Optimising Digital Experience with the Best DXP

Brands have had quite a few years to warm up and improve customer experiences, with Covid-19 forcing a reset of onlineDiane Murray, EMEA Strategy Lead, Progress customer experience which further increased customers’ expectations for faster, more personalised engagement. Now with dedicated technology that’s accessible to all organisations, memorable and remarkable communicating, browsing, and buying experiences are becoming table stakes for brands to find customers and keep them happy.

Significant changes in life and workstyles have further heightened demand for digital communication. The desire for convenience and rapid delivery of what we need, where and when we need it, couldn’t be greater. Organisations’ tech stacks are bursting with tools and software to share data across devices and touchpoints and between business functions, to make intelligent business decisions. Almost every retailer is somewhere on a retail transformation journey. Those organisations that haven’t realised the need to invest in technology to deliver better digital experiences are scrambling to stay competitive. And digital transformations require one key tool to create a robust digital profile: a Digital Experience Platform (DXP).

But with many features of a DXP to consider, and under pressure to make rapid transformations, organisations need to know what to look for to choose the best DXP for their business.

What digital experience means today

Let’s take a step back to consider the true meaning of digital experience and how the market has evolved. It has become critical for organisations to use digital technologies to facilitate visibility and interaction between themselves and their users (customer, partner, or employee) through more and more digital channels. Consumer demand is insatiable for outstanding digital experiences which are intelligent, efficient, and personalised.

One of the key prerequisites for digital experience, in every online interaction, is personalisation, across all channels. Keeping this consistent, for instance from the car dealership website to the in-store experience – giving dealerships and employees mobile capabilities to make the journey to purchase as smooth as possible at any customer touchpoint – is vital. Reputation rests entirely on customers and technology users’ digital experience, how that experience is personalised and, ultimately, how it makes them feel about the brand.

What does a DXP do?

Originally emerging a few years ago, DXPs were designed with superior features to Content Management Systems (CMS) to handle documents, videos, and sound files. As these connections and capabilities expanded, the focus shifted to the customer journey, the experience that digital presentation provides. The DXP could offer connected customer experiences while gathering actionable customer insights. The snowballing of smart devices and app development markets gave consumers more complex content from anywhere.

Read More: Accelerating The Pace of Digital Transformation using Low-Code Development Tools

As these connections and capabilities have developed, we’re now focused on the end-to-end customer journey – from social media to the last mile. The DXP offers connected customer experiences while gathering actionable customer insights and can combine and coordinate applications, including content management, search and navigation, personalisation, integration and aggregation, collaboration, workflow, analytics, mobile and multichannel support. A DXP combines capabilities from multiple applications to form seamless digital experiences with journey mapping and a 360-degree view of the customer.

Key DXP features to consider

The DXP acts as a control centre for all digital experience and keeping this consistent across customer channels. It provides some obvious advantages for organisations – flexibility, agility, even security. But with so many DXPs to choose from, it is hard for organisations to know where to begin – each specific business in its specific industry will have different needs.

Here are some trending features which are driving the future of digital experiences and should be front of mind when choosing a DXP:

  • A composable DXP will enable an organisation to build a DXP with capabilities which best suit the business as it grows.  These could include Digital Asset Management, Social Media Connectivity, Digital Commerce, Multiexperience Support, Applied Artificial Intelligence, Collaboration & Knowledge Sharing, Chat with AI/ML Features, Architecture & Platform Design, and Customer Data Management.

  • Content management – A more sophisticated DXP will focus on composability of components so the content component of a DXP will be different from a stand-alone CMS, assigning those overlapping capabilities to other modular components such as digital asset management.

  • MACH principles (Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless), are getting lots of attention these days, and as revealed by the name, can only be applied in a cloud environment. These are not new concepts but banded together, are important to consider as DXP platforms move toward more composable structure.

  • Personalisation – Businesses can’t afford to overlook personalisation or fail to benefit from investments in personalisation technology. The strategies to be planned and executed before becoming efficient in personalising customer experience on a large scale can take months or years.

  • Cloud capabilities – The cloud deployment of your DXP can offer operational efficiency, autoscaling, near elimination of downtime risk and insight into the CI/CD processes streamline and optimise the management of your environment, freeing up your DevOps team to focus on their priorities. Hosting options include Microsoft Azure, AWS and Google

  • 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 provide the ability to assess and continually improve performance through testing along with business intelligence integration. Platforms that provide insight into the performance of your content strategy are available and should be easily accessible to your business users.

  • Integration, interoperability, and extensibility – Your DXP platform becomes the backbone of your Martech stack as you connect to your existing business systems and introduce modular components to increase the power and efficiency of your solution. Any modern platform offers an API layer to facilitate integration, interoperability, and extensibility. These should be robust and well-documented.

  • Look for a commitment to developers, such as adoption of the latest front-end development technologies such as .NET Core, which offers cross-platform development and rapid deployment. Look also for low-code and no-code connectivity options that highlight a commitment to providing ease of use for all practitioners using the platform. Ensure there is a strong developer community and partner channel backing the DXP you choose, to enable beneficial community innovation tools and widgets.

  • Search Engine Optimisation – If a customer can’t find an organisation, it may as well not exist. Therefore, a DXP that has search engine optimisation (SEO) tools is vital as it enables an organisation to climb up the search rankings. In particular, look for a DXP that allows you to control canonical URLs for content pages, and to change default URL format for dynamic content items. Modern platforms also include the ability to create an XML sitemap file with URLs and additional metadata to inform search engines about the site, its pages, and its content. It’s also important to have functionality for mobile formats, Open Graph settings and automated generation of metadata.

  • Site Search and Navigation – Customers won’t stay on the site for long if it is difficult to navigate. Search indexes allow you to define different sets of content to be searched by the visitors on your website. Most DXPs come with site search services such as Lucene, AzureSearchService or ElasticsearchService.

  • Customer Journey Mapping – Probably the capability that most defines a digital experience platform is the ability to orchestrate and evaluate the success of the customer experience comprehensively and seamlessly. DXPs do this programmatically and intentionally with content and connectivity through multichannel presentation of your brand’s message.

  • Account Services/Security & Access Control – To manage the customer journey effectively, DXPs must provide a means to manage customer profiles securely for activity behind a secure and authenticated login. Self-service capabilities can only be supported if users can identify themselves with confidence knowing their data and interactions remain secure and private.

Whatever size or industry your business is in, it’s recommended not to overlook ease-of-use, cloud deployment and integrated chatbot capabilities, which are key features for any DXP. The ideal DXP is one which will allow you to build what you need, deploy where and how you want, empower your customers, then manage it all safely and securely. Most importantly, a scalable DXP is vital to a robust digital presence and will enable real business agility and growth.

Read More: Creating an Effective Digital Retail CX Strategy 

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