Five Tips for Successfully Integrating Content Management and Store Solutions with Each Other
Making the customer happy - with an outstanding customer journey in the online store
Nowadays, customers expect optimal all-round support: with individual offers, useful additional information and convenient processing. To achieve this, the CMS and the store solution must be ideally coordinated. The following checklist shows how it's done.
It's a truism: the more satisfied the customer, the more likely he is to remain loyal to his provider. But top products and services are no longer enough. Today's customers want more: relevant content tailored to their current needs and a smooth flow of all purchasing activities. For the latter, a high-performance store solution with appropriate interfaces to the payment system, to warehouse management and, if possible, to suitable analysis tools is a must. A powerful content management system (CMS) is needed to manage the content effectively and agilely. But only when both tools - CMS and online shop - are integrated with each other can store operators maximize their benefits in terms of efficiency, user-friendliness and customer experience. The following five tips show what to look out for.
Tip 1: Consciously Use the Advantages of a Content Management System
Simple, intuitive menu navigation and an equally attractive and informative product presentation are indispensable for an outstanding customer journey. And, if possible, in various formats: from texts in the respective national language - keyword: country-specific website - to images and videos to livestreams, chats or podcasts. With useful and/or entertaining content adapted to individual customer needs, it is possible to get visitors excited about the store and its products. Especially if the marketing content - thanks to CMS - is always maintained, directly translated and personalized.
Tip 2: Identify the Added Values of an Integrated Overall Solution
Integrating CMS and store solutions is a technologically and organizationally complex task. After all, the data from both systems must always be up-to-date and consistent without exception. This makes it all the more important to be clear in advance what benefits the integration of both applications will bring in the long run. After all, the effort involved is often worthwhile even for small and medium-sized companies that sell their specialized products worldwide and to very different customer segments. With a CMS, they can optimally maintain many different country-specific websites as well as store variants and can be reached at any time. Thus, it is not the size of the company that is decisive, but rather the variety and complexity of the products.
Tip 3: Choose the Right Integration Approach: Commerce Led or Content Led
Commerce led means that the store system is in the foreground: The frontend maps the structure and content from the web shop such as site structure, navigation, header or footer. Supplementary content flows in from the CMS.
In the content-led approach, on the other hand, the CMS is the technical leader, so the front end reflects the website structure, navigation, header, footer, etc. of the CMS. Supplementary product-relevant information comes from the store system.
Commerce-led integration is currently the most widely used variant. It is particularly suitable if the store is to provide structured detail and overview pages per se in order to present articles comprehensively: with images, descriptions, prices, sizes, configuration options and the like.
Tip 4: Involve Employees at an Early Stage
What is absolutely necessary for every complex IT project also applies here: The company should get the affected employees on board early on. When integrating the store solution and CMS, this usually includes the marketing team, the e-commerce department and sales. For the marketing team, it is a matter of integrating convincing statements about customer benefits, effective advertising images and video clips, or storytelling formats. The e-commerce sector and sales, on the other hand, tend to think in terms of product lists and prices. For both, it is important to present every product specification on extensive product detail pages and to enable direct conclusion of the purchase with just a few clicks. Only if all sides are involved from the outset and develop a mutual understanding is it possible to reconcile the sometimes contradictory requirements and wishes as far as possible.
Tip 5: Serve User-Friendliness and Corporate Identity Equally
As a first step, companies should work with an experienced service provider to evaluate and compare possible systems in terms of their suitability and ultimately make a selection. This is followed by the technical and content-related design of the necessary components. Great importance should be attached to the design of the customer experience. After all, customers should feel comfortable in the store and enjoy visiting it. Among other things, user guidance, usability and accessibility are crucial. Nevertheless, the technical implementation must not be at the expense of the brand. Even on the subpages, the visitor must recognize and positively anchor the brand and thus his provider. Therefore, the design of the web stores is subject to the CI guidelines - and thus pays off for the brand.
Of course, online retailers are free to decide whether to operate their entire e-commerce with just one system. For example, by storing product-specific content in their CMS. Or by publishing editorial content from their store solution. However, in many cases this is not really efficient. It is therefore necessary to carefully examine whether the advantages of both tools cannot be used with an integrated CMS store solution and thus improve customer loyalty and business results. An experienced IT service provider can provide valuable support here - especially since the view from the outside protects against a certain operational blindness. The service provider should use agile methods for development and advise on both private and public cloud solutions. Application management and customer-friendly support are equally important. Then the store operator will be successful and significantly and sustainably improve the customer experience of his customers by integrating CMS and store system.