The Episerver Platform – An Overview

The Episerver Platform – An Overview

For those not familiar with it, Episerver’s platform may be hard to grasp. Niteco gives you a quick tour of Episerver’s different functionalities and modules so you can decide what you need.

The Episerver Platform has grown considerably since its inception 25 years ago. Now in version 11 for CMS and 13 for Commerce, it has grown from a simple framework for website development into a platform encompassing a vast number of systems, supporting businesses in this age of digital transformation.

Episerver has recently been named a leader in DXPs (Digital Experience Platforms), extending beyond just a CMS or E-Commerce platform to a platform that allows businesses to put the focus back on the customer, providing a personalized and unified experience across the many touchpoints that are available in this day and age. Its size may be daunting, however, so to make understanding the Episerver platform easier, we’ve put together this overview, explaining each component of the platform.

Episerver Platform

Episerver CMS

For several years now, Episerver has been known to be a leader in the Web Content Management space. Just check Forrester and Gartner’s Magic Quadrant. Its powerful content management capabilities empower editors to take full control of the website’s content and support them in their day-to-day marketing activities. This includes on-page editing, scheduling of content publishing, bulk content authoring, approval workflows, forms, A/B testing, SEO, social media integration and personalization, all via a user-friendly, intuitive UI. Episerver also supports headless CMS options for businesses with multiple touchpoints.

 

Episerver Commerce

Not only does it have a powerful web content management, Episerver also has very strong e-commerce capabilities (check Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce). It has a very easy to use UI to manage markets, products, pricing, inventory, carts and orders, as well as setting up discounts and promotions. It can easily integrate with the usual E-Commerce support systems such as an ERP, PIM, OMS, DAM, payment gateways, marketing automation and so on. And it blends well with the CMS capabilities, providing marketers on-page editing abilities for product listing and detail pages and letting them easily manage campaigns, banners and landing pages.

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Episerver Search and Navigation

Previously known as Episerver Find, Episerver also offers an Enterprise search service that’s hosted in the cloud. It can power the website’s search results and autocomplete, as well as be the engine to your product listing pages and news listing pages. It has built-in tracking abilities to help content marketers analyze the search performance of the website and optimize these with features like Best Bets, Related Queries, Synonyms, and customized weight boosting.

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Episerver Visitor Intelligence

A lot of businesses have abandoned traditional product-driven and business-driven methodologies for a more customer-centric strategy. We are in the midst of a revolution where the customer is in the driver’s seat, willing to pay for a better customer experience and abandoning businesses with which they’ve had a poor experience. To provide a great experience to the customer, understanding them is key.

Previously known as Episerver Insight, Episerver Visitor Intelligence allows you to track, analyze and identify your customers. It gives you the ability to segment your customers based on several themes, including demographics, E-Commerce behavior, as well as omnichannel behavior (i.e. customers who purchased online and offline/in-store). Part of Episerver Visitor Intelligence is the Episerver CDP, as explained below.

 

Episerver CDP – Customer Data Platform

At the heart of a customer centric platform is where you usually will find a CDP. It works behind the scenes to collect and centralize customer data from different touchpoints and make it available to the website so it can provide a unified and personalized experience to the customer.

Initially called the Episerver Profile Store, Episerver has a CDP that enables you to track user behavior on the website (i.e. pageviews, products and categories interacted with) as well as behavior captured from other external but related systems, such as mobile apps, kiosks, etc. It can also combine profiles to identify the same user across multiple devices. With all the data available, Episerver’s AI-based products such as Episerver Product Recommendations, Episerver Content Recommendations, and Episerver Personalized Find can all serve relevant content to the customer, improving their overall experience, and making the lives of marketing teams a lot easier.

 

Episerver Product Recommendations

While the CMS itself already has personalization capabilities with visitor group criteria including geolocation, pageviews, time of day, and acquisition, all of these are rules-based. This means editors and marketers will have to set up these rules to achieve the personalization they want for the website. This is great for when the personalization required is simple and the number of rules is manageable.

However, if your website requires more than just rules and trends, Episerver comes with AI-based personalization capabilities for your website. It doesn’t require rules to be manually set up by marketers, but rather learns to understand the customer. It then provides the customer with a personalized and individualized experience, one that recommends products based on the customer’s interactions with the website. This includes visited products, products added to cart, categories visited, and products searched and purchased. This does not require interference from a marketer and is all done via machine learning. Backed by the Episerver CDP (explained above), Episerver Product Recommendations can also provide a unified experience, being able to recommend products not just based on website behavior, but also on other touchpoints (i.e. offline or in-store experiences).

 

Episerver Email Product Recommendations

Individualized experiences should extend beyond just the website and into email communications. Episerver Email Product Recommendations provides just that, personalized product recommendations inserted into your email campaigns. Marketers can construct emails around individualized customer product suggestions to provide that unique 1-to-1 messaging which has been proven to significantly increase click-through rates, driving more traffic to the website via email. Outside of marketing campaigns, this can also be used in transactional emails as well as triggered messages, covering abandoned basket emails, welcome messages, order confirmation and so on.

 

Episerver Marketing Automation

Also known as Episerver Campaign, this can be an addition to your Episerver platform or be used as a standalone marketing automation tool, integrating easily into most CMS, E-Commerce and CRM systems. It provides marketers with a powerful editor to create anything from one-shot smart campaigns all the way to complex multi-step campaigns. It allows the use of several channels, including email communications, print, mobile push and SMS. It also seamlessly integrates into Episerver Visitor Intelligence, allowing you to use and target your already created user segments as recipient lists to your campaigns. In addition, it also provides some performance analysis to your campaigns, with reports including KPIs, post-click tracking and visual link analysis.

 

Episerver Content Recommendations

Last but not least, Episerver has recently acquired Idio, a tool that has already helped many businesses serve relevant and meaningful content to end users, increasing customer engagement and improving advertising efficiency. It has a unique predictive content intelligence engine that uses a rich and deep understanding of a visitor profile and then derives the profile’s interests to be able to serve relevant content recommendations. It also provides marketing teams with helpful insights as to which content to create and produce on the website.

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Conclusion

You may be asking, “Why not have all of these functions in one system? Why does it have to be broken down, making it more complex?” The answer is quite simple. Not all customers need all of these modules. Businesses can start with the absolute minimum, perhaps just a CMS/E-Commerce site, and slowly grow and evolve the platform overtime. Businesses also have the option to choose other systems to integrate with their website. So, to make this integration easy, the systems have been decoupled, meaning you can easily turn things on and off and choose only what you need.

If you want to know more, speak to the Episerver experts here at Niteco. We have 120 certified Episerver developers, the largest number of any Episerver partner. We have helped businesses around the globe in their digital transformation, with industries ranging from retail, healthcare, and media to finance, government bodies, and so on. Find out how we can help you.

About The Author

Nicola Ayan

Nicola Ayan

Episerver Solution Architect

Nicola Ayan is Niteco’s Sydney-based Solutions Architect whose knowledge of Episerver has won her a spot as a MVP. In addition to her Episerver expertise, Nicola is also Microsoft certified. She’s an avid blogger on all-things Episerver and Microsoft. Contact her to discuss your next project: [email protected]