How to Map Your Customer Journey and Acquire New Customers Profitably

How to Map Your Customer Journey and Acquire New Customers Profitably

Ecommerce sales grew 14.9% from 2018 to 2019. Based on those numbers, the expectation for 2020 ecommerce sales was around $691.4 billion. 


What really happened? Klaviyo called it that ecommerce sales would grow 85% and hit $1.1 TRILLION. 


On the surface, it could seem like massive ecommerce growth is going to be good for all ecommerce businesses. 


But the problem is that this resulted in more competition for all online stores. And customer acquisition is more expensive than ever. 


So how do you beat the competition and acquire customers profitably? By following Merchant Mastery’s playbook for accelerating year-over-year sales.

When it comes to acquiring new customers profitably, the most important thing to understand is that the Ascend stage is your number-one profit opportunity. 


So what is the Ascend stage?

Part 1: The Customer Value Journey

Adapted from DigitalMarketer’s original Customer Value Journey, Merchant Mastery’s founder and CEO Scott Cunningham breaks down the customer journey like this.



1. Aware
The customer discovers you can get them from a pain state to a gain state.

2. Engage
The customer gets a deeper sense of trust and familiarity with your brand.

3. Subscribe
The customer is interested in continuing the conversation.

4. Convert
The customer commits to giving the relationship a try.

5. Excite
The customer experiences value and becomes a believer.

6. Ascend
The customer purchases more products that complete transformation.

7. Advocate
The customer vouches for you on your behalf.

8. Promote
The customer tells friends and family how you delivered their transformation.

And that sounds GREAT in terms of marketing theory, but how does that break down into tangible ecommerce tactics? What is your profitability as you advance the customer through their journey?


1. Aware 
The customer discovers you can get them from a pain state to a gain state.

  • Use Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube Ads, and Affiliate marketing to build this awareness. Lean into their pain state in your ads and tease what’s possible with the transformation your product offers. 

  • ❌ As a brand, you’re not going to be profitable at this stage. 

2. Engage 
The customer gets a deeper sense of trust and familiarity with your brand.

  • Develop a compelling product page, presell page, and retargeting pixel + ads that validate your authority and remind the customer the value you can provide. 

  • ❌ Like with the Aware stage, you’re still spending to get the customer to the Convert stage.

3. Subscribe
The customer is interested in continuing the conversation.

  • Use an “always on” opt-in to access offer (ex. 20% off your first purchase when you sign up for our newsletter). Implement pre-purchase and abandoned cart flows to keep the conversation going. 

  • ❌ The customer hasn’t invested yet, so you’re still spending to advance them through the journey.

4. Convert
The customer commits to giving the relationship a try.

  • Have a front-end offer (that would be silly to pass up on) and offers to increase AOV so your customer’s first commitment feels like a safe one. 

  • ▶️When customers start buying for the very first time, you start to offset the advertising investment that you’ve made in them.

5. Excite
The customer experiences value and becomes a believer.

  • Use a post-purchase upsell by confirming their order and asking if they want to add anything to their cart! When they receive the product, they get the “White Glove” treatment. They love unpacking it and fall in love with the product before they use it. 

  • ▶️ As a brand, the goal here is to break even.

6. Ascend
The customer purchases more products that complete transformation.

  • This is all about Customer Lifetime Value. Invite them to join your loyalty programs, send broadcast emails and “hot ads” to make sure they continue to enjoy your product more.

  •  ✅ ✅ ✅ Finally, this is your real profit opportunity. This is when you can resell to those customers again and again throughout a lifetime and start to earn better margins. There’s no more customer acquisition costs when you sell to a customer who has already bought from you.

7. Advocate
The customer vouches for you on your behalf.

  • Set up automated flows that collect testimonials from your best customers. 

  •  ✅ These testimonials lead to more customers trusting you and buying from you for the first time.

