How Elastic Path's Commerce Combines with Bloomreach's DXP
BloomReach, Inc. launched a strategic global partnership with Vancouver-based Elastic Path Software Inc., which has helped the world’s top brands such as Google, Pearson, Symantec, Time Inc., Virgin Media, and Western Union generate over $60 billion in over 170 countries with its flagship product, Elastic Path Commerce. Mountain View, California based BloomReach designed its platform to inject artificial intelligence and machine learning technology into commerce over seven years ago. In November 2016, Bloomreach acquired Amsterdam-based content management software company Hippo. With the integration of BloomReach’s Relevance Engine into Hippo’s WCM, Bloomreach had created a self-learning, digital experience platform, BloomReach DXP that learns from the context behind every customer interaction, whether it is online or offline, in order to utilize that knowledge to deliver personalization to any digital experience.
I was curious to hear what trends or challenges this collaboration with Elastic Path will address for current Bloomreach customers. To that point, I reached out to Niels Koekoek, Public Relations Manager at Bloomreach EMEA, and here’s what he had to say:
What trends or challenges will this collaboration address for current Bloomreach customers?
Koekoek: The collaboration between BloomReach and Elastic Path prepares businesses for the future and lets them innovate more quickly. Both BloomReach and EP focus on offering a best-of-breed open platform that makes it easier to keep up with the pace of innovation (via Alexa Voice, virtual assistants, etc.). Clients of both companies select these products because they are looking to be disruptive and innovative looking for competitive advantages.
What are the key benefits of the partnership with Elastic Path to the Bloomreach Digital Experience Platform?
Koekoek: The partnership with Elastic Path gives businesses a headstart in building a modern customer experience and enables them to combine content and commerce in an agile and scalable way. This makes the BloomReach digital experience platform even more interesting for brands trying to really engage with their customers by building 1:1 personalized experiences. Agility and freedom to innovate are the keywords.
Speaking to CMS-Connected, Chris Gardner, Director of Strategic Partnerships at BloomReach, also shared with us an excerpt from an Elastic Path eBook titled, "The Future of Commerce Is Now, Are you ready?," as he believes it nicely summarizes the main reason behind the partnership between Bloomreach and Elastic Path:
“Customer-obsessed digital leaders understand the future of commerce is
here. Though they come from different industries, they all share one thing in common — they are embracing modern commerce to drive innovation and business agility. These business leaders are looking beyond “omni-channel” to truly deliver anywhere-commerce tailored to their customers’ unique journeys.
Today, modern commerce has moved beyond digital catalogs attached to shopping carts, serving the same content to every customer in the same way. Instead, enriched content management, WCM (Web Content Management), WEM (Web Experience Management) and CXM (Customer Experience Management) tools allow marketers to deliver unique and engaging front-end experiences, while advanced personalization, machine learning and emerging artificial intelligence engines are now pushing the right content, offers, and recommendations to the right customer at the right time. With this, the explosion of technologies like mobile devices, apps and sensors are forever disrupting the digital path to purchase. Today, digital is one of many interwoven threads within a new customer journey. Physical purchases are researched online, digital purchases are researched in-store, and a variety of smart devices beyond the mobile phone are filling the gaps — that said, the landscape is nowhere near finished evolving.”
Elastic Path is a very significant player in the e-commerce space as it offers a good solution to support commerce in diverse use cases, such as the IoT or embedded commerce. Given the demand for API-first or headless commerce in both the B2C and B2B market is increasing, Elastic Path could seamlessly work with custom presentation layers, web content management systems and digital experience platforms such as BloomReach DXP. Therefore, Chris Gardner believes, “Elastic Path‘s best of breed enterprise commerce platform combines perfectly with BloomReach’s best of breed DXP platform.” On the other hand, it might not be the best solution for those who are looking for a single-vendor commerce platform as there is an integration process involved. According to the feedback Gartner gathered, Elastic Path is very helpful during implementation. Lastly, when it comes to integrations and decoupling the presentation from the content and its metadata, Bloomreach, in my view, has a good foundation already due to Hippo’s responsive and adaptive design, which gives marketers the relevance and personalization tools to create contextual content, and Hippo’s back-end extensibility, which gives developers the integration capabilities they need.
To go more in depth on the partnership between BloomReach and Elastic Path, I reached out to Harry Chemko, Elastic Path’s CEO. Speaking to CMS-Connected, Chemko stated: "Commerce is at an amazing turning point. The partnership between BloomReach and Elastic Path reflects a pivot toward modern commerce, in which personalized customer experiences encourage customer loyalty and monetization can take place at any point along the customer journey. Personalization brought about by machine learning and artificial intelligence will change commerce forever. The shift is as significant as the 2007 iPhone launch when everyone still thought existing smartphones were as good as they were going to get. Companies that grasp the importance of personalization, contextualization and customer intimacy are going to crush laggards. The Elastic Path + BloomReach partnership provides joint customers with a “state-of-the-art” commerce personalization solution with the potential to change not just client engagement strategies, but their entire business model."
He also commented on what the joint technology will bring to the market: "Pairing headless commerce with a headless customer experience solution, add artificial intelligence capabilities and you have a platform that supports super-smart commerce weighted to personalization and content management. That’s what Elastic Path and BloomReach bring to market."
“We used to joke about an internet year being three months, but now it really is,” added Chemko and explained why businesses need cognitive commerce platforms: “Traditional commerce systems simply can’t keep up. Companies are looking for agility, time to market and time to value. Combining Elastic Path’s advanced commerce capabilities with BloomReach’s next-generation customer experience and built in artificial intelligence is a natural fit.”
This partnership obviously will bring new capabilities and more flexibility to the joint customers, however, to me, it also speaks to the continuing evolution of the WCM market which has been moving from being monolithic to be a more modular and granular industry. On one hand, vendors persist to amplify their native capabilities in emerging areas such as e-commerce and marketing features, on the other hand, they provide solutions which can seamlessly integrate with different sets of third-party technologies in order to give their users ultimate flexibility. This is very crucial for technology providers as buyers are looking for solutions that can help them deliver contextual digital experiences to end consumers.
In other words, moving beyond the web is what probably has fueled this evolution. In that scope, API-based content delivery and microservices have become the hottest topic in the space. With the headless CMS, content creators can create once and use over, and over, and over again in many different formats and presentations saving time and effort while excelling at delivering omnichannel experiences. After all, companies with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement see a 9.5% year-over-year increase in annual revenue, compared to 3.4% for weak omnichannel companies, according to Aberdeen Group’s research.
To circle back to Bloomreach, I think the partnership is a smart move, given the vendor wants to disrupt the market that has been long led by strong vendors like Adobe which signed an agreement with Elastic Path to collaborate closely on several key areas, including e-commerce platform technology, seamless product integration, sales initiatives, and marketing activities over three years ago.