Connecting Customer Journeys
in Retail


With the retail customer journey becoming increasingly complex, successful brands are adopting customer-centric strategies. So, why is it essential for retailers to improve customer experiences? And what role does customer experience play in connected customer journeys?

Today’s consumers expect to receive excellent service throughout the customer journey, and at every touchpoint. That’s why it’s more important than ever for retail brands to focus on providing a consistent customer experience to drive loyalty and build a positive reputation.

Mapping the customer journey helps to identify customer interactions with your brand at any time of the sales funnel. Touchpoints are important to understand as they can change the way the customer thinks and feels about your business. So, it’s vital retailers understand the ecommerce customer journey and make sure they’re the best they can be, from start to finish.

Connecting touchpoints across the customer journey helps establish a consistently strong identity. Not only will you meet customer expectations, but you can build customer loyalty, too. Happy customers become repeat buyers — helping to keep your brand profitable and successful.

Read on to find out why retail brands must deliver a connected experience across all touchpoints to achieve business success.


Mapping your retail customers’ journeys

Customer journey mapping is a valuable tool that illustrates the customer’s path with your brand or business. Of course, every customer journey is different. But understanding your customers’ interactions with your brand and the end-to-end experience will help you optimise the journey. It also helps you to see at which touchpoints issues could arise.

Identify your customers’ touchpoints

Touchpoints occur before, during, and after a purchase. By mapping out your customer journey chronologically, you can identify the points at which your customers interact with your brand and where there are opportunities to improve the journey.

Touchpoints before a purchase

There are many potential touchpoints before a purchase is made, such as:

  • Social media — a brand’s social media can have an impact at any stage of the customer journey. As a tool for customer acquisition, retailers can use social media as an affordable advertising opportunity to target their audience. Not only does it help build brand awareness and reputation, but also helps to build relationships with influencers, other brands and customers.

  • Company events — this is a great opportunity for commerce businesses to raise awareness of their products and services with customers, business leaders, and new partners.

  • Word of mouth — one of the most impactful touchpoints is word of mouth. Customers will trust referrals from friends and family, so it’s an important area to focus on.

Touchpoints during a purchase

Not all touchpoints during the purchase stage will be applicable to all businesses. Here are some examples:

  • Product catalogues — these can be digital or print media. These are great opportunities to showcase all your products in one place.

  • Product reviews — some retailers will feature product reviews on their product listing pages. Customers can also explore product reviews at any stage of the customer journey, including when they shop in-store.

  • Conversations with company staff members — this can occur in-store, over the phone, or through online chat software. These interactions can have an immediate effect on the customer’s experience.

  • On-site personalisation — you can use what you know about customers to offer them specific promotions and show them what you know they will like.

  • Abandoned basket campaigns — these are emails or digital paid ads that encourage a customer to complete a purchase. This can convert customers who were distracted during the checkout process.

Touchpoints after a purchase

The post-purchase experience is equally as important as the pre-purchase stage. 

Some of the following touchpoints might be identified in your customer journey:

  • Subscription renewals —a smooth renewal process is key for businesses relying on their customers to renew subscriptions.

  • Thank you notes — a personalised thank you letter is a great way to enhance customer relationships and build rapport.

  • Product feedback surveys — a feedback survey is an effective way to make sure your customers had a positive experience. If you receive any negative feedback, this can be followed up so that you can learn more and rectify the issue.

  • ‘You might also like’ prompts — recommending another product or service to complement a previous purchase can turn one-off customers into repeat shoppers. This is powered by artificial intelligence (AI), is useful for customers, and can boost your bottom line.

Once you’ve established the customer journey and touchpoints, you should turn this information into a visual representation. This will help your company as a whole understand how you interact with leads and customers, both online and offline. 


Why understanding the retail customer journey is important

Many customers now consider their experience with a company as important as their experience with its products. So, if you want to improve your customers’ experience, you must first understand their journey with your brand.

