[This article was also published in CMS Wire.]
Experience matters in Omni-Channel Commerce, both the Customer Experience and the software ecosystem that supports a buyer’s journey from initial discovery to customer advocate. Just as shoppers see products on display in physical stores, digital experiences have to provide relevant content and compelling interactions to convert browsing to buying. Connected consumers expect convenience and flexibility across channels whether brick and mortar, catalog, print, in-store kiosks, web, mobile and social platforms. Nothing frustrates customers more than dead-end, can’t get there from here experiences. And second chances are rare.
Omni-channel commerce is a complex ecosystem. It involves many interrelated platforms, components and capabilities such as Web Content Management, eCommerce, Digital Asset Management, product catalog, product information, merchandising, inventory, pricing, promotion, order, fulfillment, reporting, analytics and more. Unfortunately, many organizations have disconnected, legacy silos and struggle to bridge the customer engagement, customer experience side with back office and transaction management.
Digital Asset Management is one of the key platforms in the ecosystem, along with eCommerce and WCM. In planning for a successful Omni-Channel Commerce initiative do not assume that DAM will be taken care of within these other platforms.
DAM serves as a core infrastructure underlying eCommerce, WCM, PIM and product catalogs. With an ever-growing pool of images, photos, audio and video to support commerce, digital assets should be synchronized with back office transaction management and the customer experience presentation. Mature and extensible DAM platforms provide integration with eCommerce and WCM to automate delivery of rich media in the proper format and size, across multiple channels driven by either the WCM or an eCommerce system.
Whether serving up digital assets for the eCommerce site, public or partner catalogs, internal or external users, assets should all be sourced from a common repository – providing collaboration and brand consistency. Other important capabilities include automated synchronization and search capabilities within other platforms, localization and security. DAM capabilities increase productivity by reducing time spent searching for assets and automating repetitive tasks to “media-enable” eCommerce and the entire organization.
Omni-Channel vs. Multi-Channel
Rather than managing separate customer experiences through various channels as in a multi-channel strategy, Omni-channel strategy is customer-centric. It is an immersive, uninterrupted and device agnostic experience across channels that drives engagement, loyalty and transactions. The customer is at the center. It’s about the brand, product or service not the channel.
DAM provides the core enterprise infrastructure, key platform components and capabilities supporting and enhancing the omni-channel ecosystem with the efficiencies of create once, publish everywhere, to repurpose, re-express, reuse, and re-create digital content for compelling customer experiences. Product owners and brand managers can collaborate, easily find and manage assets from a single library, synchronized and integrated with the other native platforms. You can find out more about DAM in this recent CMS Wire article.
Omni-channel Commerce meets customer expectations with consistent and connected experiences across all channels. This means consistency in experience as well as context and connected to information as well as continuity across channels and customer insight. Competition for customers is fierce and omni-channel commerce can be a major differentiator. As you plan your strategy, remember that experience matters.