In today’s digitalized society, brands and businesses want what’s best for their customers. They want their customers to have the best possible experiences of their products or services, and one of the ways in which they can achieve this is through customer journey mapping.

Put simply, customer journey mapping is noting the ways in which your customers interact and engage with your product or service at every stage of the process, i.e. pre-purchase, purchase and post purchase. Forrester defines customer journey mapping as:

An analytics practice that combines quantitative and qualitative data to analyze customer behaviors and motivations across touch-points and over time to optimize customer interactions and predict future behaviour” (2015).

Adoreboard know the value of journey mapping, and that emotion plays a huge part in the customer’s journey. We wanted to find out more about this, so we teamed up with OnePulse, a company whose speciality is their real-time mobile-only market research platform, and gathered data from 4,700 individuals on their in-store and online shopping experiences.

We used our advanced emotion analytics platform, Emotics, to analyse consumer responses to each of the questions and uncovered key emotions determining in store vs. online experiences. Adoreboard’s analysis was able to pinpoint certain stages in each customer journey that were driving positive or negative experiences.

So, at first glance, our in-store experience data shows that high joy is apparent at the initial stage of the customer journey, where the customers are able to physically see and experience products before buying them.

“Finding clothes I really like and the store having the correct size, trying on the clothes”

In addition to the happiness of experiencing products before purchase, joy is also driven by in-store communication. Customers value friendly, knowledgeable and helpful staff.

“A positive experience is always to me when the person serving you is attentive and interested in dealing with you”

When it comes to negative experiences in-store, sadness was primarily driven by poor customer service for example, when they are faced unfriendly staff and feel ignored.

“Rude staff members; you can’t find the product you want, and no one can help you”

Poor in-store experiences can often drive customers online. Factors such as long queues and messy stores appear frequently in our data.

“Long queues out the door as not many staff at tills. I had to wait nearly an hour before I was served”

“A messy store is an immediate negative experience and disinterested staff”.

Adoreboard’s emotion analysis has revealed what it takes to give customers the in-store experience that they want that they want, and primary factors affecting negative and positive customer experiences.

Now let’s take a look at the online shopping journey. Similar to in-store shopping, customers experience high joy at the initial stage of the journey. However, online shoppers tend to enjoy the full shopping experience, including the purchase stage.

Adoreboard’s analysis revealed that customers felt high Joy, with an impressive score of 52. This is driven by the seamless and stress-free experience that online shopping can provide. Customers don’t have to experience queues, unhelpful employees, messy stores and do not feel the pressure brought on by in-store sales reps to purchase. Customers are particularly satisfied with their online experience when the website is easy to navigate and contains clear images and helpful reviews.

I had a positive experience with Missguided. Their clothing range was easy to navigate”

ASOS was named dropped a few times in the analysis for their hassle-free experience and quick deliveries.

“I like shopping online with ASOS as everything is easy to find and you can get next day delivery”

It is clear to see that a more seamless and hassle-free online shopping journey, the more positive the overall customer experie[nce will be.

However, there are still aspects of the online journey that leave customers feeling dissatisfied. We found that the main issues driving high levels of sadness were wrong sizing, poor quality and returns. Customers may feel negative emotions if they are unable to try on clothes and end up receiving

Now looking at the negative stage of online journey we can see that the receiving Item/ returns stage of journey drives the most negative emotions.

One of the main issues driving high levels of sadness was sizing; customers can’t physically try on items when ordering online, and often receive items that don’t fit them.

“Wrong shoe size was sent, and I had to pay to send them back!”

Another issue swaying the journey negatively was the quality that customers expected, compared with what they got: “I have ordered clothes that when they arrive they are very poor quality and much smaller than expected”

A large issue that companies should also address is delivery. Customers become frustrated when an item does not arrive in time, or if they are not offered free or seamless returns. Customers experience high sadness when realising that they have to pay postage to return a product that they found unsuitable.

“Buying something and when it turns up it’s completely the wrong item and takes forever to solve the problem”

So, what are the deeper insights that we have uncovered from our research, and how can they work to improve the customer journey?

  • To provide a seamless shopping experience: Customers crave a seamless, stress and hassle-free shopping experience. This can be achieved both in-store and online by having employees who are knowledgeable, websites that are user-friendly, well laid-out shops and improved return and delivery services.
  • To apply a blended approach: increasing the introduction of technology can greatly enhance the customer journey. Speed (self-checkouts), and entertainment (AR in-store) are key examples of this. Our insights show that the downfalls of in-stores (such as rude staff, long queues and messy stores) are the strengths of online (stress free, quick and easy) and vice versa: Online weakness such as delivery and returns are In-store strengths, like seeing and trying on the physical product before purchase and avoiding disappointment and returns.
  • To improve employee experience – Retail brands should actively measure and enhance employee experience to lead to an improvement in staff morale which can then have a direct impact on employee experience.

The importance of understanding the customer journey and its relation to improved customer experience is paramount. So, we’ve outlined four steps that will help to begin implementing customer journey mapping into your CX program.

1. Define your CX vision: It is important for brands to have an overarching vision for what they want their customer experience to ideally be.

2. Define what you do and how you do it to meet your CX vision: Think about how you deliver your CX vision through your products or services.

3. Group your activities by importance: ‘A’ [Basic], so something simple, such as keeping your store tidy and easy to navigate, ‘B’ [Essential], this aspect is crucial. An example would be offering home delivery or free returns. Then finally ‘C’ [Differentiator], this is what sets you apart from your competitors. This could be something such as offering free next day delivery to enhance CX.

4. Review: Once you have looked internally at your activities you can look externally to see how these activities really match up with your CX vision. This can be done via surveys such as OnePulse or SurveyMonkey, and then run through the Adoreboard Emotics engine to uncover the key emotions at each stage of your customer journey.

Modern day brands and marketers have come to realise the significance of mapping your customer’s journey in order to optimise CX. By following our four key steps, listening to customers needs and wants, and using Adoreboard’s unique emotion analysis to discover specific touchpoints, brands and companies can efficiently develop and enhance the customer journey, and optimise customer experience overall.

Book in a demo today if you would like to learn more about how Adoreboard can help you or your company gain deeper insights.

Want to find out more about customer journey mapping? Access the webinar recording here.