Retailers’ Guide to Maximizing Your CMS Investment

Retailers invest in content management systems (CMS) to increase the efficiency of enhancing their ecommerce sites with content like editorial photography, branded videos, and seasonal campaigns.

However, when running in conjunction with their ecommerce platforms, many retailers find their new CMS loses a lot of the functionality it once promised.

How a CMS Can Cause Friction

On the technology side, the problem lies with the way ecommerce platforms and content management systems are integrated. Retailers basically have to pick one to funnel through the other, which will cause one of the two platforms to be less useful. When layered on top of each other, you have a slow CMS on top of a slow ecommerce system, requiring you to coordinate two slow systems when rolling out changes.

On the human side, ecommerce and marketing teams have different priorities. For ecommerce leaders, the website acts as an online catalog. They want a fast site to get customers onto product pages and into the checkout. It’s all about buying.

Marketing teams, on the other hand, are concerned with enticing customers onto the site and showing them something branded and unique to keep them interested. They’re focused on the overall shopping and brand experience, not just buying.

Slow to evolve and overly complicated CMS systems make it challenging to implement and use them effectively. By the time marketing and ecommerce finally roll out what they want, it’s out-of-date.

At the end of the day, a CMS investment can become an expensive dud, leaving marketing teams frustrated with ecommerce and vice-versa. Meanwhile, IT’s hands are tied and a whole department of the organization is unsatisfied.

Taking the Customer-First Approach to Content

In our view, neither your CMS or ecommerce platform should be a second-class citizen.

Commerce and content should be delivered directly to the customer, based on what’s best for the customer. In that scenario, your homepage might showcase rich content that it pulls from the CMS, whereas the search is going to pull from the ecommerce platform for its results.

A combined ecommerce platform-CMS integration provides a workflow that tries to cover everything, from content production to page production to catalog updates to pricing updates. This adds a lot of manual steps and synchronizations that become overwhelming and end up taking too long.

If you have the right architecture, you can pick and choose based on what makes sense – not only for your own teams but for the customer experience as well. To reach this point, you’ll need to separate your rendering layer and your backend applications that drive that front-end – otherwise known as a “headless” architecture.

Using a Headless Approach to Maximize Your CMS Investment

A headless commerce architecture isn’t new, but not many retailers have gone down this path yet because it used to require building a custom front-end from scratch, which introduced risk and lengthy project timelines.

Now there’s a better way to go headless. Introducing a Front-end as a Service will enable you to line up your CMS and ecommerce platform side-by-side and equally expose both on the front-end.

With a side-by-side setup, you can focus on what each system does best, allowing for a much better workflow. Plus new tools can be easily trialed much quicker on a Front-end as a Service versus trying to cram them into your CMS or ecommerce system, and integrations are quickly done on a lean front-end compared to a slow backend.

This is a much quicker (and less expensive) process than building a custom front-end from scratch, and you’ll save on having to retain high-demand resources like front-end engineers, DevOps teams, operations teams, API experts, cloud experts, and more.

With this strategy, you’ll gain unprecedented flexibility on your front-end. This means cashing in on investments you’ve already made, keeping teams agile and effective, and delivering the kinds of rich, immersive experiences that keep your customers coming back for more.

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