8. Promote
The customer tells friends and family how you delivered their transformation.

  • Invite your customer to share friends and family discount codes, referral bonuses, or prizes for sharing on social!

  •  ✅ They’re sending you more referrals, more leads, and everyone is happy.

Part 2:  The Offer Strategies


Here’s the thing. You want to grow your online store profitably and sustainably. But the reality is, at the bottom three stages, you’re not making any money. You’re just spending in order to get them to the Convert stage. 


So if you want to acquire customers profitably, you need to think about your front and offer. Scott calls these the “Always on” offers.


In general, your “Always on” offers have two goals. 

#1 Always Grow Your Email List


#2 Always Get the First Time Purchase


Here are some examples of different types of “Always on” offers:

  • “Just Pay the Shipping!”

  • Free Gift with Purchase

  • Spin to Win

  • Free Shipping Threshold (ex. Free shipping on all orders over $30)

  • Welcome Discount (ex. Take 10% off your order when you join our newsletter)

  • Exit Intent Cart Savers (10% off a $200 cart, 20% off a $500 cart, etc.)


Now that you’ve got your customers to convert with your “Always on” offers, you need to get your customer to the Ascend stage, where the profitability truly lies. 


And for that, you need to focus on two things:


#1 List Building and Email Strategy

#2 Scaling on Facebook


That’s exactly what Scott covers in this video, so you can automate your revenue-generating marketing and maximize your audience targeting. Check it out and implement their strategy for growing a sustainable, scalable online store.

Customer Experience Could Be The Reason Your Online Shoppers Aren’t Converting

Customer Experience Could Be The Reason Your Online Shoppers Aren’t Converting

All humans — including your customers — are emotional creatures.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure every interaction customers have with your company a memorable one — so memorable that they’ll want to recommend your business to a friend, family member, or colleague.

Download Now: Ecommerce Marketing Plan Template

That connection between your business and customers is exactly what customer experience is all about — providing the support that your customers seek throughout all stages of the buyer’s journey.

You can think of the whole customer journey as a (very important) and complete transaction between your brand and customer, — what happens throughout that transaction and the way your customers feel define the customer experience.

For instance, you visit your local ice cream shop; the waitress welcomes you with your name and immediately asks if you’d like your regular treat, a chocolate sundae with extra chocolate chips, or if you’d prefer to look at a menu.

Wouldn’t this personalized and positive experience make you want to continue returning to that ice cream shop? Sometimes it hardly matters how the food tastes — the unique and delightful customer experience is what keeps you going back.

This doesn’t just apply to brick-and-mortar stores either. For example, when a prospect visits your website, why would they want to stick around to learn about your products or what your brand stands for if they don’t feel valued, understood, and heard? In this case, it won’t matter how beautiful your site isor how well you’ve optimized your site — what matters is CX.

Understanding Customer Experience (CX): How to See the World Through Your Customer’s Eyes

There are a number of ways a customer may interact with your business. For example, when they visit your website, engage with your social posts, click on your ads, purchase your product or service, or provide feedback. Customer experience includes all of these interactions and more.

A recent study by Oracle reveals maximizing customer satisfaction across the buyer journey increases total customer satisfaction by 20%, and drives revenue growth by up to 15%.

You need to see the world through customer-colored glasses. Understand their challenges and needs. They want to be heard and expect quick responses and speedy reactions from your team members.

Focus on client-centricity — put your customers first by searching for opportunities to create products and services that resolve the challenges of your customers. You can also identify your best customers with smart segmentation. There are a lot of benefits of customer segmentation including a better understanding of your customer’s behaviors, interests, and pain points.

Here are some great examples of how brands are enhancing their customer experience.

  1. When Tony started Zappos (now a billion-dollar brand), he rewarded his team for spending long hours over the phone to create a splendid customer experience.
  2. Apple added a human element to their customer interaction by installing experts at the Genius bar.
  3. FedEx ensured a better customer experience by answering every customer support call on the first ring.

