By Retail Doctor Group, in association with Pureprofile

A recent report by the Retail Doctor Group (RDG) reveals that a staggering 86% of Australian retailers consider customer experience a top priority, with 54% actively investing in customer journey mapping initiatives to gain a deeper, more nuanced understanding of their target audience. As the Australian retail industry continues to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing preferences and behaviours of consumers, the significance of customer journey mapping has only intensified.

By mapping the intricate journey of their customers, from the initial awareness stage to post-purchase interactions, retailers can identify pain points, uncover opportunities for improvement, and tailor their offerings to meet the specific needs and expectations of their audience. This data-driven approach empowers businesses to deliver personalised, seamless, and memorable experiences that foster long-lasting customer loyalty and drive sustainable growth.


  • ​​The Rise of Customer Journey Mapping
  • ​Tangible Benefits to Mapping the Customer Journey
  • ​The History Behind Customer Journey Mapping
  • ​The Importance of Customer Journey Mapping for Australian Retailers
  • ​The 7 Steps in the Customer Journey Mapping Process
  • ​Skills and Strategies for Successful Implementation
  • ​Global Best-Use Cases
  • Conclusion​

But the battle is not for who can score business with the lowest prices or fanciest gimmicky marketing. It’s an all-out war for capturing the customer’s attention, holding it steady, and keeping them happy. Figuring out how to do this should be the #1 priority for retailers across the globe.

The Rise of Customer Journey Mapping 

Forget touchpoints and engagement. Both concepts are just silos operating in collaboration with each other to resemble a seamless experience. However, mapping the customer journey shows you exactly where the customer actually dwells, what their interests are, how they make their decisions, and where they’re likely to get the most benefit when that journey is personalised. 

An effective component of retail management, customer journey mapping is a powerful tool for companies like the Retail Doctor Group (RDG) and its members to gain a comprehensive understanding of their customers’ experiences. It’s a strategic approach that involves meticulously visualising and documenting a given set of personas’ interactions and purchasing decisions made in their journey with a brand or organisation. 

Once completed, the customer journey map becomes a visual representation of a retail brand’s customers’ needs, pain points, engagement, and advocacy behaviours. 

Tangible Benefits to Mapping the Customer Journey 

In an era where consumer expectations are constantly redefining the retail landscape, RDG and its forward-thinking members are leveraging customer journey mapping to position themselves at the forefront of innovation, poised to navigate the complexities of the market and thrive in an increasingly competitive environment. 

Anastasia Lloyd-Wallis, COO and Head of Insights at RDG, emphasises the strategic importance of customer journey mapping. “Understanding the customer journey is a critical first step in delivering integrated, personalised experiences in a true omnichannel environment.”  

There are, of course, other benefits to mapping your customers’ journeys: 

  • It’s a standout way to differentiate a brand from its competition. 
  • Retailers gain valuable insights into trends, preferences, and pain points. 
  • Insights can inform and shorten decision-making time. 
  • Product development can be undertaken based on customer feedback, significantly reducing the market test phase. 
  • Existing processes can be streamlined to suit customer needs, while eliminating both process and product waste. 

For RDG and its member businesses, customer journey mapping has become a powerful tool to identify pain points, uncover opportunities for improvement, and tailor their offerings to meet the specific needs and expectations of their diverse customer base. By meticulously mapping the intricate journey of their customers – from initial awareness to post-purchase interactions – these retailers can deliver personalised, seamless, and memorable experiences that foster long-lasting customer loyalty and drive sustainable growth. 

The power of customer journey mapping (

The History Behind Customer Journey Mapping 

Personalised journeys are the future of shopping, according to a recent study by Samsung. Consulting firm McKinsey & Company agrees, with research underscoring the significant impact of customer journey mapping, revealing that companies excelling in this area are more likely to outperform their competitors in customer satisfaction and more likely to exceed their business goals. 

Strangely enough, most retailers think that the rise of consumer standards or demands for satisfaction are new, something that happened as a result of the pandemic. While that’s true in a digital sense, the customer journey has always been an important factor to consumers.  

In years gone by, shopping was an adventure, an experience the whole family enjoyed. Back in the 1980s, for example, a family would go to ‘the mall’ and spend the whole day there. The kids would go off and do their own thing while the parents shopped and spent leisure time in the mall itself. Everyone would return home happy and tired from a full day of fun experiences.  

