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JCPenney Customer Journey MapA New Way Of UX Thinking

In late 2013, we worked with SapientNitro to develop a set of customer journey maps to be used as tools to inspire new ideas and uncover new opportunities for innovative and differentiating customer experiences. In this post, I will describe the process and provide a walkthrough of the various components in the journey maps, and how they can be used.

My Role:
UX Designer
Completion Date:
Dec, 2013
JCPenney Innovation Lab


So what are archetypes exactly? Archetypes are simply a description of behavioral attributes that tend to occur together. They are useful because they make the abstract concept of "customer" more concrete and defined.

To uncover these behavioral attributes, we conducted in-person interviews with customers as they shopped at JCPenney stores. We also collected and analyzed the video diaries of customers recruited to record their shopping behaviors for 9 specific tasks over 9 days. Through these methods, we identified a range of personal values, expectations, and behaviors that we used as the foundation for the behavioral archetypes.


The analysis of the research uncovered 4 specific archetypes based on the way in which each preferred to learn about products. The archetypes identified were "The Socializer", "The Collector", "The Hunter" and "The Digiphile" (See Figure 1). It is important to note that while an individual may tend toward one archetype or another, people are complex, and we should expect users behavior to vary based on any number of factors such as personal history, subject matter knowledge, social context, etc. For example, if I am someone who is an avid home decorator, I may behave as a collector when searching for new home furnishings but may behave more as a Digiphile when needing new clothing. The art of using archetypes is to be able to provide experiences that are targeted at each archetype and then allow actual customers to chose their own path thru these experiences based on their needs and desires at a point in time.

ArchetypesFigure 1 – The Archetypes

The archetypes fall along a continuum describing the way in which each prefers to gather information. The continuum goes from an information gathering style that is extremely social and communal (The Socializer) to those that are self-sufficient and individual (The Digiphile) (see figure 2). This gives great insight into how to best address the explicit and latent needs of the archetypes. For example, a Socializer would welcome a phone call or other personal follow up about a recent purchase and see this as a chance to further developed a human connection with JCPenney, while a Digiphile would see this as an inconvenience and would seek to avoid this in the future.

Information Gathering PreferenceFigure 2 – Information Gathering Preference

For each archetype we created a Customer Journey Map (CJM). A CJM is a visual overview of all the touch-points a customer may have with the JCP brand during their purchase journey. The goal of the CJM analysis is to help the JCPenney team uncover rich insights based on customer needs. As you will see, these insights were then tied to opportunities and solutions that will allow JCPenney to close gaps between the brand promise and customer experiences. We then aligned these solutions with business objectives and developed a framework for customer experience innovation. Figure 3 shows the CJM for The Collector archetype. As you can see this contains a great deal of data. Let's explore the 4 main sections of this CJM, the archetype description; Doing / Journey; Thoughts, Feelings, and Moments of Truth; and Comparators, Opportunities, and Experiences to understand how we use the CJM.

Collector Archetype Customer Journey MapFigure 3 – Collector Archetype Customer Journey Map


The archetype description is a summary view of the key wants and needs we have defined for this archetype. This is literally the "customer" in the Customer Journey Map.

In addition to the overview, you will find details on the archetypes preferred shopping behavior as well as a reminder about the guiding principles that we have defined when creating experiences for this archetype.

Archetype Summary DescriptionFigure 4 – Archetype Summary Description


Customer JourneyFigure 5 – Customer Journey

This diagram illustrates the customer journey or path (Figure 5) and was created based on the finding from the user research that started this process. This diagram includes feeling, predispositions, expectations and user actions along a standard process. As you can see above, while we tend to talk about a purchase as a straight-line where the customer is quickly and efficiently transported from awareness to purchase, in reality we find not an expressway but a "scenic route" with many detours, dead ends, turn-offs and roundabouts. The journey map helps use to identify all these obstacles and uncover ways to engage with the customer in order to smooth the path towards a purchase.


Thoughts, Feelings and Moments of TruthFigure 6 – Thoughts, Feelings and Moments of Truth

This section illustrates the customer's thoughts and feelings as they progress through the customer journey (Figure 6). While the journey map above describes where a customer may abandon a purchase, this section addresses why they abandoned. We find that these purchase departure points generally occur when the customer encounters an experience with the brand that falls short of their expectations. This expectation gaps is where we must focus our attention in order to uncover opportunities and solutions that will have a positive impact on our customers and business.


Comparators, Opportunities, and ExperiencesFigure 7 – Comparators, Opportunities, and Experiences

This section defines the opportunities and suggested experiences to advantage of these opportunities. As we discussed earlier, these opportunities where identified by looking at the gap between our customers expectations and their thoughts, feeling and experiences along the purchase path. Based on the opportunities identified we then defined some suggested experiences that could be developed or improved to fill the gap.

Based on the current state archetype CJM's, we generated a list of possible solutions. We then ranked and scored these based on the level of innovation, amount of overlap with ongoing development within JCPenney and the alignment with the JCPenney marketing strategy. This resulted in the following prioritized list.

Prioritized List of SolutionsFigure 8 – Prioritized List of Solutions

The hero journey map shows what a future state customer journey may look like, once solutions are integrated into the experience:

Hero JourneyFigure 9 – Hero Journey

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