User journeys demystified with experience mapping


In a business world keenly focused on ease-of-experience for the end customer, no other industry is a greater hotbed for experience mapping than retail.

With innovation at its highest pace, here’s a case in point of a large global retailer who succeeded in bringing life-like shopping experience to subway stations.

The virtualstores blend a mobile-based shopping experience into people’s everyday lives with smart phone’s simple QR code scan, and the product automatically lands in their online shopping cart enabling delivery at home on the same day. Following this campaign, online sales increased dramatically (Nov 2010 to Jan 2011). Through this campaign, 10,287 consumers visited the online Tesco (Homeplus) mall using smart phones. The number of new registered members rose by 76%, and online sales increased 130%. Currently, Homeplus has become No.1 in online market and is a very close 2nd offline.

Legendary examples like these that showcase the convergence of online and offline world have set new standards for the kind of independence and personalization that today’s users are getting comfortable with, thus raising the bar for cross-industry retail segment (banking, healthcare, automotive etc.).

Almost every other company is striving to create and manage a myriad of touch points that they want to add up to a differentiated customer experience. But, do customers actually care about all these massive efforts? Of course not, all they care is your ability to meet their needs across touch points and across competitive landscape making it easy and less effort intensive. And for any small/mid/large business it’s not an easy task to build these experiences. It requires deeper diagnosis of the user journey to contextualize.

Wondering how to accomplish this journey? Here are a few tips.

To begin with, let’s discover the value of experience mapping.

An experience map is the key to demonstrate the interconnectedness of a cross channel experience between customers and businesses with emotions like cognitive dissonance, power of free, rewards and discounts, feel good factors etc.

It will allow you to identify opportunities and areas of improvement that will, in turn, propel strategic design direction keeping abreast of state-of-art, cross-channel customer acquisition, retention & conversion trends.

An experience map will enable a 360 degree view of the end customer’s patterns of activity that are associated with your service / product. Building a satisfied pattern will ensure the customer’s emotional stickiness extending your reach to his social and personal world.

This will be different for each geography based on cultures and user behavioral patterns.

How do we build experience maps?

Here’s a seven step approach to uncover the customer journeys; these when improved will unlock a more compelling and valuable experience.


User Research:

The research and discovery process is an essential investment to ensure that the experience map captures the full customer step by step mind mapping. Piecing together the big picture of how and why your customers are interacting with different channels, touch points, products and services is where your journey begins.

This step will serve as the backbone to the entire experience mapping process, hence make sure to uncover the truth to tell the story right.

Customer Segmentation:

Once after the user research process is complete, as a conscious next step, consider profiling customers based on the similarities they share in terms of interactions and conversion patterns. This persona development coupled with heuristic evaluation & competitive assessment will help in getting a firmer understanding of both customer experience and the context around it.

PET (Persuasive, Emotion and Trust) – Analysis:

PET is a methodology for making user experience more engaging, compelling and effective. This adds a layer of psychology to gently nudge customers towards the desired action.

Attempt aggressively to understand the motivational and emotional triggers for each of the personas defined above. While usability facilitates actions such as browse, search, consume, comprehend, interact, etc., PET encourages users to engage, connect, convert and return.


User Group – Touch point mapping:

Bring the data you collected to life with user scenario mapping. Chart out the information architecture that emphasizes the most important dimensions of customer experience.

Remember this whole process is not a sole adventure, bring the critical stakeholders on board to engage in discussions that experience mapping fosters and build a consensus. Define metrics to identify the transformation in user satisfaction this whole experience mapping process has brought.


The moment a plan to map the customer journey evolves, the focus should primarily shift towards the identifying the key takeaways. This should essentially include strategic insights, recommendations and design principles. Every small observation on user behavior on different touch points will help redefine the whole paradigm of design.

Get started!

Experience mapping is not an easy task, it takes quite a bit of time and effort. When done well, you can gain a single customer view in a multi-channel world and identify the highs and lows people feel while interacting with your products or services.

For those of you sailing on your own mapping journey, let us know how it’s going in the comments below. Would love to learn all that it takes to delight customers!

Mohan Krishnaraj
Sr. Director – User Experience

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