According to Statista, in 2017, global retail e-commerce sales worldwide added up to 2.3 trillion U.S. dollars and are projected to grow to 4.88 trillion U.S. dollars by 2021. To capture this huge opportunity, e-commerce platforms have rapidly proliferated. While these systems are great for integrating back-end shopping carts, payment systems, and inventory management, they can’t deliver the interesting, interactive experiences customers crave when shopping, experiences that differentiate brands from each other. These experiences rely on irresistible content—videos, photos, graphics, illustrations and other images, copy and other text, and more—to make your products come alive in the minds of your consumers. But e-commerce systems don’t have the powerful, integrated content management tools that scale across regions and languages and give marketers independence from IT—a huge miss. That’s why it’s so important to unite content and commerce—and it’s also how you get an e-commerce edge.
e-Spirit and Salesforce Work Together to Enable Experience-Driven Commerce
Customers of e-Spirit’s FirstSpirit Digital Experience Platform (DXP) have long enjoyed the benefits of experience-driven commerce; in fact, FirstSpirit was the first-enterprise-class CMS to be fully certified by Salesforce Commerce Cloud (SFCC). We recently made two major announcements that deepen our Salesforce partnership:
1) A new FirstSpirit Starter Package for Salesforce Commerce Cloud. This jumpstart package helps e-commerce companies quickly create content-rich online stores with lightning speed by leveraging FirstSpirit’s CMS, AI-driven personalization and omnichannel marketing capabilities, as well as its deep integration with SFCC.
2)The first certified integration with Salesforce Commerce Cloud’s new Storefront Reference Architecture.
Let’s look at the details of each.
The FirstSpirit Starter Package, which features even more intuitive and improved integration with SFCC, makes drawn-out implementations, blown deadlines and cost overruns a thing of the past. Experience-driven commerce sites can be launched in one to two days so companies can start delivering the shopping experiences customers demand. In this way, customers will:
- Use Salesforce Commerce Cloud for e-commerce and use FirstSpirit to enrich product content and create irresistible digital experiences that lead to increased revenues.
- Accelerate time to market and increase time to value by enhancing their existing e-commerce shop with rich content, or by creating new turnkey shops that can go live in as fast as two days.
- Jumpstart website projects with a highly customizable template—no FirstSpirit knowledge required.
- Save as much as $50-$100K on implementation costs, resulting in greater digital ROI.
- Create and manage commerce content (including content from PIMs, DAMs, etc.) with easy drag and drop from one simple and intuitive user interface—with no coding required.
- Leverage pre-built, ready-to-use CMS capabilities such as content modules, photo galleries, shoppable videos, campaign management and blogs.
- Take advantage of AI-powered personalization to create compelling, relevant digital experiences for their shoppers.
- Get enterprise-class content management and customer experience features for an e-commerce edge.
- Access everything needed to deliver content-driven commerce experiences right out of the box.
The new starter package is already delivering amazing results: TSI Holdings (TSI), Japan’s largest online retailer based in Tokyo, which manages a portfolio of more than 38 apparel brands, launched two e-commerce websites in a record six weeks using the FirstSpirit Starter Package. “We’ve seen several early productivity increases: content editors now create content 2.5x faster and update site content 1.5x faster for increased time to market thanks to consolidated workflows and overall ease of use. FirstSpirit has exceeded our expectations in every way,” said Matahiro Kashiwagi, chief digital officer at TSI Holdings, in the announcement.
The Storefront Reference Architecture, which is based on data-driven insight, heat mapping, and shopper journey analysis, provides a more streamlined shopping experience to help merchants increase conversion and accelerate growth. e-Spirit is the first CMS provider to integrate with the new Storefront Reference Architecture and be a Marketplace solution provider.
The FirstSpirit Starter Package for Salesforce Commerce Cloud is available for customers of Salesforce’s SiteGenesis as well as the new Storefront Reference Architecture. It’s available in the Salesforce Commerce Cloud Marketplace.
Why These Announcements Are Important
Salesforce customers with distributed, complex digital environments can now start creating content-driven omnichannel commerce experiences that drive engagement and revenue with unprecedented speed. Experience is fast becoming more important than price and product as a key differentiator for both B2C and B2B audiences. A compelling, individualized experience is so important, in fact, that 52% of respondents of the 2017 Salesforce State of Marketing Study said they would switch brands if a company didn’t personalize experiences to them! Here are four ways FirstSpirit, in partnership with Salesforce Commerce Cloud, enables you to add value to your customers’ experiences right now:
1) Make it simple for customers to shop and buy with shoppable images and videos, personalized special offers, individualized recommendations, and pinpoint-accurate behavioral messaging.
