Sitecore’s architecture is broken into five main service tiers: Channels, Management, Sitecore AIDA, Database and the Integration Tier. In this article, we will talk about Sitecore’s Channel layer.
Channels are the points of engagement from which customers enter as they interact with your brand. Sitecore provides a host of features and capabilities that maximize engagement across the following channels.
Key features and capabilities of the Channel layer include:
- Email Experience Manager (EXM): With EXM, you can author e-mails, set personalization rules for those e-mails, and track e-mail click-throughs and other analytics.
- Print Experience Manager (PXM): PXM allows you to dynamically generate print assets, such as brochures or manuals, on the fly. This is helpful because your brochures and digital properties can share the same content, for example, and you can even generate custom, personalized assets for customers on demand.
- Federated Experience Manager (FXM): FXM allows you to share the same content and analytics across all your digital properties, regardless if they are on the Sitecore platform.
- Social Media Connect Provides integration into Facebook, Twitter, etc. for your digital properties.
- Sitecore Commerce Connect: This interface allows any commerce system that implements the interface to natively talk to Sitecore. Your website or app may need to submit an order, get the number of items in a shopping cart, or check the inventory of a product. All these actions and more can be developed through this interface, thus making the backed commerce solution interchangeable.
And those channels are:
- Web: The Web channel is the core channel users will engage in from a browser experience. The browser/web channel also becomes the primary mechanism to administer Sitecore.
- E-mail: Sitecore engages the e-mail channel primarily through the Email Experience Manager (EXM) module. This module allows marketers to create e-mail campaigns by leveraging customer profile data, preferences, or segments. The Email Experience Manager also allows for easy tracking of customer engagement within the campaign.
- Mobile: Sitecore accommodates a separation of content and presentation details. This makes it very easy for developers to create compelling mobile web experiences within Sitecore. Sitecore also accommodates device detection for situations where an adaptive experience is preferred.
- Social: Sitecore allows for easy integration with Social channels such as Facebook and Twitter. When you post content in Sitecore, you can configure it to automatically post to one or many pages on Facebook. You can also allow users to log into your site with their federated Facebook credentials. There is a ton of possibility for a marketer in this channel, from finding brand advocates to capturing customer intelligence, to proactively seeking feedback and advice.
- Commerce: Sitecore has rich commerce capabilities to tap into your customer shopping behaviors across all your channels. Sitecore commerce 8 is a new capability release in early 2015 that enables B2C and B2B e-commerce managed within Sitecore and a Microsoft Dynamics backend.
- Print: Print is another channel that customers interface with regularly, such as through brochures and print ads. Print Experience Manager (PXM), a feature of Sitecore, allows marketers to easily capture personalization data to create compelling, targeted print experiences for customers.
- Apps: Mobile apps have become a critical way customers interact with your brand, especially when considering e-commerce. One of the benefits of Sitecore is the ease of access to centralized content. Content for the web can be reused for content in an app. Additionally, you can use Sitecore’s Federated Experience Manager (FXM) to tie in App engagement data into Sitecore to, again, create a single view of how your customer is experiencing your brand.
- Federated: Federated channels might be channels you don’t own but still represent a view into your customer. Perhaps a partner website captures valuable information about your target customers. Through the use of Federated Experience Manager, you can easily capture those very important, non-Sitecore managed experience’s data and combine in with native representations of your customer to create a truer representation of your customer’s engagement across all your channels ( and event partners).