What are the key stages of a customer journey?

5 stages of the customer journey

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Think about where YOU start your journey when buying something – that’s where your customers will be, now pair this with amazing customer experience at every stage and you’ll have a loyal, happy customer base.

To understand the thought process of the customer, you must know the 5 main stages of the buying process.

What is meant by ‘customer journey’?

The customer journey is the sum total of the steps and thought processes customers go through when considering purchasing a product or service.

The customer journey is directly linked to the marketing funnel, which also helps to move customers smoothly through their journey.

Customer journey mapping can also help you to know where to focus your marketing efforts…

How are the customer journey stages identified?

Through research (think – customer interviews and focus groups…) you can identify where your customers’ journey starts. Also consider where you advertise and market your business. If you advertise through your website, social media, TV, or even find clients through word of mouth then that’s how customers will first become aware of your product/service, which is the first stage. Do you have complete control over all of these ‘first stages’, some, or none at all?

Looking at your target audience will help you create the right type of content for your customers and introduce it to them at the most appropriate stage on their journey.

Why are there stages of the customer journey?

There are certain stages we pass through for every decision we make, but this is especially true when it comes to a purchase decision. The way we make our purchase decisions is broken down into 5 stages – so let’s see how this corresponds to the customer journey.

These stages help businesses understand the journey their customers take when buying their products and begin to empathise with the way their customers think, what they need, and how they might be feeling when they are investigating a product or service.

5 Key stages of the customer journey

To understand the thought process of the customer, you must know the five stages of the buying process. Provide a marketing strategy for each stage of the customer journey phases:

Awareness stage

The first stage of the customer journey is the awareness stage, which is where prospective buyers learn about your product/service and (hopefully) gain an interest.

You can conduct a survey to find out how your customers first heard about your business. This will give you a good idea of where to focus your marketing efforts at the beginning of your customers’ journey, leading them smoothly into the consideration stage.

customer journey stages - consideration


The second stage is the consideration phase. This is where customers are evaluating their options and ultimately determines whether or not they will commit to a purchase. This is the blog reading, price comparison, review checking, internal-debating stage where you will have the opportunity to give that potential buyer great reasons to buy your product/service.

“81% of retail shoppers conduct online research before buying.” (Source: Invoca.com)

Remember: customers compare you to your competitors!

To influence their buying decision and elevate your services over a competitor, you should be nurturing your customers at every stage of their journey.

Provide answers to common questions, write blogs, showcase your positive reviews, and make sure to go into detail about how your product/service solves any concerns or problems your potential buyers may have. Another way to sway customers into purchasing would be to offer discounts for first time purchases (and potentially a loyalty scheme for repeat customers!).

customer journey stages - purchase


The purchase stage is the third stage of the customer journey, which is where your valuable insight and helpful content has persuaded customers to go straight to your checkout!

Make sure to communicate with the customer after they purchase and don’t just ditch them once they’ve parted with their cash – this is an often-overlooked key step when it comes to retaining customers.
customer journey stages - retention


The fourth stage in the customer journey is customer retention. Retaining customers is arguably of the hardest stages in the customer journey. Being able to retain customers leads to repeat purchases, increased lifetime value and, hopefully, advocacy of your business.

You can entice customers coming back by sending interesting and informative newsletters (email marketing), starting a customer loyalty programme, or collecting customer feedback (and telling them what improvements it’s helped you to make).

When customers place an order, communicate with them about their order. Customer engagement is critically important at every stage, but particularly when you’re in the risk zone for ‘buyer’s remorse’. Thank them for shopping with you, offer them a discount for their next order and ask them for their feedback – and tell them what to expect!

Measure your retention and track how many repeat customers vs new customers you get in a month or quarter. Over time, this will show you whether or not you need to improve your customer retention strategy (or up your marketing budget!).

customer journey stages - advocacy

Advocacy (delight stage)

The advocacy or ‘delight’ stage is the final stage in the customer journey. Turning your customers into brand advocates is a surefire sign of exceptional customer experience!

Delight customers by consistently setting and meeting their expectations, and try to create ‘wow’ moments when the opportunity presents itself – as long as they are sustainable and repeatable.

What is the most important stage?

It’s hard to determine which stage is the most important because if one of the stages isn’t optimised to the fullest, it won’t convince customers to follow through to the next stage of their journey with you. They are all linked together.

But if you are not delivering well in the awareness stage then none of the other stages matter as that is the first stage and gives your customers a first impression.

Make sure you are always putting your customers first!


In conclusion, make sure to look at your customers journey from the beginning and improve your customer experience every step of the way.

Get in touch with us today if you want to improve your customer loyalty and create strong customer experience strategy!

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Chloe Russell
Chloe’s passion for Marketing started back in 2020 when studying Creative Media and analysed many creative campaigns, and is now our Marketing Executive, writing blogs and managing our social media channels.

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