Despite increased focus on website design and an ever-growing number of services that make building websites easier than ever, businesses frequently overlook the key element required to build a successful website: the customer’s journey. Sites may be beautifully designed, but is the website useful? Quick and easy to navigate? Does it signal the company’s competency and product quality? Each and every element of the customer’s website-based experience is a fundamental part of the brand experience, and key to leaving the right impression on customers.
The underlying reasons why customers may not complete the path to purchase are multiplying. For example, there is less involvement and commitment versus entering a traditional brick and mortar store plus shoppers are unable to personally examine the product which is, for now, a clear limitation, despite innovative attempts to address this challenge (e.g. detailed renderings, rollover close ups, and specific sizing guidelines). For these reasons and others, purchasing can be a drawn-out process, particularly if credit card or shipping information is not readily available.
Yet although these variables have made it more difficult to create a customer journey map, it’s the most necessary component of developing an effective business website. With growing product and price parity and the rise of the sharing economy, customers’ experiences will be the single most important factor that buyers will consider in their decision-making process. Furthermore, regardless of how beautiful the website is, a poor online customer experience means that not only will these products not sell, but the website is signaling to customers that you do not understand them or their needs. Too often websites are dismissed as “good enough” when similar issues wouldn’t be tolerated in a physical location.
The key to reflecting customers’ ideal experiences into the website is by developing Customer Experience-Driven© Road Maps (CXM). CXMs are necessary for website development and product differentiation because they work by segmenting the customers first, and then charting the pathway for each segment, thereby giving businesses a more granular understanding of the differing factors at play in their customers’ decision-making. By using a CXM and building upon the Fundamental Human Values first identified in an Experience-Driven Design© study, businesses can identify the emotionally meaningful opportunities that turn shoppers into customers and customers into adorers. These deep insights provide the most valuable and actionable guidance to heighten engagement and create a brand with strong emotional equities which insulate the business from competition.