Mapping and Tracking the E-Commerce Customer Journey

By 

Rebekah Brace

 on July 3, 2022. 
Reviewed by 

Joel Taylor

Woman browsing through clothing items in a store

The term “e-commerce customer journey” refers to the various steps a consumer or client takes when interacting with an online business.

The journey involves everything from the moment a prospect first becomes aware of a business through to the stage post-purchase when companies focus on building loyalty through customer retention.

Understanding the customer journey is how business leaders ensure they’re prepared to interact with and engage their customers at each stage of the purchasing process. E-commerce companies can also use journey maps to deliver smooth, clean, and memorable experiences to their audience, improving their chances of conversions and repeat purchases.

How Is Each Stage of the Customer Journey Related to the E-Commerce Business?

The standard “customer journey” often involves a series of 5 layers, all of which remain relevant when a customer shifts from the offline environment into the online world. The five stages of the e-commerce customer journey that are essential for e-commerce are:

  1. Awareness When customers become aware of your product or service, due to your efforts advertising products on search engines, or social media.
  2. Consideration The stage when customers browse through your product carousels and pages to explore your available options.
  3. Acquisition The moment when a customer goes through the checkout process, ends up on your thank-you page, and receives the package you deliver.
  4. Service The service stage of the customer journey can include returning a product, dealing with customer questions, or supporting customers during onboarding.
  5. Loyalty During the loyalty stage, you work on turning your buyer into repeat purchases with discount codes, regular email marketing campaigns, and relationship-building.

How Do You Map a Customer Journey in E-Commerce?

To achieve unique customer retention results and increase sales, companies need to understand, track, and optimize the customer journey. This means mapping the various stages a customer goes through in their interactions with your brand. To map a customer journey, you’ll need to:

  • Monitor customer behavior Using website tracking tools and analytics to determine how people move through your website. Where do your customers come from? Which pages do they view before getting to the checkout, and how do they make purchasing decisions?
  • Track sources of acquisition Monitoring the results from your social media and email campaigns, as well as paid ads and other advertising efforts will determine the steps your audience might take before arriving on your website.
  • Collect customer information Collecting feedback and information from your customers about how they found your brand, what caused them to make a purchase, and what content they interact with to become loyal customers is crucial for boosting revenue.

Once you have your customer journey map, you can mold your marketing strategy accordingly, ensuring you're interacting with customers in the right environments and at the correct times to boost conversions and loyalty.

How Do You Track a Customer Journey on Shopify?

Some e-commerce store-building tools come with tools to help you track customer journeys. Shopify has tools like Google Analytics integrations for helping you measure the time spent on certain pages. You can also use add-on apps for tracking loyalty and repeat purchases.

Monitor your behavior flow report on Shopify to see how users move through your website, and which pages they visit most. You’ll also be able to examine different segments of users, as different groups may have different journey maps. Tools like “Hindsight” offer options for recording visitor sessions so you can track user behavior in-depth.

How Can E-Commerce Stores Improve Customer Journeys?

There are a few ways you can improve the customer journey for your customers, such as the following:

  • Improving user experience with great navigation and fast-loading pages
  • Simplifying the checkout process with easy guest log-in features
  • Providing useful content for each stage of the purchasing journey
  • Minimizing distractions from one page to the next
  • Using apps to guide customers with personalized recommendations

The exact steps you take to enhance your customer journeys will be dependent on the research you gather when analyzing your customer journey maps.

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