Product Journey or Customer Journey
The expression product journey (also called customer journey) describes the consumer´s discovery tour through the product world and the customer´s interaction with the company and other elements during the purchase. During the customer journey, consumers are exposed to a countless number of information and elements supporting the decision-making process. However, it remains questionable, if these elements of the product journey can fulfill the customer's needs regarding information, leadership, decision support and counselling.
It has to be differentiated between Customer Journey, On-Site Product Journeyand Cross-Site Product Journey:
Customer Journey is not only focused, like the On-Site Product Journey and the Cross-Site Product Journey, on the online use of one consumer during a purchase, but describes all user interactions during the product search and purchase. The list of following contact points and services can be components of the customer journey:
- Websites and internet services (listed for On-Site Product Journey and Cross-Site Product Journey below)
- Call Centers
- Product catalogues
- Human counsellors
- Friends, colleagues
- Advertising (print, radio, TV, banner, outdoor advertising)
From the web analytics perspective the customer journey has the problem, that all costumer´s points of contacts with websites and online marketing activities are concluded with a sales contract. The purpose of this tracking is to achieve transparency about the contact points. These information help to identify the media and customer journeys that led to a buying decisions.
On-Site Product Journey
The On-Site Product Journey takes place on the website (e.g. of the online-shop or brand websites) and usually follows a path containing these elements:
- A Homepage providing a product overview and special-topics
- Category navigation using a hierarchic structure to divide the product range into categories and subcategories
- Overview tables comparing product features and attributes (usually on the level of single products but also on the level of product lines)
- Free text searches with a result list of specific products (This is often used as a start entry point for the product search)
- Product category pages or product line pages
- Detailed product pages
The optimization of the On-Site Product Journey is critical due to the fact that it strongly influences the Conversion rate and
Shopping Experience of the customer's product search. However, the task to create a Product Journey with great user experience that leads the customer through all levels of the hierarchic structure, such as main categories followed by subcategories and detailed product pages can be difficult to realise.
Cross Site Product Journey
The Cross-Site Product Journey is conducted via several websites or online-services such as:
- Price comparison websites
- manufacture websites
- Special interest sites
- Affiliate sites
- Voucher or cash back services
- Contact points of online marketing und search engine marketing
- Forums, review and rating sites
- Social media, especially reviews and comments connected to specific products in social networks
The Cross Site Product Journey can only partially be influenced by the selling or producing company. Therefore, it is rather difficult to optimize. However, with the right tools it is possible to influence the presentation of the company and product on these thrid party websites.