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Digital Commerce Strategies for Manufacturers: Customer Journey Mapping 101

Manufacturers focused on growth are finding it by discovering more about their customers' business problems and providing solutions for them. This opens new opportunities for manufacturers to stand out as the preferred option in a competitive marketplace. Using digital commerce and analytics technology, you can begin to innovate for your customers in new ways to provide them with a better buying experience, differentiate your brand, and give you an advantage over your competitors in the market.

One way to learn how to provide more value for your customers is to better understand what it's like for them to do business with your company, finding out what works well and what doesn't, and then improving their experience. An exercise to help you with this discovery process is customer journey mapping.

Customer journey mapping in three steps:

  • Collaborate with the right people.
    Gather the right people from across your organization, making sure you include someone from all departments that have a part in the customer's process of completing a purchase from your organization. This might include people in sales, customer service, the web team, shop floor, shipping, accounts receivable, etc. 
  • Put yourself in your customer's shoes.
    Pretend you are the customer and identify all the steps they go through when they buy from you. A big white board can come in handy. When you document the flow of all the touchpoints, it starts to look like a map. 
  • Analyze the experience at each touchpoint.
    Next, be very honest and talk about the quality of the experience for your customers at each point. For the things that everyone agrees work well-that's great, no changes needed. For things that don't work well-you've just uncovered a new business opportunity. This step can be hard to talk about as a group, but be brave and focus on the positive: finding new business opportunities by helping your customers.

Innovate for your customers
Take the new-found opportunities-areas you want to improve for your customers-and start brainstorming ways to transform those rough patches into a better customer experience. Digital solutions play a big part here-there are many ways in which technology can add value in your customer relationships. 

A robust eCommerce solution can simplify your customers' often-complex process of B2B purchasing with an intuitive, easy-to-use way to research, compare, and order your products online. Search engine optimization (SEO) capabilities help you put your brand in front of prospective customers who research your products and do price comparisons online. Self-service portals offer your customers an easy way to find answers about their orders, products, or invoices anytime, anywhere, without relying on your customer service office. A strong analytics solution  allows you to use the data from your customer purchasing processes to increase sales with order recommendations, better insight into customer purchase behaviors, and closer analysis of response data. With these advanced insights, you are positioned to make continuous improvements in the use of data collected online and internally for faster, better business decisions.

Customer centricity is key for manufacturing growth
No matter what products you manufacture, becoming more customer-centric is central to your ability to remain relevant and grow in today's evolving manufacturing markets. To succeed with a B2B digital commerce strategy, begin by thinking like your customers to understand their buying journey, and then find better ways for them to do business with you with digital solutions. To learn more about B2B eCommerce for manufacturing, click here


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