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What is the customer journey?

Think of the customer journey as a roadmap detailing how a customer becomes aware of your brand, their interactions with your brand–and beyond. Here’s the customer journey definition:

The customer journey is the complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your company and brand. Instead of looking at just a part of a transaction or experience, the customer journey documents the full experience of being a customer.

The Purchase Funnel

AIDA describes a common list of events that may occur when a consumer engages with an advertisement.

A  attention (awareness): attract the attention of the customer.
I  interest of the customer.
desire: convince customers that they want and desire the product or service and that it will satisfy their needs.
A  action: lead customers towards taking action and/or purchasing.
Using a system like this gives one a general understanding of how to target a market effectively.
Moving from step to step, one loses some percent of prospects.

The Conversion funnel, taking into account the emergence of internet research and includes post-purchase behaviour, and can be summarized as below (source)

At this stage, the consumer has had no previous contact with your brand.

People can be made aware of your brand with or without the desire to purchase. Awareness can be based on a communications message, word of mouth or independent discovery.
Purchase intent trigger
The moment at which the consumer starts thinking about a purchase could be triggered by an event, a change in circumstances, a pay rise, a need, or even an advertising message.

At this point, the potential customer has decided they want or need a product similar to yours. They are likely start reading reviews, learning the features, making comparisons, asking for opinions, and using the internet to research their options in detail. This phase of the process can be lengthened or shortened depending on the value of the product – people are unlikely to spend time researching economy baked beans.

Decision on the most likely purchases, this could be in the form of a written list, a mental note, or book marked websites.

Deciding between the most likely purchases, taking test-drives, going to a product demonstrations, asking the opinion of people who have already purchased.

Final decision on the brand and product and whether they can afford it. Then taking the plunge, online or in a more face to face environment.

Once the consumer has bought, they will very quickly form an opinion on the product. Were there hidden costs? Did it scratch easily? Did it use too much petrol? Did it go mouldy quickly? If the opinion is especially positive they may spread the news of your brand via word of mouth promotion and positive reviews. This process is made especially easy on the internet.

It’s an established marketing fact that existing customers are significantly easier to convert than a completely new prospect, so bear this in mind when designing your marketing strategy. At some point in the future, it is likely that the product will need to be replaced or upgraded. If they are pleased with their purchase, there is a high likelihood they will consider buying from you again, but the battle isn’t won yet.
Preconceptions and experience
Did the previous buy provide an excellent user experience, or break after a month? If it broke, customers may defect to your competitors. If your customer was happy, they may re-enter the funnel at Stage 3 – Familiarity.
Although the customer probably has a good idea about your brand, they will want to familiarise themselves with your current product range, and with your competition.
Should they upgrade to the next item in the product range, stick with the most recent version or swap for competitor?
Now customers continue through the funnel as before, with final considerations, a decision, and eventually a second purchase.