OMR masterclass recap:
The new wave of eCommerce

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    People's consumer behavior has always continued to change, but even more so recently because of societal changes due to Covid. Customer journeys have become increasingly complex; there are now more digital touchpoints where customers interact with manufacturers, brands, and retailers. Many factors also influence purchasing decisions. In particular, the quality of inspiration, advice, and information is becoming increasingly important and is directly impacted by a successful content and eCommerce strategy.

    Sebastian Gierlinger, Storyblok’s VP of Developer Experience, and Alexander Damm, Director of Digital Strategy & Innovation Consulting at Mediawave, discussed the importance of a successful content and commerce strategy as well as the integration of a headless CMS as part of their OMR Digital Masterclass.

    A screenshot of Alexander Damm from Mediawave presenting Content Strategies at the OMR Digital Masterclass.

    Alexander Damm presenting content strategies for the OMR audience

    Content works like a shopping mall, which is open 24/7

    As a result of the changes in consumer behavior, differentiation based just on retail prices or an easy purchasing process is hardly enough nowadays. eCommerce businesses will only grow if they differentiate themselves strongly from their competition through a unique customer experience. Solving customer problems and developing a trusted customer relationship are now critical for success.

    This establishment of customer relationships won’t happen by accident but instead requires a well-thought-out content and eCommerce strategy. Intelligent collaboration between content and commerce will positively affect the following five areas:

    1. Increase in conversion rate

    2. Reduction of returns

    3. Better search engine ranking

    4. Relief of customer service team

    5. Setting yourself apart from the competition

    The types of content that directly impact these areas are product data, guidebooks, storytelling, news and updates about the brand, user-generated content, as well as social media content.

    In summary, content functions like a new shopping mall, which is open 24/7. And all of these new digital touchpoints allow you to present your products around the clock, which means that as a brand you must optimize and deploy highly relevant customer experiences, and use analytics and insights to consistently improve and enhance them.

    Ultimately, the challenges for companies are in the fast creation of content experiences, rolling them out, testing them, and then incorporating these learnings into an agile optimization process.

    When you interlink content and commerce on different levels of the customer lifecycle, the question to ask is, “Which qualities must the content include?” In order to perform successfully, the content should be:

    • Informative

    • Inspiring

    • Emotional

    • Educational

    • Entertaining

    Make every moment shoppable

    After creation, comes presentation. Always make sure that the products or services are intelligently networked, in order for your potential customers to easily enter the purchasing process. The fewer steps there are between seeing and purchasing, the higher the conversion rates will be.

    Today, we can observe four major challenges that businesses face when trying to quickly create and deliver personalized experiences:

    1. Marketers don‘t have tools to manage experiences without custom development.

    2. Lack of understanding of customer segments and behaviors.

    3. Experiences that are inconsistent and generic.

    4. Lack of content velocity to iterate and keep up with demand

    Regarding content velocity, many teams lack fast and efficient opportunities to develop, deploy, and test new content. They also lack the knowledge to permanently optimize user experience. This becomes noticeable in a slow time-to-market of new content and commerce experiences.

    CMS in commerce: The booster behind this new wave

    When we talk about content and commerce, eCommerce systems or core commerce technologies have certain CMS capabilities.

    Which CMS capabilities do digital commerce systems usually have? Which CMS capabilities are usually missing in digital commerce systems?
    What-you-see-is-what-you-get editors Support of custom content types
    Basic drag-and-drop page builders Support of news/blog content
    Dynamic product widgets/collections Granular editor roles & permissions
    Basic content staging Publishing workflows
    Basic multi language support Translation workflows
    Basic media asset management Advanced media asset management
    Basic targeting/personalization Advanced targeting and personalization
    Single touchpoint support Multi touchpoint support

    Content alone is, of course, not the only relevant factor for an online store. Many companies have to manage their content at a central point and then push it to many different touchpoints or channels. This is where the content management system ultimately plays a key role, as it must be integrated into the world of commerce.

    At this stage, it is vital to explore the differences between a monolithic and headless CMS (watch the recording for Alexander’s elaborate explanation) and decide on the best solution for your business. Similar to eCommerce platforms, content management systems also used to be exclusively monolithic and the backend was closely wired to the frontend. Today, we have the option of a headless CMS like Storyblok, which does not provide any frontend but rather gives developers the freedom to use their own technology stack and build custom eCommerce solutions that are perfectly tailored to individual business needs. When using a headless CMS, you can organize your content in one central place and push it to a variety of different platforms, saving your business lots of time and money.

    A screenshot of Sebastian Gierlinger presenting eCommerce solutions with a Storyblok as Headless CMS

    Sebastian Gierlinger shows how you can integrate your eCommerce solution into Storyblok

    Keeping that in mind, the full headless approach is not for everyone. For small businesses with low digital maturity levels without any inhouse development, that also do not need flexibility to continuously improve their frontend experience, staying within the monolithic scope of content management will prove much more efficient.

    However, if the following pain points resonate with your day-to-day commerce experiences, the headless approach is definitely worth considering.

    • Do you want to drive constant incremental improvements of end user experiences based on data-driven decisions?

    • Do you want to enable business users to make content updates independent of IT and schedule cutovers?

    • Do you want to enable backend developers to make updates without worrying if it might break something “up front”?

    • Do you wish to extend content to flexible, mobile-first frontend frameworks such as React.js, Vue.js, for Single Page Applications (SPAs) and Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)?

    • Do you want to give frontend developers more freedom than ever to quickly ramp-up new digital experiences for end customers and connecting new touchpoints?

    Did you answer one or more of these questions with a clear “yes”?

    If so, a headless CMS is the ideal accelerator for your successful content and commerce strategy. Check out the OMR recording for a full demo by Sebastian Gierlinger on how you can manage your webshop in Storyblok.