Challenged by the lack of agility offered by traditional content management systems (CMS), many companies looking to manage their online presence are exploring digital experience platforms (DXPs). These platforms can deliver content across channels, support multiple content types, offer support for subscriptions & transactions, and optimize the digital customer journey. Data from CMSWire’s most recent State of DCX Survey report suggests that 43% of organizations plan to invest in DXPs over the next year, with an additional 29% exploring the possibility of adding a DXP to their existing stack.
Not all DXPs are built the same however. Whether you’re looking into DXPs for the first time or considering an upgrade, think carefully about your needs. Without key features, you can’t achieve your business goals; but you can just as easily end up paying for a solution that is tailored for needs that you don’t have. Evaluating DXPs across a framework of four overarching capabilities can help you select a solution that’s right-sized for your organization.
One of the most essential components of a DXP is the ability to build on the content delivery capabilities offered by a traditional CMS. This enables businesses to push out continuously fresh content across a wide variety of channels, such as websites, email, mobile apps and social media, as well as emerging channels such as smart devices, augmented reality and virtual reality.
According to a study from Casted, B2B marketers spend an average of 33 hours a week (82% of their working hours) on content creation. To enable faster content publishing, DXPs offer content templates and task automation around metadata and taxonomy, along with collaboration and advanced editing tools and workflow for version control. Many DXPs let you publish and edit content in multiple channels from a single point of creation (called “composable content”), saving additional time and energy for marketers looking to scale dozens of programs without sacrificing quality.
Other common content features include integrated photo and video asset management, permissions functionality and the ability to add custom types of content to stories (documents, infographics, audio).
The depth of the content capabilities you need from your DXP depends on how integral the content is to your business model and market differentiation, as well as the breadth of content types you create and manage. For example, if you’re monetizing your content or have invested heavily in brand storytelling, look for a DXP with deep content capabilities. If you only need support for relatively simple product- or service-related content, then invest your DXP budget in other areas.
Delivering positive customer experiences has always been imperative. The rise of omnichannel marketing means that businesses must cover a larger variety of touchpoints and digital channels — all at the same time. A quality DXP allows marketers to build rich digital experiences that include multimedia assets, commerce catalog data, live video content and more. Easy-to-use tools, intuitive interfaces and “what you see is what you get” editing (WYSIWYG) allow teams to create, launch and customize sites quickly.
In addition, synthetic testing and real user monitoring (RUM) gives marketers actionable data and insights they can use to better understand and improve the digital customer journey across all touchpoints.
To get sites, apps and other pages to market faster, DXP vendors offer many integrations; these can include “out of the box” solutions or custom integrations that require development work upfront. The best platforms use modern languages such as React and help customers (or 3rd party developers) “co-develop” in their DXP platform.
When evaluating DXP experiences capabilities, think about your current omnichannel maturity and how you expect to grow. If you’re coordinating experiences across many digital touchpoints, you’ll want a DXP with strong multi-site capabilities to leverage repeatable experience components. However, if you aren’t ready for true omnichannel marketing or manage just a single site, your needs for experience coordination won’t be as rigorous.
To meet the evolving needs of the online economy, businesses need more sophisticated monetization and commerce tools that integrate seamlessly with content and experience capabilities. DXPs let marketing teams build content-rich storefronts to sell physical or digital goods, subscriptions, loyalty programs, events and offers; they’re also flexible enough to evolve with a company’s pricing strategy.
The right technology for e-commerce and monetization can also improve consumer trust. According to a KPMG study, 62% of business leaders say their company needs to do more to strengthen data protections. DXPs let you manage commerce more efficiently and securely with workflow management, role-based permission and secure storage of personally identifiable information (PPI).
DXP monetization capabilities aren’t limited to traditional e-commerce, where customers complete product and service purchases directly online. They can also include registration wall features for enrollment in loyalty programs or the purchase of digital subscriptions, with sophisticated pricing rules based on usage or content viewed.
Your need for DXP monetization capabilities will depend on your business model and the other tools you have in place. While some DXP vendors offer full commerce capabilities within their own platform, most core functionalities can be integrated from other platforms and offer the same benefits. Some vendors offer numerous out-of-the-box integrations for important functions such as storefront search APIs, tax calculation, gateway vaulting features and single sign on, eliminating the need for any custom development.
Support Users at Scale
While businesses look to DXPs to create and coordinate engaging customer experiences, they shouldn’t neglect the administrative DXP user experience and the resources required to implement, host and manage the platform. Security and compliance requirements may also come into play, with DXPs offering varying levels of support for regulations and standards like GDPR, SOC and ISO certification.
All DXP buyers must determine who will handle infrastructure, security and monitoring for the platform. Some DXP vendors offer fully hosted and managed solutions with round-the-clock global support; others leave platform management responsibility to their customers.
Internal user experience is another important factor to evaluate. Platforms that use modern development languages and microservices-based architectures make it easier for developers to build custom features and workflows. Low-code or no-code DXPs allow marketers and content creators to self-serve without needing developer support.
The level of scale your DXP must support depends on:
- your company’s number (and type) of internal and external users
- your geographic presence
- the mission criticality of your digital properties and compliance needs
- the availability of internal development and IT resources
DXPs present a great opportunity for businesses looking to improve efficiency and performance. By integrating content, experience and monetization into one intuitive and agile platform, they put control of the digital customer experience back in marketers’ hands. Evaluate your requirements carefully before buying, and you’ll find the DXP with just the right level of functionality you need to move your business forward.
For a more detailed look at DXP capabilities, visit arcxp.com.