Content and Commerce Integrations

The digital commerce landscape is rapidly changing. Customer expectations are rising every day and in order to stay competitive, businesses  must be able to adapt quickly and need the right tools to do so.  

Until recently, most e-commerce players would put in place a standard solution such as SAP Hybris, Intershop or WCS to drive their online commerce environment. These tools are good for building category pages and product pages, but are very limited when it comes to managing and injecting additional content into the digital experience. In the age of big online marketplaces, online businesses need to offer more than a nice set of products to attract and convert visitors. They need to build a relationship with their customers by offering valuable content and a seamless customer journey.

Differentiation in commerce

In a time where people can compare prices for any product all over the web, competing on pricing alone isn’t feasible for most businesses. One major way that businesses are now gaining a competitive advantage in digital is by providing a seamless customer journey that establishes a lasting relationship with the customer. Delivering this consistent cross-channel experience involves synchronizing personal data and shopping carts across all touchpoints. But to really engage with them, you’ll need to offer valuable content like how to videos, tips & tricks, and inspirational pieces.

Omnichannel without fragmentation

Businesses that build on outdated e-commerce platforms are heavily challenged by trying to create the cross-channel experience their customers expect. Organizations that recognize the need for new, more content focused channels, will have to create other environments. To do this they often use add-on, less comprehensive solutions for the sake of time to market which leads to fragmentation of content and data. Businesses looking to update, share, and search for content and data consistently across every channel and touchpoint will need to look toward solutions that are built for omnichannel experiences.

Advantages of an open platform

With an open content platform like BloomReach Experience at the core of your digital landscape, content can be created within the CMS and then be served out to any possible presentation layer, getting rid of siloed content management solutions. And as part of the Digital Experience Platform (DXP), customers will be able to access each individual personalization API through pre-built widgets, available in the BloomReach Experience product.

Common integration approaches

So how do you integrate BloomReach Experience (BRE) into your existing toolset? There are three types of implementations that are most commonly used:

1. Headless 

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Using BRE headless means that the solution would not be generating any HTML. Instead, it provides content in a structured JSON or XML format. Depending on the type of request, this could either be a server side or a client side integration handling the data.

Benefits:

  • Simpler integration - APIs incorporate within pages.

Drawbacks:

  • Limited added value for the editor: no preview, no components, no drag and drop functionality and no ability to modify templates through the user interface.

2. Full BloomReach Experience

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In this scenario, the solution is implemented by having BRE connect to the e-commerce platform through the usage of APIs or Microservices.

Benefits:

  • All BRE features available, preview for editors and page composition.

  • Control the entire experience in one central place.

Drawbacks:

  • More complex implementation.

3. Hybrid

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In the hybrid scenario, BRE is used in a way that combines the lower impact of the headless scenario with the user friendliness of a full implementation. Hybrid can be a side by side deployment where BRE powers an entire segment of the site (see Full) or one where BRE powers fragments. This “fragments” implementation passes the API response via HTML so the customer can embed on new pages they create (a new directory or subdomain would be needed to house these pages) or on existing pages.

Benefits:

  • Easier to implement.

  • User friendly page composition and preview.

Drawbacks:

  • Maintain the CSS in BRE and on own site.

Where to start

The easiest way to get started with content & commerce integrations is to take the headless approach. This means using BloomReach experience as a content repository that feeds content into the commerce platform using our content rest API.

If you need product information on your page, this should not be done by synchronizing your CMS with your product information system. This will cause unnecessary data flows that can lead to server capacity problems, downtime etc. The much easier and reliable way is to plug your PIM system into your CMS using microservices and APIs.

Learn more about microservices on Hippo labs   

If you want to build a personalized product grid or a personalized landing page, there are APIs for BloomReach Personalization available within the BloomReach Experience components. By using these, you can easily implement BloomReach’s powerful AI-based personalization tools into your commerce environment.

For more information read about BloomReach Personalisation

 

Download

For more background information on content & commerce integrations, download our e-book:

The Digital Commerce Landscape: Trends, Challenges & Opportunities.

 

BloomReach Experience is the enterprise version of Hippo CMS. The above explained integration approaches are feasible for both the open source product (Hippo CMS) and the enterprise product. The personalization and AI capabilities are only available within the enterprise product.