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Integrating CMS and Commerce Platforms: A Catalyst for Change?

This is the fifth post in an 8-part series called “Building a Content-First Organization." See posts one, two, three, and four.

Most business leaders will tell you that technology should never lead business change. Technology is an enabler that follows strategy. But in the right circumstances, technology can also be a catalyst for changing behaviors, cultures or processes.

Take the case of e-commerce. We’ve been writing about the importance of integrating content and commerce. in order to improve the digital shopping experience. Retailers and brands that aspire to deliver a more consistent experience across web, mobile and social channels have to tear down the traditional walls between marketing and commerce.

The integration of web content management and e-commerce technology can be the catalyst that helps you break down those silos. An integrated platform will force a meeting of the minds around the entire customer journey, not just the discrete elements that marketing and commerce oversee separately.

A 2014 Forrester survey found that just 32% of organizations are on an entirely shared technology system. The others likely suffer from “two-site syndrome,” in which the brand site is powered by a web content management system, while the online store runs on a separate commerce platform.

“When technology for content- and commerce-based experiences are disconnected,” the report’s authors conclude, brands face “difficulties with consistency across channels, creating fully contextual experiences for site visitors and providing rich content at all stages of the customer life cycle.”

Forrester found that collaboration improves when commerce and marketing teams share technology systems. Over half (53%) of the organizations that share platforms rated collaboration between commerce and brand marketing teams extremely favorably, compared with only 19% when the groups don’t share technology.

Integrating WCM and e-commerce platforms provides benefits beyond better collaboration, however.

“An integrated platform can accomplish three things,” said Stephen Powers, a Forrester vice president and research director who’s written extensively about the integration of content and commerce. “One, it allows you to present product and marketing content at multiple stages of the customer lifecycle in an integrated fashion. Two, it allows you to run campaigns across both marketing and commerce-driven portions of the website. Three, and perhaps most importantly, it allows you to have a consistent, personalized experience across the marketing portion and the buying portion of the website.”

Integration doesn’t require a full rip-and-replace of your web infrastructure. Acquia has developed a solution that layers content management on top of existing enterprise commerce platforms. Retailers may also choose to add commerce functionality to existing WCM systems. The end goal of either approach is the same: creating the foundation for a seamless, personalized browsing and shopping experience.

See the sixth post in this series: Finding – and Fixing – the ‘Gotchas’ that Inhibit the Customer Journey

See the series ebook: Why Retailers Need to Reorganize for Effective Content-driven Commerce

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