At Nemetos Tanasuk, we believe that digital enables deeper levels of personalisation, so we work in partnership with our clients to create and maintain a digital presence that can evolve as they do.
To do this, we need to be constantly keeping aware of ongoing development at Sitecore, and the following elements have piqued our interest…Sitecore promises several exciting updates in 2017:
- Microsoft Azure
- Helix and Habitat
- Experience Accelerator (SxA)
- Email Experience Manager (ExM)
- Sitecore 8.3 to come in Summer 2017!
But, the one update that we’re particularly keen to get to grips with: Sitecore Commerce.
Updates aren’t uncommon for Sitecore. Over the past five years, Sitecore has invested heavily in ongoing research and development, to reliably issue major new releases almost every eighteen months.
These ongoing improvements mean that there’s always more to learn about the platform – which is why we invest heavily in training our specialist Sitecore developers.
Why are we so excited about Sitecore Commerce?
Sitecore have had a history of false starts in the world of e-commerce. To understand why we are so excited about this new commerce offering, it’s worth taking a little trip back at the history of ecommerce from Sitecore.
The first commerce solution pushed by Sitecore, was built by a Norwegian Sitecore partner, EDB Business Partner. Whilst built to integrate with Sitecore, it was more of a bolt-on. It worked quite well across a limited range of products, but the core code was inaccessible, which meant that customisation (which we like to be able to deliver with our websites) was nigh-impossible.
Following EDB was uCommmerce. Originally built for open-source CMS platform, Umbraco, this platform was specifically redeveloped for Sitecore (both CMS are .NET solutions). uCommerce is a great development, which works particularly well for small to middle-sized companies. Although not designed for an enterprise level product selection, we’ve only positive words about both the solution, and uCommerce teams.
Since, Sitecore has also bought or integrated with several commerce solutions, including Commerce Server, ZNode and Microsoft Dynamics; which suited enterprise level organisations better, but ultimately resulted in a confusing array of half-solutions.
In 2016, we’ve been making the most of the Commerce Connect, which gives access ‘deep’ into Sitecore and enables a range of seamless integrations with third-party software such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM. With a growing range of integrations, Commerce Connect offers real value to us Sitecore developers, but lacks the ability to harness all the ‘power’ of the personalisation and engagement suites.
What’s different about Sitecore Commerce?
Sitecore commerce has been natively built and embedded in Sitecore 8.2. This means that the core functionality, not just from an end-user level, but also across all the other technical areas, is supported by Sitecore.
From a history of struggles in the commerce area, Sitecore’s new offering can compete with Hybrid and Episerver solutions.
Some of the platform’s big benefits of Sitecore Commerce include:
In 2017, 86% of brands are fully personalising the customer experience, and 51% plan to be more sophisticated with their personalisation in the future. One of the biggest challenges related to doing so: a lack of technology to make it possible.
The new Sitecore Commerce platform has come at the right time. The Sitecore Experience Database captures all commerce behaviour such as carts, orders and search criteria, which when combined with other digital behaviour, provides users with a personalised and coherent shopping experience, by adapting to their needs in context.
A first for Marketers – the Sitecore Commerce platform also enables back-end users to edit products and content in the context of the device they are intended for – whist previewing how different audiences will view the experience, switching the view to become truly customer centric.
Omni-channel customers are 59% more profitable than single-channel customers. This, teamed with a growing focus on the discipline by top players like Amazon and Walmart, means that omni-channel is getting a lot of attention in 2017.
The new Sitecore Commerce platform draws together the entire customer engagement from content, product pages, search, email and mobile touch-points. This provides end-users with a continuous experience across channels (think seeing the same items in your shopping basket on your phone and laptop) and marketers with the ability to get to know one person across channels to provide truly personalised offers.
There are many more great features, including order management, price books, entitlements, promotions and compliance archiving which you can explore in more detail here.
What’s to come with Sitecore Commerce?
As well as being an eagerly-anticipated release and a clear foundation to springboard new functionality, this is also the first iteration of Sitecore Commerce, meaning we can expect added improvements in coming years.
From our first previews of Sitecore Commerce, we’re personally keen to see increased reporting capabilities.
When does Sitecore Commerce launch?
Sitecore unveiled the platform in mid-January this year and are only now beginning to roll out their first courses around the Commerce platform. At Nemetos, we’re to get our developers onto the courses as soon as possible.
In the meantime, before the training rollout and before any of us Sitecore partners becomes a Sitecore Commerce expert, only developers with solid knowledge of Sitecore 8.2 and the upcoming Sitecore 8.3 will be able to effectively use Sitecore Commerce, since it is so fully embedded within these platforms.
If you’re looking for a Sitecore Commerce implementation partner, we’d love to talk you through the possibilities. Since our expert developers are Sitecore certified, using the latest 8.2 platform, and are given ongoing training, they are ideally placed to pass on the latest knowledge and most advanced development skills. Get in touch here.
Alternatively, if you’d like to find out more about the Sitecore Commerce platform, here are some great resources from Sitecore: