What is a customer journey?
As the name implies, a customer journey is the series of steps undertaken by a consumer (that is, a non-customer of a brand) in their journey to becoming a customer of the brand. A consumer’s journey will include gathering information, reviewing marketing communications, visiting stores, reviewing product information, looking at competitor products and offerings, talking to salespeople, talking to friends, considering comments on social media and comparison sites, and so on.
Please note the above interactions are referred to as brand touchpoints and there is an article on this website that provides a list of brand touchpoint examples.
As you can see in the following diagram, we are interested in understanding the customer’s journey because it is the link (or bridge) between a consumer (initially as a non-customer of the brand) and their decision to become a first-time customer. Therefore, the better we can understand this process (or journey) the better placed we are to entice and secure future first-time customers. And provided the customer journey is satisfactory in the early encounters with the brand, the more likely the consumer is to become loyal ongoing customer.
High-involvement and low-involvement purchases will differ in the customer journey
Depending upon the product, the customer’s journey may be quite complex and involved – such as when purchasing a major holiday, a new car, a new home, obtaining legal or financial advice – or their journey might be quite quick and precise – such as buying a snack or a magazine. Therefore, high-involvement purchases have a relatively long customer journey, whereas low-involvement purchases will have a short customer journey.
With a high involvement purchase, the consumer takes care to gather additional information, as well as consider a broader array of competitors. With a low involvement purchase, the consumer is less interested in the purchase outcome and often makes a impulse or habit purchase decision.
As a result, customer journey mapping is more important for high-involvement products, as there are numerous steps and sequences in the consumer’s pre-purchase actions.