Over the last couple of decades, shopping journeys have changed almost beyond recognition. For years, retail was dominated by the 9 to 5 working day. Once the clock ticked round to 5pm, that was it. No more sales for another day. And everything closed on Sundays.

Not these days. Now we can find things we like, view them, compare them and buy them at any time of the day or night. And often it gets delivered the next day. But online shopping has had its own set of problems to overcome. Viewing products online is not always easy. You can’t try on items, getting a sense of scale and colour is tricky, and there have been major doubts about providing data and financial information online.

However, the customer journey has evolved a lot, and continues to do so at an incredible rate. The Age of the Customer has only just begun. Modern transactional experiences can be highly personalised. Online size guides have become smarter, allowing you to compare with other products you may own. And size and preference information can now be easily stored and retrieved.

Although regulation has tightened, companies can also use legitimate data to personalise and target certain types of consumer. And customers retain a huge amount of power online. If the service, payment options, delivery or countless other factors are not spot on, they can simply go elsewhere. All of which means the journey is now all about the customer and making sure everything is perfect.

Turning interest into sales is now a highly complicated process. It’s no longer enough to have people in your shop and nail the customer service. Now you need to nurture and retain. Even the slightest delay in the cart area is enough to lose a sale. And with more than 65% of all sales abandoned in the cart area, investment is now essential for making this process smooth and efficient to turn interest into sales.

Generating leads and interest, once the main aim of any business, is now just the tip of the iceberg. You now need to maintain your focus throughout the entire customer life cycle. Managing this process involves fine adjustment and tuning to hone your conversion process. And after sales focus and follow up for repeat custom are also very important.

While it is true that the main tenets of the customer journey remain the same – service, value and quality – the technology that is used to achieve this is always changing. And with it, customer expectations about the levels of value, service and quality change too.

As the customer journey from interest to purchase continues to evolve, it is essential to keep up to date with the latest innovations for guiding the customer through your funnel towards a sale. If you don’t, you risk falling conversion rates and low sales. And that’s why it’s one of the most important aspects of any online business.