Retailers came to know their loyal customers by name, and instinctively knew what each family liked and disliked. Floor staff would greet them by name and highlight new arrivals, specials, and discounts that catered to each family’s preferences. This was an art, and good salespeople knew how to weave this magic into their pitches. Good retailers trained their staff extensively on this technique, too, understanding that the personal touch meant everything to the bottom line. 

From a digital point of view, it’s taken customers a few tears to understand that the seamless journey is a right, not a privilege. They have every right to be recognised, indulged, and catered to by the places they spend their money at. And if that level of respect is not present or not at a high enough level to generate satisfaction, they are increasingly more than willing to take their business somewhere else that offers it. 

The customer journey is therefore a return to the 1980s way of thinking about ‘the mall’, whether that’s an online location or a physical store. The destination is irrelevant, as long as the respect and recognition of preferences is present. 

Companies must understand customer journeys, leverage data-driven insights, and provide tailored, omnichannel experiences to resonate with target audiences, drive satisfaction, and retain customers in today’s marketplace. This is known as a connected journey, and it’s vital to retail success. 

The Importance of Customer Journey Mapping for Australian Retailers 

Customer journey mapping helps businesses make more informed decisions and tailor their offerings to better meet the needs of their target audience. Harnessing the power of data-driven insights allows retailers to gain a deep understanding of customer behaviours, preferences, and pain points across various touchpoints, enabling them to optimise the end-to-end customer experience and deliver personalised, relevant solutions that drive satisfaction and loyalty – key ingredients for success in Australia’s competitive retail landscape. 

This data-driven approach ensures that product innovation, marketing campaigns, and operational resources are optimised to deliver personalised, seamless experiences that resonate strongly with consumers. Leveraging the valuable intelligence from customer journey mapping allows retailers to stay ahead of rapidly shifting market dynamics, anticipate emerging trends, and proactively adapt their strategies. 

Customer journey mapping can also help retailers pinpoint bottlenecks, redundant touchpoints, or convoluted processes in an effort to reduce unnecessary complexities and costs. It is a customer-centric strategy to foster stronger emotional connections, while also elevating brand recognition. 

In the Australian context, the growing importance of customer journey mapping is driven by several key factors. The three most important of these are: 

• Shifting consumer preferences for personalised service 

4 in every 5 consumers now prioritise their experiences in the shopping journey when making purchasing decisions, according to growing evidence from customer feedback, survey reports, and UGC (user-generated content, such as reviews and recommendations) analyses. Delivering exceptional personalised and seamless experiences across all touchpoints is crucial for businesses to remain competitive, foster loyalty, and meet evolving consumer demands. 

• The service-on-demand expectation 

The omnichannel retail environment – shaped by the growth of e-commerce and the enduring significance of physical stores – has evolved due to customers’ anticipation of a seamless and cohesive experience across numerous touchpoints. Anything less is jarring, throwing the customer off balance and causing a dissonance in their journey.  

In fact, bar a few dubious online shopping portals, a large percentage of negative customer reviews revolve around the experiences they have with a brand. This could be with staff (rude salesperson), product availability (out of stock issues or bad replacements), or a lack of customer service (warranty claims or lack of interaction with a human). It’s seldom that negative reviews centre around the product itself unless it’s a faulty batch (or a dubious website). 

The idea behind a service-on-demand model is that the customer gets what they want, when they want it, and how they want it. That includes the journey in an omnichannel environment, encompassing online portals, social media touchpoints, and offline interactions, such as in-store experiences, face-to-face customer service experiences, events, and traditional media exposure. 

• The consumers’ need to be recognised as the loyal patrons they are 

Mapping the customer journey takes these insights into consideration, documenting the pain points to improve the customer experience. It also includes positive feedback, which helps to shape product development, enhance service capabilities, and suggest a range of alternatives or product replacements that better suit the customers’ needs.

The power of customer journey mapping (

The 7 Steps in the Customer Journey Mapping Process 

According to a study by Forrester Research, organisations that have adopted a well-defined customer journey mapping process are 1.7 times more likely to outperform their competitors in customer experience. 

Implementing an effective customer journey mapping strategy involves a methodical approach that encompasses seven key steps.  

Step 1: Define the Scope and Objective for the Map 

What’s the point of doing the mapping exercise? What can retailers hope to gain from its implementation?  

  • Determine the specific customer segments, touchpoints, and time frames that will be the focus of the mapping exercise. In this way, efforts are kept focused and meaningful. 

