TUI Travel’s Digital Director on the importance of UX

Alun Williams, Digital Director Europe for TUI Travel, is an “unashamed and self confessed hardcore ecommerce practitioner.” As a judge for The Digitals this year, Williams is holding UX close to his heart.

Read on for why the right user experience improves the bottom line commercially, and don’t forget entries close Wednesday this week. Here is how to enter.

What will you be looking for when judging The Digitals entries this year?

Innovation that makes me tingle! There is superb work going on around digital marketing and it’s the stuff that surprises and delights which I’m looking out for. That said I want the tingle to come to something.

As a hardcore ecommerce specialist, I want to see UX campaigns and features which deliver real, chunky commercial value. 

How do you build digital excellence within your company?

First and foremost, recruit and develop the right talent. You can invest up to your neck in platforms and tech, however it’s the people who are driving the decision making, architecting the UX, analysing the data and coding solutions that deliver the real value. 

  • Excellence is attitudinal, so create the physical and digital environment to inspire.
  • Feed and foster the networks – hook up the experts in digital disciplines across borders – watch the geek-o-meter go into overdrive when you put the Dutch, Swedish, English & German conversion optimisation teams together.
  • Develop everyone in the practice and parlance of digital – this not an ecommerce teams job, it is the role of everyone in the business.
  • Become a social business. 
  • Get your head round the data; we see data as the heartbeat of digital.
  • Let UX lead, but ensure your UX boys and girls understand what they’re UX’ing for; in our case to sell holidays!

What types of company and business sectors do you see excelling at digital marketing and ecommerce at the moment?

The sectors who are excelling, tend to be those which have digital as a core channel (marketing or distribution). So the bookmakers are doing great stuff online (particularly around mobile). Some of the financial service businesses are getting it on.

The retailers are really driving great innovation in digital content and merchandising and personalisation features are becoming more sophisticated. Our friends in the adult industry seem to be monetising their content pretty well & the dating game is getting particularly interesting online.

In terms of companies, deep pockets help, in terms of attracting talent and kit. However some of the more interesting and innovative solutions are coming out of the back of garages. Nimble, tech-savvy, un-afraid and hungry start-ups are putting it up to some of the big boys. They are quickly disrupting conventional business models and finding and creating space for totally new ones.

How should companies be defining and measuring digital excellence?

As an unashamed and self confessed ‘hardcore ecommerce’ practitioner, ultimately it comes down to the down and dirty trading. If you deliver your numbers through digital (conversion, revenue, margin, profit) that’s excellent!

We’re here to ultimately elicit a commercial response and therefore excellence for me is in digital solutions which deliver on that response. I hold UX close to my heart and see a tight correlation between great UX and commercials.

So a measure of UX score is a useful indicator of digital excellence, but woe betide a UX Lead who trumpets a great UX but can’t fill the basket with orders!

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TUI Travel’s Digital Director on the importance of UX

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