, “While it may be tempting to believe that we know more about our customers than we do, doing additional research that provides valuable data through interviews and analytics is the best way to approach building a customer journey map.

“Since customer journey maps are all about customers, it would be a mistake not to involve them when building one. Without putting customers at the center of focus, it is not possible to completely represent their experiences.”

Find the touchpoints previous customers had with your brand via order confirmation emails. Follow-up their purchase with an invite to complete a customer feedback survey —or, for more in-depth data, voice of the customer interviews.

Key questions to ask in these conversations include:

  • What was happening in your life when you first decided you wanted to solve a problem?
  • Did you consider any other options before purchasing this product? If so, why did you choose ours?
  • What factors, if any, almost stopped you from purchasing this product?

You can use a market research repository like Userzoom or Aurelius to store all feedback—or a classic spreadsheet. Common themes will begin to appear over time, unveiling the touchpoints for your customer journey map.

#cta-paragraph-pb# Read more on creating buyer profiles: How—And Why—You Should Use Buyer Profiles and Quizzes for Your Store

Analyze your website activity and drop off points

While customer interviews are a great source of data, you’re not going to get the full picture of how people engage with your brand pre-purchase through interviews alone.

People forget about steps they’ve taken, thoughts they had, or content they engaged with. Customers also have a different point of view—even if they did take the same path to purchase.

Lift the lid on how potential customers engage with your website through:

  • On-site surveys. Expand your data by surveying people in the middle of the customer journey—not just those who’ve completed it. Understand the frame of mind of a website visitor on your product page by asking, “What problem are you looking to solve?”
  • Heatmaps. Software like Hotjar and Mouseflow shows “hot” parts of your website—places a visitor pays the most attention to. If you’re selling coolers through your online store, for example, you might find that people spend time reading whether items inside the box can withstand desert temperatures on a specific site page about this. That’s useful data for your customer journey map (maybe you can surface this info in your ads top-of-funnel, for example).  
  • Visitor recordings. Get granular with website activity by watching how people engage with your store. Pay close attention to the order in which they view different pages. Do they go from blog post to landing page to pricing page? Or the opposite direction?
  • Google Analytics . Use the Shopping Behavior Analysis report to discover drop-off points or how many shoppers fall out of the customer journey. It becomes more clear where you need to focus your efforts (maybe you learn your new goal is to increase sessions with “add to cart” if drop off here is particularly noticeable, for example—or that you need to focus on cart abandonment).

Google Analytics Shopping Behavior Analysis

Albert Vaisman explains how they get their starting point mapped at Soxy: “I use direct traffic data when building a customer journey map. This measure provides me insight into how the target audience perceives my brand.

“I use direct traffic in my web analytics tool to observe the number of visitors who manually typed in my company’s URL. Then I compare this metric to other traffic sources. [I can also look at] my website’s bounce rate, optimizing accordingly.”

Mine your social media data

Social media is a hive of activity. Your ecommerce brand can listen in on conversations—even if your brand name isn’t explicitly mentioned—to understand the customer journey for products in your industry.

Adrienne Barnes, founder of Best Buyer Persona , is currently working with her client on this process. For shoe retailer Kuru Footwear , “We’re really trying to understand what was going on when a customer was encouraged to start looking for these shoes in particular.

“We’re trying to figure out when, in a buyer journey, do people go from being aware that they have a problem, to being solution or product aware?”

Using the orthopedic shoe example, Adrienne says the prospective customer is likely thinking, “I know that my feet hurt. I need something that’ll stop my feet from hurting. What are the things that I can do?” At this point, they start looking at shoes, insoles, surgery, or chiropractic care. You can see that on social media.”

“Delving into the social media data of the people who follow your brand can supply you with their age, gender, languages, and locations. You can also identify your audience’s interests, which can help you optimize your content strategy to address your target audience’s needs at every stage of the customer journey.” — Shaunak Amin , co-founder and CEO of SnackMagic

Collect team feedback

“A customer journey map is an organization-wide undertaking because the customer interacts with basically every part of a business,” says Stephen Light, CMO and co-owner of Nolah Mattress.

“Maps simply won’t be as effective as they could be without input from those actually delivering the customer’s experience.”

Merge the data you’ve got at this point from customers with your internal team feedback. Consult the following people to corroborate your existing data:

  • Sales teams
  • Stakeholders
  • Customer support agents
  • Social media managers

Chances are, they’ll have direct experience talking with your customers—valuable data you should add to your buyer journey map.

