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Over the past two days, we have looked at different approaches to bridging the gap between content management and e-commerce. In the first part, we saw that e-Spirit has adopted a best-of-breed approach. Yesterday we saw how Elastic Path is using e-commerce APIs to integrate content.

In the final piece today, we look at Sitecore, which has put customers at the heart of the retail process by providing personalized content and user experiences.

Content Management E-Commerce

There are problems with this approach, as there are with each of the others. Managing content to provide a positive customer experience and managing an e-commerce site whose primary focus is on retail creates all kinds of challenges.

However, customer experience depends on providing engaging content just as much as it does an efficient retail experience. For Forrester, it all comes down to a battle of IT-centric tools versus marketing-centric mountains of poorly managed data and content. This is exacerbated by siloed rather than integrated technology.

Sitecore and Customer Experience

Sitecore tries to overcome this providing personalized information to customers. It is designed to not only keep them on the retailer's site, but also to engage them by providing content that they are interested in reading.

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Nate Barad, is Sitecore’s director of product strategy, told CMSWire many e-commerce applications have been built around products rather than the customer and the customer experience. The most successful strategy, he said,  is to put the customer at the heart and connect content and e-commerce with each customer to manage the experience.

The SKU (Stock-Keeping Unit) and associated commercial attributes, such as inventory, packing dimensions and of course pricing, promotion and discount rules are associated because they are needed to process transactions. However, this is why shoppers are left with receipts and order numbers instead of experiences that compel them to share their experience or become repeat customers."

Sitecore’s platform analyzes and provides context on how customers behave and incorporates that in the interaction with the retail site, the company claims. Sitecore retains the experience and applies it the next time a customer lands on the site to provide a relevant experience.

Single Platform Approach

According to Sitecore, it has overcome the content and e-commerce divide by building it all from a single platform:

Therefore, the intel gained with each email, social, mobile and web interaction with customers feeds into one platform. This delivers two very important benefits: 1) you can efficiently orchestrate your teams to create and manage interactions and 2) immediately apply that customer behavior for more relevant and personalized experiences."

Barad said this makes it easier to focus on an entire e-commerce strategy rather than having to spend time figuring out how to pull the different pieces together and bridge the content — e-commerce divide.

When merchandisers and marketers focus on one complete view of a customer with no blind spots, they are focusing on engaging customers more than just importing and exporting lists and IDs from one system to another.

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Sitecore CMS-Content Editor Personalization

E-Commerce and CXM Platforms

The acquisition of in November is typical of the kind of technology that Sitecore has focused on buying. At the time of the deal, Sitecore reported that it would be working on the integration of this technology as rapidly as possible. Once completed, it says it will be able to offer an entire customer experience management platform along with integrated e-commerce capabilities.

Darren Guarnaccia, executive vice president of corporate development at Sitecore, pointed out in a blog post relating to the deal that there is growing awareness that e-commerce should and needs to be an integral part of CXM. But he said no one has managed to do so yet.

The disconnect is typically repeated across the disjointed set of marketing experiences that initially draw a customer into a shop, whether it’s online or in the real world. Not enough e-commerce experiences take a holistic view of the customer journey."