Retail marketers are starting to wise up to the fact that customer journeys are not the province only of B2B.
On the contrary, enterprise retailers have boosted their journey interactions from 369 million in 2014 to 4.3 billion in 2018, according to The State Of the Customer Journey 2019, a study by Kitewheel. And that’s on the Kitewheel platform alone.
SMBs have jumped from 34 million in 2014 to 427 million last year, also on the Kitewheel platform.
Is "journey" just another buzzword that will be replaced by something else in a year or two? That’s not clear, but one thing is for sure, according to Kitewheel -- journey marketers are using an increasing number of channels.
In 2014, retailers mostly used two channels -- the web and social media -- for their journey marketing, such as it was. By 2017, all eight channels were in use. And by 2018, they had ramped up the volume of journey interactions on those channels by 72%.
Email, which was scarcely a sliver in 2015, was second only to the web in journey marketing last year. And it had grown from 2017.
Kitewheel last year identified four levels of journey marketing maturity:
- Starting — At this stage, brands realize that customer journeys are a key part of the customer experience, and have adopted a strategy that starts with mapping.
- Piloting — This phase consists of journey analytics, and a testing of journey improvements.
- Rolling out — Brands at this point have done the work and are rolling out journeys across all verticals.
- Scaling — Customer journey management is now “inseparable” from the core strategy of the business.
In 2017, 26% of brands were at the Scaling stage, while 62% were in Rolling Out, 1% in Start-up and 11% in Piloting.
Last year, 41% had reached the Scaling summit and 49% had hit Rolling Out. Meanwhile, 1% were in the Starting out phase and 9% had attained Piloting status.
Retailers at the Starting stage work in only 1.5 channels, and those in the Piloting phase work in 1.8.
In contrast, firms at the Rolling Out level rely on 2.6 channels, and those in Scaling work with 4.1.
Not all journeys are alike, of course. Kitewheel identifies three types:
- Acquisition journeys — These focus on awareness and creating the first interactions.
- Conversion journeys — As the name implies, this is where prospects become customers.
- Growth journeys — Here, a brand pursues upselling, repeat purchases and long-term loyalty.
Perhaps surprisingly, growth journeys account for 64% of all journeys tracked by Kitewheel, and their average run time is 2.9 years.