Managing Partner & Sitecore MVP
Why Sitecore is Leader of Experience Commerce – Part 2 Enterprise CMS
Why Sitecore is Leader of Experience Commerce – Part 2: Enterprise CMS
I am writing a multi-part blog on why Sitecore is the leader in Experience Commerce. The first part provided an overview and delved into Direct to Consumer (DTC) commerce features in Sitecore. This part is going to be short and straightforward as Sitecore CMS has been around for over fifteen years and it’s a true enterprise scale CMS.
Content is king! Any platform that promises experience commerce needs to support a comprehensive list of CMS features.
Building Blocks: Items & Templates, Renderings & Layouts
Items & Templates are foundational building blocks in Sitecore. An item can represent any type of content – simple, complex, composite, inherited, parent, sibling, etc. A template defines the structure of an item. Content authors can create and edit items and use them on a web page. Items can have multiple versions and multiple language versions.
Rendering renders a Sitecore page or component on a page. Layout defines the way a component is rendered (e.g. full width versus half-width) on a page.
While Items & Templates are more content/data centric; Renderings & Layouts are more presentation centric. This logical separation between content and presentation provides for reusing same content in different places on your website (or other digital channels) and presenting different UI and behavior for same content on different devices or places on your website.
This approach is really powerful and makes Sitecore foundationally scalable and omni-channel: I can create a news content item and can use it on the home page, product page (related news) and in the news section of the website. The news on the home page can be rendered differently for desktop versus mobile users and can have a completely different rendering on the product page.
Sitecore provides two editing tools for content authors to create and edit pages:
Experience Editor is a WYSIWIG tool that allows content authors in-page editing and previewing capabilities.
Content Editor is a more advanced editing tool where the content author has access to all the items and pages in the content tree and it can edit individual items or pages or multiple items on a page. More experienced content authors tend to use Content Editor more.
Sitecore 9.3 introduced a new content editing tool Horizon which enhances the Experience Editor tool and includes page editing, device and date simulation and insights view showing analytics for the page being edited.
Sitecore has a forms module that allows marketers to create forms for their websites. Marketers can create forms, do form validation, collect data and report/export form data without writing any code.
Sitecore uses SOLR for both website user search and internal content author search. Website search can combine both site content and products or filter on one or present them separately. External content/data can also be indexed for search and standard search features like typeahead, bury-boost, facets-filters are supported OOTB.
Localization is a key strength of Sitecore compared to other CMS platforms. Items and media items support language translation, linking, cloning and fallback features. Sitecore also has integration with 3rd-party translation provides to ease and govern translation tasks.
Workflow and governance
Sitecore ships with a default content approval and publishing workflow. Organizations can set their own versioning, review, approval and publishing roles and workflow. Sitecore also supports item level publishing, smart publishing and full-site publishing.
Content optimization (A/B, MVT testing)
Sitecore supports multiple types of content testing and optimization. Anytime content author edits a page, Sitecore can test the current and new version of the page to inform the user the impact of the content changes.
Two variants of a component with different content, design and personalization can be tested to see which variant perform better.
Two versions of a page can be created and tested as well.
Lots of organizations use Sitecore for its multi-site capabilities. This is important for companies that have multiple brands, divisions or operate in different countries and need different websites. Sitecore is a multi-site solution OOTB and has very strong support for successfully deploying multi-site solutions including item inheritance, item cloning, fallback, shared components, site templates, themed sites, web-configs, site-settings, etc.
Content as a service/Headless