The following is a guest article from Brenna Johnson, Principal Product Manager, Oracle Commerce:
There’s been a lot of talk about content and commerce and the
role of each in the customer experience. But we think there’s a lot to the
story that isn’t being addressed. So, we’ve joined the conversation – and
brought a unique perspective. This perspective is what drove our major product release
last week, and a new whitepaper
on content and commerce environments.
It’s no secret that content and commerce have collided. Enabling
brand exploration and selling product should now be thought of as the same
process. But the unification of content and commerce goes beyond having a
single website URL or videos on the product detail page. Shoppers want to see
rich content in context of their product searches – and in turn, they want to
be inspired to explore brands in new ways. Bottom line: how consumers engage is
not predictable. Researching, buying, advocating or seeking help is no longer
tied to specific steps in the funnel, or to touchpoints. It’s all just
interactions, filtered by their need at that moment.
But delivering this type of experience is hard. Inside of
organizations, legacy ways of thinking about Marketers telling authentic brand
stories (inspiring) and Merchants as being the eyes of the business (selling)
has forced everyone to ask: who and what should drive our collective
It’s not just org charts that create confusion over what path to
take at this crossroads, it’s the technology each team has separately invested
in over the last decade. Marketers have historically used WCM/WEM (Web Content
or Web Experience Management) systems to inspire, and Merchants typically
leverage the eCommerce platform to sell. Over the years, each technology camp
has evolved to include capabilities that now overlap in certain areas, creating
more confusion over which technology to use where, especially when it comes to
powering the “glass” of the customer experience. Some firms lead with WCM/WEM,
others with commerce, others with a hybrid side-by-side approach.
But the question people aren’t asking is the most important
one. It shouldn’t be about what group or what technology should drive the
experience, the focus should be: how can we leverage the customer and
their context to deliver relevant experiences. We believe this is what
the CX movement is all about, and its what drives our product, and our
A predetermined page shouldn’t define what’s delivered, the
consumer’s context should. This is the core of the Oracle Commerce product, and the
basis of our stance that content and commerce is only part of the equation.
When the goal is to generate revenue online, Oracle Commerce
should take the lead in delivering experiences that inspire and sell.
Here are a few reasons why:
1. Content and commerce are only a part of the equation
Content is an important part of the customer journey, but so is
data and material coming from dozens of other systems. More important than
content or commerce is the notion of the two other Cs: the customer and
their context. If these are not known, content (alongside many other
things) cannot be relevant.
To deliver inspired selling experiences to meet an infinite
number of unpredictable customer needs, the digital experience needs to have
everything available, ready to dynamically filter and adapt in an instant.
Content like copy, PDFs, video, and rich imagery that WCM/WEM systems handle well
needs to be readily available, but so does data and content coming the product
catalog(s), CRM system, customer profile, user reviews, search and navigation,
ERP system, social content, personalization engine, local inventory
availability, in-store data, PIM system, merchandising, order management,
recommendations, pricing, service, the shopping cart, analytics and more.
Not only should your digital experience technology be able to
leverage the unpredictable cocktail of data and content the consumer requires
in in real-time, it also needs to dynamically present this unique experience in
context of the moment and across time. WCM/WEM systems are designed to allow
Marketers to deliver engaging, personal brand experiences; not to
integrate with dozens of systems and scale large volumes of data to drive
online sales. Oracle Commerce is already the “glue” that aggregates data and
content coming from any system and presents it in a relevant experience.
Again, the page shouldn’t define what’s delivered, the customer’s
context should. Their context at that moment (even if they’re
anonymous), across time, online and offline, in light of their social
tendencies, explicit and implicit behaviors – is all leveraged together to
deliver the most relevant, engaging experience at any point in their journey.
The only thing we do know about the future is that the
amount of data and content that will need to be leveraged will only grow.
Oracle Commerce was purpose-built to solve these problems.
2. The ability to scale is key to success
The scale required to deliver relevant content versus the scale
and power required to deliver contextually relevant selling experiences (where
content is a component) differs by orders of magnitude.
When Marketing’s role was to build a unique brand destination,
curating pages to showcase aspirational brand stories, scale was not as big of
an issue. In the new era of inspired selling, creating static pages for every
potential customer path simply cannot be done.
Beyond scaling the online desktop experience, there’s scaling in
to new digital touchpoints, new sites, new business models, and new
geographies. How could this be done in a WCM/WEM system without starting over
from scratch, or expensive and timely integrations with the commerce system?
Investing in a commerce solution with an open, multisite framework cuts down
substantially on having to start over as your company grows and evolves. Oracle
Commerce enables customers to launch new brands and extend in to new
geographies in a handful of weeks, leveraging the existing infrastructure and
Enabling total dynamic delivery of everything needed in the
customer experience, and sharing data from across the enterprise (online and
offline) is critical in this time of unpredictable shoppers and demands. This
is why a unified experience delivery tool like Oracle Commerce
Experience Manager should take the lead in experience delivery for
inspired selling experiences.
3. Marketers and Merchants must work hand-in-hand
Keeping totally separate technologies for elements of customer
experience delivery is redundant, expensive, and results in broken customer
experiences. Today, depending on the organization and their online goals, a
huge percentage of online selling is likely already done via the eCommerce
If you’re using separate WCM/WEM and eCommerce systems, you may
be able to manage today’s demands in the short term, but what about scaling for
the unpredictable needs of the future? WCM/WEM systems simply were not designed
integrate with dozens of systems to drive online sales.
We’ve done the hard stuff first. Adding content
creation and management capabilities in to the commerce infrastructure is a far
more viable approach than the other way around. Having content and commerce
capabilities in a single platform that easily integrates to any system to
leverage content or data is the way to go.
Let’s use an example. It’s time to create a holiday campaign. A
Merchandiser and Content Marketer work together, leveraging a single toolset to
ensure inspired selling experiences are delivered. Together, they update the
catalog and any pricing or promotions, create a landing page, add elements like
video, community content, and imagery, update the page attribution, and
personalization of the entire experience (including search, content targeting,
promotions, product assortment, merchandising and more). All of these
activities are done as one update: one approval workflow and one publishing
process, viewed in the authoring environment as well as a single preview
environment. With Oracle Commerce
11.1, we are closer than ever to delivering this to our customers
We don’t believe that if you do one or the other activities, it
means that you should have either WCM/WEM or eCommerce deliver the customer
experience. If Marketers or Merchants currently own your site experience, if
you have any requirement for personalization, do any revenue online, have a
need for any type of discovery (product or brand) and want to deliver across
any touchpoint, Oracle Commerce is uniquely suited to solve these challenges.
sure to check out the new
content-commerce whitepaper for more details on the benefit of a
commerce-lead customer experience – and please, share your perspective on this
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