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Switching to an Enterprise eCommerce CMS Platform?

Chris Osterhout SVP of Strategy
#CMS, #Commerce, #Episerver, #Digital Strategy
Published on August 17, 2016

We look at 5 aspects that website owners need to consider when deciding whether to continue using a custom eCommerce solution or migrate to an enterprise CMS.

Today’s digital landscape is constantly changing and evolving, and new tools that website owners can use to connect with their customers are becoming available on a regular basis. Ideally, organizations should invest in a content management system (CMS) platform that allows them to unite multiple interconnected systems and eliminate data silos. However, this can be difficult to accomplish, especially for organizations with eCommerce websites.

At Diagram, we regularly find ourselves in conversations with clients who utilize a custom built eCommerce solution and are weighing their options to determine whether they should move to an enterprise eCommerce platform like Episerver or continue to enhance their custom solution to meet their evolving needs.

We appreciate and understand the investment that companies have made in these custom eCommerce solutions, so when we speak to these clients, we look at the following aspects of their digital strategy and how they affect their decision:

1. Security

Over the past several years, the news has been full of stories about data breaches in which hackers were able to steal information from companies’ systems. This sort of story is likely to strike fear into the heart of anybody who utilizes eCommerce, since the last thing any organization wants is to be in a situation where their customers’ personal or financial information is being compromised.

Unfortunately, many custom eCommerce solutions are built on legacy technology that usually isn’t supported by software manufacturers and often isn’t upgradeable, meaning that they are vulnerable to potential attacks. For this reason, we often recommend moving to a platform like Episerver, which provides regular updates to address any security concerns that arise, ensuring that your customers’ data will always be safe.

2. Agility

In today’s ever-changing digital landscape, companies need to be able to quickly update their website to take advantage of new opportunities and continue to meet the needs of their customers. Unfortunately, a custom eCommerce solution will usually require development work to make any sort of modification to the site’s design or functionality. This tends to slow the time to market and usually results in a decreased ROI.

With the technology available today, if you need to update the layout of your product pages, change your shopping cart functionality, or modify your checkout process, you should be able to do so with minimal time and developer involvement. Utilizing an enterprise eCommerce CMS platform will allow you to expedite the time to market for your updates, maximizing the ROI from these ongoing efforts.

3. Personalization/ Contextualization

Today’s buyers no longer subscribe to “one size fits all” messaging. It’s important to be able to personalize and contextualize your website’s experience to provide your customers with the right content that helps them move through the Buyer’s Journey. Unfortunately, most custom eCommerce solutions don’t offer this capability, and building it would require a significant investment and a great deal of time. This means that by the time any personalization functionality is ready to implement, it will likely already be out of date.

With an enterprise CMS like Episerver, personalization capabilities are built in and ready to use immediately, with continual enhancements being released to take advantages of the latest tools and technologies. Being able to use personalization to provide value to your customers is essential in the modern digital marketplace, and it can make the difference in generating new leads and increasing online sales.

4. Scalability

If your site receives a significant spike in traffic, will your custom eCommerce solution be able to handle the load? If you invest in an advertising campaign, the last thing you want to happen is for your site to go down due to the increase in traffic.

An enterprise eCommerce platform like Episerver provides a variety of hosting options, including a combination of on-premises and cloud hosting, with the ability to scale up and down as needed. This will ensure that your digital marketing efforts are reaching their maximum potential.

5. Integrations

Your eCommerce solution is only one piece of the puzzle; to build a complete digital strategy, you need to be able to integrate your CMS with systems that provide analytical data, marketing automation, and social publishing, as well as the capabilities provided by tools like DAMs and PIMs. Most custom eCommerce solutions don’t support this level of integration, leading to siloed data.

When it’s time to go to market, you don’t want to pause your efforts to build a custom integration. Utilizing an enterprise eCommerce platform will help avoid this type of difficulty, since CMS platforms like Episerver provide an API layer that can easily integrate with external systems. Being able to quickly and easily implement these integrations will allow you to unite your efforts across all your digital channels.

Making the Leap

As we’ve demonstrated, any company that is serious about eCommerce can benefit from utilizing an enterprise CMS platform rather than a custom solution. Moving to a new platform is a complicated endeavor, but with the proper planning, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. An experienced digital partner can help you streamline the migration experience and bring your site to market as quickly as possible.

If you want to know more about how Diagram can help you take advantage of the capabilities of an Enterprise eCommerce CMS platform and bring your digital efforts to the next level, please contact us. We look forward to working with you to create a successful digital strategy!