Commerce

Merging Content and Commerce: How to Get from Point A to B

It’s no surprise to anyone in digital commerce that content plays a major role in influencing purchases. Organic, email, and cost-per-click (CPC) are among the top drivers of sales for eCommerce sites.1  Additionally, 68% of B2B buyers prefer to research purchases online, up from 53% in 2015.2
Going from a commerce-driven site to one that delivers a true, customer-centric experience is typically an evolution. Implementation specifics and phases of adopting content and commerce will vary by organization, but are typically an incremental process.

How do you get from point A to point B?

You start by moving from traditional, offline B2B sales channels to the transactional online store. These experiences are built around the product catalog and are designed to compete primarily on price. Customer experiences are almost entirely transactional and process-driven.
As B2B enterprises mature in delivering enhanced digital experiences, they move beyond purely transactional processes to meet the demands of more experiential buyers. The best way to accomplish this initially is to introduce content that’s inspirational, entertaining, and informative into digital touchpoints in the form of “fragments” or content “widgets.” This content can include internal brand context, external trending and social content, rich media, and more. The business user has total control and can decide what kind of content works on different pages and site sections. The business user can also introduce flexible templates and design elements that will visually enhance the more structured store layout.
Implementation specifics and phases of adopting content and commerce will vary by organization, but are typically an incremental evolution. The final stage is a fully integrated platform for creating, managing, previewing, and delivering blended content and commerce experiences to buyers on any site, channel or device, in any language. At this point, you have entered the era of true, frictionless commerce.

Phased Approach to Implementation

Companies that wish to leverage CMS capabilities and commerce software toolsets typically take a phased approach. This approach provides the flexibility needed to support a variety of requirements and business models. Let’s take a look at a few.

Commerce-led with Augmentation

Companies with large, complex product catalogs and basic marketing requirements seeking to augment an existing web store.

Content-driven

Companies with a strong brand and a global, multi-touchpoint marketing presence look to blend experiences and dedicated eCommerce functionality (shopping cart, check out, product catalog, etc.) into their marketing sites and apps.

“Blended” Hybrid Model

This brings the best of the commerce-led and content-driven approaches together by ensuring each system manages and delivers the most appropriate portion of the online experience. A typical approach involves giving the content management system (CMS) responsibility for delivering the experience up to the checkout process, at which point the eCommerce systems takes over. You can choose to serve all campaign pages and commerce-enabled brand sites directly out of the CMS, while service product detail pages from the eCommerce system.
The figure below outlines a phased approach to adopting a hybrid content & commerce model.

Learn more about the journey to integrating content and commerce in our latest guide, Transforming the Digital Experience for B2B Commerce. You will also gain insight on:

  • The impact of digital on B2B sales channels
  • Why B2B companies need an omni-channel strategy
  • The importance of integrated content and commerce in B2B

Sources:
1 SmartInsights.com
2 Forrester

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Stephanie Gallina, Senior Manager, Microsoft + CXC Partner Marketing

Stephanie has more than 15 years' experience in marketing communications, leading and executing marketing strategies for corporate and non-profit organizations. She elevates the awareness of relevant digital solution topics and thought leadership for Perficient.

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