Creating Owned Touchpoints in the Customer Journey for Small Businesses: A Comprehensive Guide


In the digital age, small businesses often rely heavily on third-party platforms for customer interactions. While these platforms offer valuable reach and tools, they also come with limitations in control, data ownership, and customization. Creating owned touchpoints throughout the customer journey can help small businesses build stronger relationships with customers, gather valuable data, and reduce dependence on external platforms.

What are Owned Touchpoints?

Owned touchpoints are interactions and platforms that a business directly controls and owns. Unlike “rented” spaces on social media or third-party marketplaces, owned touchpoints give businesses complete control over the user experience, data collection, and long-term strategy.

The Customer Journey and Owned Touchpoints

Let’s explore how small businesses can create owned touchpoints at each stage of the customer journey:

Awareness Stage

At this stage, potential customers are becoming aware of their problems or needs, and your business as a potential solution.

Examples of Owned Touchpoints:

    • Custom Mobile App: Develop a utility app that provides value related to your business area.
      • Case Study: A local nursery creates a plant care app with reminders and tips, subtly featuring their products.
    • Original Content Hub: Create a blog, podcast, or video series addressing your audience’s interests.
      • Case Study: A boutique travel agency produces a travel podcast, sharing insider tips about destinations they offer.

Consideration Stage

Customers are actively researching solutions and comparing options.

Examples of Owned Touchpoints:

    • Interactive Website Tools: Develop web-based tools that aid decision-making.
      • Case Study: A custom furniture maker creates a 3D room planner where customers can design their space.
    • Email Course: Offer a free educational series that positions your business as an expert.
      • Case Study: A local gym provides a 14-day email course on “Sustainable Fitness Habits,” showcasing their approach.

Decision Stage

Customers are ready to make a purchase and are choosing between final options.

Examples of Owned Touchpoints:

    • Virtual Consultation Platform: Create a branded system for personalized consultations.
      • Case Study: A wedding planner develops a virtual wedding design tool for remote consultations.
    • Comparison Tool: Develop a tool that helps customers compare your offerings.
      • Case Study: A local internet service provider creates an internet plan comparison tool, highlighting their unique benefits.

Purchase Stage

The customer is ready to buy and complete the transaction.

Examples of Owned Touchpoints:

    • Custom E-commerce Platform: Create a unique online shopping experience.
      • Case Study: A local bakery develops an online ordering system with custom cake design features.
    • Mobile Purchase App: Develop an app for easy purchasing and exclusive deals.
      • Case Study: A neighborhood movie theater creates an app for ticket purchases, seat selection, and concession pre-orders.

Post-Purchase Stage

After the purchase, focus on customer satisfaction and support.

Examples of Owned Touchpoints:

    • Customer Portal: Create a personalized dashboard for purchase management and support.
      • Case Study: A local solar panel installer develops a portal where customers can monitor their energy production and savings.
    • Onboarding Sequence: Develop a custom email or in-app onboarding process.
      • Case Study: A boutique software company creates an interactive product tour to help new users get started.

Loyalty Stage

Encourage repeat business and turn customers into brand advocates.

Examples of Owned Touchpoints:

    • Loyalty Program App: Create a branded app to manage rewards and personalized offers.
      • Case Study: A local coffee shop chain develops an app where customers can order ahead, track rewards, and access exclusive events.
    • Community Platform: Build a space for customers to connect with each other and your brand.
      • Case Study: A neighborhood bookstore creates an online book club platform, fostering a community of readers.

Benefits of Owned Touchpoints

  1. Data Ownership: Collect and control valuable customer data without intermediaries.
  2. Customization: Tailor experiences to your specific audience and brand identity.
  3. Integration: Create a seamless journey across different stages and touchpoints.
  4. Independence: Reduce vulnerability to changes in third-party platform policies or costs.
  5. Brand Building: Strengthen your unique brand identity through consistent experiences.
  6. Customer Insights: Gain deeper understanding of customer behavior and preferences.
  7. Competitive Advantage: Differentiate your business with unique, value-added touchpoints.

Challenges and Considerations

  1. Development Costs: Creating custom solutions requires initial investment.
  2. Maintenance: Owned platforms need ongoing updates and support.
  3. User Adoption: Encouraging customers to use new platforms may require additional marketing.
  4. Technical Expertise: May need to hire or contract technical talent.
  5. Balancing Act: Finding the right mix of owned and third-party touchpoints.

Implementation Strategy

  1. Audit Current Touchpoints: Assess your existing customer journey and identify gaps.
  2. Prioritize Opportunities: Focus on touchpoints that offer the most value for your specific business.
  3. Start Small: Begin with one or two key touchpoints and iterate based on feedback.
  4. Leverage Existing Tools: Use platforms that allow customization to reduce development costs.
  5. Focus on User Experience: Ensure new touchpoints offer clear value to customers.
  6. Integrate Data: Connect touchpoints to create a unified view of the customer journey.
  7. Continuous Improvement: Regularly gather feedback and update your owned touchpoints.


Creating owned touchpoints throughout the customer journey offers small businesses a powerful way to differentiate themselves, build stronger customer relationships, and gain valuable insights. While it requires investment and ongoing effort, the long-term benefits of increased control, data ownership, and brand building make it a strategy worth considering for small businesses looking to thrive in the digital age.

By thoughtfully developing and implementing owned touchpoints, small businesses can create a unique, integrated customer experience that sets them apart from competitors and fosters long-term customer loyalty.

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