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Creating the customer experience: web interfaces and usability. MARK 430 Week 5. 4 steps to successful marketing strategy. Understanding customer needs and online behaviour (market research, data mining, web analytics) (Weeks 1 - 4).

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4 steps to successful marketing strategy
4 steps to successful marketing strategy

Understanding customer needs and online behaviour (market research, data mining, web analytics) (Weeks 1 - 4)

Formulate a strategy to fill needs (segmentation, targeting, positioning) (Weeks 4 - 5)

Implement effectively and efficiently (web usability, stickiness, advertising, search engine optimization, email marketing, pricing, distribution, product development) (Weeks 5-12)

Build trusting relationships with customers (Week 13)

customer experience and the web interface
Customer Experience and the web interface
  • During this class we will:
    • Introduce and define the concept of customer experience
    • Examine the three stages of the customer-experience hierarchy
    • Understand the seven elements of customer interface — the “7Cs”
    • Explore the significance of the user interface
some terminology
Some terminology
  • Trust cues
    • related to privacy and security
    • related to the whole look and feel and functionality of the site
  • Stickiness
    • getting visitors to come back
    • getting them to stay longer
  • Usability
    • user-focused design
customer experience
Customer experience
  • Once a firm has decided on the positioning of its product offering, it must clearly articulate the customer experience that it wants to create.
  • Customer experience
    • “refers to a target customer’s perception and interpretation of all the stimuli encountered while interacting with a firm” (Mohammed et al pg. 130)
  • In an offline example - the customer experience in a Starbucks is not limited to the taste of the coffee
  • Online, the customer experience includes the entire range of a visitor’s perception of a website - from ease of use to the emotional reactions to a site’s content
  • It is the user’s interpretation of his or her complete encounter with the site
elements of the customer experience
Elements of the customer experience
  • Functional perceptions
  • Sensory perceptions
    • Sight
    • Sound
    • Touch
    • Smell
    • Taste
  • Cognitive and emotional elements
stages of customer experience over time
Stages of Customer Experience Over Time

Functional relationship with product website

Intimate relationship



some things that really damage customer experience on a commerce site
Some things that really damage Customer Experience on a commerce site
  • Badly implemented search
  • Not telling people an item is out of stock until late in the process
  • Shipping cost not given until late in the process
  • Asking for personal information too early in the process
  • No contact information
  • Can’t print properly
crafting the customer interface
Crafting the customer interface
  • We are moving now to focus on customer / website interface issues - one element of the customer experience, but a very important one
the importance of the web interface
The importance of the web interface
  • Internet technology has caused a shift in the way in which firms interact with their customers
  • Face-to-face encounters common in the retail environment have been replaced with screen-to-face interactions.
  • Interfaces include desktop PCs, laptops/notebooks, web kiosks, handhelds such as PDAs and cellphones
  • We will focus mostly on web interfaces
the 7cs design elements of the customer interface
The 7Cs (design elements) of the Customer Interface
  • Site’s layout and design: functional look and feel (the “how” of the site)



  • Text, pictures, sound and video that webpages contain (the “what” of the site)



  • The ways sites build relationships between users (message boards, reviews)



  • Site’s ability to self-tailor to different users or to allow users to personalize the site



  • The ways sites enable site-to-user communication or two-way communication



  • Degree site is linked to other sites



  • Site’s capabilities to enable commercial transactions (shopping cards. payment options, order confirmation etc)



