The Digital Customer Journey Exposed: From Awareness to Purchase

The Digital Customer Journey Exposed: From Awareness to Purchase

by 212 Posted on Feb 27, 2017

In the traditional world of marketing, organizations started off with a product, did some TV or radio ads, then customers went to brick and mortar shops to choose among brands and buy a product.

Today’s digital customer experience is vastly different. There are many more touch points to connect with consumers. They are exposed to digital media channels (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) and an array of Internet platforms (websites, forums, blogs, etc.). There are also many more ways to buy the product, including via a website, a mobile website, an app, in physical stores, or by ordering online and picking up the item at a physical location.

The average household today owns more than five Internet-connected devices, so buying a product is a very long “journey” of loops on multiple devices. And every device has multiple points of interaction. Recent research suggests that the average person swipes, taps, and pinches their phone screen 2,617 times per day* (or about a million times per year)!

*Source –

Think about the last product you bought. How many times did you interact online with the brand before you started your online research? How many times did you visit the brand’s website before you bought it online?  Did you interact with online help? Businesses need a way to follow, map out, and better understand this customer journey from beginning to end.

What is a Digital Customer Journey?

  • A “customer journey” identifies all customer interactions with your business from the customer’s point of view.
  • “Digital customer journeys” combine all the contacts a customer has with a brand: basic online consumer data, information about transactions, browsing history on all devices, and online customer service interactions.

Digital Customer Journey Mapping

A digital customer journey map is a complete framework that enables you to see how clients and prospects connect with your brand and product. It shows all the different stages that customers go through as they interact with your online channels, from awareness, to consideration, to purchase.

The Requirements of a Digital Customer Journey Map

To understand customer journey analytics you will need to consider the following features:

  1. Automated Customer Journey Mapping
    You need a visual map of your customers’ digital journeys and the ability to filter these journeys via any attribute.
  2. 100% Tamper-Proof Recording
    Preferably from both the client and server sides, you need a full record of digital interactions between the customer and the site or app.
  3. Accurate Session Replay
    All web and mobile app sessions can be replayed in the exact same way they were experienced by customers.
  4. Real Time Reporting
    For the immediate resolution of customer problems (particularly in call centers), there needs to be access to data as it happens in real time.
  5. Data Compression
    No matter which industry you operate in, storage can be expensive and you need to consider the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). When capturing millions or even billions of sessions every month, we’re talking Big Data. Therefore, you may have to consider solutions that can powerfully compress collected data, so it can be stored for as long as suits you or is required by regulation.
  6. Security & Privacy
    Highly sensitive recorded information requires the highest levels of data security and privacy.

Analytic Tools for Digital Customer Journeys

Customer journey analytics enable you to understand why conversions are underperforming and find out exactly why customers are experiencing problems. These are the tools that are essential for improving digital customer experience:

  1. Funnels
    You can decide on your own criteria for funnels, either by selecting a specific customer journey from the map, or by using free-text. For example, you could decide to retrieve and analyze all the traffic coming from Facebook, then narrow it down to all the sessions where visitors spent more than 20 seconds on the “Special Offers” page and then clicked to buy a specific offer. This will allow you to understand why people struggle, why they are abandoning your channel or a transaction, why they’re not converting, etc.
  2. Customer Journey Filters
    To optimize customer experience on a particular page, you may want to filter sessions according to:

    • Mobile device
    • Operating system
    • Geographic location
    • Mouse movements
    • Customer demographics
    • Customer segment
    • Traffic sources
    • Amount of time spent on page
    • And many more attributes

    This type of information can help you to understand who is struggling most, what are the issues encountered, and how to fix them for a successful outcome.

  3. Clickmaps
    A clickmap shows you on average how many times a specific element is being clicked on, is being changed (e.g. data populated in a field) and how much time is being spent on it, within a given timeframe. You can use this data to understand if the behavior of an individual customer or visitor is representative of everyone’s behavior on a page or web element and if the issue you’re witnessing on a specific session is a much wider problem experienced by many customers or not.
  4. Flexible Data Exporting
    Everyone in the organization needs access to the data – IT, Marketing, Distribution, Customer service. Therefore, you need to be able to export the raw customer journey data, real-time scenario-based data, or even batches of data.

Why Improve the Customer Journey?

Many businesses have used customer journey analytics to focus on the performance of specific touchpoints in an effort to improve customer experience. As journeys happen over time and over multiple touchpoints, McKinsey and Co.* have shown that focusing on the journey – interactions over time and multiple touchpoints – has greater impact on business performance.

  • Journey performance has a 30%-40% greater impact on customer satisfaction than touchpoint performance.
  • Journey performance has a 20%-30% greater impact on value and business outcomes than touchpoint performance.

*Source – The Truth about Customer Experience, McKinsey research, Harvard Business Review 2013

The Business Benefits of Digital Journey Data

Experience performance data and digital business metrics can assist in many ways:

Testing Capabilities

By replaying exactly what the customer sees, IT departments can test website changes, website content, campaigns and even microsites before they go live. This allows for better workflows and journey optimization.

Site Usability Monitoring & IT Troubleshooting

With 40% of consumers abandoning a website if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load, site usability must be fine-tuned down to even a few seconds. The digital consumer has little patience, and monitoring usability can significantly impact the business.

Customer acquisition, conversion rates, retention and even SEO rankings can be improved by performance data.

Reproduce & Diagnose Errors

If something goes wrong (even if it’s not visible), the performance data and access to session replays can immediately pinpoint what to fix. This allows for rapid diagnosis and problem solving instead of having to tediously and repeatedly reproduce the error.

Improved Customer Experience

For the user experience designer, a customer journey map helps to identify gaps and points in the customer experience that are disjointed or painful. These might be:

  • Gaps between devices, when a user moves from one device to another
  • Gaps between departments, where the user might get frustrated
  • Gaps between channels (for example, where the experience of going from social media to the website could be better)

According to a report from Forrester Research*: “Understanding the specific devices, touchpoints and interactions is the only way to know if your digital investments will directly improve a customer experience.”

*Source –

Most of all, a digital journey map puts the customer at the center of the organization’s thinking. It demonstrates how both mobile and web layouts have an impact on customer behaviors.

At Glassbox, we have one single platform, for documenting a customer journey. It supports web and mobile app session recordings, replays and analysis. Glassbox enables businesses to see not only what online and mobile customers are doing but also why they are doing it.

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