Digital Transformation – The Changing Role of the Website
Digital transformation is taking place across all sectors and at all sizes of business. As companies embrace the digital culture and begin to deploy enabling technologies like cloud, AI and machine learning, the role of the website within the organisation will also begin to change. In this post, we’ll look at how a website’s role will develop in the modern, digital landscape.
Websites, customers and digital transformation
One of the key impacts of digital transformation is how it reshapes the relationship between the company and the consumer. New technologies provide better ways for businesses to engage and communicate with their audiences, enabling them to interact across all channels to ensure consistency is achieved across client touchpoints.
Digital transformation provides the creativity and innovation needed to improve engagement and communication and this will change and broaden the role that businesses want their website to play. Crucial here is the website’s ability to deliver on mobile devices, which have overtaken desktops and laptops as the main way of staying connected. This means companies need to go beyond responsive themes and adopt Google’s ‘Mobile-First’ philosophy by specifically building websites designed not just for mobile viewing but for mobile interaction, i.e. thumb and finger friendly.
The integrated website
Another significant change for the website is that it can no longer be a stand-alone platform. Today’s digital-savvy consumers demand seamlessness; they want omnichannel communications, omnichannel shopping and personalised customer experiences – and to achieve these, the modern company needs a unified system into which the website is fully integrated.
End-to-end customer journey mapping is vital to have a thorough overview of each customer’s interactions with the company and, without this, personalisation, omnichannel communications and omnichannel shopping experiences can’t fully be delivered. This means all the high-value data that a website gathers cannot be siloed; it needs to be unified with all the other data the company collects. Only this way can the business make the most of AI-enhanced algorithms that provide the insights needed to give the customer what they want and which give a company an advantage over its competitors.
As anyone who visits Amazon or eBay will appreciate, once these things are in place, it becomes possible to present website visitors with the products or services that are of personal relevance without their having to go searching for them. They are there on the landing page waiting to be cherry-picked. This makes finding the right product and buying it a simple process and that in itself is a good enough user experience to keep the customer coming back time and again.
Furthermore, the integration with other systems means that automated communications can be sent to customers, over their channel of preference (email, text, notification, etc.) and at the most favourable times, with highly relevant offers, discounts or other targeted content. The increased relevance gained from the data ensures a better customer experience and improves the likelihood of the communications being acted upon. What makes these communications so successful is that they are data-driven and precisely targeted and the website is vital in this process.
Indeed, an integrated website is a necessity to carry out the operational needs of personalisation, omnichannel communications and omnichannel shopping. Take the latter, for example. To enable a customer to order a product over the website for collection at a local store, the website needs to be connected to various other systems, such as inventory, distribution and customer service to make sure the product is available, delivered and ready to collect.
Websites and chatbots
AI-enabled live chat facilities are another key feature of the customer-focused website. Not only do they bring around significant savings in customer service costs; they enable the company to communicate simultaneously with far more customers. They play a key role in advising customers about products or services, helping to generate more sales, while also taking care of after-sales.
Their benefits, however, go beyond this. Difficulty in finding how to contact a company, lengthy phone queues and slow responses are frequent complaints that customers have about business and can do much to tarnish relationships and lose sales. Chatbots can be placed on each page of the website and can respond instantly to any number of customers. Product advice can be delivered before they abandon the site and issues can be dealt with before they escalate into a situation where the customer permanently loses trust in the company and gives a bad review.
What’s more, all the data gathered during a live chat session can be used as part of the customer’s journey map and, with the use of machine learning technology, to ensure that the chatbot continues to improve its interactions in the future.
The website has a crucial role to play in digital transformation, collecting and using data to improve the customer experience and generate higher conversion rates. However, to be effective, it needs to be fully integrated into the wider company system and work in tandem with other technologies such as AI, machine learning, chatbots and communications platforms. To deploy all these, of course, the company will need to leverage the cloud.
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