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Adobe Marketing Cloud can make even the most sophisticated marketing campaigns easy to develop. Now it's enhancing its e-commerce options through a formal integration with Elastic Path. 

It's a key integration — and particularly noteworthy because the development work Elastic Path has completed provides an integrated authoring experience directly inside of Adobe Experience Manager, which is unique.

Adobe has previously worked with Elastic Path on a number of different projects. It was through these projects that, little by little, both companies realized they were good for each other and decided to tie the knot.

Adobe and ElasticPath

According to Elastic Path, though, this is only the beginning of what looks to be a beautiful relationship. In a recent statement, the company said that the agreement will see the two companies collaborate on several key areas, including e-commerce platform technology, further product integration, sales initiatives and marketing activities.

If that sounds a bit nebulous, the release of Elastic Path Edition for Adobe Experience Manager is real. As such, it is the first modular, real time e-commerce solution designed specifically to enhance the power of Experience Manager. Says Aseem Chandra, vice president Adobe experience manager and Adobe target business: 

We’ve built an open platform with Adobe Experience Manager and its e-commerce Integration Framework. Now, by integrating Experience Manager with Elastic Path e-commerce technology, we take our experience driven commerce initiative and integration framework further. This will allow the marketer and merchandiser to more.” 

Elastic Path Edition for Adobe Experience Manager was designed from the ground up to complement Adobe solutions and has been stripped of redundant features. All marketing functions – including content creation, asset management and testing -- stay in the Adobe Marketing Cloud while Elastic Path adds pricing, promotions, ordering and other transactional capabilities that can be accessed in real time with Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Target and Adobe Analytics.

ElasticPath, E-Commerce and Adobe

But what is behind this integration and what can users expect to get from the integration? We asked Elastic Path’s e-commerce industry strategist, David Chiu. He explained that the integration was built from the ground up to bridge the gap between the two products for a seamless experience, rather than just integrating them:

Although Elastic Path and Adobe Marketing Cloud are both agile, extensible, Java based platforms that are perfectly suited to traditional integration – we wanted to create a seamless experience for marketers where full e-commerce functionality would be available to them right inside Adobe solutions. It’s a much more efficient and manageable way to create experience driven commerce, and something that simply cannot be done as a straight integration – it absolutely requires an exclusive, dedicated product."

The result, he said, is that Elastic Path users and Adobe users will both get additional functionality that has not been available to them until now.

Adobe  has never had transactional e-commerce capabilities that were completely integrated into the workflow and authoring environment of Adobe Marketing Cloud.

With Elastic Path, Adobe users can now access features such as merchandising, pricing and order capture that work just like native Adobe content management features – just point, click and drag them with the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor.

For Elastic Path users there are also significant gains, particularly for e-commerce workers that are looking to take control of both their retail experience and marketing experience:

Marketers will be able to design, operate, test and optimize transactional sites and mobile touchpoints using the full power of the Adobe Marketing Cloud – Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Target, Adobe Analytics and the rest of the suite. Adobe offers the industry’s best way to do things like personalization, multivariate testing and campaign management – and with this product, all of those great features are now native Elastic Path features as well. That’s what business users get with a seamlessly combined solution."

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Customer Engagement

If these are some of the functional advantages of this release, there is another advantage that, if difficult to quantify, is the combined outcome of all these additions. Together, they provide a better chance of developing far more effective customer engagement strategies.

Earlier on this year, we took a look at e-commerce and how a number of vendors were bridging the gap between content management and e-commerce to provide better online shopping experiences.

Elastic Path was one of the vendors we examined in detail and found that they were using highly developed API’s to mesh content and e-commerce abilities for online retailers to ensure that their customers were getting the best possible online store experience.

The melding of Elastic Path and Adobe is in keeping with this strategy and provides a product that should improve the customer experience at all the important touchpoints.

In fact all the bases are covered here. From the basic display of product attributes to sophisticated modules for responsive merchandising, Elastic Path Live Authoring components are flexible, highly configurable and extremely fine tuned for the designing, testing and optimization of online store fronts. There are four modules that work together:

  1. Commerce Engine: A headless, enterprise grade e-commerce platform built on the same foundation as Adobe Marketing Cloud
  2. Cortex API: A runtime orchestration layer connecting Elastic Path to Adobe Marketing Cloud
  3. Live Authoring: A comprehensive library of e-commerce components for use within Adobe Experience Manager
  4. Subscriptions: An optional add on that provides recurring revenue.

Moving Forward

One final point worth noting is that the combined solution also enables users to deliver native e-commerce to other digital channels such as Android and its applications, iOS or proprietary development environments such as Smart TVs, Google Glass and public APIs. These touch points will always be synchronized with the primary web and mobile channels that the company works with.

According to Chiu, though, this is only the beginning of what we will see over the coming months, if not years:

We think that transactional brand experiences – campaigns, apps, social network pages, digital advertising, pop-up web stores and in-store touchpoints where customers can actually buy or otherwise leverage their accounts – are the next big opportunity for businesses. To execute them effectively, you need a customer experience platform like Adobe Marketing Cloud, plus a sophisticated ecommerce product like Elastic Path, working together in perfect harmony. That’s the thinking behind Elastic Path Edition for Adobe Experience Manager."

If you are heading to the Adobe summit at the end of the month, this is one to watch for as Elastic Path will be demonstrating the new solution for the first time there.