Episerver Ascend in Las Vegas was the most impressive Ascend show yet, with CMS and Commerce taking over Sin City for days. The luxurious Aria Resort proved to be a perfect new home for Epi’s annual shindig and gave the event the glitz and glamour it deserves. But apart from its setting, what made the greatest impression on us at this year’s Ascend? We’ll tell you.
1. Niteco’s presence was a great success
This year, Niteco was a Platinum Sponsor of Ascend, dramatically ramping up its presence. The presentations made by Niteco’s representatives attracted a large number of interested professionals and wowed listeners.
CEO Pelle Niklasson presented a new way of approaching working across continents and time zones. His presentation on “24/7 Episerver Project Delivery” detailed how companies can leverage their distributed development teams to offer services all around the clock. You can read more about the concept here.
Niteco CTO and Episerver MVP Linus Ekstrom spoke on the importance of web performance in today’s E-commerce world. His common-sense approach paired with his extensive knowledge of Episerver made for a presentation that delivered new information even to seasoned developers. You can read about his take here.
2. It’s the experience that counts!
In his opening keynote, Episerver CMO James Norwood gave the assembled professionals something to ponder. According to Episerver’s Reimagining Commerce survey, 92 percent of first-time users do not come to a commerce website to make a purchase. Instead, they are there to conduct research and compare products, prices, and services. So in essence, the vast majority of first time visitors to your site will never even enter that sales funnel toward conversion that you have so painstakingly set up.
So in order to address this problem, your site needs to offer these visitors something other than a streamlined and convenient purchasing process. What you must do to get these users to come back is provide them with a great experience using your website. 95 percent of users also said they would be dissuaded from buying anything if a site presented inaccurate or incomplete information. In essence, user experience has become more important for retaining customers than products or services.
3. Episerver Commerce 12
Epi will release Version 12 of its Commerce platform in the near future and has already announced some new features and improvements. For one thing, you can now configure sites to include or exclude tax in your pricing In line with market stipulations, making multi market scenarios where tax is handled differently, much easier.
In addition, Epi hinted that later on this year*, developers will be able to choose whether carts and orders are stored locally or in the cloud. This would mean that users can place orders even when the site is being updated and is in a read-only state.
4. Automatically deliver the best content
With the announcement of Episerver Advance, Epi has finally completed its Personalization Suite. Advance uses cognitive artificial intelligence to automatically apply metadata tags to content assets, minimizing the effort necessary for comprehensively tagging a company’s assets. It then sequences the delivery of those assets based on deep data analysis and a visitor’s real-time activity in order to automatically deliver the content most relevant to the customer’s inferred goals.
"With the release of Episerver Advance, we are solving the last and most complex piece of the personalization puzzle and delivering on our promise to help organizations create individualized experiences for their customers and visitors wherever and whenever they engage,” said James Norwood, chief marketing officer and executive vice president, strategy at Episerver.
5. A year for learning
2017 was the year of product launches for Episerver. Products such as the Digital Experience Cloud for Campaign, Commerce and Personalization were released just last year but have not enjoyed the traction Episerver may have hoped for. This may explain why, this year, Episerver has slowed down on product launches and is focused on consolidating the products so that they work nicely together. In addition, there seems to be a big drive to educate partners and customers on the benefits of using the suite in its entirety. One way they hope to address this is through a new Learning Management System that enables online training anywhere and at any time.
6. Episerver gets bigger and better
Episerver CEO Mark Duffell presented some amazing numbers on Episerver’s growth in his keynote. In the past year, Epi doubled its product portfolio and expanded its team by half over the last two years. In addition, Episerver saw 90 percent growth on-year in cloud subscriptions.
So, expect next year’s Ascend to blow this year’s out of the water. Episerver, its offerings, and the number of partners and customers will only grow further. And Niteco will be along for the ride as the world’s largest Episerver partner.
*Corrected from original article that insinuated it was a feature that was available now.