Retailers have been at the forefront of the digital experience revolution driven by strong demand from consumers who are, more than ever, adopting ecommerce and digital communication channels.

But the increased complexity and interconnectedness of our digital world, combined with a fast-moving economy means that many Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs) currently used to deliver engaging digital experiences are becoming obsolete.

There needs to be a complete rethink – of mindset and technology – to accommodate the next decade of retail.

What does this transition look like?

Saying goodbye to monolithic platforms

Digital experiences were first shaped by what was then Web Content Management Systems (WCMS), followed by Content Management Systems (CMS). As the focus shifted to the customer journey, and the experience that digital presentation provides, then came Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs).

The first DXPs were designed for web presentation only, but what was initially empowering became limiting as new digital channels emerged.

Although uncomplicated in structure, any changes to the codebase of these platforms require recompiling and testing the entire system. These are single, unified systems that offer customers all components together, but for this reason, monolithic DXPs tend to be inflexible and do not scale well.

Modern digital experiences require more flexible capabilities.

So, what do retailers need to change in their approach to continue driving the future of digital experiences for the next decade?

Tip #1 – Move toward a composable digital experience platform approach

As Gartner describes it, a composable DXP is one that is entirely modular, allowing for incremental changes and updates to composite parts. 

Instead of having a complete, all-in-one digital experience platform that includes asset management, engagement tools and presentation layer editing, each of these components operate as packaged business capabilities that can function independently and communicate with one another through APIs.

A composable DXP needs to offer distinct advantages such as:

  • Continuous development and continuous delivery
  • Analytics to report on and predict the success of campaign strategy

Integration through APIs, plugins and connectors

  • Ability to craft a customer journey
  • Marketing automation capabilities
  • Access to machine learning and other uses of AI
  • Real collaboration between digital marketing and DevOps teams

Tip #2 – Look for the features that are driving the future of DXP

Here is a list of what is currently hitting the charts as the top must-have features:

●        Customer Journey Mapping: Probably more than any other capability that defines a digital experience platform is the ability to comprehensively and seamlessly orchestrate and evaluate the success of the customer experience. DXPs do this programmatically and intentionally with content and connectivity through multichannel presentation of a brand’s message.

●        Analytics/Insights/Recommendations: AI can accelerate testing and ultimately offer suggestions about what content could have performed better rather than merely report what content did perform better. Actionable analytics on their end provide the ability to assess and continually improve performance.

●        Integration, interoperability, and extensibility: A DXP platform can become the backbone of a retailer’s Martech stack as it is connected to the existing business systems. Any modern DXP offers an API layer to facilitate integration, interoperability, and extensibility.

●        Search Engine Optimisation: Businesses live and die by their search ranking, so it is imperative that your DXP has tools to aid in this process.

●        Site Search and Navigation: Even if customers find your web presence, they won’t stay long if your site is difficult to navigate. Search indexes allow you to define different sets of content to be searched by the visitors on your website.

Tip #3Foster more collaboration between marketers and developers

More than ever, marketers and developers – the ones in the background developing and bringing to life what marketers want digital experiences to be – have to work hand in hand.

Retail brands need to allow for a greater collaboration between marketers and developers, but for the purpose of more simplicity and not complexity.

DXPs and other DX technologies need to be designed so marketers can become more independent, and not have to rely on support teams every time they need something done or a feature changed.

It is important to look for a DXP platform that is committed to developers and offers cross-platform development and rapid deployment.

Promoting a healthy developer community enables greater innovation, and quicker time to market which we all know is highly critical in retail.

The outcomes generated by a switch to a composable digital experience platform approach will include gains in efficiency and performance, and an acceleration of transformation to sustain what’s expected to be a massive year for retail digital experience expectations and investments.

John Yang is vice president for Asia Pacific & Japan at Progress.