Creating an ecommerce strategy built around your customer is important. After all, if you're not pleasing your customers, chances are you won't be in business long.

But pleasing your customers means that you need to know them. You need to put a face to a name and understand what to offer, when, why and how. Perfecting your customer journey mapping strategy is the best way to get a phenomenal plan in place.

What are the Main Components of a Customer Journey Map?

Now that you understand the four main steps to a customer journey map, you should get a feel for what customer journey mapping entails.

There are a few major points to think about, though the extent and the answers to these will vary depending on your actual customers and your ecommerce store.

1. Marketing Persona: Who is your customer?

Creating a marketing persona is one of the first things you should do when you plan a marketing strategy. After all, what good is your message if you don’t know who you’re speaking to?

A buyer persona or marketing persona is a sheet that describes your customer. This persona describes the exact kind of person who would be interested in your products, and putting a face and name to it helps humanize that persona.

Looking at the data that you have on your customers and what you already know about them, think about who they are. Think about their interests, their likes and dislikes, their problems, their frustrations, and how they interact with your brand and products.

Things to include in a marketing persona:

  • Name (create a name for your ideal customer. It helps humanize the persona)
  • Job role
  • Likes/Dislikes/Hobbies
  • Demographic information: age, gender, location, education, revenue, family
  • Goals and desires
  • Challenges and frustrations
  • Values
  • The message that speaks to this customer

Let’s put this into practical terms. Let’s say you sell fashionable ties for young men. Your price point is more on the luxury side, but you’ve got styles that are atypical and you want to create a type of customer persona that would purchase from you.

Let’s call him Greg, the professional.

Greg's awesome at his job, but he has terrible taste in ties.

Greg has just hit his 31st birthday, and he’s been working as a lawyer at his company for about four years or so. He’s always hungry for promotion, and is looking to impress his supervisors and colleagues. He’s looking for business attire that makes his colleagues and supervisors take him seriously, and wants to have fashionable, smart dress at work.

Greg fears failure, he fears not being able to advance from his position. He might feel that his dress code at work is holding him back from evoking the image that he wants- that he’s successful, and able to take on more responsibility.

Classic, quality business attire is exactly what he’s looking for.

This is the general idea that you want to evoke for a marketing persona. Notice that you even have really basic information, as in his age, whether or not he has kids, and his degree.

It’s important to have these little details to humanize your marketing persona as much as possible- you wouldn’t speak to a 25 year old the same way you would a 45 year old. People with children have different priorities than those who don’t, and education is important when choosing the very words of your marketing message.

Greg the professional might not be your only type of customer. Unless you’re in a super niche, chances are that you have several personas that apply to your brand. It’s important to study your customers to get an understanding of exactly who they are and why they purchase from you. Doing so will allow you to adapt your messages so that you’re always speaking directly to them.

How can you get more information about your customers? Interview them. Send them a survey. Get feedback from them.

Some customers might be willing to talk to you freely. Others might require an incentive (as in a coupon). In any case, the best way to learn about your customers is to talk to them.

2. Timeline: How long does your customer journey typically take?

Another thing to figure out once you have your marketing persona more or less hammered out is how long it typically takes a customer to go through their entire journey.

While this can sometimes be difficult to figure out, this is where Divvit’s Orders Explorer comes to the rescue:

By hovering over the first channel that a customer used to come into contact with your site, you can see the date they first visited. Now compare it with the last channel on the right. How long did it take a customer to purchase?

For this range in particular in the screenshot above, there are funnels ranging from two days to two weeks. What you can also do is look at how much customers spent based on how much time it took them to decide to purchase from you. The average time to buy for all orders is 10 days.

In this section, you can also see the average number of visits needed between discover and purchase. With 82% of these results being new customers, we can assume that this is the general amount of time your customers need from start to finish.

3. Emotion: How does your customer feel throughout each step of the customer journey?

This is an important way to understand your customers on a more intimate level. Let’s go back to Greg the Pro:

(Day 1) Discovery: Greg is frustrated with his current business attire. He goes to Google and searches for “modern nice business wear” and sees your site in the paid Google ads. Your copy is enough to entice him, so he clicks. He browses your site for a while, making a few mental notes, and then he gets distracted and does something else.

Emotion: Frustration/Need. Greg feels that he needs a new tie and is fueled by frustration so he goes out and actively seeks information on this.

(Day 4) Discovery: Greg is browsing the web on his lunch break and sees a retargeted ad for the tie he was looking at on your site. Though he notices the ad, he decides not to look at ties at the moment. He’s only got a few minutes left of his break.

Emotion: The frustration and need is still there. But he feels fond of the tie that he first saw on your site.

(Day 7) Comparison/Checkout: Greg browses Facebook and sees the tie he’d been looking at again in a product video. He decides to check it out again and starts going through a few of the products. He adds his tie to his cart to check the total cost including shipping. He closes his browser and goes to cook dinner.

