Understanding the Customer Journey

Customers have a destination in mind when they shop. That destination could be to purchase a TV, to get a quote for monthly tech support at their office, or any of millions of other destinations. But today we aren’t going to focus on the destination, but on the journey itself--the context that brings them to their destination. If you want your site to be the destination (i.e., the place where a conversion/sale/lead takes place), understanding the journey is a must.

customer journeys


In order to best serve these customers, we need to stop making assumptions about who they are, why the destination is important to them, and what obstacles are in their way. And that’s true whether they’re buying a new shirt or seeking medical advice. No two people are traveling the exact same path to get to the point of sale, but thankfully, there are some patterns of context that will emerge.

Buying a TV

The old model of website marketing says that if someone wants to buy a TV, they must be on your website to do so. Therefore, they should be presented with that opportunity at every single turn. This is why we find websites that have 4 calls to action, one picture, and a price tag. The seller’s intent is clear: Buy This TV.

This kind of site may work as the destination for a few weary travelers, but many others may need a month’s worth of research and hand holding to get to the point of sale.

So you have a website with plenty of reminders to “BUY!!”, little content about the specifics of the TV, and no reviews by peers who have purchased it in the past. This is a website that does not understand the journey of that researching, hand-holding customer. As a result, this website is not going to be the destination of their journey. Opportunity lost.

That customer may want to know the specs of one model versus another, and then come to the store to see it in person, measure it, and imagine it in their house. Have you worked to understand and meet that customer’s context? Has your website been designed to meet them in their journey?

What's Your Path?

Think back over big purchases you’ve made in recent months. What did that journey look like? I’d venture a guess that it wasn’t linear and it wasn’t immediate. I’d also venture a guess that any websites you came across with light content, lots of fluffy pictures, and no downloadable information didn’t become a major part of your journey or your destination.

We love to research and flesh out the various journeys that lead customers to our clients. If you need help determining your customer journeys and how best to optimize your website for them, we’d welcome the opportunity to chat.