How to Strike a Balance Between Content and Commerce
Content tells stories. But it’s also a way to deliver differentiated customer experience to drive customers to convert. Brands and retailers are recognizing the value of content-driven commerce experience but that also means a greater need for web content management systems and other ecommerce solutions to work seamlessly. A successful and standout customer experience depends on your business’s ability to seamlessly and consistently deliver a strategic blend of the right content and commerce at all customer touchpoints.
- Develop and share the customer strategy. A customer-centric approach will be new for many stakeholders, especially if the marketing department is organized by channel (e.g., email, web, campaigns). Involve top leadership in defining the vision and objectives and in rallying support from the rest of the company. Note: It is important to ensure that what the company leadership ‘wants to achieve’ is aligned with customer preferences and desires.
- Assess the organization’s digital maturity. Understanding where the organization is today in terms of digital customer experience is the only way to know what to strive for in the short and long term. After determining the current state of the organization’s customer experience and goals, create a roadmap for the immediate future and a vision for the long-term mission. Then create a governance process to support both.
- Align business and IT. Avoid being limited by silos and embrace collaboration with a focus on the customer experience. Choose a single integrated platform that will connect these data points for a complete and most current view of each customer.
- Establish a content/commerce team: To further break down the siloed approach, create a cross-discipline team of content managers, SEO specialists, product marketers, merchandisers, etc. – all aligned around the customer experience.
- Choose a forward-thinking partner. The right implementation partner is essential to success. Organizations can assess a partner’s suitability based on the alignment in culture, process, direction, services, and other key elements. They should also review the partner’s recent projects, team, and methodologies. Evaluate its leadership: does it offer up innovative ideas around the customer experience and going digital, or is it only focused on implementing and integrating websites?
- Start with customer experience and the possibilities of contextual commerce. Remember that technology is in the service of the customer experience. With that in mind, focus on the customer experience instead of the technology/tools during implementation. Devise strategies to engage customers through various means, including content, and set up the support and resources to create content over time. Keep in mind that it’s essential to look past the purchase: a lifetime of opportunities open up once the customer has the product in hand.
- Adopt an ecommerce platform that will support a new approach. Forget the existing ecommerce platform and functionality and consider fresh possibilities enabled by new platforms. Look for a solution that not only closely integrates content and commerce functionality but also supports a customer community. At a minimum, ensure the platform makes it possible to:
- Easily create, edit, test, and personalize the complete experience right from the web content management system—without IT involvement
- Orchestrate, monitor, and measure all customer interactions across all channels—down to the individual level
- A/B test all aspects of the customer experience
- Automatically optimize for each end-user device
- Integrate with social media
- Personalize based on interactions
- Track and measure engagement
- Crawl, walk, run. Avoid a big-bang project, as this can be difficult to start and manage. Begin with basic needs, track and measure what happens, and build upon that over time to shape and continuously improve the customer experience. Select a platform that empowers the organization to advance while minimizing disruption to existing processes and business as usual.
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Proven Practices for Strategically Blending Content and Commerce