By Bob Meixner, Senior Commerce Product Strategist, Oracle
The holiday season is a busy time of year for consumers and eCommerce leaders alike. While shoppers are writing their wish lists, eCommerce professionals are devising strategies to increase holiday sales and build brand loyalty. In our digital era, businesses are not just competing on product and price any more. The customer experience (CX) they offer will differentiate them among their competitors during the holiday season.
If a company’s goal is to create a unified CX, naturally the smartest way to accomplish this is to use a unified solution—one effortlessly consumed by your business. So how does an eCommerce professional write their CX solution wish list? They look to CX-focused research reports by industry-leading analysts, like Forrester.
In the recently released Forrester WaveTM: Digital Experience Platforms, Q3 2017, Oracle is the only leader. “Oracle has one of the broadest portfolios–including content, commerce, marketing, data, analytics and customer care–of any vendor we evaluated,” the Report reads. Oracle believes that the Commerce Cloud, part of the Oracle CX Suite, should top the eCommerce professional’s list too. Here’s why:
1. Commerce Cloud is Consumable
Oracle Commerce Cloud enables users to quickly implement CX initiatives. The solution is provisioned immediately and has a user interface designed for marketers and merchandisers to work independently from IT. Intuitive, drag-and-drop capabilities to control the entire site experience are designed with the millennial worker in mind – keeping them focused and productive without the need for in-depth training. Ideas sketched on a whiteboard become online realities in a matter of hours, not days, weeks, or months—simplifying your processes and reducing unpredictability. In order for a solution to be consumable, manual intervention should be the exception, not the rule.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is finally delivering on its promise to automate monotonous tasks and is embedded in Oracle Commerce Cloud. AI can be used to present the right offers and relevant search results to shoppers from the moment they land on your site or open an email. Oracle does this by taking the largest set of third party audience data available and combines it with our decision science engine. But don’t worry; it’s not a black box. Marketers can guide the engine by exception, setting various boost/constrain guidelines and other policies such as inventory and brand. It’s a consumable and highly productive partnership between marketer and machine.
Consumability is just as important throughout the life of an application as it is during initial implementation. There’s nothing worse than a legacy application holding you back from your goals. The ability to have immediate access to application updates, and have those updates applied by your vendor without affecting your work, is critical. In this innovative playing field, not all clouds are created equal. While some cloud-based commerce solutions require you or a partner to apply upgrades and patches, Oracle Commerce Cloud is software-as-a-service, which means Oracle worries about the application updates while you focus on your customer experience and brand distinction.
2. Commerce Cloud is Flexible
We all know consumers have many options when it comes to fulfilling their needs. Today’s consumers are far less loyal to brands than they were just a couple of years ago. A customer experience designed to distinguish your brand and seize upon a shopper’s micro moment of inspiration is paramount. Contrary to older software-as-a service commerce platforms, total creative control based on non-proprietary standards is given to you within Oracle Commerce Cloud. The sites are fully responsive out-of-the-box, plus, marketers can create specific experiences for mobile and tablet to ensure each area of the site is optimized for conversion—regardless of device. This eliminates the need for costly third party mobile and experience management tools, which can complicate the process of rolling out an omnichannel campaign. Oracle Commerce Cloud is the perfect platform for designers to express themselves.
It’s not just designers who love the flexibility of Oracle Commerce Cloud. The modern developer will feel equally at home. Integration is understandably most feared when it comes to commerce platform implementations. Commerce touches so many areas of the enterprise and many platforms don’t have fully exposed APIs that mesh well with existing systems. This results in long, costly implementations and expensive, fragile integrations—exactly what a business aims to avoid. We changed that with Oracle Commerce Cloud by implementing an API-first approach to all areas of the application. Everything is exposed as a REST-based web service. Webhooks are available for sending data to other systems. Open frameworks are provided—alongside native integrations—for critical functions such as payments, tax, shipping, pricing, and approvals. Connectors are prebuilt to Oracle applications for marketing, order management, and others. Third party integrations can be created using pre-built connectors in the Oracle Cloud. Server-side functionality can be extended without impacting upgradability. This level of flexibility will increase your business’ agility and lower long-term maintenance costs. Wave goodbye to legacy applications and say hello to continuous innovation!
3. Commerce Cloud is Scalable
When was the last time you waited for a site to load for longer than a few seconds? You probably can’t remember because, if you’re like most shoppers, you won’t wait. Long page load times or the inability to complete a transaction are not tolerated. We understand this at Oracle. For decades, businesses have trusted our solutions to deliver some of the busiest sites around the globe. This experience resulted in countless application design improvements and architectural best practices, which have been carried forward into Oracle Commerce Cloud. This level of expertise is uniquely provided by Oracle so you can focus on driving your business forward and delivering 1:1 customer interactions. Spend your holidays relaxing, not worrying about site uptime and performance.
Consumability, flexibility, and scalability are all critical components to a successful digital transformation and providing consistent, differentiating customer experiences. They help speed your time to market while reducing your total cost of ownership. While certain point solutions may solve some of your problems, together they will inevitably become expensive and hard to manage. As you look to 2018 and beyond, partnering with a solution provider offering the most complete and consumable set of digital experience capabilities is the smarter choice.
Read how Oracle Commerce Cloud and the rest of the Oracle CX Cloud Suite performed in The Forrester Wave™: Digital Experience Platforms, Q3 2017 by downloading the complimentary report here.
Learn more about Oracle Commerce Cloud here.