Empower your e-commerce marketing team with apps

Published on April 15, 2016 by Samuel Schmitt

Let’s face it. The marketing team has never been the strongest department in ecommerce companies. Logistic or Supply departments are in charge of the main goods, the product you sell. So they’ve always had that extra bit of power, and thats why e-commerce systems created 10 or 15 years ago fulfilled the requirements of these business functions.

The core purpose of the e-commerce was (and still is) to organize the product catalog in an efficient way, to manage orders, customer information and to link everything to the logistic and supply elements.

Nobody can deny that the content management element is no longer aligned with the changing expectations and challenges of digital marketing teams.


Answering marketers expectations

In the previous article, I looked at the main challenges of the marketing team. On the one hand they have to deal with a lot of content coming from various sources, and on the other hand they have to organize all this content well and publish it to all their multiple channels.

Digital marketing teams need a system that’s easy to use and allows them to deal with any kind of content. They also need to be able to easily build web experiences like new campaigns, product landing pages, social campaigns and emailing campaigns. They need to be be able to work quickly. They can’t wait 1 or 2 weeks for the product catalog to be updated with the right assets or description.

It is more and more obvious that digital marketing teams work at a different pace than other teams, and they need a dedicated tool that enables them to work in an agile way.


A connected content management system

The best tool to help the digital marketing team of an e-commerce organization is a content management system (CMS). It needs to be easy to use and flexible, as well as tailored to the specific needs of the team.

It’s also vital that the system is seamlessly connected to the product catalog and other important assets or applications of the organization.

Let me now show you how Magnolia can cope with differents challenges of integration, content type, content lifecycle, content contributors and ease of multipoint publication.


Seamless integration with core e-commerce content

Let’s first think about the connection with the product catalog. The marketing team will need to interact and reuse content coming directly from the product catalog.


Magnolia offers a standard mechanism providing a direct access to the various e-commerce catalogs. No need to login to another system: from the same interface all the products are available.

You can easily browse the categories, pick the product you want and highlight it in your next marketing campaign.

The core ecommerce content is directly visible from Magnolia. And whenever there is a new product in the catalog, it is automatically availble in the CMS. No sync issues.

For more technical details, go to Magnolia’s technical documentation.


Apps to manage content

E-commerce doesn’t work unless it goes side by side with great content. Now let’s try to figure out how to manage the marketing content.


Magnolia provides a great tool to organize content with its Magnolia content apps. When we created this system some years ago, we were sure that many others would do the same. But there are still some people who haven’t realized how content apps can absolutely revolutionize the way your teams deal with content.


In short, a Magnolia content app provides a dedicated view in the system displaying a specific kind of content. You can interact with this content (modify, create, publish, or more). This content can come from anywhere.


Magnolia provides a lot of apps “out-of-the-box”. And even better, as you might want to interact with your content in your own way, you can even create your own content app. A content app just for you, answering the specifities of your business.


And the last great thing: each single person from your team can have a different set of apps to work on.


For example, Tim is in charge of guest bloggers. They are using the Magnolia Blog App to create new articles. Tim makes the fine tuning and links each articles with products from the catalog.


At the same time, Jim is a graphic designer. His main Magnolia app is the Digital Asset Manager. He is feeding the system with great banners, advertisements and promotion videos.


Magnolia comes with many useful apps. For example, you could tag all the content with the Categories App, while you could also access the product catalog within an app.

Personalization is also managed through a couple of apps. You can segment and target your audience easily, and display them a specific variation of content.

Obviously, the pages of your site are also managed with an app, and we can look into this more regarding building the shopping expericence.


What could you use apps for?


Do you want to aggregate contribution from your Instagram followers and push the best ones the home page? Well, it’s really easy to build an app for this.

Such an app could:


  • Display photos from instagram with specific hashtags.

  • Provide the possibility to select your favorite ones

  • Offer a way to mark the pictures with the destination pages or associated products

  • And give you an overview of all the instagram pictures visible on your site

As you can see, all of your marketing content can be managed by default Magnolia apps or simply by custom ones. Each contributor will create content at his pace using his favorite app while the e-commerce will feed the CMS with product information.


Deliver the shopping experience


So we’ve already solved one piece of the puzzle. We can deal with all the marketing content. Now we have to assemble everything to make a great shopping exepricence.

First you have to understand that the content created by an single app can interact with content from other apps. A blog can use information from a product, while a product will be associated with a specific Instagram picture and all these content are be tagged with categories.


To create the shopping experience, the last but not least Magnolia application is the Pages App. It will help you to assemble of all the pieces.

Do you want to create a new campaign promoting your latest product and associate it with rich images and video, in addition to instagram posts? In a few clicks the new campaign can be created and the content provided by the different sources or contributors is merged in one single view.


A more adavanced and common scenario will be to have dynamic container of content on your page. A container will automatically grap the content that is needed.


So for instance, when a new instagram post is validated and tagged with “home”, it will appear on the home page. No need to update the page here. The system does it for you.


For ominichannel and personalization, Magnolia is also capable of optimizing the experience per channel while rendering specific content to a specific audience.


And now, it’s your turn to make this happen


In the end, nothing matters if your content is not appropriate.


Firstly, think content first:

  • On what content will be your story based

  • Who will create it

  • What will be the interaction between those piece of content

  • Which content is important per channel


Secondly, use Magnolia and its content app approach to tailor the system to your need:

  • Build relevant applications that will facilitate content conribution.

  • All the members of your team will be in charge of one piece of the puzzle.

  • Everything will be merge together and push online by Magnolia.

  • Each channel will be fed with the appropriate set of content


If after all of this, you are still struggling with your content strategy, don’t hesitate to give me a call.


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About the author Samuel Schmitt

Samuel is a Senior Sales and Partner Manager at Magnolia with over eight years experience in the IT industry. Samuel's technical background and sales know-how make him an enthusiast in both business and technical topics. He'll be sharing some of that knowledge in his blogs. Follow him on twitter @samuelschmitt.

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