Three key components of an agile ecommerce content strategy

Updated: October 26, 2020

How retailers ship new content faster with content infrastructure


Retailers who are building a content strategy have a plethora of tools to choose when it comes to personalizing interactions with customers. The challenge is choosing a combination of agile ecommerce tools that empower teams to respond to market changes quickly and ship content to new channels faster.

A key failure in the race for customer acquisition is the assumption that all-in-one suites are the answer. They tend to lock retailers into a mediocre toolset and rigid processes that stifle a brand’s ability to be agile. With legacy CMSes, retailers find themselves adding new tools for each channel, which can result in content and data silos. Valuable content can’t be easily repurposed or edited, eroding brand consistency and customer experience.

Adding more and more tools also increases complexity and technical debt, while decreasing flexibility and ease of use. Retailers end up struggling with tools that don’t integrate well. They organize teams to maintain these disparate parts to keep up the appearance of a unified omnichannel experience. As a result, retailers’ scarce tech resources are wasted on customization and edits.

Forward-thinking retailers are adopting a suite-free solution. Instead of contorting mega-suites and legacy tools to fit modern commerce needs, they are adopting a stack of nimble, API-integrated tools that work together seamlessly. Leading analysts call this content strategy the best practice approach to agile ecommerce.

The cornerstone of agile ecommerce is content infrastructure — a single hub that enables retailers to unify their content in one place and distribute it across all channels, thus eliminating content redundancies and increasing speed to market. Content can be reused easily, so every piece of content a brand builds works harder. When tied to personalization tools, it’s easier to deliver relevant content to individual customers across every touchpoint: web portals, mobile apps, in-store kiosks and more.

How content infrastructure supports three key components of an agile ecommerce strategy:

1. Adopt extensible tools that grow with your business

When a brand can unify its content with data from customer relationships, product information, enterprise resources and personalization technology, the result is a powerful, personalized message to customers. Choosing flexible content infrastructure empowers teams to adopt and integrate whatever tools are best suited for the retailers’ needs. This enables both content and technology teams to move faster.

The chosen technology should be able to play nicely with other integrations including personalization, translation, search and testing tools. Extensible platforms can also help future-proof a business by meeting a company where they are and then growing as the company grows by enabling them to adopt emerging tech as needed.

Creating a mix of the right tools empowers retailers to not only build and ship content faster, but to optimize, personalize and improve the quality and reach of their content across channels.

Case study

Bang & Olufsen was using monolithic CMSes to manage their online store and company websites. The separate sites didn’t share information, resulting in a fractured customer experience and inconsistent messaging.

To address the challenges they were facing, the company took a microservices approach, integrating the tools they needed with Contentful as the content layer. This gives them the necessary flexibility to design and implement digital customer experiences both online and in stores.

Read more to learn how their new approach resulted in a 60% increase in ecommerce conversions and a 3X increase in conversion rate from online store search.

2. Maximize the value of your content

Content is the cornerstone of a personalized omnichannel ecommerce strategy. Content infrastructure is a content-first approach that focuses on maximizing the value of your content across digital channels. Content is broken down into individual components and organized in a content model that makes it easy to repackage and repurpose content across any channel.

With content infrastructure, nontechnical users can publish and edit content, and spin up new pages for any digital channel without developer help, opening the door for experimentation and faster turnaround on initiatives. Users can adapt any digital content into a page, an app, an AR experience, a digital display, etc. Tools for personalization, localization and optimization and other tasks can be integrated into the editorial dashboard.

Content infrastructure allows retailers to prioritize their content strategy by unifying content and integrating it with the ecommerce tools they like to use.

Case study

The ALDO Group knew content was a vital part of their ecommerce strategy, and wanted tools that empowered them to improve publishing time and allowed for personalization, conditional content and bi-variate testing integrations.

The company decided to implement Contentful (powered by AWS) for all UI elements across their three digital brand properties. Landing pages, promotion banners and tiles and copy are all managed through a unified content infrastructure, on all three brand properties. The shift to a content-first model has helped them achieve speedy publishing time goals and drives faster experimentation and personalization initiatives.

Learn more about how the ALDO Group used Contentful to enable faster campaign implementation from idea to delivery.

3. Empower team members to do what they do best

Speed is a defining characteristic of an agile ecommerce strategy but it can only be achieved when every team member is applying their unique skills toward innovating and delivering.

Legacy CMSes require constant customizations and workarounds, slowing down everyone from the IT team to developers to editors. Retailers need tools that empower users at all levels to act without unnecessary dependencies and time-consuming workarounds. Modern CMSes focus on streamlining workflows, facilitating collaboration, supporting parallel workflows between editors and developers and aligning with agile practices such as CI/CD.

Changes should happen in minutes or hours — not days or weeks — and developers should be free to focus on building new capabilities instead of maintaining legacy systems and making content updates.

Case study

Impossible Foods was founded in 2011, launched their first product in 2016, expanded to over 5,000 restaurants (and counting) in 2018, and launched its first retail products in late 2019. The legacy, monolithic CMS they were using could not keep up with this rapid growth.

Specific pain points included slow turnaround times on updates (since only a developer could make them), static pages and a product map that was difficult to update leading to inaccurate information about where to find Impossible Food products.

They decided to assemble an API-first tech stack of extensible tools which empowered internal teams to meet aggressive growth and innovation goals. Contentful’s editorial app empowered nontechnical teams to create, organize, and deploy content quickly and efficiently across every branded channel. Gatsby provided the flexible framework to create digital experiences (like websites) quickly, while Shopify empowered a two-way relationship between the brand and customers, providing rich customer data for the first time.

All of the tools worked together enabling developers and nontechnical users to use the tools they prefer. As a result, they were able to enhance their website with more dynamic pages and an improved product map. Internally, they can turnaround new campaigns faster and do A/B testing easily. All of this combines to allow the company to move faster, improve web performance and support expansion into new markets, channels and products.

Learn more about how Impossible Foods adopted extensible ecommerce and content tools to support a growing team and rapid company growth.

Looking to learn more about content strategy best practices?
Read our white paper, Content as currency: How agile ecommerce is transforming retail.
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