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The Digital Experience Platform blog covers the latest in innovative technologies to help you transform your business.

Does Your Online Experience Support the Customer Journey?

Guest Author

We live in
an always connected world. Every minute of every day, two million search
queries are made on Google, nearly 700,000 pieces of content are shared on
Facebook, 571 new websites are created, and consumers spend $272,000 shopping
online.1 We shop, we play and we connect online, and so do your
customers. There is no doubt that the
online channel is often your customers’ preferred channel for conducting and
managing their personal and professional business. But does the online
experience that you deliver really turn casual site visitors into long-term
paying customers and advocates for your brand?

If you’re
part of an organization looking to compete in an increasingly web, mobile and
social world, you must take care to develop and execute an online customer
experience strategy that supports the entire customer journey. Your goal should be to provide an engaging,
consistent and connected experience, whether you are dealing with a prospective
customer who is visiting your public website for the first time, or a long time
customer who has logged on to your self-service portal to look up account
information or conduct a transaction.

While there
are many different stages of the customer journey, there are five primary
phases you’ll want to consider carefully as you develop your online customer
experience strategy:

Online Customer Experience Journey

1) Research

As potential
customers begin to research solutions to the problems they are trying to solve,
the focus of your online customer experience should be on engagement. The days
when prospects could be won over by a static, one-size-fits-all web experience
are long gone. Instead, you need to
focus on providing prospects with personalized and interactive online
experiences that are easily accessible and optimized for PC’s, tablets and
mobile phones. By combining a well thought out content strategy with a dynamic web
presence, you can begin to earn the trust of prospective customers and get them
to seriously consider your brand.

2) Select

Once you’ve successfully
engaged prospective customers with a relevant and interactive experience, and
gotten them to consider your organization as a possible solution for their
needs, you can continue to guide and influence their selection process by making
it easier for them to search for and discover suitable solutions for their
needs. Depending on your business model,
there are numerous approaches that aid the online selection process including
the incorporation of faceted search and guided navigation, segmentation and
targeting, or even endorsements from other customers in the form of comments,
ratings or reviews on the web presence.

3) Purchase

If your business
model includes an eCommerce component, speeding and simplifying the purchase
process is the next step in the online customer experience journey. A
streamlined and efficient online purchase process is vital to preventing
shopping cart abandonment. The purchase process can even become another
opportunity for engaging customers and influencing them to purchase more or
related products; it can also be structured to incent customers to take
action now through various promotions or offers.

4) Service

Once you’ve
successfully converted site visitors into paying customers, you’ll want to
assure that it is easy for customers to do business with you and to
help them get the most out of their investment in your products or services. For certain industries, such as financial
services, your online presence may even be the primary channel in which
customers conduct business with you. In
any case, an effective customer self-service portal can not only drive down
service costs, but it can actually improve customer satisfaction at all phases
of the ownership experience, from product delivery to use and maintenance.

5) Recommend

The final
phase that you should consider in your online marketing strategy is the recommendation
phase, whereby satisfied customers become advocates for your brand and
recommend it to others. By giving your customers opportunities to share their
experiences with their social networks, and by enabling them to endorse your
products and services in the form of comments, ratings, and reviews on your web
presence, you help extend the reach of your brand and leverage your
customers’ influence over their peers – truly one of your most powerful assets in
your marketing toolkit.

Developing
an effective online experience that supports the customer journey is critical
to driving sales and earning long term loyalty. Customers’ needs change as they move between the research,
selection, purchase, service and recommendation phases of the lifecycle, often necessitating
a number of different technologies to deliver on customers’ expectations at each stage. From a technology
perspective, this often means integrating web experience management, faceted
search, eCommerce, or portal
technologies that help support the online customer experience and unify it across all online touch points seamlessly. Be sure to check back
on the WebCenter blog this week as we take a closer look at customers'
expectations and needs at each of the fives phases of their online journey
and the CX technologies that can enable your businesses to deliver on them.

*****

Webcast: Connect the Online Customer Experience with Oracle WebCenter

If you’d
like to learn more about how to connect the online customer experience with
Oracle WebCenter, please register for our webcast on Thursday, January 17 at
10a.m. PT / 1p.m. ET. You will learn how
Oracle WebCenter:

  • Enables contextually relevant and interactive experiences across web, mobile and social channels
  • Works with Oracle ATG Commerce and Oracle Endeca to deliver consistent and engaging browsing, shopping and search experiences across all of your customer facing websites
  • Enables you to optimize the performance of your online initiatives through integration with Oracle Real-Time Decisions for automated targeting and segmentation

Register for the webcast today.

1 AllTwitter, Twitter, Facebook, Google, YouTube -- What Happens On the Internet Every 60 Seconds

Join the discussion

Comments ( 2 )
  • Roberto Thursday, January 17, 2013

    Hi, I attended the webcast today and I asked a question that remain unanswered (Maybe I asked it too late): Could you please point me to any documentation containing the technical details of the ATG - WebCenter Sites integration? Thanks a lot


  • Christie Flanagan Thursday, January 17, 2013

    Hi Roberto, we'll be getting a report soon of any questions we were unable to answer during the time allotted and will reply to them via email. Thanks for attending.


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