Thursday Jan 17, 2013

Online Customer Journey: The Selection and Purchase Experiences

Today we continue our examination of the online customer experience journey by taking at look at the next two stages – product selection and purchasing.

The Selection Experience

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.

If you’re a business that has a large product catalog, integrating faceted search into the web experience can be an effective way for potential customers to dynamically explore your site and find relevant and desired items more quickly and easily. During the product selection process, site visitors want the ability to navigate based on their own unique preferences and to view content and search results that are most relevant to them. Often, the search experience on a website frustrates potential buyers or provides them with too many irrelevant results to wade through. A solution such as Oracle Endeca Guided Search can be integrated with your WebCenter Sites deployment to optimize the search capabilities on your web presence, so you can deliver more precise, more relevant, and more complete results that help guide and influence product selection, leading to increased conversion rates and customer satisfaction.

Another way in which you can aid the selection process on your web presence is by using the segmentation and targeting tools in Oracle WebCenter Sites to deliver a more relevant and personalized online experience. As potential customers browse through your site, you can use explicit criteria, implicit criteria or a combination of both, to deliver the most relevant information to those customers aiding their selection process. For an organization with a broad set of solutions that are specialized for buyers with distinct needs (financial services or insurance are good examples), segmentation and targeting can be used to narrow the number of solutions being featured to those that are most relevant to a particular visitor, making the experience on your site more efficient and effective.

And finally, don’t overlook the power of peer influence when it comes to the selection process. 75% of consumers put a high degree of trust into the opinions fellow consumers have posted online.1 By incorporating user-generated content (UGC) features into your web presence such as comments, ratings and reviews, you can tap into the extremely persuasive powers of other online consumers to help influence the behavior of your site visitors and make their selection process easier. With Oracle WebCenter Sites, robust tools for UGC deployment, moderation and management are available out-of-the box.

The Purchase Experience

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 incentivize customers to take action now through the offer of various promotions.

Websites span the spectrum from marketing-driven to commerce-driven, including a variety that are in between and combine marketing and commerce to varying degrees for different purposes.

Oracle’s ATG Web Commerce is a top ranked commerce solution that enables you to deliver an engaging and efficient online buying experience. When combined with Oracle WebCenter Sites, these solutions bring together best-in-class web experience management and ecommerce capabilities, assuring that your site visitors have a personalized, interactive, and multichannel experience as make their way through the customer journey, researching, selecting, and making purchases.

Please visit the WebCenter blog tomorrow as we wrap up our journey through the online customer experience. To learn more about how Oracle empowers people and powers brands to deliver engaging experiences that drive business results, also check out our Executive Strategy Brief on Customer Experience.

1 Neilsen, “Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages,” 2011

About

Oracle WebCenter is the center of engagement for business—powering exceptional experiences for customers, partners, and employees. It connects people, process, and information with the most complete portfolio of portal, Web experience management, content, imaging and collaboration technologies.

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