Every website owner should provide the best experience possible for every user. The user experience (UX) is the reason they’ll stay on a website and revisit it many times in the future, hopefully making purchases along the way.
One of the most important factors in ensuring a high-quality website? The consumer journey.
Why Understanding the Consumer Journey Is Critical for a Flawless Website UX
A consumer journey is a detailed representation of the steps a customer takes before making a purchase. Often, a business’s website is a core part of the customer journey.
When you understand the perspective of your customer as they navigate your website, you have a better chance of spotting any inconveniences they may experience along the way.
For example, let’s say a good number of customers are visiting your product pages and leaving your website right after. This could indicate that your product pages aren’t providing enough detail to the customer to inspire a purchase.
You can then come up with a solution that makes things more seamless, like adding a website AI chatbot to product pages. Not only can chatbots answer common questions, but they can also connect visitors with additional help should they need it.
Ultimately, when you understand the consumer journey, you understand your customers. And understanding your customers is critical for producing a website they can navigate seamlessly.
Design Your Website With the Consumer Journey at the Forefront
To ensure the UX design of your website positively impacts the customer journey, you must do a lot of footwork yourself. This includes putting yourself in your customers’ shoes and also factoring best practices for UX, and considering the following:
Create a buyer persona first
A buyer persona is a fictional representation of an average customer in a business. It details their demographic, psychographic, geographic, and behavioral information, giving you a complete view of who your standard customer is.
You can use your buyer persona to inform the consumer journey and dictate website design decisions. Creating a buyer persona requires the use of:
- Internet research on your ideal customer;
- Customer surveys, interviews, and focus groups;
- Customer data you’ve collected through analytics tools on various digital marketing channels.
With these sources, you can better understand your customers via their demographic, psychographic, geographic, and behavioral information. Understanding this information will help you better understand a customer’s priorities and decisions during their journey.
What’s the ideal UX on your website?
With previous knowledge of your website and your target audience in mind, you can determine what the ideal customer journey will be, and what common pain points occur within your target audience.
To discover these pain points, answer the following questions:
- How does a visitor get to your website?
- What do your customers see when they first visit your website?
- What would make them want to visit another page?
- Which design and layout elements would resonate best?
- What is the purchasing process?
- How would visitors get to the point of purchasing on your site?
- What kind of written and visual content is on each page to inspire action?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you may find and address pain points faster.
Move on to developing the consumer journey map
One of the best techniques to use to improve the customer experience is creating a comprehensive consumer journey map. It’s more than just talking about what you see customers doing.
Instead, it’s a document that shows every step a customer takes — from the time they’re introduced to your business, to their purchase, and beyond.
A comprehensive consumer journey map should address five core stages:
- Awareness: The consumer realizes they have a problem.
- Consideration: The consumer starts comparing offerings from various businesses that can help them fix their problem.
- Decision: The consumer has made a decision and is ready to buy.
- Retention: The consumer has made a purchase and is sticking with the business.
- Loyalty: The consumer becomes a brand advocate.
For each stage, detail your customer’s actions and emotions. More importantly, address how and where your website fits into the experience. The whole point is to use the consumer journey to influence the UX of your website.
Understanding the consumer journey is critical in creating a solid UX for your website.
Familiarize yourself with how customers engage with your business — from introduction to purchase and beyond. Hyperfocus on how and where the website experience fits in, and you’ll be able to build a better website UX and overall consumer experience.
Beau Peters is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he’s learned a slew of tricks of the trade that he enjoys sharing with others who have the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work. When he is not writing, he enjoys reading and trying new things.