Guest Post by Bill Tarbell
VP Marketing, Workarea
The rapidly changing digital retail landscape has created a set of new commerce essentials that every online retailer needs in their toolkit for success. Designed with these essentials at their core, a digital commerce platform empowers retailers with business agility, team performance gains, and ultimately a booming online business.
The paradigm of the catalog, cart, and checkout as the core requirements for digital success is outdated. Plug-ins, add-ons and third-party tools shouldn’t be leaned on for the essentials; today’s merchants need more. High growth retailers need to be armed with intuitive content management, universal search, inline insights, and commerce built as one application.
Core Content Management is Essential
Today, the retailer’s brand experience is as important as their product catalog. Meeting this challenge requires an ecommerce platform with native content management, which rivals the capabilities of any standalone WCMS platform. Products, taxonomy, and SEO optimizations should integrate seamlessly within the context of their broader commerce and marketing initiatives. Agile retail teams need to quickly build, test and publish pages, layouts, and articles without developer support. Online sellers who manage their brand experience separately from digital commerce will quickly fall behind.
Universal Search is Essential
With search being a fundamental shopping behavior, search technology must be foundational to the ecommerce platform. Merchants that leverage universal search in their platform will see usability and revenue results not feasible through third-party integrations.
Every aspect of the online shopping experience—blogs, landing pages, FAQs, promotions and other non-product content—should be a single query away. Meanwhile, technical processes like re-indexing or cache invalidation need to happen behind the scenes in a way that doesn’t interrupt the retailer’s workflow.
Most importantly, foundational search drives functionality well beyond the results page: Intelligent merchandising, categorization and discounting techniques can be powered by search technology to provide a simple way to isolate and organize portions of a product catalog. Search, content, and commerce management in one place empowers site managers to curate custom result pages with promotional content.
Integrated Insights are Essential
Ecommerce teams need to constantly measure, analyze, and optimize their online performance, though most growing retailers don’t employ a full-time data analyst. Merchants need actionable insights presented in line with their daily workflows. Seamless integration of sales, customer, product, and search reporting throughout the ecommerce platform promotes the entire team into digital analysts. The massive data generated from customer behavior can provide revenue-driving behaviors to the team each day.
It’s time to expand the scope of what was once considered a complete commerce platform. When commerce, content management, universal search, and insights are core to the platform, retailers win by focusing on the tactics and strategies to sell more.