How you can integrate content and commerce to enhance your customer experience

The rapid evolution of the digital landscape has created a power shift – away from businesses and towards customers. Due to the ever-growing array of products available at the click of a button, and the brand transparency driven by a rise in ethical consumerism, empowered customers are now firmly in the driving seat.

Consequently, brands must focus on retaining customers as much as they concentrate on attracting them. To achieve this, they should prioritise the enhancement of their Customer Experience, which is set to overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by the close of the year.

How are brands effectively utilising content-commerce strategies?

Content presents businesses with both traditional and innovative methods to engage customers on an increasingly varied and dynamic range of channels. From blogs, editorial pages and videos, to social media and apps, today’s brands are communicating and engaging with customers to great effect.

Flatpack furniture leader, Ikea, for example, adopts a traditional approach to content with its online blog containing everything from recipes and crafts to topical ‘how to’ guides. But it also provides a more innovative User Experience with the ‘inspiration’ section of its website. This section helps consumers visualise Ikea’s furniture products in situ, with the content adding enthusiasm and inspiration to help consumers create ideas for their interior designs.

Others are engaging with the latest consumer trends. Trendy apparel retailer, Uniqlo, for instance, recently teamed up with TikTok – a highly popular social media channel among digital-natives – for its #UTPlayYourWorld campaign. With the incentive of having their video played in physical stores, users were invited to upload TikTok videos of themselves wearing their favourite outfits from Uniqlo’s spring/summer collection. The campaign has strengthened the relationship between the brand and its customers, with over 731 million views since its launch.

Examples such as these demonstrate the power of a successful content-commerce strategy. To increase their chances of success, though, brands should integrate modern content management systems (CMS) with API-first commerce platforms. In the next section, we will explain how you can lead your integration with either content or commerce. Ultimately, the approach you take will depend on your business model, your digital maturity, and the front-ends you are accommodating.

What is a content-led integration?

A content-led integration involves adopting a CMS as the lead solution, meaning brands can quickly create and publish content to a range of multichannel front-ends. For content editors, flexible layout systems combined with simple preview and edit tools make modern CMSs like Contentful Amplience and Kentico Kontent particularly easy to use.

Consequently, a content-first approach is well-suited to one-product stores, subscription models and experience-led brands, where the primary focus is placed on storytelling and delivering a carefully orchestrated brand experience. As these types of businesses typically have a limited number of products on sale, it makes more sense to lead with content.

What is a commerce-led integration?

Alternatively, brands can opt for a commerce-led integration. This means placing the commerce solution at the core of the strategy, with the CMS feeding in content in the background.

This approach may be better suited to enterprise organisations offering hundreds of products across their different channels. Of course, the most important channel for these types of organisations is their website – by integrating a modern CMS into their platform, these businesses can supplement their web pages with sophisticated features such as related editorial content.

This approach is well-suited to businesses that already have a strong digital presence and are aiming to improve their overall Customer Experience. These brands tend to rely on the commerce solution as the lead,  but also want the flexibility to outsource other functions to specialised third-party microservices.

That said, these are just a few of the factors to consider when integrating content and commerce. For a more comprehensive overview of how to integrate headless solutions into your digital estate, sign up to our headless ecommerce professional development programme – module 7 is available from 5 August.

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