So following on from this post, why do I think what has been achieved on Halfords.com is a vast improvement on the Halfords customer experience?
Bearing in mind that the following innovations were borne out of customer research and insight, here are 11 reasons:
- Brand New Visual Design – supporting key customer journeys more effectively – namely research, search, browse & navigation and guided sales
- Better Search – Customers can now search on car registration or make, model and year of their car for such items as oil, batteries, car bulbs and blades.
- Guided Navigation – For customers who may not know which product to purchase but have a list of requirements and intended uses, a new guided sales offering is now available. The customer can complete a series of questions which filter a list of product options relevant to the requirements identified
- Multi Channel Support – Introduction of a call-centre support site to assist the customer through advice, ordering, payment and store reservation
- Introduction of social commerce features – enabling consumers to read/write product reviews and contribute user-generated content, helping customers benefit from authentic customer opinions ( Bazaarvoice technology integrated)
- Complimentary editorial – added to provide better product attribution for browsers. DirectNews is the leading provider of tailored news feeds for websites and their solution has been seamlessly integrated
- Provision of Dynamic Imagery – Allowing customers to quickly and interactively view high-resolution product details providing an engaging, informative shopping experience. Scene7 technology has, again, been seamlessly integrated
- Better demonstration of Product Expertise – website now enables customers to buy vehicle specific parts (e.g. oil, bulbs, blades, batteries) based on the make, model, year of their exact car. Integration ITIM Zygon Product Information Management seamlessly integrated.
- Customer Friendly urls – Integration of IBM Omnifind to give customers a better search engine experience as a result of the development of SEO friendly URLs
- Quicker access to relevant ‘help’ – Introduction of a better online ‘Advice Centre’ which now dynamically displays relevant content based on search results. In addition better integration with call centre, which now allows CSRs to support customer inquiries and facilitate purchases more effectively
- Better support for channel hopping shoppers – the provision of “Quick order forms” that allow shoppers to input Catalogue Numbers for fast online product selection
The result is an eCommerce website where the customer experience is optimised as a direct result of the seamless integration of data, systems and third party solutions.
I have to admit it, despite being a marketer, I am becoming increasingly anxious with the mass-overuse of the term ‘Customer Experience.’
Don’t get me wrong, it is right that our ‘thinking‘ and ‘orientation‘ should be fully aligned to the ‘customer’, but I do see familiarities with phrases like ‘CRM’ and ‘SOA’ which, despite being critical for business success even today, were tainted by a myriad of opportunistic suppliers that over-egged the pudding and stretched the truth to satify their revenue streams. The result of bandwagons like these? CRM and SOA became loaded terms and everyone started to avoid using them.
It would be tragic if ‘Customer Experience’ and those in the Customer Experience solutions business were to suffer a similar fate. Maybe its too late? In fact ‘Customer Experience Management’ failure has been discussed already in some circles.
And yet low and behold, this morning I add fuel to the fire by distributing a press release entitled Salmon seamlessly integrates data, systems and solutions for Halfords Limited – Improving the overall customer experience of shopping at Halfords.com and meeting the needs of customers across Halfords’ multiple shopping channels.
My colleagues and I (and Halfords of course) distributed this with a great deal of thought. We are obviously conscious of the overuse of the keyword, BUT know what has been achieved IS an improvement of the experience for Halfords’ customers.
And in the context of the complex nature of enterprise eCommerce – that fact shouldn’t be confused with cosmetic surgery at a CSS level, simple web re-design or other web projects that increasingly fall under the category ‘Customer Experience’.
Here is a very nice podcast that discusses project failure (I am not going to use the phrase ‘IT Project’ out of principal).
For any real younglings reading, Judith Hurwitz has been an infrastructure and enterprise software industry analyst and strategy consultant for several decades, and in this interview (with Asuet Inc’s CEO, Michael Krigsman) she nails the topic completely.
Successful organizations have a CEO who views IT as a strategic asset. If you execute IT strategically, move fast, and break a lot of glass along the way, you can achieve dramatic results.
IMRG reports that Monday 1st December recorded the UK’s largest ever online shopping volumes, but the anticipated VAT-driven spike failed to materialise, leaving sales values and traffic volumes flat.
It all makes interesting reading, in a week when: Zavvi, has been forced to suspend web sales of DVDs, games and music products, Woolworths closes down, 247 Electrical does too, and Debenhams’ site crashes out of action (Debenhams had an availability rate of 28.01% between Thursday 20/11/2008 and Wednesday 26/11/2008, according to this Keynote Systems Performance Index.
***Shameless plug***: Salmon’s client Argos ranks pretty damn highly in said index