This is a repost from CMS Wire.

Brands have traditionally built separate brand experiences and e-Commerce shops, hidden behind the familiar “shop” link. But this divide makes customers choose between content and commerce and creates one more hurdle to jump through. How many get lost on the way?

These scenarios reduce e-Commerce experiences to a minimal feature set: browsing the catalog, checking out and customer self-service, such as checking an order status. The fundamental issue with this approach is that it does not span the entire customer journey, which includes awareness, engagement, browsing to purchase, service and subsequent loyalty.

Added to this, too often the underlying technologies are poorly integrated, leaving consumers with inconsistent experiences across the buying journey. This is further aggravated by customer expectations of a cohesive experience across mobile, Web and other channels.

Brands now know that building rich content worlds works to engage customers and capture their attention. By fostering a dialog around the content and products, brands can build communities, encourage dialog and promote commenting regarding the topics which results in users spending more time on the brand experience. Separating this from the e-Commerce experience moves e-Commerce one step further away from the consumers’ attention.

Here are some best practices that avoid this divide, that build engaging experiences which bring rich content into the e-Commerce world, and vice versa. (more…)