Should we upgrade to Sitecore 6.5?

This is a question we’re getting asked a lot these days, clients have been hearing about all the new fandangled features and want to know if an upgrade’s really worth it for their business or organisation. I’d say if you’re on anything less that Sitecore version 6.0 then definitely yes but if you’re on versions 6.0 to 6.4 I think the benefits may give you the answer.

The key benefits are the returns on investment that can be achieved with the new Customer Engagement Platform (CEP) incorporating the Digital Marketing System (DMS). These allow  you to analyse your site’s traffic in real-time and deliver targeted content to them to ensure they get the most value from a visit to your website.  The CEP effectively listens to your users and then reacts to them by serving up the most relevant content.

Here’s a real-life scenario based on my experience as someone who scans websites quickly to find information (especially at lunchtime when time is short):

A typical web search of mine (I want to buy some Wahl hair clippers like my barber uses):

  • I search Google for “Wahl Hair Clippers”
  • Scan results for relevant answers (is it just me or is Google showing me more results from outside the UK these days?)
  • Right click on the relevant results links and open them in a new tab for ease of flicking through them
  • Flick through each tab and discard the annoying ones that a) make it hard to find the relevant content b) are obviously built for SEO or worst of all c) splash pages
  • I have a read of any relevant content on the sites that aren’t annoying
  • I go off on a journey of discovery where I learn about different types of clippers, prices, reviews etc
  • Decide on the clippers I now want, Wahl Super Taper Hair Clippers (which I highly recommend by the way)
  • I buy them

Now there’s a plethora of things that effect my decision; design, usability, speed, time, content etc but to me, in this scenario, content is the key engagement factor…  I know what I want to find out about and I want to find it quickly. And before I get phone calls from our partners saying “how dare you say that usability/design are not the key engagers…” of course they are as well but I’m working on the premise that content is Queen here.

So could the new features of Sitecore 6.5 play a part here? Definitely, an engaging site would realise I’m coming from Google and realise that I know the brand (but I haven’t typed in a model) and react to that. Imagine if I arrived at a page that showed me all the models, their key features, had a model selector (e.g. faceted search), comparison facility, showed reviews of the popular models and an easy yet reassuring route to purchase. Sitecore’s DMS would know that I’m an undecided user and therefore deliver me personalised and relevant content to inform me and helps me make a decision, ultimately buying the product that I want. How happy would I be! And I’ve got most of my lunchtime left too!

Assuming that I buy from the site the personalisation doesn’t stop there, in 6 months time I’m going to need some more clipper oil. The DMS email campaign manager would have a rule set up saying “Mark bought some Wahl clippers 6 months ago, send him that pre-written post-sales email about the clipper oil we have in stock and contains the current prices”. I’m happy again and loving this company that still thinks about me. Who knows they may even email me in two years time to offer me new clipper blades.

Setting up the DMS doesn’t happen by magic and it does take time and investment to meet your businesses goals . To make your website incredibly relevant to a user by listening to them as they’re clicking around then react requires the setting up of the rules based system to surface that relevancy. That investment in Sitecore 6.5 will increase online conversions with real-time targeting and put you a good few step ahead of the competition.

To summarise:
This is just a minuscule element of what the new Customer Engagement Platform and Digital Marketing Suite can do and I’ll be writing about more about its features and benefits in the near future. An upgrade to Sitecore 6.5 will move your website onto the path from a basic level to highly engaged user level. Users who are engaged and have a personalised experience with you are more likely to convert, whatever you measure a conversion to be.

If you, or someone you know, has been affected by any of the issues above and want to talk to someone about it, feel free to call me, Mark Collins on 01179 32 77 00.

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