A Great E-Commerce Site is More Than a Pretty Face


E-commerce continues to evolve at a rapid rate. 

“Mobile-ized” consumers, high expectations of online experiences (hello, millennials!) and increasing levels of competition all put pressure on brands to keep up. 

Needless to say, your digital commerce experience — both mobile and web — has to stay (at least) one step ahead of the competition. 

Brand leaders use content as a key part of the digital experience to inform, inspire and engage, and many rely on content management systems (CMS) to create, manage and deliver that content. 

Yesterday’s CMS can no longer keep up with the explosion in e-commerce. Brands need a CMS that learns and adapts — with changes in customer behavior, the ways shoppers engage and the ways they consume content.

The New DX Benchmarks

Expectations are high. The bar is being set by the whole online ecosphere, setting new benchmarks which are an aggregate of every digital experience the consumer has ever had.  

A great, new feature on a travel website can become the consumer’s expectation for their favorite online retail store. Paying with a smartphone and thumbprint verification at Starbucks translates into an expectation to do the same elsewhere. Watching an Uber car making its way to you creates the same expectation for your online order.

Fair or not, the days when pretty images constitute a good online presence are gone. CMS systems have evolved from a place to store and deliver files of images and video efficiently, to a system that does much much more.

Build Better Brand Experiences with a Smarter CMS

Digital channels account for or influence more than 50 percent of all retail sales. Shoppers who make in store purchases start by researching products, reading reviews, comparing prices and checking inventory online. Or in some cases they do those things while standing in your store with a smartphone, replacing what used to be done by your store associate.

The digital customer experience impacts every channel of customer engagement and influences sales even more than the number of online orders. 

A bad mobile experience, inaccurate store inventory levels, irrelevant content and offers, or a storefront that’s hard to navigate all cost you sales that you may not even know exist, as well as impact return customer rates and customer loyalty.

Your CMS plays a critical role in the brand experience. It should leverage the same advanced analytics and machine-learning algorithms being applied to other parts of the business. 

A modern CMS learns from every customer interaction to better understand customers, predict how to use content to drive shopper behavior and adapt content in real time to maximize shopper engagement. These predictive and self-learning capabilities let brands create, manage and deliver more effective content faster and automate manual processes.

Take Timely Action with a CMS that Delivers Actionable Insights

Especially in retail, getting the message out in a timely and effective way is critical – for a new season, for a new trend, for a sale. 

A CMS that provides insight into customer behavior, adjusts content based on its effectiveness and provides prescriptive actions for improved customer engagement can support your actions in this abbreviated time frame. 

Imagine a content management systems that understands what the fall season means for your business and adapts content accordingly. Or senses when customer engagement is low and alerts your marketers and merchandisers, without having to run a report or analyze data on a spreadsheet.

With intelligent content management online marketers and merchandisers can:

  • Close the communication loop for both inbound and outbound marketing
  • Deliver contextual content, for accurate and well-timed personalization
  • Move beyond messaging to actionable insights about audience behavior and engagement

Fueling your omnichannel commerce platform with content that speaks to the customer adds to your bottom line. The right content moves the purchase decision beyond a price comparison to one that includes an emotional connection with your brand. 

Engaged, inspired and invested shoppers have higher average order values, increased loyalty and often make that crucial leap to becoming brand advocates — all of which deliver higher lifetime value.

Your CMS System Grows with Your Strategic Vision

E-commerce will continue to evolve. E-business leaders recognize the need to keep up with customers’ expectations, their competition and market trends through the use of advanced analytics and cognitive technology. 

When do you know it’s time to reevaluate your CMS technology? 

One sign is if your business feels it has lost the ability to manage outcomes. Perhaps your solution doesn’t have the agility your business needs to keep up with customers, markets and competitors. Or ongoing page revisions have become cumbersome, with marketing constantly having to wait for revisions from IT.

That all-important customer experience depends on content management that’s agile and intelligent, infused with cognitive and predictive analytics to give marketers, merchandisers and content managers insight into customers and actions for improved customer engagement. 

Forward thinking organizations will recognize the value flexibility provides as technology advances, for example the flexibility to incorporate IoT data into their understanding of customers and online experiences.

Purpose-built tools for merchandisers, marketers and content managers give brands the ability to deliver exceptional, personalized customer experiences. Cloud-based solutions improve business agility and free up developers. 

Your users need systems that provide insight into customer behavior to support their hard work creating and managing content and curating the brand experiences that win lifelong customers. 

Rob Poratti is part of the Software Group at IBM and is responsible for Product Marketing of IBM e-commerce solutions including Digital Experience. He has spent over 20 years in various software development, project management and marketing roles with multiple organizations both inside and outside of IBM.


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