Today, most shoppers expect connected experiences. And it can mean more than just customer satisfaction when done right. Connecting customer journeys across all touchpoints can help drive awareness and significant revenue.

Consumers expect consistency in their interactions with your brand across all platforms, including your website, a mobile app, social media, and brick-and-mortar stores, too.

Companies that focus on connecting customer journeys have an advantage over others in the retail space. But it can be easy for many to make assumptions about their customers. Ecommerce brands and retailers should shift their focus from how they want to sell to how their customers wish to buy. And to drive change, retailers must first understand the customer journey and use it to create positive experiences.

Connecting the touchpoints

Brands should look to deliver at every opportunity — across every touchpoint in the customer journey. So, whenever a customer interacts with your brand, it’s important these touchpoints are optimised to build relationships. A connected end-to-end journey will help create positive experiences, increase interest and loyalty, and give your retail business a competitive edge. For example, the shopping experience should be as smooth as the checkout process. Likewise, the customer should not experience any obstacle during the return process. For example, if they make a purchase online, they shouldn’t be asked to complete a return in-store.

Simplifying the connection with a unified platform

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is a tool that allows businesses of any size to organise, manage, and analyse customer data in order to improve their customer relationships.

The right CRM helps you to deliver a better customer experience. Not only can you connect with your customers faster, but you can identify and rectify any issues that could arise along the customer journey.

Salesforce’s Customer 360 helps businesses build a complete view of every customer — all on one integrated platform. These single, unified views help retailers and ecommerce companies deliver the seamless cross-channel experiences shoppers expect. 

Creating a personalised shopping experience

Creating a personalised shopping experience is an important stage on your customer journey. This can happen online and in-store. Providing a personalised shopping experience helps drive conversions and an overall better experience for your customers. But how do you achieve this?

Gathering and managing customer data can help businesses offer a personalised experience. Retail and ecommerce brands that get this wrong may lose customers to competitors. So, it’s important to focus on this area.

Creating a personalised shopping experience is key to driving customer loyalty and sales. But data management is often a challenge when it comes to gathering and integrating customer data. This is where a CRM system can be highly effective.

Salesforce’s unified platform enables retailers to provide engaging buying and service experiences across all channels. With accurate profiles for every customer, brands can drive personalised engagement, increase loyalty, and create repeat buyers for life.


That’s a lot of info!

Here’s what you should take away from this article:

  • What does a customer journey mean in retail? The ecommerce customer journey map charts the customer’s path with your brand. This can begin during the awareness phase when a customer becomes familiar with who you are. Remember, the journey depicts the pre-purchase stage, the sale, and post-purchase.
  • What are common touchpoints in a consumer’s journey? Touchpoints are important elements in your customer journey and are used to describe the moment a customer interacts with your product or service. Touchpoints can also happen at any stage of the journey.
  • How do I connect every touchpoint? By mapping the customer journey, retailers can establish which touchpoints are connected or fragmented. Making sure the business is aligned across all channels and touchpoints is key to business success. To do this, a business could assess all touchpoints to identify areas that are fragmented. 
  • Why is connecting these touchpoints important in retail? A business can drive interest and loyalty if they connect every touchpoint on their customer journey. A unified customer experience will ultimately boost the retailer’s results with better brand awareness, greater customer loyalty, and increased conversions.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a connected customer journey?

Connected customer journeys are created when you deliver at every opportunity. To do this, you must align your business across all channels and touchpoints. Customers want positive experiences when they interact with your company — they don’t want obstacles at any stage of their journey.

Why are customer journeys important?

Customers today place as much value on their experience with your business as they do on your products. And consistent customer journeys in retail result in more than just customer satisfaction. When done right, they help drive awareness, loyalty, and revenue.

How do you create personalised customer journeys?

Personalised experiences in retail are an important element of the customer journey. They help increase engagement, loyalty, and conversions. By collecting, managing, and integrating data, your company can create customer profiles that help guide personalised content, offers, and interactions.

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