What is the customer journey?

The customer journey is the purchasing process that a customer goes through. The customer’s path is shown in different phases from the initial information to the purchase decision.


Nowadays, customers inform themselves about a product or service, which is mainly done via the Internet. This is due to the fact that users almost exclusively surf the Internet while on the move, as well as at the many sources of information. A customer journey is an important prerequisite for target group-oriented marketing measures, as the purchase decision is influenced by internet research.

In marketing, according to howsmb, the customer journey describes all points of contact (touchpoints) of a customer with a product or service. This begins with the first contact through advertising through to the actual purchase. Usually, the customer does not immediately decide to buy, but first comes into contact with a product several times. Doing this can be the entire processcan take from minutes to months, depending on the product. In addition to classic advertising, social media and online marketing, the “customer route” also consists of points of contact that are not influenced by the company. These include, for example, rating portals, user forums and blogs, which customers are increasingly using to obtain information. A customer journey can also be visualized with a map.

Phases of the customer journey

The customer goes through different phases before deciding to buy. The best-known model is the AIDA model, which is now not suitable for every situation.

AIDA model:

  • Attention
    The customer becomes aware of a certain product or service through appropriate advertising measures.
  • Interest
    The interest is aroused and the potential customer is now concerned with the product or service. The advertising measures used here are now more target group-oriented.
  • Desire
    The customer now has the desire to buy the product. Certain advertising promises lead to the fact that he is more in-depth information about the product or service.
  • Action
    In the last step, the customer finally buys the product.

Classic customer journey

This model consists of 5 phases:

  • Awareness
    The customer has become aware of a product or service. This attention is aroused through different communication channels. For example radio, TV or social media.
  • Consideration
    The customer weighs up whether he should buy the product or the service. Therefore, he now informs himself about it and uses, for example, corporate blogs, review portals, influencers or the manufacturer’s website.
  • Intent to Purchase
    The decision to purchase becomes concrete. Only one last push is necessary for the final decision.
  • Conversion (implementation)
    The customer buys the product or service.
  • Advocacy
    When the customer is satisfied, they eventually share their experience with others. Common means are reviews, social media or product-related forums.

There are also other customer journey models that are broken down into smaller pieces. For example, after the awareness, the customer would first form an opinion (opinion) before considering the purchase.

Example for the customer journey

In an opinion forum, a hobby baker learns about a new kitchen appliance that interests him. He happened to read some key data about the product, such as technical features and price, in a prospectus for an electronics store. As his interest increases, he informs himself about it on the Internet. The experience reports on the evaluation portal convince him and he wants to buy the product. He then visits the manufacturer’s website and learns about authorized online shops. The customer then switches to the specified online shop and orders the product.

There are several touchpoints in this example:

  • Opinion forum
  • Prospectus of a consumer electronics store
  • Evaluation portal on the Internet
  • Manufacturer’s website
  • Online shop of an authorized dealer

Benefits of the customer journey for companies

Especially in online marketing, the customer journey is of great importance because the behavior of customers can be accurately tracked here. With a customer journey, all contact points can be analyzed in order to find out the preferences and purchasing behavior of the customer. In this way, interdependencies between the channels and points of contact as well as the decisive points of contact for a purchase can be identified. With this knowledge, companies can align their activities specifically to the needs of the customer and optimize the purchasing process. Because positive experience reports, for example, increase the reach of the company. Customer journey is mostly for online storesimportant, as this allows the purchasing behavior of the target group to be precisely determined. Companies can then set targeted touchpoints at crucial phases of the buying process.

What is the customer journey