Personalisation key for First Great Western as it launches into rebrand

Picture credit: "First Great Western 'Adelante' at Didcot", by "Alex van Herwijnen", used under CC BY NC SA / Modified from original

As it seeks to rediscover its roots, railway network company First Great Western has launched a rebrand and customer experience improvement programme it hopes will help it to become the UK’s number one digital retailer for online travel ticketing.

The company has rebranded as Great Western Railway – a change that will filter from the company’s staff uniforms through to a £7.5 billion investment in network infrastructure and improved carriages.

As part of the rebrand the company is also investing heavily in its website which has seen a number of changes to ensure it can cope with both increased demand and changing customer expectations. With an infrastructure that was struggling during the peak period of October to February both service and sales were affected forcing a move to a new hosting provider in the form of the VMware Managed Virtualisation solution from Rackspace.

The move has allowed the company to make use of physical and virtual servers hosted in Rackspace’s data centre in Crawley to manage its website improvements and help it to cope with customer peaks. That has been coupled with an ecommerce relaunch, powered by digital agency ORM and digital marketing software vendor Sitecore, as Great Western Railway seeks to improve customer experience.

Part of the strategy will also see increased website personalisation with the Sitecore Experience Platform building a profile of customers that can then allow Great Western Railway to serve up tailored features such as journey suggestions or images of possible locations that the customer may be interested in visiting. As well as inspiring the customer such personalisation has also been proved to increase transaction value on the site.

Jason Ali, digital marketing manager at Great Western Railway, said the website was a crucial part of the network’s rebrand. “We realise that for the majority of our customers their journey no longer starts in the ticket halls but online instead, so we need to have the right infrastructure in place so that they get the best possible start to their journey,” he said.

“The support offered by Rackspace, ORM and Sitecore is very valuable for us, as it gives us peace of mind that we can deliver this,” he added.

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