Consumer Decision Journey (CDJ) is a model that describes how consumers make purchase decisions. It is therefore non-linear, meaning that the actions overlap and repeat until the final purchase decision, rather than following successively. The CDJ highlights the importance of Word of Mouth Marketing by incorporating factors such as customer loyalty, and the post-purchase experience after purchase into the model.
The traditional approach to the description of purchase behavior involves four stages. A central assumption is the purchase or conversation funnel. The analogy of a funnel is used to attempt to trace the consumer’s path theoretically and find out where the consumer got into contact with the company touchpoints.
This sales funnel is the starting point for the newer model of the consumer decision journey. The circumstances that play a role during a purchasing process are changing at a similar pace as technological developments. Consumers nowadays have numerous opportunities to make contact with a brand, including on mobile devices. The traditional model cannot adequately reflect these touchpoints which lead to purchasing decisions. In addition, only a fraction of the consumers conclude the buying process in one session. Many purchases are only made after about two weeks when consumers visit a website again.
The McKinsey consulting company conducted a study in 2009 with over 20,000 participants from different sectors and three countries. The findings of this study form the basis for the CDJ model.
It consists of the following phases:
The model of the consumer decision journey tries to represent the complexity of a purchase process and extends the traditional model by a few essential points. In particular, the addition of touchpoints and feedback loops is to be mentioned here. Many consumers now buy products with a mobile device and interact with brands in various ways. The CDJ model underlines the importance of communication that runs in both directions and across different devices. Touchpoints are targeted, which have a considerable influence on the purchasing decision and thus also appear relevant from a monetary point of view.
In addition, reviews, recommendations and reviews play an increasingly important role in the purchasing process. One of the most important findings of the CDJ model is that care for the customer relationship should not stop after the purchase. Instead, the Customer Experience should also be positive in the phases after the purchase. The consumer can act as Influencer by rating a product. They will promote the positive image of a brand or product and in the best case becomes a brand advocate, in other words, a loyal customer who advertises a product with their recommendations.