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Building a roadmap for the future will save you time, money, and stress

May 16, 2018Mike Zaruba

According to Gartner:

In 2018, more than 50% of commerce sites will have integrated technologies from more than 15 vendors to deliver a digital customer experience.

This can create inefficiencies for both the internal IT and marketing team. For marketers, having to move window to window, interface to interface, data set to data set, etc., can be cumbersome, create bottlenecks, and leave too much room for error. For IT, managing several code bases that may or may not natively integrate and hoping that some bug fix for one platform doesn’t break the entire system is, well, stressful to say the least.

You can’t find treasure without a roadmap

Specifically, you can’t find treasure (see: a fully functioning digital commerce ecosystem) without a (road)map. An expensive consultant’s favorite word, and potentially a client’s worst nightmare, a roadmap can be helpful with the right mindset. First and foremost, the roadmap should detail your platforms, your timeline, and the steps it will take to get to launch.

A key component of the roadmap should be ensuring digital compatibility across platforms. Since commerce sites will have integrated technology across 15+ potential vendors, it would be a good opportunity to define your IT technology strategy. A few questions to ask:

  • Will you go with a certain platform that includes many native features?
  • Will you go with a leader from Gartner’s Magic Quadrants for each platform?
  • What comes out of the box?
  • How will these platforms talk to each other?
  • Are there native integrations available?
  • Have implementation partners built similar ecosystems in the past?
  • Will you have to hire new people, or partners, to help build, maintain, and innovate?

Too many screens, so little time

What about the internal marketer? How many platforms will they have to interact with on a daily basis just to publish a post, update product content, create new pages? It is important to think about how the marketing team will keep the site up to date. In fact, many platforms are reducing marketing’s dependency on IT, allowing for easy customer facing updates to be made with little to no coding required. This is especially important when looking at core platform interfaces for CMS and Commerce technologies.

This brings up an important point on CMS and Commerce. Typically, these two technologies have been separate, only integrated via connectors and/or APIs. In more recent years, there has been an effort to consolidate those technologies. Some platforms, like Episerver, have successfully blended CMS and Commerce into one seamless interface. Episerver has done a fantastic job of building a platform that is cloud-based, increases internal marketer efficiency, and reduces platform clutter. With native functionality in enterprise search, product recommendation, A/B testing, and more, you can nearly halve your technology stack by going with Episerver products.

The Episerver team has invested heavily in R&D in Social, Campaign Management, and Personalization. It’s no wonder Episerver is one of the fastest growing digital experience platforms in North America. They continue to add to their already strong core technology set, and are gaining strong client results.

The numbers matter

For example, Luminos Labs client Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply surfaced 250% more inventory on their website. This inherently offered customers a wider selection of SKUs and sizes to choose from. Since launch, Murdoch’s experienced a 20% increase in online revenue in the same period of the prior year. Conversion rate for the product detail page also saw a nearly 1% rate increase. The integration between Episerver and the dOMS will enable Luminos Labs to deliver additional Omnichannel features such as buy-online, pick-up in-store.

We would love to hear from you, and the challenges you’re facing as it relates to digital commerce. We’re actively helping clients wade through the waters of how to build a seamless digital ecosystem.

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