Uniting brand and commerce online

Sören Stamer, Chief executive and co-founder CoreMedia

The disjointed nature of retail brands’ websites and their online stores is causing many to miss out on significant revenue opportunities.

Typically, retail brands have approached their web presence with two separate teams: a marketing department in charge of creating an engaging online home that immerses visitors in the brand, and a commerce team tasked with building a digital store which can process orders and handle logistics like inventory management.

In this set-up, the two departments often fail to collaborate effectively because the e-commerce platforms that have dominated the market, from the likes of IBM, SAP and Salesforce, don’t offer sufficient content and experience management capabilities.

“These technical shops were not designed to create great experiences; they were just designed to enable transactions,” says Sören Stamer, chief executive of CoreMedia, a content management software vendor. “Many retail brands still have this structure and they end up with a beautiful brand site that doesn’t merge effectively with the shop.

“You have to excite the customer and create an experience that inspires them to buy, but you also have to make buying easy. By uniting brand sites with online stores, it’s much easier for consumers to buy the goods.”

Tech giant Apple has mastered this combination. While it long had an exemplary website that immersed visitors in its products with engaging videos and animations, when it came to buying something customers were taken to a separate online store that lacked the same user experience. By uniting those two sites into one customer journey, the transactional part of the site is now deeply integrated into the content experience.

Online retailer YOOX Net-a-Porter has also excelled in merging brand, content and transactions into a single experience. The luxury fashion group owns 40 online flagship stores that both create an immersive experience through content and allow users to buy anything in their local currency for global delivery.

However, most retail brands are still far from being able to deliver this kind of united experience. To achieve this, retail brands are turning to tools that facilitate what’s called
experience composition.

“With experience composition you can do things like embed videos that let users jump to the features of a product then purchase with a single click,” says Mr Stamer. CoreMedia provides not just content management, but a sophisticated experience composition toolset, allowing both marketers and merchandisers to create iconic brand experiences that unite site and store for any device
or language.

“You can also embed geo-location features, so customers are sent special offers based on where they are. These experiences are more complicated than just adding a photo of a product. They have to work on your mobile, desktop, voice devices, in-store, digital signage and beyond.

“This is the missing piece for many retail brands. They have a shopping platform, some kind of content management and customer relationship management, but they lack the ability to deliver consistent experiences to multiple channels.”

Mr Stamer sees the need for experience composition expanding beyond the luxury retail space to all organisations, whether consumer companies, business to business or even government.

“Luxury brands realise if you want to win you have to provide a better customer experience, but this statement is also true for basically all verticals,” he concludes. “So we believe the technology we have seen the luxury business successfully use will be relevant for all organisations in
the world.”


For more information please visit www.coremedia.com