A little more than a year ago, a clear and dramatic change started to emerge around how retailers and consumers think about online commerce. Empowered consumers started demanding more engaging experiences that combined inspiration, education, community and shopping in a seamless interaction across all of their brand touch points. Retailers began to challenge the two-decade-old eCommerce paradigm of catalog browse, product detail pages and shopping carts, and started looking for new paradigms that lead with rich content and interactions while embedding the ability to purchase in a natural, intuitive way wherever and whenever the consumer engaged with the brand.
Conversations between agencies and clients shifted from discussions anchored around the transaction (“what’s the best checkout flow?”) to conversations about customer engagement (“how do I best engage with my customer in a meaningful and differentiated way to build loyalty and advocacy, since doing so will implicitly drive conversion?”). Far removed from the early days of separate “content marketing sites” and “shop” sites, content and commerce truly began to converge in a disruptive way.
This led to an interesting challenge for technologists; the capabilities required to support the new paradigms were split between two distinct genres of technology: content management systems and commerce systems. Marketers use content management systems to build content-rich, personalized and contextually relevant brand experiences. Commerce systems focus on the purchase transaction and provide a catalog-based shopping experience to drive conversion. Meeting the needs of today’s consumer would require the seamless integration of these tools across myriad facets.
With years of deep experience in both content and commerce, exceptionally strong technology partnerships, and a client list that includes some of the world’s most innovative brands, Rosetta was able to be among the first to successfully bring together content and commerce in support of the new customer engagement paradigm. Integrating the best-in-class capabilities of Adobe Experience Manager with IBM’s WebSphere Commerce platform, Rosetta’s solution, the Connector, gave enterprise eCommerce retailers a single tool to manage the digital brand experience across all channels and devices.
Today, the Connector is being used to help power sites for several of Rosetta’s clients, and those brands are reaping the benefits of a Customer Engagement Platform that enables them to focus on the comprehensive brand experience, as opposed to the silos of content and commerce. For example, at one well-known apparel company/lifestyle brand, marketers are able to design and author experiences completely within Adobe Experience Manager, leveraging AEM templates, digital content and personalization capabilities while seamlessly accessing product and pricing information, dynamic customer segments and shopping cart functionality from WebSphere Commerce. Marketers literally “drag and drop” content from both platforms into a single integrated authoring experience. The resulting product is a fully responsive, highly engaging and content-rich digital experience that serves as a destination for consumers, as opposed to just the mechanism to complete the purchase cycle.
While the convergence of content and commerce, through solutions like the Connector, is already changing the ways that consumers and retailers interact, it’s clear that we are still closer to the beginning than the end of the convergence process for the technologies that will enable customer engagement for years to come. In particular, the application of these technologies is now spanning both online and off-line channels, fueled through the proliferation of mobile devices, beacon technologies and the soon-to-come mainstream adoption of wearables. In any case, it is clear that the convergence of content and commerce has already become real in the marketplace, and the companies that are able to leverage these technologies to create meaningful customer engagement stand to benefit greatly relative to the brands that stick with outdated paradigms for eCommerce.
View the Rosetta Consulting white papers “Customer Engagement from the Marketer’s Perspective” and “Customer Engagement from the Consumer’s Perspective.”