Whether you are in search for new content management system or optimizing internal processes related to the content - one very useful thing you could do is to design your content delivery tree.
The diagram of content delivery gives clear view on many important features that the CMS should support.
I'm sure you know very well your platform, the point is that you have to make analysis with the digital content in mind. Like identifying integration points, content usage, common data between the catalog and the CMS ... This post is focused of the delivery tree in the context of eCommerce.
Identify your delivery tree
Let's start with the global view on the eCommerce platform from digital content perspective. How you going to organise you digital content, split it, use and reuse it.
First characteristics I check are the once below:
This is the first characteristic you should understand for your shop platform. A company can own and manage multiple brands. They can be totally different for ex. a company has shop for digital equipment and another one for selling music instruments online. Or they can be very close a good example are specialized shops created from a set of products from the "mother" shop.
Get more info on how they are managed: on organizational level and operational level. This should tell you how close are the brands between each other. The multiband concept should be built in from the start.
If you are lucky and your company has only one brand and no plans to introduce new one, then maybe you can put away the "brands" feature from the list. This is clearly a bet and you should sync with your business people before making the decision.
One brand can have multiple sites. Usually the sites are on country level. They tend to have the same look and feel. From digital content aspect you should be able to make clear distinction in the content organization.
Some system handles it in the content organizational tree, some with meta data in the content ...Independently how it's solved, if you are in a multinational business make sure you mark this as mandatory feature.
This one is important if you provide different locales on the same site. Maybe you have site (or mobile app) in Switzerland - providing localizations on the German, Italian and French. Be careful with this one, many platforms tend to handle multi-site feature with the localization functionality.
That means if you have two sites you can just take two different locales and support them. I find it as better solution to have the multi-site feature separately. I want to be able to have two sites with the same locale. For example, you want to provide English version in the German site or just take the Spanish language as an example which is used in many countries.
The channels (web/mobile/other) give another dimension to the digital content structure. Which means you need to keep separate and different content depending on the channel.
Please don't mix it with the responsive design principles. You should be able to deliver totally different experience on different channels. It's not a must but it's better for you to stay flexible.
Make sure that your potential system supports content delivery based on the channel.
You should build similar tree for your system. The characteristics should give you global view on your platform and also criteria for the potential CMS. All criteria that you identified for your eCommerce platform must be fulfilled from the CMS candidates.
Please don't make compromise on these features. Making workarounds or adding additional external tools can cost you a lot of time and headache.
Digital Content Reusability
As you probably noticed as you go down the tree the reusability is higher.
The brands barely share content, maybe some metadata and info for the company itself. As you move down, there is also good possibility to have reuse between some sites. It's more specific cases then a rule. I’ve seen this case for German and Austrian sites also for France and Belgium.
- Identify how to organise the content to fit your business. In our case main players are brands, sites, localization and channels
- Mark the shared content cases
My post presents the main points when you think of content delivery for eCommerce. The integration between those two systems is another challenge.