Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Shopper Customer Journey in E-commerce

               Hey E-commerce Manager, are you thinking about how to acquire more customers, or how to boost loyalty to your brand? Good questions, but first, you should ask: Do I understand who is my customer? what is his/her customer journey? These are key questions because in the online environment the old marketing "push" strategy is not going to work as you expect anymore. As an Integrated Marketing Communication grad student at Northwestern University, I have learned that the first step in good marketing starts with a good understanding about consumer behavior. And yes, you should use data to support your insights.

                In 2009, McKinsey developed the above model about the journey that customers follow these days. Because of the rising of internet and social media, customers have more control (and power) of the information. They relay more in friends and family opinions more than brand messages. So "Push" marketing is not going to work. Brands should start thinking about how to promote conversations and give relevant content to potential customers in the first part of their journey (Active Evaluation). Take in consideration that customers can have different paths to seek information during this first part of the journey. You should consider what is the category that you are selling and the cultural context (country, region) where your product is sold. Google Think Insights has a fun tool where you can play moving the two variables I just mentioned.

                At the moment of purchase, the core idea is to make the purchase process easier. Depending on the category, you can promote cross-selling of products (shopper marketers know that very well because in brick and mortar stores  40% of the shopper decisions are still taking place in the store). After that moment of truth, You can track your customers to understand if they repeat the purchase because that defines the beginning of loyalty. If they repurchase in your site, that means that you are one step closer to develop customer loyalty. If they do not, they are going to start their journey all over again.
So what to do now? here is your call to action
  1. Collect, analyze and understand in which part of the journey your customers are located. You can use the data that you have been gathering in your CRM, Google Analytics, Omniture, etc, etc. Quality is more important than quantity.
  2.   Segment your customers, and align your resources where "your customers spend their time."
  3.   Test, learn and improve. That is the beauty to be in E-commerce.

Remember that you also are in this journey about understanding your customers, which should be your first step into this travel.

 "There is a new reality for marketing: that consumers are continuously evaluating brands, and our brands need to be present and accounted for at every stage of consideration." Dany Bosomworth

Customer Journey
Google Data

Alvaro Gutierrez is a MSc. Candidate in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University with an emphasis on e-commerce and marketing analytics. He previously worked as a Category Manager consultant for Nielsen Chile. Follow him @mktgdata


  1. It's great to see that post-puchase experience is prominently included in the model. So much energy (and marketing budget) is spent at each stage that it is critical to evaluate how these touch points ultimate establish a relationship with the customer. Nice post.

    1. Thank you very much for your comment #hammacher

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