What is a DXP?
Gartner defines a digital experience platform (DXP) as an integrated set of technologies, based on a common platform, that provides a broad range of audiences with consistent, secure and personalized access to information and applications across many digital touchpoints.
DXPs primary goal is to solve the one obsession that all companies have - the Customer Experience. DXPs can be a single product, but are often a suite of products that work together. DXPs provide an architecture for companies to digitize business operations, deliver connected customer experiences, and gather actionable customer insight.
The emergence of DXPs work hand in hand with the rise of utilizing a new architecture designed around microservices and APIs, that reduce the IT complexity most organisations were victim to. Theoretically, DXPs combine “Content Management” with “Engagement Management”, to allow teams the flexibility of creating omni-channel content, with the reliability of agile workflows, data-driven insights, and consistent user-journeys.
By extension, a "Digital Experience" is (quite literally) anything served via a digital format that allows marketers, organizations, and teams to deliver on better "Customer Experiences".
Moving away from the concept of a monolithic full-stack DXP to a custom one powered by best-of-breed microservices, many components within a DXP are functionally different, yet work alongside one another to achieve the goal of customer experience enhancement. For instance, a DXP may include eCommerce, Business Intelligence, NPS, Content Management, and Chat bots. They all may come from the same or different providers, yet work seamlessly together and share aggregated data via API to create a “Digital Experience Platform”.
Now that we're familiar with what a DXP is, let's cover amost of the common "components" that go into making one, and how they could potentially impact your understanding of the customer experience.
What goes into building a DXP?
In the context of a DXP, A/B Testing enables teams to focus on business metrics, and constantly enhance their customer-facing capabilities to drive better engagement and conversions. As most companies, especially digital startups, focus on delivering products across platforms like websites, mobile, TV, and OOH to name a few, being able to gather their end-user’ behavioural analytics could potentially assist in making more informed business decisions.
With the ability to assess and improve the performance of digital entities within the scope of a company’s offering, marketing teams are able to offer personalisation at scale through a series of tests, to determine which audience segments would react more effectively to certain communications.
Advanced DXPs could use this contextual advantage of gathering information across multiple touchpoints from A/B tests, to analyse how customers react to their business (almost in real time), and make data driven decisions on what could potentially improve the customer experience. Integrating A/B testing within the scope of a DXP would allow content teams and marketers to deliver personalised experiences at scale.
Analytics and Optimisation
The content management system (CMS), provides the content and context necessary for other services within the DXP to operate. Whether text, website content, landing pages, banners, or push notifications, the CMS is at the core of the DXP, offering a repository for other services to absorb content from.
In a DXP, a Headless CMS serves as a silent foundation, as it stands apart in being effective, since it provides all this content to other services natively via API, rather than the other services needing to interpret and transform any of the content.
DXPs are often labeled as “Next Generation CMS”, however, at least at present, CMS form the core of most DXPs, especially when opting for a best-of-breed microservices approach over a monolithic all-in-one suite.
A CMS absorbs, contains, and delivers the content and context that is needed by the other services within a DXP, for businesses to effectively communicate with their users at the right moment. A DXP goes a step further by providing automation and smart omni-channel delivery as required, but very much relies on the CMS at the core to provide this content.
Customer Engagement & Support
A truly omni-channel approach embraces that not all services and tools at their disposal are directly influenced by in-house efforts. Companies have never shied away from asking for reviews across a multitude of platforms - Google, Yelp, Facebook, G2, the list goes on. And considering that over 90% of consumers include reviews into their buying decisions, and every one star increase brings a brand an average of 5-9% increase in revenue, reputation management across online platforms and directories are increasingly important to marketers.
The focus on DXPs has been a lot on what a company can do with internal resources and services to improve their CX - and incorporating external reviews takes that a step further out of the DXP comfort zone, theoretically moving it out of the company’s control. However, brand management is perhaps the most tangible “component” within a DXP to measure customer experience across all touchpoints.
Learning from Uberall’s Reputation Management report shows how smartphones have given consumers easy access to information about products and services. The review has given the consumer a way to verify brands on a local level immediately by using “near me” searches. Given the impact it shows, incorporating a level of brand management via review platforms and aggregators allow marketers to learn, analyse, and adapt to how their business is perceived by potential and existing customers.
Search and Discovery
In-built search can be leveraged to provide a more seamless navigation experience to visitors, and is an important tool in information discovery, and in the implementation of a self-service model.
Whilst the obvious benefit of incorporating search on a website, app, or any digital entity is to allow visitors and users to quickly discover what they’re looking for, there are other subtle advantages that contribute to a better customer experience. Back in 2010, Stone Reuning, founder of SEO Advantage, highlighted several key points in which Search benefits marketing efforts. The “I want this” category of users are almost instantly validated by incorporating search, apparent in high-volume websites like Amazon and eBay, and it does help make the website more customer centric by helping visitors self-educate themselves on the content of platforms.
Interestingly, however, Search and Discovery serve a very different purpose to marketers and data-driven website owners. Capturing search queries provide valuable marketing data on what products or services are most sought after, allowing marketers to make educated guesses on what to market more, and what areas need better content behind them. There’s also the possibility of discovering new ideas for products, integrations, or features, by capturing queries that resulted in bounces or drops in conversions.
According to Yext, a company in the search experience space, shifts in the search paradigm have altered the digital experience - since consumers are quite bluntly getting answers to their questions - with search becoming the basis of every subsequent action taken almost throughout the purchase funnel.
Building the "Ideal" DXP
There are strong market indications to suggest that the DXP is an emerging market category, an evolution from several software markets that have begun to work harmoniously together via API. Whilst the core focus of DXPs are to deliver better customer experiences, thereby maximizing a company’s ROI when employing a DXP, there are several smaller advantages that justify embracing this approach.
Marketing teams can deliver stronger campaigns backed by reliable data, and constantly improve their understanding of customers through a combination of testing, optimization, and data collection.
Product teams can find it easier to understand how their products are being used by users and customers, and gather insights that could be crucial to technical teams to understand, and thereby make improvements with subsequent releases.
Sales and Customer Success teams can gather unprecedented levels of information about their accounts and leads, being able to position themselves as needed at critical moments when opportunities present themselves.
Furthermore management teams can find themselves in an informed position, having complete understanding of their customers, business operations, and prospects, enabling them to strategically prioritise and alter business processes to maximise impact.
Ironically, many companies across the globe, to an extent, already have embraced the DXP approach and may not know it. Since the components that comprise a DXP are so varied and contextual to their industries, organisations in many instances need to simply audit their techstack to understand what services they use, and which ones can be added or altered to create a truly powerful DXP that serves their exact purpose.
To understand how a Headless CMS forms the core of a DXP, refer to our academy article on DXPs and Headless CMS.
To speak with us about how GraphCMS could be powering your digital experiences, reach out!