Having a website today means managing programs, data, and databases: you can’t even think of them all at once.
You need to manage the site itself to ensure customers make it to the checkout screen, but you also need to drive traffic with marketing and then follow up to keep customers coming back. This web of tasks and research can overwhelm small businesses and startups.
If you want to transform your platform and workflow all at once, you might consider digital experience software.
What Is Digital Experience Software?
A digital experience (DX) itself is the virtual interaction between a user and the organization behind the website. The organization controls the website and therefore controls most aspects of the experience. A DX software’s goal is to manipulate and change the experience provided to the consumer.
Digital experience software-as-a-service (SaaS) is the fusion of content management systems (CMS) and customer relationship management (CRM) software into one tool or platform. DX software can be used to grow your customers by gaining insight into their experience with metrics like their real-time sessions on your site. With that information, you can improve the overall usability of your eCommerce site and improve conversions.
This kind of software can often be called digital experience management (DXM) or digital experience customer management (DXCM). DXMs are for making digital transformations to user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX). With DXM software you can also improve your marketing campaigns, customer interaction, and customer engagement even after purchase.
Most DXM tools are found in suites or digital experience platforms (DXP). A DXP is used to optimize the satisfaction of your virtual consumers and your overall operations. There are three types of DXP, monolithic, composable, and hybrid.
Monolithic DXPs are older, they come with a suite of included tools. Monolithic DXP are sometimes also called Legacy DXPs because their core is a legacy CMS, which is an outdated content management system.
Composable DXPs are buildable to your preferences and do not already contain a plethora of software. With them, you can integrate your preferred software and form a modular tech stack.
Some companies advertise their DXP solutions as “headless DXP” or “hybrid DXP.” The core is a headless CMS, which is a backend CMS separated from the “head” or what the consumer sees. Hybrid DXPs come with integrations and strong, fast APIs to communicate commands between the front and backend. Hybrids can be flexible, faster, and easy to integrate.
The uses for a DXP span a multitude of industries, so any online eCommerce platform or services could benefit from maximizing customer usability. Many platforms offer updated user interfaces (UI) and tracking user experience.
Many DXP tools are able to streamline your workflows with integrations and organize your customer data. They can simplify and enhance your technology stacks by eliminating data silos. Each tool will focus more on CRM, CMS, or your business processes, but the application will always be towards the personalized experiences you provide.
DXPs can also come with web content management systems (WCM/WCMS). These are authoring tools that allow non-programmers to create web content. The goals of different DXPs can vary.
Some will be more focused on optimizing for customer retention and providing you special insight to achieve it. Others may be geared towards your workflow and automation. A DXP tool can offer great variety but they’re not all suited for any business’ customer needs.
Many use cases for DXPs include teams that want to upgrade their commerce platforms’ customer support and customer journey. Groups that have outdated data management for their site can benefit greatly from an update. Older platforms need improved backend and front-end fun functionality like marketing automation, customer portals, and overall digital asset management (DAM).
If you’re a newer startup that hasn’t used CRM or CMS software for their team, then a DXP is like jumping the gun. The experience might have a learning curve for you and your team. It will still be beneficial for your digital content and digital customer experience.
Enterprises that have already utilized CRM software for HubSpot or Salesforce will have an advantage using a DXP because they’re already familiar with a lot of the functions.
What are the features and benefits of DXP software?
The capabilities and benefits of different DXP tend to vary based on the goal of each suite, but most offer a plethora of features for your team and your customers.
A feature that forms the core of most DXP is data management and organization. All your decisions require collected data on customer satisfaction with your site and service. Without this data you have nowhere to go from so you need to store it properly so it can be accessed.
Many platforms offer solutions to eliminate data silos. Silos are used to store data fragments that struggle to integrate with the rest of your tech stack, which means they’re limited to certain users. With a DXP, you can share that information more freely with team members.
Analytics and Testing
DXP solutions can often include metrics and their analysis, sometimes even generated with AI insights. Tracking and reporting will be important features as well to measure growth. Platforms that offer testing functions can especially aid you with decision making such as with advertising new services or seeing your overall performance.
It’s pretty amazing that sometimes one platform can give you the same features you find in a customer relationship management or content management system. These fantastic capabilities include marketing automation, campaign building, and customer support for CRM. For CMS you’ll see templates, custom organization, and collaboration tools.
