Sitecore Experience Platform 8.1 Offers New Look and Improved Personalization

This week, Sitecore announced the availability of Sitecore Experience Platform (XP) 8.1, the newest version of its flagship product. Sitecore XP 8.1 enables marketers to turn customer interaction into an experience by offering customers relevant content in the appropriate context at the right time. Sitecore XP 8.1 offers an improved user interface and improved personalization through improved contextual intelligence.

According to the Gartner Group, “89% of companies will compete almost entirely or entirely on the customer experience.”* To remain competitive and provide truly personalized experiences, businesses must understand the context surrounding every customer at every interaction and then, in turn, deliver the exact piece of content or offer at precisely the right moment.

With powerful contextual intelligence, Sitecore XP 8.1 helps businesses analyze key customer attributes, like location and device, in real time and to integrate that with purchase history, demographic data, behavioral trends, and activity across touch-points. In one central platform, Sitecore XP 8.1 provides organizations with an easily understood 360-degree view of every customer, allowing brands to build deeper and longer-term relationships with those customers.

The subject of context-based experience has become a special focus for Sitecore with studies showing the relevance context plays in customer loyalty to a particular brand. While overall brand satisfaction is high at 76 percent, context-based experiences emerged as a key driver of brand loyalty. Specifically, millennials are 70 percent more likely than boomers to strongly believe that “brands are not using the most relevant technology to interact with me”, and 30 percent are more likely to strongly believe that “brands that use the right technology…are doing better than those that don’t.” Of note, many consumers, particularly millennials, are open to interacting with brands via different channels. When it comes to personalized offers, 66 percent of millennials find it highly aggravating when personalized advertising is off-target.

“Marketers need three key elements to deliver relevant, personalized experiences,” said Michael Seifert, CEO, Sitecore. “First, they must understand their customers -- who they are, what they care about, and what they’re doing. Second, they need a single content management system that can share contextualized content across channels to customers. And third, they need to deliver communication automation--the ability to map profile and real-time behaviors with on-the-spot decision-making to customize the experience as it happens across touchpoints.”

Key improvements and benefits found in Sitecore XP 8.1 include:

  • A New Look:  The Sitecore XP 8.1 CMS has a completely new user interface compared with earlier Sitecore XP 7.X and 6.X versions, making Sitecore much quicker and easier to use and lowering training and support costs. Marketers should be able to easily master all aspects of marketing in context of how customers have interacted with their brand yesterday, last week, or in the last second so they can offer relevant customer experiences right now across marketing channels. 

  • Enhanced Personalization: Marketers can now collect and analyze data in real time, based on customer location, device, and behavior, which will help shape personalized customer experiences at scale. This allows marketers to personalize every customer’s experience in real time and automate activities across touch points to increase conversion, customer satisfaction, and lifetime value.

  • Mobile Integration: With this new release, Sitecore now has device detection baked in: analytics, device adaptation, and personalization as well as real-time personalization based on historical behaviors.

  • Powerful Context Marketing Capabilities: With Sitecore 8.1, marketers can offer customers unique, personalized experiences in the right context to ultimately build customers for life.

  • Unified IT and Marketing: Sitecore’s flexible, easy-to-use platform integrates seamlessly with existing technology, scaling to meet growing business needs and help IT and marketing teams overcome operational complexity.

  • One Connected Platform: Customers have the advantage of one connected platform that delivers a fluid multi-channel experience to strategically engage with customers across their entire journey.

  • Commerce and Experience are Fully Connected: Sitecore Commerce is fully integrated with Sitecore XP to facilitate ease of deployment and use. New features include the availability of commerce-specific interactions in the Sitecore Experience Profile; the ability to edit merchandise in bulk; ease of installation and configuration; and the option to deploy in Microsoft Azure.

  • Flexible Pricing and Packaging: Sitecore has introduced a pricing and packaging model that enables customers to adopt the right package most closely aligned to their current or planned digital maturity and their preferred software deployment route.

  • Flexible Deployment Options: Sitecore is extending its hosted service offerings to reduce the complexity and investment barriers that smaller organizations face in deploying and managing infrastructure to run their Sitecore sites.

Sitecore XP 8.1 and Sitecore Commerce are now available to new and existing customers of the Sitecore Experience Platform. 

* Gartner, Inc., “Marketing Spending Shows the High Priority CMOs Put on Customer Experience”, Mark Raskino, May 27, 2015.