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Commerce and content go together

Since it's inception commerce on the internet has been a perfect fit. The technology allows both window shopping and an easy route to the actual purchase. eCommerce has been around for quite a while, and not just with durable goods - Pizza Hut made their first online sale as early as 1994.

Trade continues to be an engine of the economy, in various different forms. While typically eCommerce is thought of as a catalog of physical products, it's becoming more integrated as people purchase subscriptions, travel, pizza and everything in between online.

I can't remember the last time I called for a pizza as the online services are more convenient. People increasingly have their whole customer relationships via the internet with companies such as Netfix and others. In addition self service in matters such as banking and mobile subscription management have become part of the daily grind.

As commerce of all kind (not just physical products) continues to move online, the demand for integrated services will rise. Investing in online customer service, product service catalog and online purchasing has long been a no-brainer for companies selling goods and services on the internet. The rising expectations of customers put pressure on the companies for whom online has been a peripheral activity before.

Many tools in use are getting out of their teens

As told there are plenty of services already already offering this kind of integrated services. But many of the services are based on technology from the turn of the century. Travel and parcel services were one of the first industries to move heavily to providing service online.

Many of the players in the above mentioned industries are somewhat locked into the first mover advantage. They have made huge investments into their systems in the early days of the millenium. While this was a significant step in the right direction, it might be a limiting factor today.

Dependence on legacy systems can lead to sub-optimal customer experiences. While it's usually possible to glue together different services, special care needs to be taken so they work together in a way that creates a consistent experience. This continues to be a challenge with payment systems which remain detached from the main flow of the purchasing process.

In the days we live in it is more important than ever to make sure the purchasing experience as fluent as possible. This raises up a whole new market for Content Management Systems that also need to act as storefronts and be able to direct people into the sales channel.

About content and commerce elsewhere

Below is an interesting talk from Subrata Mukherjee of the Economist talking about the Cross Roads of Content and Commerce:

An interesting move was done earlier this year as Automattic acquired WooThemes, an eCommerce vendor building up on WordPress:

In addition to growing the current WooCommerce customer base, Automattic is looking to use the platform to add more selling options for customers, while retaining its existing e-commerce partnerships.

An example of the Integration on the heavier side is the one between Symfony eCommerce platform Sylius and the eZ Publish CMS. It is featured on the Sensiolabs blog in an article also discussing the challenges of integrating two larger projects:

What this project proves is that it is possible to combine two bigger products into one Symfony instance. The basis for this is, of course, Composer, but there is much more to it. The Symfony service container, as well as the Symfony routing and security components, also played a large role in the integration.

All of the above make CMSes and eCommerce more interconnected than ever before.

Written by Jani Tarvainen on Friday December 4, 2015
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