Now that you know what CX is, let’s take a moment to review what it is not.

Customer experience is not user experience (UX).

Customer experience and user experience are separate strategies businesses deploy to help them grow.

User experience is a subset of customer experience. It revolves around your products. It’s all about how your customers interact with your products and what experience they have with them. User experience is a blend of design and architecture, usability, functionality, user-hierarchy, and understanding.

Whereas customer experience is a summary of the complete customer journey map. It starts when a visitor hears about you and exists throughout every interaction with Sales,Marketing, Customer Service, as well as with the product you sell.

Next, let’s review the ways in which CX impacts your conversions and why you may not be seeing the impact you’re hoping for on your bottom line just yet — and don’t worry, we’ll work through some ways to resolve those challenges too.

5 Reasons Why Your Customer Experience is Not Converting Prospects (Yet)

  1. You don’t know your customers well.

The first reason for the low conversion rates is you don’t know who you are targeting. When you are not aware of your target audience, how would you guarantee their conversions?

How to fix it?

  • Determine what your customers want, where their interests lie, what they like, and other common characteristics — everything that helps you reach your audience. (Make buyer personas to help you with this.)
  • Run customer surveys and polls; they are the best way to collect customer information. The feedback you receive from there is filtered and gives you a quick view of your user requirements.
  • Analyze your customers’ behavior with marketing analytics with HubSpot CRM.
hubspot analytics tools and CRM


  • Segment your buyers based on their buying frequency, recency, and monetary metrics (RFM segmentation).
  • Filter your best customers by separating them into categories with HubSpot’s Smart Lists, and send personalized emails to them.

2. Your products are not grabbing your user’s attention.

It’s an age-old saying that the first impression is the last impression. It’s very critical that the visitor’s first impression on viewing your products and your website as a whole is a pleasant one.

The buying decision of the vast majority of your website visitors is impacted by this first impression. If your products are visually appealing, the visitor is bound to take more interest and there is a good chance of conversion.

How to fix it?

When it comes to your eCommerce store, it’s important to keep in mind that your customers are buying products without necessarily ever having the ability to test them out and/or feel them first. So, you need to create an environment where they can make easy purchasing decisions that are virtual from start to finish.

There are a variety of ways through which you can enhance the customer experience and boost conversions.

  • Use high-quality photographs and captivating videos to showcase your product and tell stories about your brand and product or service.
  • Keep your products organized on your website and implement easy-to-use navigation.
  • Leading fashion brands like L’oreal and Rayban allow users to try virtual makeover tools and provide a 360-degree view of their products. Such innovative leaps in presenting online products help these brands to stand out from others and attract huge audiences.

loreal virtual makeover great digital customer experience example


  • Use augmented reality (AR) — this is a popular trend in the beauty and fashion industries because customers can try your products on virtually (e.g. a pair of sunglasses).
  • Create an omnichannel experience for your online shoppers by augmenting product visualization.
  • Be clear about your pricing strategy. According to Quicksprout, 56% of shoppers abandon their carts at checkout because of unexpected costs.

3. Your website isn’t ready for shoppers.

Did you know that 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive?

Also, 75% of consumers admit to making judgements on a company’s credibility based on the company’s website design.

If you are experiencing a solid amount of traffic but few conversions and a high bounce rate, your website design likely has issues.

How to fix it?

  • If your website is suffering from low traffic, that may be because your audience isn’t getting what they are looking for. Make sure you are keeping everything on your website accessible for your users.
  • Secondly, when a user visits your website, try to enhance the hero section (the header part) as beautiful, clean, and direct as possible. This section can contain your product, service, and offers too.
  • Add clear call-to-actions (CTAs) throughout your webpage. Add a “view cart” option as well to heighten the chances of successful checkouts.
  • Keep your website design conversion-focused. Put your menu bars (in the header and footer) organized. This will allow your users to navigate to find their goals quickly.
  • Statista says there will be a total of 4.78 billion smartphone users in 2020. So if your website isn’t mobile-optimized, then you may lose conversions.
  • Capitalize on your social media — use it to help you boost your top-performing content such as blog posts, customer reviews, and testimonials. Respond to feedback and answer customer questions through social media, too.

