Woman looking at products in a grocery store.
It's OK to be picky when choosing an ecommerce platform. PHOTO: bill lapp

It’s an open secret in the ecommerce market: ecommerce platforms offer plenty of functionality but consistently fail at content management.

If you work for any major brand or retailer, you might have heard your ecommerce vendor pitching content management and experience management as part of its offerings. The truth is, if you still rely on your ecommerce platform to do all the content management for your online store, you’re probably doing it wrong.

Calling Out the Great Pretenders

Most ecommerce vendors offer some basic CMS features. And those tend to be good enough for some businesses. 

But if you are a highly demanding user whose business involves selling things that are expensive, exclusive or hard to explain, you will certainly need more.

A few days ago, I discussed this topic with the CEO of a global digital commerce agency. For years, they’ve partnered successfully with a wide range of ecommerce players, including IBM, SAP, Salesforce, Magento and others.

As a result, he’s seen it all. This CEO is a no-nonsense kind of guy who knows how to separate spin from fact. This is what he said to me:

“IBM and SAP just pretend to manage content. Salesforce admits that it doesn’t.”

CX Is Everything

While this might come as a surprise to new buyers of these platforms, it’s an open secret to partners and longer-term customers.

For years, it has been common knowledge among brands and retailers that customer experience is the key to success. That is especially true in the world of ecommerce, where competing vendors are never more than a click away.

Standardized Equals Ordinary

So it’s no wonder that digital experience management is such a hot topic. However, anyone who has tried to get serious about content and commerce has quickly realized that ecommerce platforms fail at all but the most basic content requirements — and sometimes even at those.

Luxury brands and retailers were the first to jump ship, most likely because their success is entirely dependent on the quality of the end-to-end customer experience. While they needed to standardize the processes in their ecommerce platforms to be able to scale and lower their costs, they couldn’t afford to deliver standardized — and therefore, ordinary — customer experiences. 

That is the one area where brands need to be as unique as possible.

Content Management as Strategic Asset

To implement these content-driven commerce strategies, many chose more sophisticated content management systems to integrate with their existing commerce platforms. The more seamlessly these systems worked together, the better. Their success then paved the way for retailers and B2B brands to do the same.

So take these lessons to heart and don’t let the marketing messages of ecommerce vendors confuse you. Content management is a strategic capability that all brands must master for future success.

And it’s way too important to get wrong. Bear in mind that sophisticated content management does a lot more than simply store some text snippets and images: it enables your brand to be unique, and will be one of your most strategic assets going forward.

CMS Shopping

Sophisticated content management empowers enterprises with a broad set of functionalities. Here’s a list of what to look for:

  1. It handles all assets and their complete lifecycles across the entire customer journey.
  2. It assembles assets into micro-experiences, in multiple languages, on multiple sites, for multiple countries — across multiple channels, and optimized for multiple devices.
  3. It acts as a home for all your content, and enables you to guarantee both consistency on a global scale and adaptability on a local scale.
  4. It empowers you to update hundreds of sites with a single click, to add new channels in hours and to relaunch all global brand sites in a matter of days.
  5. It enables you to render the same content in a million ways and personalize the experience to find the best variant for every single customer.
  6. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) to understand your content and optimize your customers’ experiences on the fly.
  7. It empowers both your business users and your subject matter experts.

Bottom line: sophisticated content management is the key to delivering outstanding experiences for your company or brand. Content matters and content management is mission critical so don’t sell your company short.