Validate your research

Not all data you collect throughout this process is 100% accurate.

“If you don’t talk to your customers and you’re not validating the things you see in your data, you could be putting the steps in the wrong place or making assumptions that aren’t true,” says Adrienne Barnes.

“We really put a microscope on the moment they decided to change or purchase a new product. That helps me identify: was it on social media? Was it within a Facebook group? An ad? I like to ask via interviews and verify via digital intelligence.”

As Adrienne says:

“People tell me, ‘I first heard about the product because I saw an ad on Instagram.’ I can go and look through analytics and internal data to see whether we’re actually doing that—including the conversions we’ve had and what [value props] we’re talking to within the ad.”

3. Organize customer touchpoints

At this point, you have more data than you know what to do with. It’s both a blessing and a curse.

Start making sense of your data by organizing touchpoints into different silos.

There’s no “best practice” for labelling these categories, though it makes sense to model your customer journey map on the marketing funnel.

Let’s put this into practice for building a customer journey map for an ecommerce business. For example, shoppers purchasing blue light-blocking glasses have the following touchpoints at each stage:

Customer Journey Map

Next, you’ll add context around the thoughts and feelings the customer experiences at each stage in the buyer’s journey. This includes:

  • Questions they’re asking
  • Pain points they’re experiencing
  • Actions they’re planning to take

Then, refine every interaction you have with your customer—including site content/copy, messaging, and your marketing strategy—to address each point at the right time . Each is an opportunity to personalize your approach and close the deal.

For example, if we learn that those shopping for blue light glasses need to see proof that they work (because they’ve tried solutions that don’t), you’re going to want to include this prominently across your ecommerce site:

  • Endorsements from optometrists (social proof)
  • References to scientific studies that prove the validity of blue-light glasses
  • Case studies from previous customers whose eyes have stopped hurting because of the glasses

Consider as well that user-generated content could be a great way to address something like the consideration or comparison phases of the journey.

If we realize that in the consideration stage the customer wants to try on the glasses, maybe your eyewear brand needs to invest in a virtual try-on interaction on the site to help alleviate questions the customer has around the size of the glasses (something that’s difficult to judge online vs. in-store).

Warby Parker takes this approach with its mobile app . Shoppers can overlay eyewear onto a livestream of their face—much like a Snapchat filter—to see which suits them.

Warby Parker mobile app

Finally, as customers reach the decision stage, they need one final vote of confidence before hitting “confirm order.”

If they’re struggling to overcome an expensive pair of blue light-blocking glasses, for example:

  • Promote a free at-home trial or risk-free order
  • Cross-sell lower priced items
  • Show the shelf-life of your glasses (i.e. a $299 pair of your glasses every two years is cheaper than replacing $199 glasses yearly)

4. Identify points of friction

The goal of a customer journey map is to uncover the thoughts and feelings your target customer has prior to purchasing your product.

But not everyone will make it through the entire funnel. Customers fall out of the buying journey for several reasons—some of which are outside of your control; others you have the power to prevent.

Use the data collected earlier, including Google Analytics’ Shopping Behavior Analysis report, to uncover points at which customers stop engaging with your brand. This might be:

  • When they switch devices
  • When they exit your website
  • When they read a specific piece of content

Once you isolate where customers are dropping off, you can make tweaks to your site and marketing materials to fix!

5. Improve your map’s conversion rate

Found the gaps in your customer journey? Next, plug the leaks and improve your conversion rate .

You’ll get customers from homepage to products, to purchase, and into post-purchase flows with as little friction as possible when you put yourself in the customer’s shoes.

For example, a consumer in the consideration stage falls out of the buying journey because they switched devices and couldn’t remember the name of the site they viewed. The potential fix might be a pop-up modal encouraging your website visitors to opt into SMS or email marketing (so the drop-off isn’t permanent!).

Similarly, you might find that customers fall out of the purchase journey because they haven’t found a solution to their problem. In this case, understand the customer’s perspective and:

  • Run A/B tests on the site pages with the highest number of drop-offs to test your hypotheses of what needs to be added to this content to convert based on your new learnings.
  • Cross-sell different items better positioned to the customer’s motivation you discovered with your customer journey map research
  • Showcase social proof from customers suffering with the same issue your visitor has

Is your ecommerce website customer-centric?

As we’ve covered, in its simplest form, a customer journey map shows the touchpoints a shopper takes when purchasing items online, and you can even carry it into post-purchase.

