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Reflecting on BloomReach Connect New York 2017

Reflecting on BloomReach Connect New York 2017

Jillian Orchant

A convoy from our team made the journey to New York for BloomReach’s annual conference, BloomReach Connect. Considering this was their first event since acquiring our partner Hippo CMS in October 2016, we were eager to see what the Silicon Valley-based firm had in store for us. Read on to get the scoop on what’s coming.

Meeting BloomReach DXP

During the morning Partner Meeting, we received an exclusive behind the scenes look at BloomReach’s new digital experience platform (DXP) — the industry’s first open and intelligent DXP software.

Since their Hippo acquisition, BloomReach has been hard at work to integrate Hippo’s best bits into what is now being referred to as BloomReach DXP — the company's very own digital experience platform.

Prior to the acquisition, BloomReach was a formidable cloud marketing platform that — due to a lack of content management and personalization features — wasn’t quite ready to be called a fully fledged digital experience solution. Hippo’s technology, which was responsible for its meteoric rise, was the missing piece to the BloomReach puzzle.

The platform allows for content writers and marketers to maximize the use of content as a service (CaaS) but also goes one step further to deliver Experience as a Service (EaaS) — a model that resonates well with the ethos we have here at Authentic.

An Artificially Intelligent DXP

Throughout the event, we came to know and experience the open source, cloud-based and AI-driven nature of BloomReach DXP — a product that already sits comfortably within Gartner’s Visionaries quadrant.

It leverages artificial intelligence to deliver personalization in real-time along the customer journey. It does this by monitoring and learning from the customer’s interactions and behavior on and offline.

Further, BloomReach DXP can plug into external data sources and third-party platforms, working to understand the voice of the customer and break down siloed experiences. It also boasts the ability to merge personalized content with product offerings for commerce experiences.

With BloomReach DXP’s AI-backed web relevance engine, there was a heavy focus on the concept of machine learning throughout the event, but since this is exactly what the market is demanding, we didn’t mind one bit.

BloomReach CEO, Raj De Datta, explained that the DXP experience is all about, “Re-inventing the web experience and empowering employees with the context and ability to facilitate conversations. The key to customer loyalty is not price of product...it’s the experience.”

And as we will come to discuss, it’s the right blend of machine learning and human guidance that produces those loyalty-building experiences.

Once we understood the in’s and out’s of BloomReach DXP’s AI capabilities, we drilled down into the three key components that make up the platform, all three of which will be released in phases.

BloomReach Personalization

Firstly, BloomReach DXP has its own personalization engine.

Currently this personalization component is being offered to commerce as a single product with a unified user interface with independent applications within:

  • Search
  • Insights
  • Target & Testing
  • Merchandising

Will Uppington, Chief Product Officer at BloomReach, delivered the main stage session at Connect on the platform’s personalization features.

Notably, he said, “Brands can’t achieve the promise of personalization if you don’t use both human and machine intelligence.”

BloomReach Experience

Here’s where Hippo’s technology comes into play, as BloomReach Experience leverages the power of Hippo CMS Enterprise.

As the name suggests, this component of the platform is responsible for content management and delivery across the customer journey — and across all major channels.  

BloomReach Experience encompasses features like drag-and-drop page building, enabling marketers and content publishers to apply the human touch needed for a well-rounded personalization strategy.

Hippo’s CTO Arje Cahn was presenting this time, and he used the example of a Home Depot store where customers should have the ability to search within the site for not only specific products but also for keywords or suggestions for products. He referred to the search term, ‘indoor herb garden’ as a specific example of such a search.

His argument was that a personalization engine must work based on the right data and insights so it can know when and where to personalize content. If a user has already purchased an indoor herb garden on Home Depot, it doesn’t make sense to serve up that same content in the suggestions. Instead, it could suggest additional products that could be used in addition to the one already purchased. Now that’s personalized.

Arje Cahn summed this up quite nicely by saying,“Personalization should feel natural, it shouldn’t disrupt and it should blend into the world.” From there he went on to say, “Personalization should really be anti-digital, it should feel more like an analog experience and feel real.”

BloomReach Organic

Finally, we got to grips with BloomReach Organic, a key component for retailers and eCommerce businesses.

It maximizes SEO for entire product catalogs and manages organic search on a large scale across all channels. Since it’s a solely data-driven element, it works in the background to optimize content and serve up relevant products and suggestions without the need to get IT involved in the process.

A Blooming Good Day

In addition to the presentations from the BloomReach Team, we also heard from TUMI’s Chief Digital Officer, Charlie Cole, who spoke about the importance of SEO and personalization, stating that, “Technology has to be part of the conversation, not just an order taker.”

Plus, we saw David Bridal’s VP of Digital Strategy & Innovation, Courtney Graybill, take the stage, who — as a client — sang BloomReach’s praises. According to her, “retailers with a strong brick & mortar [presence] with strong data connectivity are on the path to [delivering a good] personalized experience.”

All in all, BloomReach Connect 2017 was full of insightful moments, great speakers, and an exciting atmosphere to bond the day’s various presentations and activities together. As a BloomReach and Hippo partner, we couldn’t be more excited for our clients to start to realize the benefits of these new features.