First Great Western

Personalising and optimising First Great Western's site to enhance the customer experience

Passenger information during disruption

First Great Western has one of the largest and most complex rail networks in the UK, carrying one and a half million passengers every week on 9,000 services and calling at 276 stations. They are the only UK Rail Company to operate High Speed Inter-city, commuter, regional and sleeper services.

ClerksWell use Website Personalisation to create a seamless and positive customer experience, which brought us customer loyalty, engagement and an increase in ROI. Their impressive workshops and clear understanding of our complex personas convinced us that they are the right partners to help develop our personalisation strategy.

Jason Ali

Digital Marketing Manager, First Great Western

First Great Western’s website is vital to their customers and their business. In an average week it receives over 200,000 visitors and generates over 1 million pounds of revenue.

First Great Western sought ClerksWell’s services after seeing a presentation on our personalisation experience on Sitecore. They had invested in Sitecore for its rich personalisation capabilities but had no idea how to leverage the functionality or where to start with their strategy.

First Great Western’s core goals were:

 

  1. Website Personalisation
    • Focus on relevancy and targeted communication to visitors
  2. Passenger Information During Disruption (PIDD)
    • Improved passenger information during disruption, alongside an ambition to be the industry leaders for up to date travel information
  3. Website Optimisation
    • Ongoing improvements in performance, reliability and quick wins to improve the site experience

Solution:

 

Website Personalisation project:

This project kicked off with a Sitecore DMS workshop which defined their strategic goals and personas. From here ClerksWell created a personalisation roadmap which identified the quick wins of personalisation and activities which would create a website enabled to track the value of a customer and their behaviour as well as creating real-time personalisation based on the visitor’s behaviour.

The quick wins were based on:

  • Personalising the homepage based on Google Ads on destination
  • Personalising the booking pages based on journeys which are promoted in the First Great Western monthly newsletter
  • Personalising the booking pages based on past searches and the visitor’s browsing behaviour

PIDD:

ClerksWell provided the UX and design across the PIDD project, as well as technical expertise and research into travel information and the consolidation of feeds from National Rail and Rainbow Boards Journey Checker to ensure travel information displayed on the website. The aim of the project was to display more recent travel information than any other website. This information was designed in an easy to use and mobile friendly interface to engage commuters and leisure travellers.

Website optimisation:

ClerksWell migrated the site from the previous agency to our partner hosting company. We then carried out a comprehensive technical review to address live issues and performance and stability issues. As part of this work we:

  • Upgraded First Great Western to Sitecore v7.2 from 6.4
  • Halved the page load time by minimizing http requests
  • Placed Sitecore’s cache on every component
  • Carried out a code review, analysis and implementation of improvements
  • Produced a clear and comprehensive roadmap of improvements across performance, stability and scalability which were clearly sized and prioritised to enable decisions.

Result:

The personalisation quick wins have shown great results:

  • A/B tests on PPC ads showed that three times as many people converted when they saw a personalised homepage
  • Personalisation of content from newsletter clicks increased conversion by 1%

PIDD has produced higher levels of engagement from mobile- this has gone up by 56% since PIDD went live. Further stats can be seen in the infographic below.

The website is now stable, much faster and has a clear roadmap for continued optimisations.

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