Thanks to the ever-increasing onslaught of new technologies, the use of mobile devices is growing rapidly amongst both private and business consumers. The resulting “digital” habits have effected fundamental changes to consumer behaviour. The schematic diagram in Fig. 1 illustrates what typical media/device usage looks like over the course of a day. Different devices are used depending on the time and situation.
Figure 1: Example media/device use over the course of a day
To address B2C and B2B customers correctly – that is, in accordance with the changes in their consumer behaviour – it is vital to understand the customer journey. E-commerce providers must therefore develop a detailed understanding of relevant contact points for a particular customer group, from the origin of requirements all the way through to after-sales. It is only when the customer’s journey is really known and understood that appropriate measures can be derived for addressing them in a more targeted fashion. Furthermore, it is also necessary to address customers differently during different phases of the journey. Ultimately,what is required is a holistic concept that supports customers through the different phases of the journey and thus across the various communication channels. This is the only way to ensure positive stimuli for consumers’ thoughts and feelings (see Figure 2) and to systematically increase the likelihood of a purchase. Figure 2 shows a possible customer journey for a washing machine, demonstrating its complexity with regard to channel changes and customer thoughts and feelings.
Figure 2: Sample customer journey for the purchase of a washing machine
The approach to creating a customer journey is as follows:
- FORMULATING QUESTIONS
- How do customers behave throughout the buying process, by whom are purchasing decisions made, and what implications does this have for marketing and online brand presence?
- Achievement of a sufficient understanding of purchasing behaviour among customers in various target groups
- Empirical field research, expert survey
- 30-minute telephone survey using a fully structured questionnaire with open and closed questions
- SETTING GOALS
- Identification and assessment of relevant channels with regard to their relevance over all five phases of the customer journey
- Expansion of knowledge about the use and relevance of touchpoints in the individual phases of the buying process; creation of a differentiated target group analysis
- Better and more targeted control, planning and implementation of marketing, sales and e-commerce strategies; more efficient budget planning
- Targeted and efficient handling of target groups throughout the buying process through sales and marketing
However, our understanding of the “customer” and the relevant contact points on the customer journey must still be further differentiated; that is, a better understanding of the “customer” or the “customer groups” must be achieved. In e-commerce, such “typecasting” of customer groups takes place by means of personas. Personas represent a typical customer group with specific characteristics (sociodemographic characteristics such as age, education, etc.) and usage behaviour (web habits, user behaviour, etc.). The result is a comprehensive picture of the target group that enables us to address them in a targeted manner – that is, a manner tailored to their individual needs.
Figure 3: Example of pre-profiling using the persona approach
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Markus Fost, MBA, is an expert in e-commerce, online business models and digital transformation, with broad experience in the fields of strategy, organisation, corporate finance and operational restructuring.Learn more