WCM is Critical to the Future of Commerce
by Amanda McCreary
The customer journey has changed. We know this, you know this, and your customers know this. And technologies are beginning to change to keep up with the ever-evolving needs of both the customer and your business.
This is why Acquia took a stand last summer and dropped the ‘e’ in eCommerce. We don’t believe that commerce is relegated to an online or an offline channel. It’s a chaotic, exciting journey where customers go wherever they want whenever they want, and hopefully add to cart in the process.
As the customer journey gets more complex, so do the technologies retailers need to support this journey. OMS (order management systems) have cropped up left and right to support ominchannel order and fulfillment needs. PIM (product information management) systems are becoming divorced from the core commerce platform as both B2B and B2C retailers have much more complex product needs and bundling options. With both of those managing the backend processes alongside the core commerce platform, retailers are now realizing they need to enhance the front-end customer experience to allow for the back-end systems and technologies to shine.
Enter the WCM. By integrating a purpose-built WCM into the commerce platform, retailers are finding they’re able to offer up new and engaging experiences. These new experiences tell the brand story in a much richer fashion, they allow the customer to drive the journey (rather than the archaic home page → category page → product page → checkout funnel), and they ultimately create a deeper relationship with the consumer.
Last Spring, Gartner came out with a paper arming technology leaders with the research and stats to build a business case for a technical ecosystem that fully leverages both commerce and content technologies. They, too, see the WCM as the future of commerce.
As companies expand investment in digital technologies to support commerce, marketing, Web, in-store channels and many others, there is also an expanded volume and variety of content to deploy across those touchpoints. Ideally, a single WCM architecture underpins all of these touchpoints, enabling efficiency, interoperability and consistency.*
But it’s not just about the integration of WCM and commerce technologies; that’s just the beginning. Business needs are getting much more complex, and with that change comes varying needs for new and different technologies. Gartner also sees this as the future and believes that “by 2018, more than 50% of commerce sites will integrate technologies from more than 15 vendors to deliver a digital customer experience.”
We call this amalgamation of technologies “open marketing.” This concept is based on the simple idea that you know what’s best for your business. It’s an open approach to technology that allows for custom integrations of the tools you have and like, as well as any you may want in the future, whether you know it today or not.
But as they say, with great power comes great responsibility, and building a “best-for-me” technical ecosystem can be challenging. Closed platforms can be tempting, especially those who offer a full suite of services, however each business has unique needs and it’s unlikely one full platform can service all the nuances of your business. Organizations that are able to build a technical ecosystem around their customers’ wants and needs are rewarded. According to Forbes, 86 percent of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience. So why not deliver it?
*Create Digital Business Success With Better Interoperability Between Digital Commerce and Web Content Management. Published: 22 April 2015 by Chris Fletcher and Mick MacComascaigh