We want strong e-commerce experiences for our customers. We want strong content experiences. We want strong customer experiences.

How can we make it all happen at once? “We have lofty expectations and goals and sometimes we can become challenged by the effort to make this happen,” Guy Schneider, vice president of sales for Lexington, Mass.-based e-Spirit, said in a May 21 CMSWire webinar.

How do you get there? First, recognize the important of commerce in your enterprise, Schneider said.

“The answer first and foremost is to acknowledge that the commerce channel has evolved and should be considered a high value asset for the enterprise,” Schneider said. “It is no longer a place just to share your product information, product description, price and a place to fulfill an order. The channel itself is an area where you first engage with customers and can be an area where you really extend the customer experience and improve customer experience.”

'Next World'

Therein lies the thesis of the CMSWire webinar, "Go Beyond Merchandising: Maximize E-Commerce with Rich Content." Quality content must connect with quality e-commerce.

“When it comes to commerce now, it takes more than a shopping cart,” said fellow webinar presenter John Kottcamp, chief marketing technologist for e-Spirit partner Tahzoo, which has offices in North America and London. “We’re in the next world now. We’re really thinking of e-commerce not as a functionality but as an experience itself that is part of the larger customer journey. Companies are trying to connect with customers multiple times. And they’re not just going to the website e-commerce engine.”

They’re going to smartphones. Tablets. Other mobile devices. Desktops. Even connecting via phone.

“It’s not just a single experience,” Kottcamp said. “We have to think of a lifetime of transactions and loyalty. We must do a better job of managing the overall lifetime value of the relationship. Every purchase is a step along customer lifetime journey.”

The journey must be seamless, too, with “as little friction as possible,” Kottcamp added. Make sure your website and e-commerce engine is easy to use and that content's easy to find.

Content, Content, Content

The common theme in defining a rock-solid e-commerce experience is content, Schneider said. Produce relevant content. Take data from that customer experience inside the different channels and “differentiate yourself” by addressing customer needs that come “explicitly or implicitly,” he said.

Content drives the experience, Schneider added, and is the key to maintaining and improving customer experience. “At the center of this is not only content but also integration with other key technologies,” he added.

How e-Spirit Works

Enter e-Spirit and its FirstSpirit CMS and digital marketing platform.

Officials at e-Spirit can conduct technical reviews through on-site workshops where they identify critical parts and pieces of an organization's digital experience. The organization also offers consultative services to help organizations win money and resources to pursue implementing the e-Spirit FirstSpirit platform.

“We can help you reach the KPIs you’re trying to get to,” Schneider said. “We work with you more in a consultative role than just selling you a product or service.”

David Tobey, sales engineer for e-Spirit, provided a demonstration of the FirstSpirit product during the CMSWire webinar. Tobey said FirstSpirit operates in a “hub and spoke model” that integrates with multiple platforms.

Users can make design changes -- integrating with third-party DAM systems and other content respositories -- without ever leaving the user interface. Users can also preview layouts for multiple devices and personalize and plan future content.

“It’s easy to integrate with various different sources,” Tobey said. “You can update and customize products right within the CMS on the design page.”

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