Remember that while we can do our best to organize these touchpoints, your ecommerce customer journey map may never be entirely accurate—and that’s ok! As Adrienne Barnes says, “We like to think of a customer journey map as a linear process, but in reality, it’s pretty convoluted and messy.

“Have an awareness that the customer isn’t always going to follow your streamlined idea of a buyer journey. They have a whole life that purchasing your product is a minuscule piece of.”

Overall, work to uncover the touchpoints customers have for your ecommerce brand and craft the messaging your shoppers need. You’ll position your products in the right place, at the right time, to the right people—a winning formula for sales.

#cta-visual-fe#<cta-title>Create a high-converting shopping experience that meets customers where they’re at<cta-title>Your perfect store is waiting for you to build it. Start building with Shogun today

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Elise Dopson is a freelance writer for B2B commerce and martech companies. When she's not writing, you'll find her in the Peak Freelance community or on Twitter.

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Customer journey map templates: 6 examples to inspire you

online shopping journey map

Customers can seem completely unpredictable sometimes. They spend weeks researching your products, engaging with your content, and filling their cart—coming this close to finally making a purchase—just to abandon it before checking out. 

Or they subscribe to your emails, click through to your product pages, learn more about your offerings, but never take that next step to buy. 

You’re left sitting behind the scenes wondering what the heck they’re doing. 

While some people really are just quick to changing their minds, customers not moving efficiently through your sales funnel could be a sign of a problem: you might not understand your customer journeys . For example, do you know how customers prefer to communicate with you after  they’ve bought something from you (as opposed to before)?

Respondents in the 40-55 and 55+ age groups who were surveyed in the Customer Communications Review stated that phone calls were their preferred communication after a purchase. On the other hand, 18-39s actually preferred online chat and email over the phone:

Preferred communication after purchase

Your customer journey explains how they get from Point A (not being a customer) to Point B (becoming a customer). But the progression is never really that linear. Instead, customers are often all over the place—bouncing from point to point, engaging with content along the way. 

And what’s the best way to understand any kind of journey? A map. Here’s everything you need to know about customer journey mapping, including: 

  • What is customer journey mapping? 
  • Why should small businesses create customer journey maps? 
  • How to create a customer journey map in 5 simple steps 
  • Examples of different customer journey map types

🏃‍♀️ In a hurry? Get the 6 customer journey map templates right now 👇

customer journey map template

What is customer journey mapping?

Customer journey mapping is the exercise of visually outlining the process a prospect goes through to become a customer. That might be something as simple as signing up for a free trial or as involved as making an extravagant purchase. 

Customer journey maps are typically just a rough outline of the possible directions a customer might move in. Because every person is different, you can’t predict the exact steps they might take to convert. 

However, customer journey mapping can help you understand the thought processes, behaviors, and needs of your customers to prevent anyone from slipping through the cracks. Which leads to our next point.

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Why do you need a customer journey map?

A customer journey map breaks down the conversion process into individual phases. Rather than just looking at the end destination as the only goal, a customer journey map allows you to visualize the many small decisions your customers make to eventually become a customer. 

You’re then able to narrow your focus and deliver the right resources at the right time—converting customers more quickly and preventing prospects from getting neglected. 

Creating customer journey maps can also help you make fundamental improvements to your business: 

  • Get to know your target audience. Understanding your customer journey comes with getting to know your audience better. You’re analyzing their decisions, thinking about their needs, and putting yourself in their shoes. With that research, you gain more knowledge about who your target audience really is and the customer experience they’re looking for.
  • Create an inbound-first marketing model. Inbound marketing campaigns bring leads to you rather than you needing to hunt them down yourself (as you would with outbound marketing strategies like cold calling). When you know your target audience well, you can create inbound calling strategies that bring them to you.
  • Adopt a customer-centric strategy . Customer-centricity should be an organization-wide initiative—but you can’t deliver this if you don’t really know who your customer is. Creating customer journey maps gives every department—sales, marketing, product development, service—a better understanding of who they’re connecting with. 

In short, customer journey maps just help you do business better. Rather than guessing what your customer needs, you know what they need—and how to give it to them. 

Next steps? You need to create your unique map. 

How to create a customer journey map in 5 steps

Customer journey mapping looks slightly different from company to company. Your customers, products and services, and resources available will all influence this process. 

While every map will look different, there are some fundamental, systematic steps you can take—starting with why you need a map in the first place. 

We’re going to map this out in a spreadsheet. You can more easily follow along if you do the same! You can download a template of the customer journey map spreadsheet below —feel free to edit it based on what you need.

