Monday, August 18, 2014

Commerce and Content – Still not fully integrated

The two disciplines of digital content management and eCommerce have been side-by-side for many years now, but why has the enterprise software / service market not yet managed to create a bunch of mature products that have both great content management systems (CMS’s) and great digital retailing service… and that are actually fully integrated into each other?

I believe the root of this problem lies in the origins and on-going management of these two inter-connected digital disciplines. Back in the dim and distant days you had two distinct silos for managing online: the digital marketing team who managed the content (text, images and increasingly rich assets such as video) and the eBusiness or eCommerce team who managed the product catalogue & payment side of things. In my opinion this has historically resulted in two different sets of people creating disparate experiences and leaving one crucially important person floundering in between… the customer.

The only thing is, the customers these days do actually notice when an online experience clashes. They quickly give up when they are struggling with a user interface that doesn't help them search, find and browse through the products they want. They try your competitor’s URL when your site doesn't connect product content with the ability to buy it in one simple action.

I therefore think the major vendors of Web Content Management (WCM) and eCommerce need to seriously take a look at their product stack. They then need to integrate & align these two areas into one compelling proposition. This shouldn't be done in half measures (E.g. by a large CMS vendor just buying up a small eCommerce product and offering it as a complex bolt-on  to their already weighty offering), in most cases this will need a complete re-think of both sides of the equation to create something that works for the customer (and the end user).

Until then, both in-house teams and the customer will continue to have a mixed experience. And quite frankly in this more mature digital age…. That’s bloody awful!
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