Update: scroll down and download the online customer journey worksheet for free!

This cannot be missing from your online strategy: the online customer journey. Which “route” does your customer take from the moment a need arises to the actual moment of purchase? Part of this journey takes place offline, but part also online. It is important to know which phases the customer goes through so that you can fully optimize them. An optimized journey leads to satisfied customers and higher spending per customer. But how do you map out the journey? The five elements below provide you with a perfect framework for this.

1. The stages of the online customer journey

Try to find out which stages the customer goes through from the moment the need for your product arises to the purchase on your site. Draw this out large or write each stage on a post-it and stick it one after the other. This gives you a row of stages that the customer goes through. Determine for each stage whether it is online or offline. For example: your customer is looking for a new pair of shoes. The stages that this customer goes through could look like this:

  1. Need recognition: “I need new shoes” (offline)
  2. The customer walks on the street and looks in at some shop windows (offline)
  3. The customer goes online to look at shoes (online)
  4. The customer compares brands and models and then chooses a model (online)
  5. The customer makes a purchase (online)
  6. The customer waits for his package to be delivered to his home (offline)
  7. Package has been delivered, customer can wear the shoes (offline)

2. Determine the needs per stage

Now that you have a clear picture of the customer's journey, you can determine what exactly the customer needs per stage. The needs are different per stage. For example, at the stage where the customer compares different shoes, he wants to be able to clearly see the differences in price. Or being able to clearly see the availability and delivery time of the shoe. Check the needs at each stage and meet them.

3. Set expectations

After you know what the needs are per stage, you need to look at the customer expectations per stage. If a customer decides to make a purchase or is waiting for his order to be delivered, the customer may want to cancel the order in the meantime. Or the customer tries on the shoes but it turns out that they don't fit at all. The customer then expects that he can exchange the shoes. So think about what the customer expects at each stage. This is also the time to see where you can excel as a brand. Where you create an online experience that exceeds expectations, you turn a customer into one satisfied customer.

4. Check the customer's emotions

During the journey and through the stages, the customer's feeling continuously changes. When the customer decides to make a purchase, he may be very happy while waiting for the package to be delivered as less fun. Determine the customer's feelings per stage. Is the feeling positive or negative? Where there is less feeling, there are opportunities for optimization.

5. Look for improvements

You have now mapped out the most important elements of the journey. Now it is time to brainstorm where you can improve the journey. See where you can exceed customer expectations and see where you can turn negative emotions into positive ones. Maybe you can add a stage that improves the entire journey. Can you perhaps bring a stage that is currently taking place offline to online? Devise a plan to implement the improvements and monitor whether this leads to improvements.

The Online Customer Journey Worksheet

To help you get started, we have created the worksheet below for you. Download the customer journey template now as a hi-res PDF

customer journey worksheet template