In the first of a series on our collaboration, we look at the capabilities and benefits of the Ibexa DXP
As the UK economy emerges from the disruptions of Covid-19, companies are ramping up their efforts to engage in e-commerce. To respond to that acceleration in demand, and to extend the range of expertise and technology we can offer to our clients, Equimedia has entered a strategic partnership with Ibexa DXP, the vendor of Digital Experience Platforms.
Originally a pioneer of Open Source content management systems, Ibexa has in recent years pivoted to delivering customer-centric functionalities and integrations that empower B2B organizations to create not just great content, but unforgettable digital experiences.
Ibexa is a global company with a fascinating range of customers: from the world’s largest manufacturer of ophthalmic lenses to the London Review of Books; from the French golfing federation to the German security specialist Abus; from a leading US producer of industrial adhesives to the digital editions of the Christian Science Monitor. Click here for a fuller flavour of where and in which ways Ibexa DXP has been deployed across different industries and sectors.
Ibexa’s class-leading technology in partnership with Equimedia’s marketing, UX, CRO and analytics expertise will give B2B companies planning complex projects, access to the perfect combination of skills and technology to help achieve ambitious goals.
B2B has historically lagged behind B2C in the adoption of digital technology – and e-commerce still represents a modest fraction of total global B2B turnover. The experience of the Covid-19 lockdown has finally convinced many B2B boardrooms that digital transformation is imperative.
The opportunity is vast, and the market is moving rapidly.
This briefing is the first in what will be an ongoing series of thought leadership articles produced by the Ibexa/ Equimedia partnership. We start by explaining the capabilities and benefits of Digital Experience Platforms, and the advantages of Ibexa DXP. We will follow up with an exploration of how this technology enables and accelerates digital transformation for B2B companies. We then want to discuss how Ibexa DXP extends what is possible in D2C implementations.
So, to begin at the beginning, what is a Digital Experience Platform?
DXP: The Customer Experience is King
Businesses engaged in e-commerce have to create great customer experiences but also formalize and automate the way they do that. Enter the Digital Experience Platform.
DXP is an umbrella term for a software stack with a range of complementary capabilities to build digital experiences: content creation, content delivery, e-commerce, personalization, analytics and more.
There is no well-defined functional scope for a DXP, with a mix of approaches on the market. Where Ibexa DXP differs from many solutions is that it offers an e-commerce module natively as part of the platform.
What everyone agrees on is that monolithic solutions (in as far as they ever worked) are firmly a thing of the past. Digital transformation in e-commerce is best served by a best-of-breed or “composable” DXP strategy.
Clearly, certain elements of your composable DXP should be native to it. Other functionalities that are arguably just as crucial can, and should, be integrated with the DXP. A platform that is cumbersome to integrate with other core systems and business processes is dead in the water.
The five components of Ibexa DXP are:
- Content Management
- Web Management
- Digital Commerce
An e-commerce order is part of a long process that begins well before the order is placed. The first click and the first encounter with your content are often make or break – so we start with this feature of a DXP.
To learn more about how you could benefit from an improved customer experience, register for equimedia and Ibexa's 30-minute webinar 'B2B: They Key to Growth is Self-Disruption'.
Every customer journey needs content, and the right content for each stage of that journey is crucial for the ability to drive a conversion, be that a sale or a contact request. The content required for each of your products, across all your markets, and relevant to your customers if not individually, then in ever smaller segments, is the best way to achieve success.
A modern DXP enables companies to structure their content, define finely calibrated workflows and permissions, and offer multi-lingual functionality not as a plug-in or extension but natively, out of the box.
Traditional CMS often provides only one context for presenting content – usually a web page. A more agile alternative is “headless”, where content is not coupled to a particular output/ channel. Instead, it is provided as data over an API for smooth content delivery to multiple channels. With a headless DXP, you will also benefit from more developer flexibility, easier scaling, and enhanced security.
Given Ibexa’s roots as a leader in content management, it is no surprise that the content component of its DXP is extremely powerful and stable. Nevertheless, manufacturers are astonished to learn that the content framework of Ibexa DXP can in many cases, completely replace the vast databases in their Product Information Management systems. Such a fusion of system and product content enables the B2B companies to make front-end searches much faster and intuitive.
Equimedia’s expertise in designing sites offering great user experience and conversion optimisation can help business harness the content management capabilities of the Ibexa platform to deliver a customer experience that is best in class.
B2B e-commerce has come a long way since an online product catalogue seemed “digital” enough (it never was). Now, the web is the beating heart of e-commerce now that responsive designs extend the experience seamlessly to mobile.
