Content and Commerce
The content challenge of today’s eCommerce marketers
eCommerce has become the battleground for delivering the best ‘experience’—retailers are forced to continue their investments in innovation, content, and technology that will deliver on customer expectations while staying ahead of the competition.
Though eCommerce platforms have evolved rapidly over the past few years—adding in PIMs, omnichannel capabilities, and better enterprise integration—they have yet to meet the demands of the marketer and merchandiser responsible for telling stories about their products, companies, and brands.
People who have experienced the capabilities and ease-of-use of a contemporary CMS like Adobe Experience Manager, Sitecore Experience Platform, or e-Spirit FirstSpirit CMS, bemoan their struggles to easily create and publish content using the built-in CMS capabilities of today’s eCommerce platforms.
So, what are marketers’ key concerns and limitations?
- Lack of common, expected capabilities: Content scheduling calendars, publishing workflows, control over presentation templates, multi-language content translation, media libraries, and many other capabilities that marketers have come to expect.
- Lack of sophisticated capabilities: Experience personalization, multivariate testing, cross-channel content publishing, multi-level workflows, content auditing, and other contemporary tools that marketers want to use.
- Content publishing tied to code release cycles: IT will, for the lack of more sophisticated governance models, force content releases into the code release cycles, thereby severely limiting the agility of the marketing team.
- A general dependency on IT for content publishing: Built-in content management capabilities often require more ‘hands on’ coding in HTML and CSS than actual content writing to get things to work, which limits the independence of the marketing team.
So, is there an alternative? Can we really get the same capabilities that we love in our favorite CMS when using our existing eCommerce platform? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’!
Bring the best of CMS to eCommerce
You can indeed provide CMS capabilities that work seamlessly with existing eCommerce investments. Note that there are some caveats, but we have success in bringing modern, enterprise-class platforms together that deliver value to the marketing organization.
We have delivered content management experiences that work seamlessly with an incumbent eCommerce platform. In the end, the marketers get both the common and more sophisticated capabilities they want, while complete working independently of the IT and their code release cycles.
Before integrating the platforms, eCommerce marketers and IT must consider the business needs and technology roadmap before deciding which, of the possible approaches, or models, they want to implement. These considerations determine which platform ‘owns the glass’, or in other words, is responsible for delivering the web pages.
We have found the following models the most common:
- eCommerce owns the glass: In this model, the incumbent eCommerce platform continues to deliver the web pages as it does now. The advantages are they you do not need to touch a working page delivery platform—it is proven and works.
- CMS owns the glass: This model is native to most web content management systems today, where they assemble and deliver the web pages as part of the CMS. The advantages are that you do not lose any of the native capabilities of the CMS.
- Hybrid ownership of the glass: In this model, the eCommerce and CMS each take control of delivering respective pages of the website. For instance, the eCommerce platform would continue delivering category page and product detail pages, whereas the CMS would focus on sections of the site that may include corporate details, a look book, seasonal and promotional pages.
There are clearly pros and cons for each approach, and these must be considered carefully prior to making a directional decision.
Come learn from our experience
Drop by our booth (#2106) at Shop.org 2016 and ask for Rolf. I will be glad to discuss how we have delivered seamless solutions for some of the largest retailers in North America. Learn how we integrate contemporary CMS platforms with Demandware, Hybris, Oracle Commerce, IBM WCS and others.
I will walk you through a case study, where we recently integrated Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) with Demandware to create for the client a solution that allows them to leverage the Adobe Marketing Cloud capabilities while delivering a common experience globally across several brands.