This content is part of the Essential Guide: Multipronged digital customer experience strategy enriches CX

How do you know when you've outgrown your e-commerce platform?

When the native content management capabilities of your e-commerce system no longer meet your business needs, consider integrating it with a separate CMS.

Content is the currency for competing in the digital age. For a retail site to be effective and profitable -- and to meet customer expectations -- businesses need to publish current content about their products, and an e-commerce platform is part of the mix.

But depending on its content management capabilities, the platform may not entirely meet your needs. A business has outgrown its e-commerce platform when its native content management capabilities no longer live up to demands.

The business context for content management matters, as well.

E-commerce platforms are designed for product merchandisers. Most platforms support extensive capabilities for product information management -- short and long product descriptions, product photos and videos, detailed product specifications, hazards and warnings, and other specific information. Product-related content is well-structured, well-defined and changes on a periodic basis with new product introductions and updates. E-commerce platforms are good at presenting digital catalogs of product information.

However, there is more to retailing than the product information displayed within digital catalogs and on websites. Savvy retailers have a gut understanding of the differences between digital marketing and digital merchandising. And frequently, e-commerce platforms cannot meet the needs of digital marketers.

Digital marketing fosters engagement and builds brand awareness among consumers by organizing and running promotions. Digital marketers expect to produce retail experiences over the web. They focus on the homepage of a site, as well as category-specific landing pages that precede the product catalog.

A business has outgrown its e-commerce platform when its native content management capabilities no longer live up to demands.

Marketers operate on a different schedule than product release cycles, and they produce a wide range of unstructured content. They must be able to quickly and easily make changes to the content.

This is when additional content management capabilities are necessary -- beyond those typically delivered by an e-commerce system. Web content management (WCM) and digital experience management (DXM) platforms can provide additional capabilities once you have outgrown your e-commerce platform.

When well-designed and integrated, a WCM or DXM platform can extend the features and functions of an e-commerce platform to create a feature-rich digital retailing ecosystem. Both digital marketers and merchandisers can continue to focus on their immediate tasks at hand and rely on a platform optimized for their particular business requirements.

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