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Acquia methodically bridges enriched content and e-commerce

The SaaS company recently launched Commerce Manager to integrate enriched content with e commerce systems, and it earlier established a strategic technology partnership with Magento.

Acquia Inc. continues to connect the dots to provide more seamless digital marketing, sales and customer service experiences through acquisitions, partnerships and product upgrades.

The SaaS company, which recently began supporting the enterprise-grade open source platform Drupal, recently launched Acquia Commerce Manager to integrate enriched content with e‑commerce systems. At the same time, it established a partnership with open source e‑commerce platform provider Magento -- recently acquired by Adobe to buttress its Experience Cloud -- to provide combined services to joint accounts.

The Magento-Acquia alliance enables Acquia to integrate management and commerce so brands can raise their profiles while selling products through seamless digital experiences. Technically, there's an intuitive logic to these connections. And, from a business perspective, brand-savvy companies can create added value using content-enriched e-commerce.

Managing enriched content for commerce

Over the past few years, Acquia has extended its offerings to focus on digital marketing, making it easier for brands to build engaging customer experiences. The company has introduced personalization and digital asset management capabilities -- Acquia Lift and Acquia DAM, respectively -- to its product portfolio. In addition, it introduced Acquia Journey, a design environment for charting content flows, decision points, and actions to build customer experiences through orchestration and management.

From a business perspective, brand-savvy companies can create added value using content-enriched e-commerce.

As a third-generation web content management platform, Drupal 8 manages snackable content -- content components and associated metadata -- for omnichannel delivery. It features WYSIWYG editing for content contributors and provides an API-first approach to module development so developers can quickly integrate with disparate web services.

Commerce Manager is the first Acquia product to integrate Drupal with a back-end commerce platform. Magento supports the nuts and bolts of e-commerce through online storefronts -- order management, order fulfillment, shopping carts, checkout functions and connections with payment processors. It also features an extensible product catalog that organizes items into multiple categories and provides pricing information.

A company, for example, can use Commerce Manager to deploy a headless content management service for mobile apps, tethered devices, kiosks and other types of digital environments. Drupal supports the front end -- branding, content production, contextual queues and overall experiences -- while Commerce Manager provides the back-end commerce activities through Magento and a commerce connection service with Drupal.

By harmonizing the metadata of product descriptions, Acquia can build out front-end experiences with content management and personalization and rely on Magento for the final mile to manage orders and fulfill sales. In this way, companies get the most from the investment with digital experience management while also adding e‑commerce to augment their digital marketing services.

Business case for seamless connections

Raising brand awareness and producing engaging customer experiences requires different skill sets compared to streamlining the mechanics of merchandising and systematizing post-sales activities. Today, most marketing groups excel at the former while e-commerce teams focus on the latter. The case for seamless connections is not always self-evident.

But the web has a way of disrupting well-established business practices by simultaneously making things faster, cheaper and better. Restructuring connections between marketing and selling may open up new avenues for companies to increase revenue, reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction and mitigate risks.

The missing link goes back to mapping customer journeys. Beyond the look and feel of an experience, a brand-conscious company must harmonize its disparate marketing and merchandising activities, ensure seamless handoffs and have the built-in flexibility to adapt to new situations.

In the digital age, companies succeed when they have flexible supply chains, respond to shifting customer expectations and enhance their customer experiences. Brands build awareness by adding commerce connections when there are meaningful business opportunities.

When enriched content and commerce combine to add value

Consider an all-too-typical situation: A high-value customer wants to reorder a particular item online and sees that it's out of stock. The company can automatically offer an upgraded product at the identical price and capitalize on the benefits of doing that. It can also introduce a premium-tier loyalty program to capitalize on the upgraded product's added capabilities. Of course, describing this new program is going to depend on a microsite with enriched content that's beyond what's typically contained in a product catalog.

Notice how a transaction becomes an experience designed to reinforce brand loyalty and how business rules influence purchase decisions and build brand trust. The impact of a flexible environment that links front-end engagement with back-end order management and fulfillment is evident.

A brand-conscious company succeeds when it knows its customers, what they want and how best to deliver to them. It can then apply the right digital tools to capitalize on the new opportunity.

With Commerce Manager, Acquia is now in the midst of blending marketing and merchandising so it can take value-added approaches to customer engagement. There are tantalizing opportunities for a brand-savvy company to restructure key aspects of its overall value chain and introduce innovative products and services by seamlessly integrating digital marketing with commerce.

At the same time, it's important to recognize that when making connections between enriched content and e-commerce, there's still a chasm to cross. Content management matters more than ever, and that's where Drupal shines.

This was last published in June 2018

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