March 27, 2018 | Matt Miller
I know what you’re thinking... "Not another connector between Adobe Experience Manager and commerce systems!" There are several existing options available that do the basics: two from Adobe based on your license, and other firms talking about their connector framework. Thankfully, that’s not what ACT is.
We’ve focused on solving one of the biggest challenges Marketers using dual platforms face, which is the day to day frustration at poor user experience in commerce management from the content platform. ACT is about delivering fluidity for marketers as they manage a connected commerce platform from AEM.
I’ve personally used and built these technically functional connectors in the past; the last thing I want to do is build another one that doesn’t solve the underlying user issues! Six years of implementation content and commerce projects has led to a lot of pain, suffering, and learning. Connecting AEM and a commerce system is table stakes, and something that can be built within weeks if you understand the design paradigm.
Enabling the marketing team in a Content and Commerce solution, however, is a difficult task. The outcome isn’t about a functional bridge, it’s about marketers having the ability to rapidly get what they want from their platform.
The business challenges in a Content and Commerce implementation are:
- choosing the correct integration approach for your business
- marketing adoption of the platform
- unlocking the full value of AEM for authoring and personalization
SMITH's Accelerated Commerce Tools (ACT) for AEM solves these challenges with a series of features designed to maximize your investment in AEM and utilization of a single system.
First, you must choose the proper implementation design for your business. We have found a split glass solution to provide the most reliable outcomes for our clients. It allows us to utilize the strengths of both the commerce and AEM platforms, and it gives the marketing team the most features to utilize standard AEM authoring. The challenge with split glass implementation is how to handle the commerce data on AEM hosted pages. We do not believe in importing product data into AEM to achieve this behavior.
ACT implements two features to handle commerce data in AEM: Product Display controls and Dynamic PDP. The product display controls allow for a site admin to control the display of product data on a PLP, Search or product promotional components at a site, brand or locale level. Content authors can control the display at a category or component level.
This provides consistency across the site and flexibility for specific ad campaigns or diverse product catalogs. The Dynamic PDP uses AEM's underlying Sling framework to allow a single AEM content page to render multiple products in a cacheable format. The dynamic PDP's can be placed at a category or global level. Each PDP can be authored to define the components and their location on the page. Since the PDP's are cached at a product level the system maintains maximum page performance.
Once the solution is available for the marketing team, there’s often a struggle to understand what gets authored where, and how it all flows. Throw caching TTL's in there, how and when things show on the site, and the marketing team begins to despise the complexity of the conditional diagram. Then everyone struggles to understand how this works.
ACT brings marketers back into a single application. We provide the ability to author product data in AEM in the same manner they author marketing content. From a Dynamic PDP, an author can change a title, description or update the media gallery. The data is saved outside the product's PIM data for marketing use only. The data can then be accessed across the site wherever that product’s data is displayed. ACT also allows for marketing content to be placed on commerce-centric pages such as PLP, Product Search, and PDP.
Authors can drag marketing components within product components, and define the viewing level to an entire category of products or a single product. As well, the marketing component can include on and off times to prepare for promotions in advance.
Using ACT, marketers no longer have to copy and paste SKU's into text fields, or search the commerce system for the correct product to use on the site. The Suite offers a Content Finder panel for product search. Once you find the product, drag and drop it in a component and see the data populated on the page.
Product asset management can be a challenge within a Content and Commerce project. A common solution is utilizing naming conventions to properly render assets on commerce centric pages. This type of solution is less than ideal and requires a strong asset governance model.
ACT includes an integration web service framework for commerce systems. The framework allows for asset synchronization, browse, and search functionality to be implemented within the commerce tool. Our reference implementation uses this foundation with Hybris to create and update media pointing to Adobe URLs. These assets will then be returned with product data for PLP, search, cart, etc. The association is managed completely within Hybris.
All Accelerated Commerce Tools (ACT) features are designed to unlock the value AEM brings to marketers within a content and commerce solution. ACT keeps the marketing team within AEM, and utilizes the commerce system as the data source and for transactional processing. The DAM integration allows product owners to utilize Adobe Assets to enrich product data. SMITH's ACT for AEM takes your Content and Commerce solution to the enterprise level.
For a complete overview, click here.
ACT Feature Summary
Product Data Authoring
- Make product and context changes, preview and publish to the live site, all within AEM.
- All changes are seamlessly synchronized with the commerce system.
Author product data in AEM that is saved back to the commerce system as marketing content or direct updates to the product record (according to permissions). Data authored from dynamic data driven pages as if they were static within AEM.
Product Display Controls
- Control the product data displayed, and its order on the page, for brand, site, locale or category.
Hierarchical control over how product data is displayed on PLP, Search and product promotions. Control what data are displayed and order within the tile. Configurable at a global, site, locale or page level that inherits to all child pages.
- Utilize the content finder to drag and drop product data to pages with a search interface.
- Product Data displayed based on the component configurations.
Product tab within the Content Finder that allows marketers to search for products within AEM. Any product can be dragged and dropped within product component(s). The component will control the data display based on configuration.
- Add marketing components to dynamic commerce-centric pages.
Author marketing promotions on dynamic commerce pages like PLP, Search and PDP. Allows an author to edit marketing promotions directly on dynamic pages.
- Ability to browse and select assets stored in AEM within the commerce tooling.
Utilize the Adobe Assets to browse, search and select assets with web services to integrate with a commerce platform
- Manage a single product detail page for a product category.
- Control product data display, imagery and marketing content.
Single product detail page in AEM that can render all or a category’s set of products based on URL pattern. Allow authors to reorder or add marketing components. Each product’s page is cacheable for optimal performance.
Want to learn more about SMITH's ACT for AEM? Click the button below.