Travel group Thomas Cook is investing in making its web site increasingly personalised to each customer to help increase online sales.
Data management will be the main focus area for the firm’s e-commerce team this year as it works on ways to analyse customer behaviour on the web and tailor its offering to specific types of clients. For example, a system upgrade is under way with the aim of improving the use of historic data about individual buying patterns.
“Everything we do is based on customer search and personalisation and that will continue to be the main driver for web development this year,” Thomas Cook’s director of e-commerce Russell Gould told Computing.
“Gaining the ability to understand customer behaviour is key for us, so we track everything,” he said.
A major project to deliver a new web site was completed last year, offering the ability to personalise and tailor content based on visitor preferences. For example, a user searching for a beach holiday in January may be shown beach imagery on the home page and applicable promotions.
Now the core web platform is in place, Thomas Cook will build on the tracking capabilities and enhance its customer relationship management system to push additional products to holidaymakers.
“We will improve the existing communication with customers between the booking and travel date to provide information such as useful advice on documentation and travel tips, as well as offer extra products such as car hire,” said Gould.
“The additional system functionality will also allow us to, for example, follow up on customers that did not complete a booking process for any reason and try to persuade them to go back.”
According to a poll of 1,000 UK consumers conducted by supplier RightNow, negative online experiences that are likely to cause customers to abandon the booking process include not being able to find information on hidden costs, cited by 53 per cent of those polled, as well as not finding specific information about holidays (47 per cent), lack of functionality enabling them to ask questions about the holiday (45 per cent) and finding the buying process to be too complicated (35 per cent).
A separate survey carried out by Experian suggested that nearly a third of UK businesses have not profiled the contact data of their most profitable clients, despite the importance placed on customer information during the downturn.