10 Reasons Businesses Should Integrate Content, Commerce Systems

 
 
By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2014-10-08
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    10 Reasons Businesses Should Integrate Content, Commerce Systems
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    10 Reasons Businesses Should Integrate Content, Commerce Systems

    By Nathan Eddy
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    Most E-Commerce, Marketing Departments Collaborate
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    Most E-Commerce, Marketing Departments Collaborate

    On average, heads of e-commerce and marketing departments paint a relatively rosy picture when it comes to collaboration—in total, 86 percent of survey respondents indicated that collaboration between e-commerce and marketing teams is very or extremely high when it comes to creating unified customer experiences. However, the collaboration picture becomes less rosy depending with whom you speak.
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    Senior Decision-Makers High on Collaboration
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    Senior Decision-Makers High on Collaboration

    For instance, the vast majority (94 percent) of the senior-most business or technology decision-makers for marketing and e-commerce teams feel that collaboration is high or very high. In contrast, director, manager and individual contributor-level employees on those teams claim that collaboration is high at 20 percent less of a rate than their more senior counterparts.
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    Businesses Need Shared Technology Systems
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    Businesses Need Shared Technology Systems

    Less than a third (32 percent) of businesses surveyed are on an entirely shared technology system. The survey strongly suggested that even companies with shared leadership fail when technology for content and commerce based experiences are disconnected.
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    Siloed Marketing, Commerce Departments Still Prevalent
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    Siloed Marketing, Commerce Departments Still Prevalent

    Nearly 60 percent of companies surveyed have siloed marketing and commerce departments, with just 30 percent reporting a single departmental head. Less than one-third said that strategic leadership is shared between marketing and commerce teams.
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    Separate Teams Mean Separate Goals
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    Separate Teams Mean Separate Goals

    The study revealed marketing teams most frequently report to marketing leaders and e-commerce teams report to business leaders. In fact, more e-commerce teams report to corporate IT (23 percent) than report to a marketing director (19 percent), which indicates that alignment between commerce and marketing teams is lacking—separate teams mean separate goals.
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    Sharing Common Systems Makes a World of Difference
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    Sharing Common Systems Makes a World of Difference

    When separate teams successfully share common technology systems, collaboration satisfaction soars. Of those organizations that share technology platforms, more than half (53 percent) rated collaboration between commerce and brand marketing teams extremely favorably, compared with only 19 percent when technology is not shared between the groups, a 34 percent difference.
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    The Positive Effects of Sharing Technology
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    The Positive Effects of Sharing Technology

    For split teams that share technology, at least 75 percent said they believe collaboration positively impacts a wide range of process and user experience metrics, including campaign times, workplace culture, product development, operational and service processes, percent of revenue spent on technology and conversion rates. Even more telling, teams that don't share technology systems are 16-26 percent less confident about their collaborative efforts positively impacting these metrics.
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    Shared Technology Leads to More Collaboration
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    Shared Technology Leads to More Collaboration

    Just over half (51 percent) of teams that share technology between marketing and commerce anticipate moving toward more collaboration by year end, while only 22 percent of teams with separate technology expect their relationship to change. The report notes that looking further out, this divide appears to carry a healthy dose of inertia as teams that don't share technology don't anticipate catching up even by the end of 2016.
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    Data Personalization Is Lacking
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    Data Personalization Is Lacking

    Less than half of the firms surveyed have implemented even the most basic form of data personalization. Results suggested this limited adoption is not due to lack of interest, as no less than two-thirds of firms surveyed are planning to implement or expand every type of personalization investment. However, while senior management is generally optimistic about what personalization their organization can skillfully leverage, middle management is less confident in what can be leveraged—particularly third-party data.
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    Collaboration Is Making a Difference
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    Collaboration Is Making a Difference

    The report concluded that for companies creating unified digital experiences for customers, e-commerce and marketing organizations must collaborate more closely on both organization and technology strategies, with current levels of collaboration indicating a positive effect on many key business efforts, especially conversion rates and operational processes. One manager with responsibility for creating unified experiences was quoted in the report as saying, "We are seeing progress as a result of our integrated system, with customer services improvements which are driving new customers and improved customer retention."
 

A Forrester Research report sponsored by Acquia has found that many companies suffer from what it calls "Two-Site Syndrome," where support for the discovery and exploration phases of a customer's interaction is disjointed from the process of actually purchasing goods or services. This results in a digital experience that is difficult for a consumer to navigate and ultimately leaves revenue left on the table, the report concluded. In conducting 153 online surveys and five in-depth interviews with Web content management and e-commerce platform decision makers in the U.S., France, Germany and the U.K., Forrester found that companies selling products and services online are leaving money on the table due to their failure to unify content and commerce. An integrated platform, however, enables companies to unite the experience between brand exploration and conversation and better enable teams to collaborate on this goal, the report revealed. "Specifically, an integrated platform can present product and non-product content at all stages of the customer lifecycle that enables them to make purchase decisions wherever they are, run campaigns across more of the digital customer lifecycle, and deliver personalized experiences across content- and commerce-based experiences," the study noted. The report also noted that for companies selling online, this integrated platform almost always has a delivery backbone based on a commerce or content platform.

 
 
 
 
 
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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