The keywords are agile, frictionless, intuitive, and integrated. Your DXP should be able to create a website with just a few clicks – a functionality that is called Site Factory in Ibexa DXP. The partnership with Equimedia means that B2B clients can enjoy sites that work as well as mobile as on desktop and provide a seamless experience for customers.
Building pages should be second nature to non-technical stakeholders such as marketers and product owners. Visual drag-and-drop makes the pages sing while enabling B2C and B2B companies to respond quickly and vividly to market and product developments.
In Ibexa, the Page Builder functionality is integrated with the Content Engine of the DXP to speed up delivery.
Personalization had its teething problems in B2C but is now very sophisticated (if at times over-persistent) — and we take it for granted. This is not yet the case in B2B where there is lingering confusion about the role of personalization and the difference between how it is deployed implicitly (example: only offer me products that meet the industrial standards and regulations of my target market) and explicitly (make inferences from my online behaviour to remove friction points in my purchasing journey and offer me relevant products that I may not have considered before).
Equimedia is one of the UK’s leading digital analytics agencies. Ibexa Personalization will enable us to leverage our client experience across a much broader range of B2B enterprises and deliver personalization based on data, not intuition.
There are several reasons why an e-commerce module should be native to the DXP. One is that the user experience (for both your client and its customers) should be as frictionless as possible. The second is that a lot of e-commerce tools started life in B2C and were “adapted” to B2B which is a fundamentally different animal. The third is that most discrete e-commerce solutions focus too narrowly on the sale, and not nearly enough on the origins and aftermath of every purchase: on the full customer experience, in other words.
Off-the-shelf e-commerce models offer quick wins but soon lose their shine.
Ibexa DXP combines B2B and B2C (and D2C) sales channels on one, unified platform. The customer experience of B2B intersects with many stakeholders, each with his or her own priorities. B2B pricing is usually different for each customer but Ibexa DXP makes light work of these crucial nuances.
This flexibility means Equimedia can work with clients to develop the perfect sales funnel for their business and customers, optimising responses and driving growth of the sales pipeline, whether the customer is on desktop or a mobile device.
The choice of DXP is in many ways a trade-off between best-of-breed and what should be core to a platform to facilitate development. If the e-commerce functionalities are built with a different code than the DXP to which they have been integrated, you are introducing pain points in development projects.
The future belongs to composable architectures and solutions. Such an approach is best underpinned by Open Source technologies such as Symfony, which in 2017 reached the incredible milestone of 1 billion downloads. The Ibexa DXP is built on the Symfony framework, benefiting from its vast and varied toolkit and the large pool of developers capable of using it.
Ibexa DXP is an exciting and ground-breaking digital technology, but Equimedia would not have committed to the partnership if there had not been a strong cultural fit as well. Ross Britton, Equimedia’s Website Experience Director, emphasises the importance of both.
“Equimedia has been winning a lot of B2B business; there’s clearly huge investments being made by B2B companies currently, to achieve digital transformation and innovation,” he says. The initial talking point with Ibexa centred around how its Digital Experience Platform could mitigate “the fragmentation of sales channels that B2B businesses grapple with”.
Equimedia and Ibexa soon discovered more synergies around the collaborative aspect of digital transformation and what Britton calls “a growth mindset” – really a virtuous cycle of technology, data analytics, training, partnership, and cultural renewal.
After a first meeting in March 2021, initial training in the same week, followed by technical certification of the first two developers in May, the partnership was official.
“I felt that there was a really a sense of, yes, we need to work together. We have a similar strategy, goals, and culture, which I think was great and it translated into these very fast decision cycles,” Britton says.
“Our clients appreciate this too,” he concludes. “They want to see change happen fast and measurable ROI. Equimedia and Ibexa are ready to make sure that happens!”
Don't miss out on Ibexa and equimedia's upcoming webinar - B2B: The Key to Growth is Self-Disruption
On Tuesday 16th November 2021, Equimedia and Ibexa are hosting a 30-minute webinar that will help you discover how to create more immersive and personalized customer experiences, take ownership of the end-customer relationship, and increase your profit margins with a Direct to Consumer (D2C) strategy that reimagines the way you sell.
- How D2C improves the bottom line in B2B
- Give your buyers a way to purchase online without involving a sales rep
- Provide useful information and helpful content to support their journey
- Customize offers to segmented audiences
- Ross Britton, Website Experience Director, Equimedia
- Jean-Claude Pitcho, Head of International Markets, Ibexa
Click below to register for the webinar!