What is Sitecore Commerce? .

what-is-sitecore-commerce

Sitecore Commerce is probably the single most important update to the Sitecore platform since personalisation and dynamic segmentation was introduced quite some time ago!

In a nutshell, Sitecore Commerce brings enterprise level ecommerce capabilities to the market leading digital experience platform. A platform that already contains cutting edge features such as automated marketing, dynamic segmentation, A/B Testing and, of course, personalisation.

Imagine a platform where in a few clicks you can customise the calls to action, messaging and look and feel of your ecommerce catalogue and product pages, for each and every customer individually. And, this can be done based on any combination of their browsing history, search terms, social activity and website behaviour. In essence, this is what Sitecore Commerce is and allows you to do.

The Key Features of Sitecore Commerce include

  • Deliver unique optimised customer experiences through personalisation based on learned and earned customer data
  • Single customer view of your prospects and customers to understand their content, search and product requirements
  • Out of the box automated emails, including cart abandonment, order confirmations and a few other personalised automated email communications
  • Post purchase customer nurturing through automated multi-channel marketing and communications
  • Enterprise product, inventory and order management
  • Out of the box functionality to support 'software' products and downloads meaning you can sell anything from sofas to software or apples to zumba workouts
  • Connectivity to any internal or back office systems via Commerce Connect and the Sitecore API

Oh, and it's multi-lingual, multi-currency and multi-channel out of the box!

Commerce, Content and Community

With this latest advance, Sitecore is taking a stand to be the market leader in Commerce, Content and Community - empowering brands to own and manage the customer experience whilst they research, compare, buy and use their products, across all channels and all of the time. With social advertising outpacing traditional search media, the importance of brands to connect early and nurture their customer through social channels and the early stages of the purchase process is now more critical than ever. We know from our own experience in travel that social provides little 'last click conversion' however is critical through the research phase and for inspiring the next customer.

Through Sitecore Commerce, EXM, FXM and PXM, you can now manage and respond to the next customer based on their multi-channel interactions with you and your brand using personalisation, automated marketing and integrated social, email and print channels.

The Ecommerce Opportunity and You

In the last 5 years ecommerce revenues as a percentage of retail revenue has more than doubled in the US going from 6% to 12%. In the UK, some sources say that 19% of total retail revenue comes from digital and ecommerce. At Sagittarius we already have a number of travel and tourism clients who sell over 70% of their availability online. The opportunity is therefore enormous and you need to make sure that you are equipped to deal with it.

As products become brands and brands become publishers and broadcasters, you need to have the right people, processes and platform in place to ensure that your brand is optimised for the next generation of online shoppers. Millennials are now in their 20s and 30s and Gen Z, who have had the Internet since birth, are now entering their 20s - these people are brand focused, massive consumers of image and video content and your future!

Sitecore's Ecommerce platform allows you to be at the center of your customers' multi-channel purchasing process now and into the future; seamlessly integrating and optimising the customer experience through personalisation, behavioural learning, re-targeting and automated marketing across web, mobile, email, social, print and in-store. It's the complete enterprise ecommerce solution, designed for ecommerce in the new digital age.

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.

 

Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

 
Nick Towers
Nick Towers
Co-Founder & Joint CEO
Co-Founder, CEO and self-confessed massive geek, Nick has been in digital since graduating from law and moving into technology many years ago. Through a combination of building awesome client relationships, crafting a formidable team of digital experts and consistently delivering results for our clients Nick has taken Sagittarius from being a successful small agency to the global digital customer experience consultancy and Sitecore powerhouse that it is today.
Nick Towers

Nick Towers

15 Nov 2017 - 5 minute read
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