DXPs are optimized for virtual experiences and that means your and your team’s experience as well. The user interface you connect and use to accomplish tasks and projects will often be up-to-date and intuitive. Several use APIs to provide a connection with important resources like developer tools.
Digital Usability/ Accessibility
Web accessibility and usability are what make your platform functional. You need your services to be accessible to anyone inclined blind, deaf, and neurodivergent people. You also want your navigation, site structure, and checkout screen to have the best ease of use. DXPs can help you monitor, track, test, and upgrade your website.
These are some outstanding features and benefits, but which DXP vendors offer these solutions?
What are examples of DXP?
There are some amazing DXP available, especially some that are from very exceptional companies. Some of these tech enterprises such as the tech giant Adobe. We’re not going to be too in-depth about each platform or talk about all of them, see our DXP pricing page for that information. We are going over a couple of popular DXPs to give you a good baseline for your research.
Some platforms you’ll learn about first are Sitecore Experience Platform, Adobe Experience Platform, Crownpeak Digital Experience Platform, and Liferay Digital Experience Platform. These ones advertise the most in Google searches.
Sitecore Experience Platform and Adobe Experience Cloud offer AI algorithms, customer personalization, and marketing automation, along with testing and analytics for customer data. They both also offer omnichannel delivery which allows you to apply them to devices, touchpoints, and overall intranet.
One important thing to note is many platforms can be a collection of different cloud applications to manage your digital marketing and customer lifecycle. Adobe Experience Platform most popular applications include Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Audience Manager, and Adobe Journey Optimizer.
Sitcore has their Customer Data Platform, OrderCloud, Content Hub and many more for content and customer experience analytics. Crownpeak is the same and offers a Hybrid Headless CMS to improve your digital accessibility with powerful backend tools.
Liferay Experience Platform is one suite that has self-service options for your users and offers a commerce experience to grow your revenue. You also have the ability to self-host or use their cloud version of the software.
Acquia DXP and Bloomreach are common platforms on the market as well. Acquia DXP comes with customer personalization and campaign marketing tools. Bloomreach has strong Ai for data insights and an intuitive API to connect your developer team.
Your Digital Experience Takeaway….
Each platform does not come with every “standard” DXP feature. Some are significantly more commerce-centered like Acquia and Liferay. Others will have valuable dev tools like Bloomreach and Sitecore. Most will be a series of microservices you pay for separately like Adobe targeted products.
It will definitely help to take a look and your team to consider whether you need more features for marketing, customer retention and support, or tech workflow.
More Resources: Your Digital Experience Starter Guide!
A lot of technical terms, especially acronyms being thrown at you can be pretty overwhelming. See the recap below for review.
- DX means digital experience.
- DXM means digital experience management.
- DXCM means digital experience customer management.
- DXP means digital experience platform.
- DAM means digital asset management.
- DMS means data management system.
- WCM means web content management system. These can be DXPs.
- CRM means customer relationship management.
- CMS means content management system.
- UI means user interface.
- CX means customer experience.
If you’re ready for further research into DXP software, we have a list filled with customer reviews and insight. There you will find a variety of platforms.
If you would rather look at a CRM or CMS instead of getting a DXP, we have software reviews for those as well. Even if you do want a DXP to handle a good chunk of marketing and customer support, a separate CRM or CMS can still be worth it. You may also be interested in a contact management system to keep track of clients so you can apply customer retention practices like follow up emails. Digital asset management systems can also be helpful if you need to organize your data.
For those that have used any of the platforms discussed here please leave a review to help other buyers make informed decisions.
Index of Terms and Concepts
Below we have a list of terms used in the article that not everyone will be familiar with.
Artificial Intelligence AI
Artificial Intelligence is a computer program or algorithm that can accomplish programmed tasks. They can allow the automation of many manual chores users dread and streamline those workloads. AIs with machine learning can incorporate lessons from prior tasks and improve without new code being added.
This is the collection of software that teams will use to accomplish tasks and projects. It can refer to cloud applications, system databases, developer tools, etc. Technology stacks can become complicated so it’s important to organize and maintain them.
Silos refer to data that is stored separately from the rest of your tech stack because they don’t integrate easily. This makes it harder to share with different departments, and access your full tech stack. It’s generally recommended to eliminate data silos so you can search through and find data in your systems faster. For more in-depth information see TechTarget’s article on Silos.
Application Programming Interface (API)
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