1. Establish your objectives

The first thing you need to do is answer the question of why? Why are you creating this customer journey map?

This might seem like a trick question. After all, we did just give you a bulleted list of why you should care about customer journey maps, but we’re looking for an answer a little deeper than that.

What are you hoping to accomplish by mapping out this customer journey? What are the individual steps and goals you want the customer to complete? What resources do you need to share with the customer at each point? Set a clear goal for yourself.

Think about how this behavior from the customer will translate into the larger business objectives you’re trying to accomplish. For example, you might want to reduce churn and convert more past customers. Maybe you need to boost sales or sell more of a specific product or service.

Knowing your objectives can help you identify potential problems in your current customer journey (but more on that later).

In the first line of your spreadsheet, write out your objective.

Creating a customer journey map: Establish your objectives

2. Create and highlight your target personas

Creating customer personas is the very first step in getting to know your audience better. A customer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer, including demographics and psychographics. 

If you haven’t already created customer personas, take a step back and outline all your different types of customers, who they are, and what they might be looking for—both from your brand and from other businesses they engage with. 

Here are some questions your buyer personas should address: 

  • What are your customers’ job titles and responsibilities? 
  • Where are they located? 
  • What hobbies, activities, or organizations do they partake in? 
  • Are they the decision-maker for buying your product? If not, how do they connect with the decision-maker?
  • What challenges are they facing? 
  • What solutions have they already tried to solve those challenges? Where did those solutions come up short? 
  • What are they interested in learning about from you? 
  • What are the most important factors when they’re deciding to make a purchase? 

You’ll have a few customer personas, and you can’t target them all with one customer journey map. Each persona will likely have a different customer journey depending on who they are, their budget constraints, problems they’re facing, and solutions they’ve tried. Now is the time to identify the personas relevant to the customer journey map you’re creating. 

You’ll need to look back at your objectives here. What did you say you wanted to accomplish, and who is most likely to complete that task? If this is the first customer journey map you’re creating, just focus on one persona for now. 

Establish your target persona and some key details about who they are right below the objective line in your spreadsheet. Having this info clearly visible throughout the customer journey mapping process will help you stay focused. 

Creating a customer journey map: Create and highlight your target personas

3. Know your customer lifecycle phases

Although customer journey maps differ from brand to brand, customers tend to follow similar processes: 

  • Awareness : Discovering your brand and the solutions you provide
  • Research: Learning more about your business and what you have to offer, and determining if you have the right solutions to solve their problems
  • Consideration: Comparing your brand with competitors to see which offers the right solution for their unique needs 
  • Purchase: Making a final selection and buying (or otherwise converting, such as reaching out through email or phone call)

Add a section for each stage to your spreadsheet. 

Creating a customer journey map: Know your customer lifecycle phases

Understanding these different phases and what happens at each one sets the framework for mapping out your customer journey. 

Think about what your goal is at each stage of the customer lifecycle. What action or behavior would move them to the next phase? What are their unique needs at this phase? What questions might they be asking?

These questions are the next thing to answer in your spreadsheet:

Creating a customer journey map: Know your customer lifecycle phases

Finally, consider what your goals as a business are at each stage. What do you want to provide your customers to move them through the customer journey? 

Creating a customer journey map: Know your customer lifecycle phases

4. Map out your touchpoints

A touchpoint is any place where your customer engages. This could be through your website, an email marketing campaign, social media, third-party review sites, or over the phone—anywhere they can get in touch with you. 

There are likely a number of different touchpoints between your customer and your brand, but not all of them will be relevant to your customer journey map. 

Different touchpoints typically go with different phases of the customer journey. For example, social media interactions are more prevalent during the awareness stage while customer reviews or blog posts might not be looked at until the customer is in the consideration phase. (Learn about more social media benefits .)

Map out your touchpoints by breaking down your customer journey into the phases in Step 3, starting with awareness. 

Identify the specific profiles or platforms the customer might go through at the awareness stage. This might include social media or posts from influencers or media websites. 

Add this to your spreadsheet: 

Creating a customer journey map: Map out your touchpoints

Now give some context to those actions. What is the customer doing at this stage? What might they be thinking or feeling? Think about the emotional side (like anxiety and excitement) of the transaction as well. 

Creating a customer journey map: Map out your touchpoints

Follow this process all the way through to the end, outlining where the customer is getting in touch at each phase, as well as what they’re doing, thinking, or feeling.

