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Expanding ecomm capabilities to connect Alaskans

With Alaska’s mind-boggling landmass, long winters and rugged terrain, staying connected to family, work and life in general is absolutely critical. Enter GCI — Alaska’s largest telecom provider offering cutting-edge internet & mobile services + products to help customers keep in touch with everyone and everything they need.

And while GCI.com provides a hub from which users can browse their communications options, the journey to purchase GCI services and products felt disjointed at best due to the lack of a integrated ecomm solution.

See how we collaborated with GCI to not only address their ecomm needs but also create a solution that was flexible for the future.

Horizontal + GCI - Case Study

The Situation

Overhauling the past

A thorough audit of GCI.com revealed that various pages within the site handled shopping differently — with inconsistent paths to purchase especially prominent when customers signed up for mobile vs. internet plan services.

In addition, payment was handled using traditional methods. Customers needed to contact a customer service representative via phone and then communicate what they intended to purchase. And because the shopping experience was somewhat fractured, it often led to time-intensive conversations that were less than efficient...and sometimes frustrating for customers.

The Response

A head + heart approach

Using our integrated philosophy, we combined our Sitecore technical acumen with our experience strategy and design chops and got to work.

Specifically, our Sitecore experts developed a stepped-out component experience that worked across different sections of the site — whether you were building an internet plan, a mobile plan or both. This approach united the shopping flow across the site and allowed our team to test scenarios and help educate GCI about potential trouble spots and opportunities within various customer buy flows — all to better facilitate better engagement and efficiency.

In tandem, we developed a fully integrated and custom GCI shopping cart experience to help customers and CSRs better communicate, drastically reducing the amount of time and questions at check out.

Through scannable content — made even more accessible through touches of iconography — customers can quickly compare their options across service plans and make their selections. Plus, we prioritized effortless wayfinding across internet and mobile plan builder experience, allowing users to anticipate what’s next and review their options at any time.

We also implemented COVEO to surface information quickly via search; with a custom reusable component approach that maintained a consistent brand experience while allowing us to provide relevant content for each shopping experience. The result: A savvy experience that makes finding the right products and services simple and eliminates the need for customers to sift through mountains of SKUs.

But what good is a technical solution if it doesn’t appeal to users? To that end, our UX Design team rolled up our sleeves and built a visually thoughtful and intuitive approach to the component experience.

Horizontal's mobile screen designs for GCI

The Results

Built for now and what’s next

GCI is constantly in sync with what their customers need and expect. Our ecomm solution is flexible to account for additional product offers and plans — including bundles, entertainment options, and more.

In addition, as CSRs are still central to the GCI ecomm equation, our solution empowers them to build stronger bonds with customers through actionable intelligence, leading to higher engagement scores across the board.

Recognized by Sitecore with a 2021 Experience Award ​

The new experience we launched for GCI was honored with a Sitecore Experience Award in Leading the Way for the 'Phy-gital' Future.

One of the most satisfying things to achieve is a program that has stayed true to the charter and is working as designed. We started an eCommerce journey without knowing how to achieve our goal. We had passion and drive, but no prioritized plan or roadmap. In the end, our results stayed true to the charter GCI and Horizontal jointly created in 2019. Our digital channel is now a critical sales channel, adding value for our customers, and results to our bottom line.

VP, Consumer Sales & Operations, GCI | Holly Henningsen

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