Make no mistake—this week’s announcement of an Adobe/Demandware partnership is a pretty big deal for online retailers. In the words of Demandware VP Tom Griffin:
By integrating best-in-class rich content authoring and creation with best-in-class enterprise commerce, we can provide a single, unified solution for all consumer touchpoints. At the same time, retailers can optimize and personalize the shopping experience, in real time, by testing different content types based on purchase data. (Tom Griffin, Demandware)
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Makes good sense, doesn’t it? The integration of best-in-class content authoring and publishing, digital marketing and analytics (Adobe) with an omnichannel commerce engine and storefront (Demandware) is so obvious that it’s kind of a no-brainer.
Of course, integrating content and commerce is nothing new. We’ve been doing it since the earliest days of the internet as a sales engine. The two diverged as specialized platforms for first web content management, and then e-commerce, became the rage in the past decade—but the obvious next step on either side was to reach back out and embrace the other.
Certain platforms and software companies have seen limited success in this regard, but for quite some time the only way for an online retailer to achieve a “best-in-class” experience was through custom integration between a pure-play CMS and a pure-play e-commerce platform.
Born in the Cloud
To some extent, that’s still the case; Adobe and Demandware remain different companies with different software platforms and different licenses. The value of this particular partnership, however—what sets it apart and makes it so exciting—is that it’s born in the cloud.
The Adobe Marketing Cloud is more than just the CMS—Adobe Experience Manager. It’s digital marketing and analytics, rich media and more, and it’s a unified cloud platform offering the flexibility and scalability that software-as-a-service provides as its primary value proposition. Similarly, Demandware is a purely cloud-based solution— and that cloud DNA is what sets it apart from the rest of its peers. The ability to scale up or down quickly to meet demand is a huge advantage for any retailer—B2C or B2B—who anticipates seasonal or market-driven shifts in volume.
Not Quite Yet, Though…
Naturally, there will be challenges down the road as these software companies seek to present an integrated offering. The integration itself is officially still in pilot mode, and big questions are yet to be answered. As a wizened green Jedi Master told us back in 1980, “Always in motion, the future is.” On balance, though, the prospects offered by this announcement are too exciting to ignore.