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 experience?
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 Web Content or Web Experience Management (WCM/WEM) 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. A predetermined page shouldn’t define what’s delivered, the consumer’s context should.
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. A customer’s context at one moment (even if anonymous), across time, online and offline, in light of their social tendencies, explicit and implicit behaviours – is all leveraged together to deliver the most relevant, engaging experience at any point in their journey. This is what drives results.
Keeping totally separate technologies for elements of customer experience delivery is redundant, expensive, and results in broken customer experiences. Instead, you need to break down silos for a truly seamless, contextually relevant customer experience to boost your bottom line.