Why is integrating e-commerce and content management difficult?

Integrating e-commerce with a CMS can be a challenge, but many vendors are building compatibility into the cloud. Here's how and why those processes can work together.

Integrating e-commerce and content management platforms can be difficult due to differences in their core business purposes.

Organizations rely on content services platforms -- a content management system that runs in the cloud -- to manage and produce many kinds of business information, including content for marketing campaigns. They use e-commerce platforms to handle product merchandising, order processing and fulfillment. Marketing and merchandising then connect through a company's sales processes, where customers and salespeople draw information from both e-commerce and content management software.

There is a growing number of headless content services platforms on the market, but their capabilities vary widely. A key difference is content granularity -- how explicitly a platform defines information snippets and ensures they are informative, relevant and actionable.

Well-designed connections between e-commerce and content management platforms can produce innovative experiences.

For instance, Acquia, an enterprise Drupal provider, supports very granular content components, such as person, event, marketing report and video. Contentful and Contentstack, two other cloud-native content services platforms, feature API-first architectures and provide integration through a variety of RESTful services. OpenText, in comparison, delivers less granular components, such as webpage or page element. OpenText recently moved to the cloud and features integration capabilities that are less flexible and require more development effort.

Similarly, headless e-commerce platforms include several components that application developers can assemble into innovative digital experiences. Magento -- now owned by Adobe and increasingly paired with Adobe Experience Manager -- optimizes components for B2C scenarios, providing intuitive shopping and purchasing options through a single customer channel. Liferay Commerce, by comparison, delivers components for B2B scenarios. This platform supports multisite catalogs, grouped products and product views, and merchandising across multiple distribution channels.

Well-designed connections between e-commerce and content management platforms can produce innovative experiences, such as shoppable content. The business model drives the digital experience, and business leaders must make the case for integrating content with e-commerce by developing strategies that reduce costs, increase sales and remove the friction of engaging with customers.

When it comes to integrating e-commerce and content management, it is important that companies recognize the ever-growing number of services that are accessible through cloud-powered connections. They should identify how they want their shopping experiences to function, then determine the minimum level of content and e‑commerce services they need to make those desires a reality. Finally, they should plan for the continuing evolution of digital experiences and the platforms that produce them.

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