New Digital Experience Platform from BloomReach Powered by AI
By Laura Myers
May 5, 2017
acquisition, Artificial Intelligence, Barb Mosher Zinck, BloomReach, Digital Experience, Hippo CMS, machine learning, personalization, startup, Web Content Management
Today, BloomReach, the Mountain View, California based firm that has been applying artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to its commerce platform for more than seven years, officially announced the release of the industry’s first open and intelligent digital experience platform, BloomReach DXP.
With Bated Breath
Back in November, our contributor Barb Mosher Zinck covered the news of BloomReach acquiring WCM company Hippo with, according to Barb, “a vision to extend personalization and relevant contextual experiences to all digital business”.
The kind of acquisition we are used to seeing is when one tech titan brings a smaller company under its umbrella to simply gain market share or talent. This deal was refreshing in that it was made between a startup in the commerce space, and a startup in the content management industry. In fact, when the deal broke, I was able to speak with BloomReach CEO Raj De Datta, to gain his perspective on why this move had been made.
He let me know it all started with the need they saw for disruption in the web content management space and to put it simply, he felt that content management systems hadn’t had enough intelligence built into them. In seeing Hippo as a visionary in their space, combined with Hippo’s architecture, its on-demand approach and current analytics capabilities, BloomReach felt that it would be a good fit for the vision they had in mind, leaving us all waiting for this day, when the combined capabilities would be revealed.
Two Become One
With the integration of BloomReach’s Relevance Engine into Hippo’s WCM, they have created the first self-learning, digital experience platform that can not only understand but learn from, the context behind every customer interaction whether is it online or offline, and then use that knowledge to deliver personalization to any digital experience.
It is said that the platform will, in a way, have it's fingers on the pulse of the customer by gleaning knowledge from search, behavioral, channel and content-specific data. The open model makes it so businesses don’t have siloed commerce and content experiences, meaning personalized product offerings and marketing content can come together.
Headless CMS has been a huge trend as of late and this new DXP will be no exception: by decoupling the presentation from the content and its metadata, businesses can reuse content and services across many environments. One of the biggest advantages to this are the resources it will free up by allowing consolidation of content creation.
The Three Modules of BloomReach DXP
BloomReach Personalization is where the intelligence area is focused the most and is described as giving “commerce businesses a full spectrum of personalization to create and market their products”. The idea is you can have a little, or you can have a lot. Businesses that want to wade into the personalization waters, can choose from the individual applications, Search (formerly Commerce Search), Merchandising (formerly Commerce Categories) or Insights (formerly Compass). Or, if they want to dive in on the deep-end with it all, BloomReach Personalization is offered as one product with a unified UI and, lists the following advantages:
- comprehensive intelligence, with algorithms to understand content, layout, customer journeys, channels, behavior, language semantics, intent, performance optimization and user personalization (segmentation and one-to-one)
- support of advanced decision-making with built-in testing and targeting for category and site-search-results pages, in addition to diagnostic tools to evaluate algorithms.
IT and marketing are having their paths crossed so much these days, they might as well be on the same one, so BloomReach Experience had that in mind with this platform, to satisfy both CIOs and CMOs by creating a commons for both to collaborate on ways to enhance customer engagement, customer relationships, advocacy and ultimately, lifetime value by use of the following advantages:
- an open platform that integrates data, content and application services to drive customer acquisition, loyalty and retention across marketing channels, online and in-store commerce experiences, customer community and self-service, and all supporting employee experiences (including internal portals and mobile applications).
- Based on open standards and a modern, modular, extensible open-source core, BloomReach Experience creates a new web infrastructure stack tailored for on-demand, personalized, transactional experiences that drives new digital services, business models and revenue.
Finally, and I know its name goes without saying regarding its focus but, BloomReach Organic, is where search and SEO get their time in the sun and through the following advantages, customer acquisition is optimized:
- improves site structure by linking related searches and products
- surfaces a business’s most-relevant content for search engines
- automatically identifies content gaps to create category pages without IT.
What Does Leadership Have to Say?
After the many enlightening ideas BloomReach CEO Raj De Datta brought to our conversation about the acquisition of Hippo, I was eager to hear his thoughts now that the rubber has hit the road with the announcement of this new platform, seemingly unifying the two company's redeeming strengths:
"At a time when most content management systems don't actually know that the shoes it presents to a business's customers are actually for runners, are the color white, or that they are even shoes in the first place, it's hard to call them intelligent. However, the BloomReach DXP includes the first CMS that semantically understands content, comes with its own set of algorithmic intelligence and core datasets and can understand demand expressed by consumers throughout the entire Web."
It also is built with an API-driven and open architecture so that it can plug into any external data source or campaign execution application. The BloomReach DXP is the technology for any company looking to understand the voice of their customers and deliver a uniquely personalized and seamless journey to any one of its customers. It also provides marketing an integrated platform for inspecting visitor behavior across all sites and touchpoints, including both browse and search behavior. Marketers can identify new or changing audiences segments to drive both content targeting, automatic optimization of relevancy of content, and products to drive simpler, faster outcomes tied to conversion and revenue and deepen customer engagement through intent-based recommendation of additional resources to drive higher loyalty and repeat transactions.
BloomReach Experience provides an advanced, Cloud-hosted content management platform that enables both marketing and IT to mobilize relevant content and experiences into any digital touchpoint. Eliminating separate publishing process, repositories of content, and degrees of marketing control, BloomReach provides marketers with a single platform to create and tag reusable content and assets that can be automatically ingested and delivered across any alternative touchpoint from mobile app to kiosk or in-store display.Together with BloomReach Personalization and BloomReach Organic, BloomReach Experience provides a unified digital experience platform today."
The AI conversation is always one I am interested to have, simply because the opinions on it vary, from some saying its a new label for something already being done, to others showing new and innovative ways to utilize its intelligence to meet the ever-growing demands of customer experience. Where I find it the most impactful however, and where my "Pro AI" stance is firmly placed, is in how the intelligence of these systems can free up resources, as BloomReach addresses with this offering. Sure you will always need a human element to the machine's capabilities but more trust people can develop in the machine's abilities, the more time the human mind can spend on tasks that are better suited for it.
As a marketer, content and all that goes into is where I thrive and the intersection of AI in that realm makes my heart flutter, so to see this platform can not only get more mileage out of content (and save that precious time) but bring content gaps to marketer's attention is key for businesses to truly maximize their engagement game, leaving no content stone unturned.
A digital business, marketing and social media enthusiast, Laura thrives on asking unique, insightful questions to ignite conversation. At an event or remotely, she enjoys any opportunity to connect with like-minded people in the industry.