Creating an Optimal Digital Experience With User Journey Analysis
Whether you’re a big-box retailer or a manufacturer/branded store, it’s essential to have an incredible digital user experience that differentiates your business from the competition. Why is differentiation important? It can attract more potential customers, increase customer value, and increase retention. To reach those goals, however, you first need to complete a user journey analysis to optimize your digital properties.
5 Steps of User Journey Analysis
A user journey analysis is a five-step process that ties one long string of your data throughout your digital properties to help create an optimal customer experience. Let’s dive in:
- Identify the user entry point. Let’s say you were throwing a party. It would be helpful to know where your guests are coming from, like the type of neighborhood they live in. Is it swanky? If so, you probably shouldn’t have a cheap bottle of wine for your party guests. The same concept applies to the traffic of your digital property. You need to understand where your users are coming from, whether it’s from a search engine, promotional email, or another source.
Helpful Tip: Create segments for your traffic sources as defined by your marketing team. You can then pull those sources across your user journey funnel to see how they act differently from each other.
- Identify and segment users. Who are your party guests? For your digital properties, start by using your acquisition channels and entry points to help identify who your users are and then segment them. You’ll need to work with any data you have, which can be demographics of your potential customers, their goals, hobbies, and more.
Helpful Tip: Make your segments mutually exclusive. For example, if you have a couponing feature, you could see who uses it and who doesn’t. Keep in mind you’ll also have different users on mobile, tablet, and desktop, with each of those users having different goals and each of those devices having different conversion rates.
- Observe user behavior. Are your party guests having a hard time finding the bar? Do they like the food options? This is where mapping out your digital property comes in handy so you can spot pain points your users are having. Is the data showing a horrible bounce rate from your homepage? Are users not adding products to their cart? Once you complete the mapping process, you can begin to spot trends, pull in new user segments, and see how those segments affect your UX.
Helpful Tip: Map out your user experience the old-fashioned way with paper and tape so you can see at a glance what the whole flow looks like. You’ll be able to discover patterns you haven’t seen before and begin to connect the dots on your digital properties.
- Convert and complete the task. This is the point in the party where your close friends are moving into the kitchen and breaking out the good stuff. This theory also applies to your digital properties. Users at this point may be at the point of conversion, but could still be frustrated by the UX or have unmet expectations. Your goal as a retailer should be to focus on deepening the relationship you have with users already in your funnel.
Helpful Tip: A great way to do this is to leverage A/B testing. Leveraging the data from your testing can improve your digital properties and help grow your company's customer base.
- Increase customer retention. Your guests have had a good time at your party, but how can you keep them coming back for more? From the party (and digital experience), you should now have an immense amount of data, insights and recommendations. You’ll need to develop a narrative from your data built on a framework that's best suited for your business.
Helpful Tip: Narratives are either deductive, meaning you spill the beans in the beginning and walk through the details, or inductive, meaning you follow a rising narrative hook (usually a compelling insight) and then end with an “aha” moment.
Retailers will typically push the same four levers for their business: traffic, conversion, average order value, and retention. The trick is to find out how much your business should push these levers to differentiate from the competition. By following the above steps for user journey analysis, you’ll discover insights needed to give you a competitive edge. With those insights, you’ll be able to optimize your digital properties and push the right levers to make your mark in the retail world.
Dan Saugstad is senior director of analytics at Cognetik, an analytics and data science company.