5. Find the gaps and fill them

If your customer journey were perfectly established already, you wouldn’t be here. Customers are falling through somehow, somewhere, and you need to find out why. 

Talk with customer-facing team members. 

No one knows your customers’ frustrations better than your support team members. They interact with customers daily—responding to problems, answering questions, collecting feedback—so why not ask them what it is they’re hearing? 

Here are some questions you can ask your team: 

  • What problems do you hear most frequently from customers? 
  • What roadblocks or challenges have customers experienced in the past? 
  • What emotions are they typically feeling when they reach out? Are they supportive, frustrated, confused? 
  • What questions do they typically ask? 
  • What experiences do customers seem to enjoy or are impressed by? 

These can help get the conversation flowing.

Use the right communication tools to make it easier for customer support team to share information with other teams. Knowing customer reactions in real-time can keep your customer journey maps strong. One way to do this is through a team messaging app. For example, RingCentral’s team messaging platform makes it easy to share files, relay messages, or just connect on customer challenges or feedback:

For most businesses, your customer-facing team will need a way to quickly and efficiently keep you updated if new or unexpected problems appear. 

Go straight to the source. 

While your support team probably has some useful information, they’re only able to gather insights and data about the customers they’ve connected with. If customers leave the customer journey before feeling invested enough in your brand to reach out, you might never know what they think. 

Up until this point, you’ve just been making educated guesses about customer needs, behaviors, and thought processes. Maybe you’ve used data and analytics to back up your points, but it’s still reactive. 

That’s why you need to go straight to the source—your target audience. 

Talking with your customers and prospects through interviews, surveys, and questionnaires can affirm or challenge the assumptions you’ve made. Here’s how: 

1. Identify the audience group and how you’re going to connect. Who are you going to talk to and how? This might be social media followers, past customers, people who’ve abandoned full carts—or all three! Establish who you want to hear from and how you’re going to get in touch. 

If your phone system has an auto dialer (or other calling features), it can help you connect with large groups of customers, getting more reliable information more quickly for your customer journey map.

2. Create your questions. Once you have their attention, figure out what you’re going to ask. Keep it short—3 to 5 questions for prospects and maybe 5 to 10 for established customers. Questions you might ask include: 

  • What made you choose/not choose to purchase from us? 
  • What problem or challenge were you hoping the product/service would solve? 
  • Did you struggle to find any information about the product/service or the brand? What information was it? 
  • What could have made the buying process easier?
  • How could we improve the customer experience?

3. Collect responses and look for patterns. Every customer will likely have a different experience, but similar groups might have similar reactions. Look for patterns in your customers’ and prospects’ responses. If they all outline the same problem with your buying process, you know your map has some gaps. 

Follow the customer journey map yourself. 

Your customer service team and the customers themselves should have given you some decent insights, but nothing beats the first-hand perspective. 

After implementing changes to your customer journey map based on the information you’ve collected, it’s time to follow the map yourself. 

Pretend you’re a customer interested in your products or services. Follow the progression of touchpoints you established to move through the awareness, research, consideration, and purchasing stages. 

At each point, analyze if you feel you have enough information or not. Do you have any questions that haven’t been answered, or do you feel like something is missing? There might still be some gaps that haven’t been identified yet. 

If you feel like you’re too close to the customer journey and content available to get a good read, ask someone outside your circle to follow the process—a friend or family member who might not be a customer or involved with the business. 

Examples of customer journey maps

Need a little more inspiration? Here are some examples of customer journey maps you can pull from. 

1. Business to business (B2B) buyer journey maps 

Let’s start out with a pretty basic customer journey map. If you’ve been following along with our spreadsheet, your customer journey map probably closely resembles this example : 

Business to business (B2B) buyer journey maps

It’s simple and to the point. If you’re new to customer journey maps, a clean, basic flow is easy to understand and gives you all the information you need at a quick glance. 

When you’re a business that sells to businesses (B2B), the buyer is rarely just one person. While a single person might be the final decision-maker, a B2B purchasing decision often involves multiple people giving their approval, meaning the entire cycle can take a bit longer. (Sometimes months!)

Here’s another great example of a basic B2B customer journey: 

Business to business (B2B) buyer journey maps

While it’s a little more in-depth, it’s still easy to read for your entire team. 

As we see in both of these customer journey maps, the phases of the purchasing journey go beyond just awareness, research, consideration, and purchase, yet there are content recommendations and goals at each step. If you feel like you need to take up more space or more steps, go with your gut. 