Emotion: Stressed. Videos are great when they play on emotion. Greg is feeling a bit burnt out from work, and stressed with a lot coming up. Though he didn’t purchase today, he’s still thinking on whether or not the new tie would be right for him. Gathering information such as how much shipping costs makes him feel more assured in the purchase- though he didn’t complete it right away.

(Day 8) Checkout/Decision: Greg gets an email for 10% off his first purchase with a photo of the tie he had added to his cart. Truth be told, he does have an important meeting coming up- and he’d like to impress. He goes back to his cart and decides to complete the purchase.

Emotion: Fear of missing out: He’d forgotten all about the tie! He was wrapped up in work but the email reminded him of it. He fears missing out on the opportunity to dress nicely for the meeting, so he goes and completes his purchase.

(Day 11) Return: Greg receives his tie and wears it for the important meeting. Having a new tie makes him feel confident, and his meeting goes well. A few colleagues compliment him on his tie throughout the day. He thinks about the discount coupon that he got in his package, and thinks perhaps he could use a few more ties.

Emotion: Happy. Greg felt confident because of the new tie, and got compliments at work. This has reassured him that he made the right decision in purchasing the tie.

(Day 15) Return/Discovery: Greg comes across the coupon again on his desk and thinks about how his colleagues thought his tie was smart. He goes back to the site and begins browsing for new ties.

Emotion: Confident. Greg thought the tie was of great quality and it made him feel more confident at work. He’s ready to look at the site again for new products.

This is a basic overview of what the emotional customer journey could look like. This might not apply to your customers, as each are different. But knowing what your customer is feeling throughout each step of the customer journey is the best way to know what buttons to push and when.

4. Touchpoints: How many times does a customer interact with your brand between discovery and conversion?

As I already mentioned, 5.5 touchpoints is the average for Divvit merchants. However, for certain brands and certain customers, it might any number of touchpoints (especially if your products are on the more expensive side).

Knowing how many touchpoints your customers need on average is useful for understanding when to retarget your customers. Knowing where they take place is even better.

5. Channels: Where do these touchpoints take place?

Once you know where your customers are, half of the battle is already won.

If your customers are mainly on 2-3 channels, you know exactly where you need to focus your budget and your time. This isn’t to say that you completely forget about other channels, but if your Gregs aren’t on Facebook, but they are on Instagram, you’d naturally put more effort into your Instagram presence.

Divvit’s Orders Explorer gives you great insight into the customer journey by showing you each channel that the customer visited from.

For example, this first customer started via a paid ad on Google. The second time they visited, it was the same: through Google AdWords. Then the customer came to the site directly (probably typing it into their browser). The fourth visit was also via paid search ads.

The fourth was through organic Facebook, and the final visit and purchase resulted from organic Google search.

You can also see exactly what landing page the customer found at each visit (in this case / is just the home page because there’s nothing after it). You can also see how much time the customer spent during each visit and how many pages they looked at during that session.

The first visit started on November 21st, probably looking for Black Friday deals. The last visit and purchase happened December 14th, likely purchasing gifts for the holidays. This customer was actively looking for deals for Black Friday, and ultimately purchased for the holidays.

Marketing messages centered around holiday promotions would be especially effective for this customer- and this is how knowing your customer journey can help you.

Understanding the customer journey map is so much more than knowing what channel the customer came from in purchasing from your store. Here, you can see if we use a last-visit attribution that it was Google organic search that gets credit for the sale.

However, looking at the full picture means we know that the paid Google ads were doing a lot more of the work throughout the process. Knowing where your customers are, and making yourself present on those channels is the best way to bring them into your sales funnel.

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These five main components of a customer journey map will help you see inside of the entire customer journey from start to finish, and understand your customers on a more intimate level.

Knowing who your customer is and giving that customer a real name through your marketing persona will help you speak to them, and only them. When you understand what your customer’s timeline is from discovery to purchase, you’ll understand exactly when to plan your retargeting campaigns.

When you can understand how your customers are thinking and feeling throughout each step, you will know what measures you need to take to optimize the process. With understanding the channels where your customers are present, you can improve your own presence on those channels and communicate where your customers are.

Perfecting your customer journey is key to creating an ecommerce strategy completely based on your customer.

When you put the customer at the center of your strategy, they’ll reward you for it ten-fold.

Whitney Blankenship

Content Marketing Manager
Whitney Blankenship is Content Marketing Manager at Divvit. When she’s not creating awesome content, she’s reading up on the latest in Social, Digital, and Ecommerce trends. She’s also the fastest Googler in the West!
Whitney Blankenship is Content Marketing Manager at Divvit. When she’s not creating awesome content, she’s reading up on the latest in Social, Digital, and Ecommerce trends. She’s also the fastest Googler in the West!