The retailer’s guide to ecommerce content management and delivery

Updated: October 26, 2020

Send targeted content to the right person, at the right place, at the right time


The holy grail of every ecommerce professional is the ability to send targeted content to the right person, at the right place, at the right time. But, that’s easier said than done. Target audiences today are literally moving targets. They consume content in more ways than ever, jumping from in-store to onsite experiences, to mobile apps to IoT devices.

Ultimately, retail success hinges on one thing: agility. You may have heard people talking about agile CMS or agile ecommerce. Agility simply means the ability to move quickly and easily. With the right content infrastructure, you can improve agility every step along the way from content strategy … to content creation … to content development … to content delivery.

Seamless data integration is the key to getting your content to the right person

If you’re like most ecommerce companies, you’re probably sitting on a mountain of consumer data and have an ever-growing stack of technologies to help you manage it. Ideally, all of the technologies integrate seamlessly, providing your digital content strategists with a complete view of customer data.

As you know, CRM and CMS technologies haven’t always played well together. Fortunately, APIs are changing that. One of the early API adopters was Jeff Bezos. Around 2002, he famously mandated that all Amazon teams switch from a monolithic approach to tools connected by APIs. The results speak for themselves. If you want your ecommerce business to run like a well-oiled machine, APIs are essential.

Why are APIs superior to monolithic technologies? APIs allow you to assemble best-in-class technology solutions, regardless of vendor, because they can all communicate. As a result, you can pull customer data from every touchpoint and use it to identify trends, make timely decisions and develop targeted content strategies. For optimal performance, look for a content infrastructure that is built from the ground up for APIs. (This is also known as API-first.)

Adaptability is the key to getting your content to the right place

Once upon a time, ecommerce was web-centric. Today, content has to work across a plethora of digital touchpoints — from mobile phones, to kiosks to a slew of IoT devices. The good news is this opens the door to incredible engagement opportunities all along the purchase path. The bad news is that digital personalization for all these devices can be a huge administrative burden.

That’s why headless CMSes (or decoupled CMSes) are so popular with ecommerce companies. A headless CMS doesn’t care where your content is displayed. It’s adaptable. So content creators can develop the content once and then deliver it anywhere based on your content strategy. This means fewer content bottlenecks because there’s less rewriting, re-editing, redesigning, and recoding.

Contentful’s content infrastructure goes beyond most headless CMSes by providing content creators with the tools they need to deliver consistent experiences, all along your user journeys. Instead of unwieldy blobs of content, you’ll have clean, well-structured chunks of intelligent content that are reusable, reconfigurable and adaptable.

An agile content infrastructure is the key to sending out content at the right time

So far we’ve covered how an API-first CMS can help you find the “right person” with superior data integration. Also, we’ve covered how a headless CMS can help you deliver content at the “right place” by making the content fully adaptable to any digital endpoint. Now let’s talk about the “right time” part of the equation — the content delivery.

Suppose you invest in technology that analyzes customer behavior to predict when they are ready to make a purchase. You would then want the ability to deliver personalized content to those customers at the right time. There are four ways Contentful’s content infrastructure gives you the agility you need:

  1. Integrated systems help you act on data and deliver relevant content in real time.
  2. Structured content is easy to access, use and reuse when you need it.
  3. Improved workflows reduce dependency and help marketers, content creators and developers work in parallel to respond to market trends faster.
  4. Robust CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) make sure all your content — including large media files — is delivered quickly and reliably anywhere in the world, even if there’s a surge in activity.

These are exciting times for ecommerce professionals. Thanks to all these dramatic improvements in content management, the dream of “right person, right place, right time” is finally, at long last, becoming a reality.

Content as currency: How agile ecommerce is transforming retail
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