Digital transformation for leading UK train operating company
Working in partnership with the team at GWR since 2013, we’ve set the agenda for digital change and delivered a programme of initiatives to re-invent the customer experience, driving a significant increase in revenue from all digital channels.
Following the success of GWR, ORM is a key digital partner of First Group and has expanded into other group brands, such as South Western Railway and TransPennine Express.
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Working in partnership with the team at GWR (formerly First Great Western) since 2013, we’ve set the agenda for digital change, and have delivered a programme of initiatives to re-invent the customer experience online, driving a significant increase in revenue from all digital channels.
When we first started working with GWR, the online customer experience was fragmented, and legacy infrastructure was limited in its scope for growth and connectivity. Customers were frustrated – they struggled to get information about disruptions and found it difficult to book tickets online. The business was losing out on digital revenue as a result.
To help GWR become a truly digital-first organisation, it was also vital to help foster an internal culture where data and customer insight would have a direct impact on the way business decisions were made.
We defined a 3-5 year digital strategy centred on improving the experience in 3 key areas:
- Buying tickets
- Offering advice during the disruption
- Inspiring customers to explore the region by train
We then created a roadmap of projects which would deliver against this strategy and established KPI frameworks and governance processes which informed how the business would manage and optimise its digital divisions over the next 5 years.
Since 2015 we’ve been delivering on our roadmap initiatives, including:
- Designing and building a new website and booking flow: we delivered GWR.com in 2015, giving customers frictionless ticket purchasing on all devices, clear real-time travel information, and content which inspires users to explore the west
- Upgrading the My Account area: we’ve made it easier than ever for customers to manage their bookings, buy Season Tickets, quick-book their favourite journeys, and apply for refunds
- Initiating a continuous optimisation programme: through regular KPI reporting, customer feedback measurement, and clickstream analysis we are constantly iterating and improving the site’s content and usability
- Tactical updates made to the website: to maintain the platform’s success, new initiatives have included: repeat purchase functionality in the My Account area; a shift to Paypal, as more customers are purchasing in this way; on-site SEO, which is a new channel that has contributed to an increase in revenue; and changes to the call to action buttons that have had a positive effect on users buying journey.
Moreover, from the start of 2019, ITSO smartcards are now available as a way for customers to pay for their travel.
Following the success of GWR, we are seen as a key digital partner of First Group and have delivered website design and build projects for both South Western Railway and TransPennine Express.
At its peak, the results seen on GWR.com have been truly impressive, enabling the train operator to achieve their digital freedom. With increases to average booking conversions, online sales and the average transaction value, it’s clear to see how vital digital is to GWR’s ongoing strategy.
The digital experience that our customers have is core to the work we’ve put in to reimagining our website and online platforms over the past six years. Partnering with ORM has enabled us to take our vision and turn it into something that is a customer driven proposition. We look forward to future projects that will further enhance our brand.
— Kevin Jones, Product Manager for Great Western Railway