Key takeaways: 

  • Don’t overdesign for the sake of looking cool. A basic guide like this one gives you all the information you need in an easy to read and understand package.  
  • Expand your customer journey map so it feels right for you. If your customer needs more phases to get through their journey, that’s totally fine. 

2. Software as a service (SaaS) buyer journey maps

Your customer journey map should show a progression of how your customer moves through the buying process. The SaaS buyer’s journey is unique because much of the journey is still continuing after the decision is made. Because SaaS business models are built on the hope that the customer keeps returning, you need to think about the customer’s experience beyond just the initial purchase. 

This example of a SaaS customer journey does a great job of showing the seamless movements, thoughts, and feelings of customers at different stages of buying subscription software: 

Jeff Crezo's Taskly Journey

They also give solid descriptions with recommendations for approaching each phase of the journey. 

Key takeaway: 

  • Remember that the journey is fluid. The ending of one phase should transition smoothly into the next, so consider what the customer might be experiencing at all points of the customer journey. 
  • Don’t assume your customer journey ends when they make their first purchase. If you need the customer to convert again, create a journey map that represents that process. 

3. In-store shopping buyer journey maps 

Customer journey maps don’t discriminate between online or in-store purchases. If you’re a retail store, you still need to outline the various touchpoints, emotions, and customer needs. 

Here’s an example from the grocery store The Fresh Market : 

Customer journey map, example from The Fresh Market

One great thing about this customer journey map is that they’ve laid out the emotions and experiences for both returning customers and first-time customers. This comparison shows how two different customers can have similar—or very different—experiences. 

Be sure to focus an equal amount on the research and pre-shopping connections as much as the in-store touchpoints. Your customer journey doesn’t begin when the customer walks in the door, and they’re not committed to purchasing once they get inside. Make sure your customer journey map represents the full picture.

  • Look at the same journey from different perspectives. Don’t assume a customer will have the same experience every time they buy from you. 
  • Remember the full customer journey. Although they’re shopping in store, the customer journey begins long before.  

4. Online learning buyer journey maps

Sometimes the end goal isn’t to make a purchase at all, but instead to educate a customer about a general topic or just provide some information. 

Here’s an example of a customer journey map for bringing information to customers from USA.gov. 

Linda's Journey Map

Notice how it more or less follows the same steps. 

Treat an online learner the same way you would a traditional buyer. While you may not need them to take out their credit card to become a customer, you still want them to connect. Don’t discredit education customer journey maps just because they don’t end in a purchase.

  • If you have a non-traditional end goal, customer journey maps are still important. Follow the same steps by outlining emotions, feelings and needs, and activities performed. 

5. Multichannel buyer journey map

Our customers rarely engage with content and brands in just one way. They’re searching for omnichannel content that brings them through the customer journey at various points of their daily lives. By following the customer through the different channels—on mobile, at home, and in store—you can ensure your audience is appropriately targeted at every step. 

Here’s an example of a customer journey map that displays this process: 

Example of Multichannel buyer journey map

Make sure to plan for the transitions. Don’t assume your customer will seamlessly move from one channel to the next. It’s your responsibility to find ways to connect with your customers through their favorite channels. 

  • Recognize how your customers engage with content in different ways. While they might be targeted online, they might eventually move to buy in-store. Create a customer journey map that meets all these needs. 

Ready to create a customer journey map of your own?

Now that you have all the pieces to create a customer journey map, you’re ready to get started! 

But mapping out the customer journey is just the first step. Once you create your map, you need to apply it to your business model, content, and deliverables to create a better customer experience for your audience. 

And it shouldn’t stop there. Just like your buyer personas and marketing campaigns, customer journey maps require consistent revival. Come back to your customer journey map every few months to see if it’s still relevant. 

While you don’t need to start from scratch, moving through these steps and looking at examples of customer journey maps other brands have created can give you inspiration and insight to dig deeper. As your customer journey maps get more detailed, you can build stronger connections with your audience. 

Originally published Feb 01, 2020, updated Feb 07, 2022

online shopping journey map

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Online Shopping Customer Journey Map Template

Online Buying Customer Journey Map Template

Create a modern customer journey and much more by modifying this online shopping customer journey map template.

  • Design style vintage
  • Colors light
  • Size Letter (11 x 8.5 in)
  • File type PNG, PDF, PowerPoint
  • Plan premium

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Online Shopping Customer Journey Map Template

Online Shopping Customer Journey Map

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