Customer Purchasing Journey – 3 Mistakes to Avoid

If you are in marketing, you understand the relevance of the customer purchasing journey, which is the process that a customer will go through to make a purchase. In redefining the customer journey, it’s helpful to begin with a couple baseline definitions.

The customer journey is an all-inclusive experience of the customer with a specific brand. It can include things like discovering the brand, outside reviews (e.g. Yelp), the purchasing experience and even things like returning merchandise.

The purchasing journey is a subset of the customer journey and involves the process of purchasing a specific product. It will include things like finding a product, onsite product reviews, price comparisons, delivery options and the actual transaction.

The customer journey and purchasing journey become very important to understand and analyze as you create your shopping experience for your customer and enable the corresponding technology. To align your purchasing processes with your customer’s purchasing journey, here are three critical mistakes to avoid.

My first recommendation is to eliminate irrelevant content that encroaches on the customer’s purchasing journey. For example, I was recently reviewing a site for a very large retailer in Mexico when I noticed irrelevant and confusing content on the home page. I was looking at this customer site because their conversion rate is very low, below industry standards. The very first thing I noticed on the home page was a banner that was unrelated and uninteresting for a potential customer. I would argue that this banner is misplaced, it doesn’t belong on the home page and it should not be so prominent. I would also argue that anything relevant to the actual purchase transaction belongs somewhere in the checkout process.

It’s imperative for retailers to complete an analysis of the purchasing journey, and relevant content representing each step in the journey should be in sync with the site.  The focus on creating content should always be about the customer experience. And it all starts with relevant content at the appropriate time in the journey.

The second mistake I see over and over again is the overwhelming desire to make the customer give information to the company to be used for marketing or other purposes. Capturing information about the customer can aid tremendously in a company’s effort to understanding buying behavior. But there is an appropriate time in the customer journey to capture that information. For example, forcing a customer to create an account too early in the checkout process or worse yet, requiring them to create an account in order to purchase, is always a mistake.  Facilitating the order will allow you to capture some rudimentary information, and the rest is just a bonus.

A third example could be the overuse of pop ups. Some site designs use pop ups too much and distract from the focus of the customer. Pop ups should not be used unless you transition to a different part of the journey or need more information to direct the user to the right step in the process. For example, a transaction may have a different process for doing credit card purchases versus PayPal purchases. One requires a login to an alternate site (PayPal) while the other may use a payment gateway to process which is largely behind the scene.

If you avoid these mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to achieving an optimal purchasing journey resulting in new customers and satisfying conversion rates.

ObjectWave is a full-service provider of digital commerce solutions. He can be reached at

Leave a Reply