4. You’re unable to win your customer’s trust.

One reason for lower conversion rates is that you are incapable of winning your customer’s trust.

81% of online shoppers feel concerned when shopping on a website with which they are not familiar. Trust cannot be forced; let’s see how you can win your customers’ trust naturally without a push.

How to fix it?

  • Choose the right trust seal to improve security on your websites. Trust seals verify your website to be legal and lawful.
  • Add customer reviews to your website to increase the chances of conversions and enhance your customer experience. According to BrightLocal, the average consumer reads 10 reviews before feeling able to trust a business.
  • Be socially active, entertain, communicate, engage, educate, and run campaigns around your brand. Be real and stick to your niche and brand values.
  • Engage your customers and earn their trust by establishing excellent communication practices.
  • Add high-converting and relevant CTAs to your website above the fold. Use phrases and words like Learn More, Shop Now, Download, Sign-up, and Book Now.

5. You have not planned your customer onboarding.

Remember, there are two kinds of customer onboarding: on-site, and off-site. The fundamental difference between on-site and off-site onboarding is that, when a shopper lands on your website, it means they’re looking for your products or services. In off-site, the customer has already been introduced to your products and services, before he/she needs them.

How to fix it?

  • Offer a real-time product demo for your audience to help them explore your product and it’s features quickly. According to Wyzowl, 84% of people say that they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video. Video demos impact purchasing decisions significantly and boost engagement as well.
  • For a frictionless customer experience, it is crucial how you handle users who leave your website or intend to leave it.
    • Use an immediate exit-intent pop-up.
    • Set up an email marketing campaign and select time-slots to send interactive abandoned cart emails to lost users.
    • Keep your cart visible to users.
  • Use retargeting or remarketing ads to target users who have visited your website before.
  • Be different — offer a dynamic free trial period for your products and services. Then, a user can extend the trial period and if they choose to. This provides a sense of flexibility and freedom for users.

Remember: Customers are humans, not your contact to close in the CRM.

Customer experience brings your customers closer to your brand. Humanize your brand and design, and analyze your customer journey map.

Light up your brand with a customer-centric approach and capture your shopper’s attention using the strategies mentioned above. For more information, check out the latest customer experience statistics & trends 2020 here.

Author Bio: Himanshu Rauthan is an entrepreneur and co-founder at MakeWebBetter, an eCommerce digital marketing agency, HubSpot Premier Integration and Gold Solutions Partner. He is a digital marketing and inbound expert, passionate about building and scaling eCommerce customer experiences.

HubSpot marketing teams reserves the right to use guest blog author’s likeness across our content as we see fit, including but not limited to HubSpot’s social media channels.

ecommerce planning template

7 Customer Retention Strategies That Work Very Well

7 Customer Retention Strategies That Work Very Well

Customer Retention as a Fast and Easy Website Concept

A business with poor customer retention is a lot like a bucket with holes. You can try to make it work, but you’re better off figuring out how to patch the holes up.

First things first: what is customer retention? As the name implies, this is a process of turning your existing customers into loyal buyers. Studies show that increasing your customer retention rate by 5% can increase your profits by up to 95%.

Focusing on customer retention strategies comes with other benefits as well. It helps you figure out how satisfied your customers are and what might be turning them off. Retaining customers is also much cheaper than acquiring new ones.

Not sure how to retain your customers? Here are seven tips to get you started.

1. Educate Your Customers

Once your customers sign up, don’t leave them to fend for themselves. Instead, help them learn how to use your products by offering the right resources.

