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Forrester Report Tackles the Great Content and Commerce Divide

Imagine this: You walk into a local department store and browse until you find just what you’re looking for, but then you discover there’s no cash register in the building… you have to walk several blocks to get to the place where you can checkout.

Sounds kind of crazy, right? Well, while you’d never find that situation in-store, that’s the situation that all too many digital shopping sites have created for their potential shoppers. Unfortunately many brands and retailers take consumers down disjointed research and purchase experiences, which works against the ultimate goal of conversion. Often, this disjointed experiences leads to confusion and frustration for the consumer.

Here are a couple examples of leading brand experiences that showcase this challenge:

Olay: A leading P&G owned beauty brand produces excellent content to help educate potential customers about skincare on topics I find incredibly important, such as: What’s going on with all of these fine lines? Unfortunately, while I’m in learning about all of their great anti-aging products, I not actually able to buy any of them. Take a look for yourself.

Apple: That’s right. Apple. How dare I associate Apple with a bad experience? Here’s how: Apple banks on having such great brand recognition that they assume you come to their site to buy, not to learn. Their main experience is all about commerce. If you happen to diverge from that path to want to learn more about -- for instance, the new iPhone 5S -- you can relatively easily find this page which tells you how great everyone thinks it is. If you make it to the bottom of the page, you can click “Buy an iPhone 5S.” But that only brings you here. Which is actually the product page. Now, you get to search through all of this info to figure out where you can actually buy a phone. What Apple should have done is bring you right here. But Apple made it hard.

Even the biggest brands are getting content and commerce integration wrong. To build a successful digital shopping experience, they need a seamless research and purchase path. Just like today’s popular Ford commercials say: “I like AND better.” And so does the rest of the population.

Forrester Research analysts Stephen Powers and Peter Sheldon take on this digital challenge in a new report, “Content And Commerce: The Odd Couple Or The Power Couple?” We’ve licensed this report to make it available to the world at large because they do an excellent job of capturing the issue, the end result, and why a new approach is warranted.

Download the report to learn:
1. How retailers and brands are leaving revenue on the table by forcing separate product discovery and purchase experiences.
2. How organizations need to effect change across initiatives and teams, as well as systems.
3. The three different content & commerce integration model options between WCM and eCommerce platform experience delivery.

I support the WCM-lead approach for three key reasons:

1. The volume and variety of content needs are ever-increasing beyond simply offering a catalog of products.
2. Time-to-market is crucial in delivering the digital experience.
3. The story isn’t just content & commerce - it’s integrating content, commerce and social experiences.

We’re actively watching the content and commerce integration needs and challenges, and will be blogging frequently sharing what we’ve learned. In the meantime, check out the Forrester report, and let me know your thoughts.

Recent data from Forrester Research shows that Web Content Management and eCommerce are the top two priorities for digital executives.

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