Step 2: Identify Stages in the Customer Journey and Goals for Each 

Knowing what your consumers want in their shopping journey is referred to as intent. Why did they start an online search, do a price comparison, walk into a store, or add an item to an unfulfilled cart? 

The customer journey consists of five stages, each with their own goals. These goals may be as simple as looking at available options to solve a problem, as intensive as comparing features and pricing, or as complex as connecting with a brand across various touchpoints to resolve a pain point. 

These five stages are: 

  • Awareness (the browser). 
  • Consideration (the comparer). 
  • Purchase (the buyer). 
  • Retention (the loyalist). 
  • Advocacy (the influencer). 

Personas must take these individual – yet connected – stages into account. Bobbi the Browser is not the same as Annie the Advocate, though once Bobbi’s shopping journey is done, she may well become an advocate (depending on her experience).  

 Step 3: Describe Your Personas and Highlight Their Motivators 

Personas are a good starting point but they’re no longer enough. The ‘why’ behind their journeys determines the outcome of their experiences. That ‘why’ is the emotional reasoning behind their spend, and it’s linked to distinct personality types: 

  • Disciplined (makes rational decisions based on authentic interactions). 
  • Performer (values VIP rewards and efficient service). 
  • Adventurer (impulsive buyer who likes last-minute sales). 
  • Hedonist (early adopter who enjoys product launches and spontaneous buys). 
  • Open Minded (displeased by a lack of transparency and disconnected journeys). 
  • Harmoniser (prefers family-oriented mall experiences and most likely to be an advocate). 
  • Traditionalist (loyal to retailers who value sustainable practices and offer reliable convenience). 

RDG’s Limbic Insights™ program gives you real insights into your customers’ behaviours, drivers, and motivations. This includes detailed customer profiles and the way forward to map each persona’s customer journey.

Step 4: Visualise the Touchpoints at Each Stage 

The digital age means that every touchpoint records a presence, unless the consumer is browsing incognito – in which case they’re not interested in personalisation and are therefore not your target audience. 

  • Collect data from various sources, such as customer surveys, interviews, behavioural analytics, and social media reviews to gain a comprehensive understanding of the customer experience. 

Step 5: Translate Customer Feedback 

Collecting data just to grow a database is counterintuitive and expensive to store. Having determined the focus of the mapping exercise in step 1 above means all non-essential or irrelevant data can be discarded.  

  • ‘Translate’ the collected data into a visual representation of the customer’s path, highlighting the various touchpoints, emotions, and actions at each stage.

Step 6: Determine Pain Points, Points of Friction, and Missed Opportunities 

Analyse the journey map to uncover areas of friction, frustration, or missed opportunities, where the customer experience can be improved.  

  • Based on the identified pain points, develop a plan to optimise the customer journey, addressing the most critical issues first and allocating resources accordingly. 

Step 7: Tackle Areas for Improvement 

Implement the necessary changes, refining the journey map as customer needs and behaviours evolve.  

  • Be aware that life events may alter the persona’s emotions and behaviours, so monitor the customer experience continuously. 

The power of customer journey mapping (

Skills and Strategies for Successful Implementation 

Achieving effective customer journey mapping demands a cohesive, cross-functional effort that spans multiple teams and departments within an organisation. Engaging and empowering employees at all levels of the organisation is crucial for the successful implementation of customer journey mapping. Retailers should invest in training and development programs to ensure that their teams possess the necessary skills, such as customer empathy, data analysis, and process improvement, to contribute effectively to the journey mapping initiative. 

This collaborative approach brings together expertise from diverse areas such as marketing, operations, customer service, and data analytics, fostering a comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted customer experience. It’s a cross-pollination of knowledge and perspectives that drives customer journey mapping from a fragmented exercise into a powerful, organisation-wide initiative to fuel continuous improvement. 

By breaking down silos and facilitating seamless communication across these various domains, retailers can integrate insights and perspectives from each functional area, ultimately crafting a holistic, 360-degree view of the customer journey. It necessitates collaboration that not only enriches the understanding of the customer experience but also promotes a shared sense of ownership and accountability, ensuring that customer-centric thinking permeates every aspect of the organisation. 

Of course, it goes without saying that big data and analytics are crucial for effective customer journey mapping. Retailers must develop the capabilities to gather, analyse, and interpret customer data from multiple sources to uncover valuable insights. By tracking key performance indicators and leveraging real-time data, retailers can promptly identify shifts in customer behaviour, adapt their strategies accordingly, and stay ahead of evolving market trends and customer expectations. 

