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Today’s customers are harder to reach than ever. As the digital presence of organizations becomes more and more competitive, it becomes crucial to manage the relationship your brand or business has with its audience.
Organizations rely on content such as videos, articles, social media posts, and more to communicate their services and keep their audience updated with what they offer.
At the same time, data is highly important as it will help your organization make decisions.
Digital experience platforms (DXPs) aim to integrate various tools and services so that organizations can build meaningful and lasting relationships with their audience.
What are Digital Experience Platforms?
The digital experience platform is a rising category of enterprise software that aims to help businesses provide better customer experiences.
DXPs are often a suite of products that work together. These platforms provide a central hub for various channels to be synchronized, digitized, and analyzed.
Popular DXPs in the market today, including Adobe Experience Manager and Salesforce Experience Cloud, are used by businesses to reach audiences through multiple channels.
Businesses using DXPs now have the opportunity to create content once and not have to worry about adapting it for mobile, web, advertisements, and other possible channels.
Evolution of Digital Experience Platforms
Digital experience platforms did not just arrive out of nowhere. They evolved slowly over time as the need for more engagement and more insights increased.
The precursors to DXPs are surely the content management systems (CMS) that became quite popular by the mid-1990s. A wide range of products such as FileNet and StoryBuilder allow users to create, manage, and modify content without having to understand the technical aspects of web development.
The CMS empowered non-technical teams by providing the basic infrastructure of a website so that they could focus on the aspect that mattered the most, the content itself.
In the early 2000s, open source CMSs emerged including WordPress. WordPress benefited from its open-source nature, accelerating its market adoption.
As the need for personalized engagement increased, Web Experience Management (WEM) solutions became popular. These WEM platforms enable businesses to deliver content to digital marketing and commerce channels.
Organizations were now able to understand customer behavior. These systems introduced personalization to the customer’s online experience, and gave them the ability to create and provide unique content to the targeted audience.
Still, these WEM systems were often not fully integrated with the rest of the business. WEMs remained mostly focused on the marketing aspect of the business.
By connecting different tools together, DXPs allowed for a centralized location for content management and customer data.
With so many DXPs to choose from, it’s important to know what common features are expected from these types of platforms. Here are some key features that you might find in your average digital experience platform.
- Built-in content management system
- Branding and design tools
- User analytics
- Customer profile engine
- Language translation
- Payment and billing solutions
- Chatbot integration
- Electronic forms
- AI-driven site search
- Web APIs
Benefits of Digital Experience Platforms
Your business may have multiple touchpoints with the consumer, including but not limited to, websites, mobile apps, chatbots, and customer portals.
The DXP architecture will allow you to seamlessly update relevant responses for each of these touchpoints and allow a means to collect data from all of them as well.
DXPs use APIs to make sure that each touchpoint is up-to-date and consistent. For example, you can focus on writing down the business hours of your business once.
Later, you can use the API to update various channels such as customer portals, web apps, mobile apps, and chatbots.
Various departments in a business may have their own department-specific tools which they need to do their roles.
Each department can connect their preferred tools to a central DXP through APIs, allowing different departments to share data with one another. See in the image how Bloomreach, a leading eCommerce experience platform, works with a central DXP.
Many platforms use a microservice architecture that separates the back-end logic from how it looks on screen. This enables developers and marketers to work independently from each other.
The platform also allows for modularity, meaning your business can be divided into different modules. Each module can then be updated without having to disrupt the processes of other areas of the business.
DXPs can adapt to the ever-changing consumer base. Instagram and Facebook may be where people get the most engagement today, but what if that changes tomorrow?
DXPs are flexible enough to get data from anywhere. Since DXPs are usually not bound to any specific channel, they allow businesses to integrate new touch points across different platforms and channels as new opportunities to connect with their audience appear.
AI and Automation
DXPs use AI to help improve customer experience. For example, customer data can inform the DXP to render a custom landing page or article layout for your audience depending on the type of customer profile they fit.
Commerce platforms can leverage customer buying habits to increase the chances of customer retention. Machine learning algorithms are already being used to improve search results to make sure that customers see exactly what they need to.
Despite these benefits, setting up digital experience platforms also comes with its own set of challenges.
- Organizations may find it difficult to adapt quickly due to a steep learning curve.
- Usually more pricier than your typical CMS platform.
- There is a possibility for vendor lock-in.
- Since one vendor can rarely provide the best software in every area (e-commerce, content management, etc.), there will likely be a loss of specialization in some aspects.
- Adopting a DXP ecosystem requires your business to have a good understanding of UX (user experience).
Notable Digital Experience Platforms
The Adobe Experience Platform (AEP) is a popular platform among large corporations and mid-market sectors.
AEP can handle huge content loads and has real-time AI-powered analytics.
The Sitecore experience platform is best-suited for the marketing sector, providing users with tools for designing marketing campaigns.
It offers a powerful content management system and a user-friendly interface.
The Salesforce Experience Cloud offers solutions for every industry need with expert help from industry partners.
Salesforce allows organizations to use CRM data to define audiences and target users with personalized content.
The way businesses and customers interact is much more complex in the current digital space. Organizations need to adapt to various channels to reach their audience.
Digital experience platforms provide a future-proof solution to deliver your content as the web continues to evolve.
DXPs will only grow more powerful as they implement more AI and machine learning solutions to improve analytics and automated personalized experiences.
As a business grows, so does the complexity of your business. You just might need a digital experience platform to keep up.
If your company is at a stage of rapid growth and organizational complexity, having a centralized hub for all your content and user data is essential to keep up with the trends and flow of the market.