2) Differentiate your brand with individualized content at scale in real time. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 70% of companies plan to create even more content this year and with so much information battling for consumers’ attention, it’s still all about attracting eyeballs. To do that, FirstSpirit enables you to:
- Deliver great content across multiple languages and countries.
- Predict what customers need and deliver an individualized experience that delights them.
- Deliver custom campaigns with powerful management features.
3) Reach customers anytime, anywhere regardless of where they are or what device they are using, with context-specific content for mobile, websites, voice-activated devices, stores, IoTs, digital signs, social networks and apps. According to Aberdeen, companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, as compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel strategies. And Forrester adds that “A truly omnichannel operation that spans the customer life cycle will optimize revenue, deliver capital efficiencies like cost savings, spawn operational efficiencies, and improve the customer experience overall.”
4) Make it easy for your team to do their jobs. A recent Digital Experience Ecosystem Study by e-Spirit indicates that only 7% of companies are using the full capabilities of their DX technologies.
In many cases this is due to systems having poor interoperability, lack of staff training, or applications that are not easy to use for marketers in managing content, workflow, localization and personalization. But that’s not a problem when using FirstSpirit, which is not only intuitive to use but also highly interoperable with other systems.
The bottom line is that the FirstSpirit Digital Experience Platform gives you the power to create content-rich online stores that deepen engagement and turn shoppers into loyal customers. Because it seamlessly integrates with Salesforce Commerce Cloud, you can easily manage your storefront content, with no HTML required for everyday tasks.
Our next-generation capabilities include recently announced cross-phase omnichannel capabilities, experience-driven commerce capabilities, predictive targeting, and AI-driven content creation through natural language generation, giving you the features you need to stay head of the competition.
How to Excel at Delivering Experience-Driven Commerce
As mentioned earlier in this post, TSI Holdings is already seeing great success from the FirstSpirit Salesforce Commerce Cloud starter kit. The company is one of the top five fashion retailers in Japan, with 38 different clothing and apparel brands in its portfolio, including several international names that it licenses exclusively within the Japanese market. It is also the largest e-commerce retailer among Japanese fashion firms. Year-over-year e-commerce sales are growing steadily, at 20% in 2016 and 13% in 2017. Not surprisingly, mobile captures the major share of online experiences – approximately 75% of e-commerce traffic in 2017 and a 5% increase over the previous year.
To continue taking advantage of the growth in e-commerce, TSI is steadily launching new digital storefronts at a rapid rate. However, the e-commerce team identified a bottleneck for managing the brand-specific content within Salesforce Commerce Cloud. An experience-driven commerce solution with comprehensive yet easy-to-use content management capabilities was needed, enabling digital marketing teams to do what they do best -- focus on presenting their brands in the best ways possible across multiple channels.
Using FirstSpirit, TSI is able to manage product catalogs and all other types of content (photo galleries, fashion blogs, digital assets, etc.) through one intuitive user interface. The distributed content management solution meets the needs of digital marketers, allowing them to customize and maintain the brand identities of multiple storefronts and messaging campaigns.
TSI marketers can also rely on the multi-lingual support within FirstSpirit to manage branded content in multiple languages. Brand marketers responsible for their digital storefronts can create and manage all of their unique content with easy drag and drop actions from a simple and intuitive user interface—no coding required! At the same time, all of the branded storefronts benefit from the shared services of a common e-commerce platform – combining merchandising and back-office capabilities from Salesforce Commerce Cloud with content and digital experience management delivered by FirstSpirit.
With FirstSpirit as an integral part of its overall e-commerce platform, TSI is poised to extend its market leadership position and capture an ever-larger share of the omni-channel experiences that drive fashion retailing in Japan.
Another one of e-Spirit’s customers is the largest branded retailer of baby and children’s clothing in the U.S., selling apparel under two of the most recognized and enduring brands in the nation, with revenue of $3.4B. These brands are sold online and at more than 600 company-owned retail stores, as well as thousands of national department stores, including some of the country’s largest retailers.
E-commerce is a fast-growing part of this business, with sales jumping 20% in one year. Unfortunately, the company’s home-grown content management system strained to keep up with more than one offer at a time, crippling time to market and preventing them from delivering the real-time and personalized experiences its customers expect. They chose the FirstSpirit Digital Experience Platform for its ability to deliver targeted content to shoppers in real-time to help convert them into customers and because it was tightly integrated with their e-commerce system, Salesforce Commerce Cloud.
The company moved its namesake brand to FirstSpirit in time for the 2017 holiday season, followed quickly by its other brands. The amount of content instantly tripled and information and offers on tens of thousands of products need to be updated constantly. Non-technical creative teams have been trained to use FirstSpirit, and content editors now have the tools to create pages and reuse content more quickly without HTML, making them significantly more productive for faster time to value.
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