By adopting a design thinking mindset, retailers can transform customer journey mapping from a static exercise into a dynamic and evolving process. This human-centric approach cultivates a deep emotional connection with the target audience, enabling retailers to deliver exceptional experiences. Moreover, design thinking emphasises experimentation and prototyping, allowing retailers to test and refine their strategies in a controlled environment before full-scale implementation.  

Global Best-Use Cases 

Customer journey mapping has been successfully implemented by leading retailers around the world, providing valuable insights and driving tangible business results.  

International Brands Using Customer Journey Mapping 

Here are a few compelling global best-use cases: 

  • Best Buy, the multinational consumer electronics retailer, implemented a comprehensive customer journey mapping initiative to better understand the entire customer experience, from initial product research to post-purchase support. By identifying pain points and optimising the journey, Best Buy was able to improve customer satisfaction by 12% and increase its Net Promoter Score (NPS) by 15 points. 
  • Lego, the iconic toy manufacturer, used customer journey mapping to develop a tool they’re calling the Experience Wheel. It was designed to help the brand deeply understand the experiences of parents and children throughout the product selection, purchase, and play process. By uncovering hidden friction points and adjusting their marketing and in-store strategies accordingly, Lego was able to increase customer loyalty and drive a 20% boost in sales. 
  • John Lewis, the UK-based department store chain, leveraged customer journey mapping to streamline the online and in-store shopping experience for its customers. By identifying and addressing key pain points, such as product availability and checkout processes, John Lewis saw a 7% increase in customer satisfaction and a 5% uplift in conversion rates. 

Australian Brands Using Customer Journey Mapping 

The Australian retail industry has also seen the transformative impact of customer journey mapping, with several leading brands adopting this approach to enhance the customer experience and drive business growth. 

  • Coles, one of the largest supermarket chains in Australia, undertook a comprehensive customer journey mapping exercise to better understand the needs and expectations of its diverse customer base. By mapping the end-to-end customer journey, from product discovery to post-purchase satisfaction, Coles was able to identify opportunities for improvement, leading to a 9% increase in customer loyalty and a 6% boost in overall sales. 
  • Myer, a prominent Australian department store, leveraged customer journey mapping to streamline the in-store and online shopping experiences for its customers. By addressing pain points such as product availability, checkout processes, and post-purchase support, Myer saw a 12% increase in customer satisfaction and a 7% boost in overall revenue. 
  • Bunnings, the Australian hardware and home improvement retailer, used customer journey mapping to gain a deeper understanding of its customers’ needs and preferences. By optimising the journey across multiple touchpoints, including in-store, online, and mobile platforms, Bunnings was able to improve customer engagement by 14% and increase its market share by 3%.


At its core, customer journey mapping empowers retailers to step into the shoes of their customers, uncovering valuable insights into their needs, preferences, pain points, and emotional drivers.  

Leveraging data and analytics is critical in this process, as retailers must develop robust capabilities to gather, analyse, and interpret customer data from multiple sources. 

Collaboration and cross-functional teamwork are equally crucial, breaking down silos and fostering a shared understanding of the customer journey across various departments, ensuring that insights are seamlessly integrated throughout the organisation, driving a customer-centric culture and aligning strategies across all touchpoints. 

By investing in training and development programs that foster customer empathy, data analysis skills, and process improvement methodologies, retailers can tap into a wealth of diverse perspectives and frontline insights, driving continuous improvement and a customer-focused mindset throughout the organisation. 

Contact the Retail Doctor Group, a retail advisory and consulting practice that builds retail channels and increases the performance of retail and FMCG businesses through our customised & transformative ‘Business Fitness™’ methodologies.

Since 2005 we have partnered with our clients to build powerful, award-winning, sustainable, and “fit” implemented retail. Ensuring our clients consistently achieve above benchmarks, build sales and margin results. We stay with our clients to ensure success.

As the Australian elected member of International Retail Experts, Ebeltoft Group, we have more than 20 years of experience as retailers and consultants in all retail channels, segments and regions. Today, members of the Ebeltoft network advise 80 of the 100 largest retail companies in the world.

Want to know more about the Future of Retail and prepare your retail strategies? Schedule an appointment with our Insights division by e-mailing us at or calling 02 9460 2882.