What is a Customer Journey?
The customer journey is the process of research and decision making that leads up to a sale. It will vary for each type of business, product and service. The customer journey for your customers includes the problems or issues that create the need for your products or services. Documenting the customer journey for your business will give you the insights necessary to improve your marketing program. Reaching potential customers early in their journey greatly increases the chance they will purchase from your business.
A customer journey can have up to 10 - 15 individual steps, but there are 3 widely accepted stages that almost all customer journeys include. They are:
Awareness: The customer becomes aware of a problem or need, and does some basic research (Google) to find possible solutions.
Consideration: The customer does additional research to weigh the different options available.
Decision: The customer narrows down the options and does final research that leads to purchase decision.
Here are some telling statistics related to the customer journey:
81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying. (Adweek)
65% of consumers spend 16+ minutes comparison shopping before making a purchase. (Conversion XL)
Half of shoppers spend at least 75% of their total shopping time conducting online research. (HubSpot)
72% of buyers turn to Google during awareness stage research; 70% return to Google in consideration stage research. (Pardot)
50-90% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a buyer reaches out to sales. (Multiple Sources)
67% of the buyer's journey is now completed digitally. (Sirus Decisions)
Almost 90% of study participants indicated it is important to influence buyers earlier in their journey. (Demand Metric)
83% of consumers require some degree of customer support while making an online purchase. (eConsultancy)
62% of customers find it extremely/very important to be able to call your business at the purchase stage. (Google)
Many small businesses focus only on the final action (often called "last click" attribution). This misses many opportunities to reach customers earlier in the decision making process.