Effective customer journey design: consumers’ conception, measurement, and consequences

Abstract

Recently, practitioners have begun appraising an effective customer journey design (CJD) as an important source of customer value in increasingly complex and digitalized consumer markets. Research, however, has neither investigated what constitutes the effectiveness of CJD from a consumer perspective nor empirically tested how it affects important variables of consumer behavior. The authors define an effective CJD as the extent to which consumers perceive multiple brand-owned touchpoints as designed in a thematically cohesive, consistent, and context-sensitive way. Analyzing consumer data from studies in two countries (4814 consumers in total), they provide evidence of the positive influence of an effective CJD on customer loyalty through brand attitude—over and above the effects of brand experience. Importantly, an effective CJD more strongly influences utilitarian brand attitudes, while brand experience more strongly affects hedonic brand attitudes. These underlying mechanisms are also prevalent when testing for the contingency factors services versus goods, perceived switching costs, and brand involvement.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    A multi-group analysis comparing path coefficients across industries indicated that some industries (fast-moving consumer goods, information and communication technology, and restaurant) show a significant, positive effect while other industries show a non-significant effect for H4a in Study 2. These differences might explain the non-significant finding for this effect in Study 2.

  2. 2.

    Testing for alternative models by removing paths (as proposed in H1 and brand experience ➔ customer loyalty) from the suggested model shows deterioration in model fit, while adding paths (brand experience ➔ CJD, or vice versa, or experience ⇆ CJD) shows no improvement in model fit or explained variance of our dependent variable customer loyalty. We therefore keep the suggested model in the interest of parsimony.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank Michael Paul, Bernd Schmitt, and Peter Verhoef for their helpful comments on a previous version of the paper. The valuable discussions with Ajay Kohli and the participants of the JAMS Thought Leaders’ Conference and EMAC 2017 are also gratefully acknowledged. Finally, the authors thank the review team for the constructive suggestions.

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Kuehnl, C., Jozic, D. & Homburg, C. Effective customer journey design: consumers’ conception, measurement, and consequences. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. 47, 551–568 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-018-00625-7

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Keywords

  • Effective customer journey design
  • Touchpoints
  • Customer journey
  • Brand experience
  • Scale development