How Retailers Can Use ‘Journey Mapping’ to Improve Customer Experiences

Amazon Prime Day does not just mark an occasion for steep discounts; it’s a testament to how powerful the e-commerce behemoth has become.

For footwear businesses looking to follow in its footsteps, Gartner Inc. has identified a framework to provide better consumer experiences. Specifically, Gartner looked into customer journey mapping, which refers to a process of compiling qualitative and quantitative data in order to better understand their wants and find relevant gaps.

“While [customer experience] leaders have long understood the value of customer journey maps and the impact they have on an organization’s ability to exceed or meet customer expectations, many still struggle to utilize them effectively in their initiatives,” said Jane-Anne Mennella, senior research director.

The firm revealed steps that businesses can take to encourage superior customer journeys. First, it’s key to figure out the basics before the creation of the map itself, a Gartner spokesman said. “[Customer experience] leaders should consider the following: affirm leadership and key stakeholder support, build a cross-functional team composed of representatives from all [relevant] departments, assess data sources and needs, and know the audience for whom you are mapping the journey.”

From there, clear communication — with “aligned” goals and anticipations — is critical.

“Next, the customer journey map should include the following criteria: it should be created from the customer’s perspective and reflect the customer’s entire journey — from evaluation, purchase, use through to loyalty, satisfaction and/or advocacy,” continued the spokesman.

Finally, said the spokesman, [customer experience] leaders should “turn the insight derived from journey maps into action and experiences, ensure those journey maps are current, and develop a communications plan to reinforce progress toward realizing the customer’s desired journey.”

Regardless of the specific framework a footwear brand or retailer chooses to follow, events in the industry of late confirm that businesses would be wise to turn their attention toward a boosted shopping experience.

As Jill Standish, senior managing director and head of Accenture’s retail practice recently told FN sister publication WWD, “To thrive in the new, retailers need to rethink how they operate.”

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