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I want to run a Customer Journey Mapping (CJM) exercise. From what I understand you conduct CJM exercise for each persona. We don't have any personas in place. This work won't be ready until the end of the year, but I need to start in the next month or so. I was thinking of creating proto-personas/provisional personas.

Does this approach sound OK?

Also, do I need to conduct an Empathy Mapping exercise for each persona or can I just perform the CJM exercise?

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Proto-personas would do this and anecdotal mapping, Paul Boag explains anecdotal customer journey mapping in this article https://boagworld.com/audio/customer-journey-mapping/

Your approach is sound to me, as long as you revisit your conclusions as more information becomes available.

With regards to empathy mapping, I personally find this less useful, but it depends on the scenarios you find yourself (your users) looking at.

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One thing to keep in mind for your journey mapping here is the fact that it is for retail. The shopping experience is easy to move through but what has to be kept in mind is what products are being offered and at what scale is the retail location (physical / digital). These will all impact how someone moves through their retail experience.

Have fun these exercises are always entertaining.

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