The most common method of doing this is to provide product onboarding. This provides simple tips and tutorials to guide new customers. You can get a similar effect by sending a series of lifecycle emails to all new customers.

For customers who prefer self-service training, offer an online academy of training resources. The academy may include live classes that anyone can register for. One-on-one training sessions with an onboarding specialist are also worth it.

2. Provide Surprise Reciprocity

Surprise reciprocity is one of the most effective ways to retain customers. You could even say that reciprocity is one of the things that makes the world go ’round.

Reciprocity is a simple concept: people will respond based on how you treat them. If you’re nice to someone, they’ll be nice to you as well. This is why providing good service is a great way to get people to recommend your products.

Now, the big thing about reciprocity is that it works even better when it’s a surprise. Can you remember the last time someone did something nice for you out of the blue? Even if the gesture wasn’t a big deal, it likely still left an impression on you.

The trick, then, is to surprise your customers with a nice gesture once in a while. You can send them swag or even a handwritten note. Though these may seem old-fashioned, they can still make your customers feel special.

3. Do Loyalty Programs Right

Many businesses use customer loyalty programs, but few of them are effective. The good news: there’s a ton of research that can help you get it right.

For example, did you know that the biggest pitfall of loyalty programs is getting started? Customers are twice as likely to finish loyalty cards if they’re automatically started as soon as they sign up. We call this the endowed progress effect.

Also, customers love being “gold” or VIP members. The only catch is that there needs to be a class below them on the totem pole. If you implement a silver and gold class, you should see an uptick in gold members’ participation.

Creating a loyalty program is much easier with the right loyalty program software. This gives you all the tools you need to improve the customer experience.

4. Stand for Something

Most customers don’t feel like they have relationships with brands. Of the ones that do, though, most cite shared values as the main reason for that relationship.

Why does this happen? Well, it’s all about a cognitive bias known as implicit egotism. People have an unconscious preference for things that resemble them. If you want loyal customers, you need to let them know what values you share.

Many businesses shy away from this strategy because it’s “political.” This is a flawed line of thinking, as all companies have political agendas of some sort. Make the most of the things you stand for by making them a part of your brand.

5. Capture the Momentum

Making exciting improvements to your products can be a big momentum driver. That said, your customers may not feel the same way.

One thing you can do to change that is to share your work. Let the customers know what the latest versions of your products will let them do. This also helps the existing customers, as many of them might miss out on the new features.

Other than creating excitement, this momentum will carry over into your sales. Studies show that telling customers about new products makes them 30% more likely to repurchase it or recommend it to others.

6. Focus on Quality Over Speed

In an ideal world, your customer service would get perfect marks in both speed and quality. In reality, the latter is much more important than the former.

See, customers are far more likely to engage with a brand if they deem their service as helpful. This is why spending more time with customers leads to a more positive experience. Rushing them will likely create more problems than it solves.

Speedy service can help too, but only if you’re delivering what your customers want. If you don’t, the customer is more likely to feel ignored. For instance, people are more sensitive to price changes if they receive poor support.

7. Reward Your Advocates

When it comes to how to retain customers, loyalty matters a whole lot. This is why it’s important to reward your brand advocates whenever you get the chance.

Let’s say you see someone recommending your product on social media. Most of the time, the right thing to do will be to reply to thank them. This shows that 1) you’re paying attention, and 2) their gesture means something to you.

For bigger rewards, consider using a referral program. One way to do this is to give your customers a $100 Amazon gift card when they refer someone. Consider giving that new customer some credit on their account as well.

Other Customer Retention Strategies

You’ll notice that none of the above customer retention strategies include shortcuts. This is by design — business relationships are a lot like personal ones.

Here’s one final tip for the road: overdeliver on your promises. Customer expectations are at an all-time high, so impressing them isn’t easy. The best way to stay competitive is to go above and beyond what your customers may expect.

Want to know more about how to have loyal customers? Trying to make the most of your marketing strategy? Keep reading our business-related content!