context look and feel the how of the site
Context (look and feel): the “How” of the site
  • 2 main dimensions: Function and Aesthetics
  • Function - site layout and functionality
    • Section breakdown - the way the site is organized into sub-categories
      • make them clear, and customer focused
    • Linking structures - navigation
      • where am I?
      • how do I get back to where I came from? (breadcrumbs)
    • Navigation tools - search functionality and methods, browse capability, site index/map
      • Use terminology the customer can understand
      • Make sure your search tool works - configure it
  • Aesthetics - visual characteristics such as colours, graphics, fonts etc
context some examples
Context - Some examples
  • Site’s layout and design: functional look and feel (the “how” of the site)
  • Functional design:
    • - clean, simple, uncluttered
    • - lots of content, mainly from newsfeeds. Busy interface, but the site is designed to make information easy to retrieve
  • Aesthetic design
    • - lots of white space, limited amount of content presented. Customer is encouraged to browse and explore. Fits with Apple’s reputation for good industrial design
    • - elegant, visually appealing. Uses Flash for navigation so the experience is slower (like buying a diamond ring offline?)
  • The look and feel of the site should reflect the sensibilities of the customers being targeted
content the what of the site
Content: the “What” of the site
  • Text, pictures, sound and video
    • both the type of content, and the media with which it is delivered
  • The offering mix: products, information, services etc
  • The appeal mix: promotional and communications messages
  • The media mix: the multimedia elements included on the site
    • Be careful with adding too many multimedia elements that require plug-ins unless you have good market research that shows that your users expect it.
  • Content type: time sensitive information versus “evergreen” information
    • Freshness keeps bringing customers back
    • Archives provide a useful service to users
    • Watch out for “What’s New” sections
  • Community: the way sites build relationships between users. Strong community encourages people to return to the website again and again
    • Community can create attractive content (for free!)
    • Web communities can make the user feel that they are valued by the firm
    • Community can satisfy needs not otherwise able to be satisfied individually (eg. finding people)
  • Common tools are message boards, customer reviews, chat with special guests, corporate blogs, members areas
  • Other examples: Lands’ End “Shop with a Friend”,
  • Customization is the site’s ability to self-tailor to different users
    • The way customization can be achieved is divided roughly into 2 types (although many sites use both)
      • Personalization - preferences actively selected by the user
      • Tailoring by site - automatically generated customization based on a user’s previous behaviour, and the actions of other similar users
  • Personalization is usually used to refer to customization of a site by the user him or herself.
  • Promotes stickiness and customer loyalty
  • Once a user has selected preferences, they must be saved and can then be accessed by use of registration/log in.
  • Examples of personalization:
    • E-mail accounts or storage space
    • Content and layout configurations -
    • Software agents - can be configured to notify a user when an item is in stock, or to act as an alert service
  • Cookies are often used in tandem with personalization, but they can identify only the machine on which the cookie is stored, not the individual person. Hence the need for log-in.
tailoring by site
Tailoring by site
  • The second type involves automatically generated customization based on a user’s previous behaviour, and the actions of other similar users
  • Interface software dynamically publishes different versions of the site in order to better address users’ interests, habits, and needs.
    • The technologies to achieve this include cookies, and recommendation engines that use collaborative filtering. This is all completely automated, but can be improved by using active user input.
personalization customization using a combination of tools
Personalization/customization using a combination of tools
  • provides a very good example of this combination of methods to customize the user experience using collaborative filtering and a recommendation engine
  • Lands’ End - My Model (allows you to configure a model to your body type and appearance and try on clothes) and My Personal Shopper (uses “Conjoint analysis” - presents alternatives for selection)
  • Communication refers to a firm’s dialogue with its customers
    • Dialogue can be one-way (broadcast) or two-way (interactive)
  • Broadcast communication
    • Mass mailings (opt in only!)
    • E-mail newsletter
    • Content update notifications
  • Interactive
    • e-commerce dialog using email to exchange information re orders etc
    • Customer service - email or live chat
    • User input - content, reviews, feedback etc
connection how does a firm connect to other businesses
Connection: how does a firm connect to other businesses?
  • Links to other sites
  • Outsourced content - eg. news feeds, stock quotes, weather etc
  • Affiliated sites - complementary products/services etc
dimensions of commerce
Dimensions of Commerce
  • Commerce refers to those aspects of the user interface that support the various aspects of trading transactions
    • Registration
    • Shopping cart
    • Security
    • Credit card approval
    • One-Click Shopping (Amazon patented feature)
    • Orders through affiliate programs
    • Configuration and comparison mechanisms
    • Order tracking
    • Delivery options
fit and reinforcement of 7cs to create synergy how well do they work together
Fit and Reinforcement of 7Cs to create synergy. How well do they work together?

Business Model

and Marketing Strategy

Fit: Does each of the 7Cs individually support the Business Model and Strategy?








Reinforcement depends on consistency

between the 7Cs

Based on Mohammed 2003

in the lab next week
In the lab next week
  • We will be applying the 7Cs of the customer interface to websites to help us to analyze what works in a web interface, and what needs fixing