If you are running Optimizely Commerce and haven’t yet made the leap to V14 and CMS 12, you are likely considering whether to do so and what’s involved in the process.
Having completed a number of ecommerce platform upgrades for a number of our leading clients, we can now offer some insight into both questions.
Start with “Why?”
If you are running on an older version of Optimizely Commerce (now known as Customised Commerce) you’ll likely have invested in the single platform to drive an integrated Content and Commerce experience.
Optimizely’s famously intuitive headless CMS has options for native or integrated personalisation, search, merchandising and marketing automation and more. These features have enabled many of our customers such as New Era Cap to create great experiences and achieve serious growth.
As a commerce leader, you’ll be looking to continue to drive your commerce growth and platform performance. To do that you may be asking “what and where next?” How do we drive that extra value from this platform – or do we need to think about a re-platform?
You’ll also likely be aware of the market shift towards composable digital experience and commerce platform architectures, which promise the most modern technical architectures and best of breed capabilities in every area of digital marketing. But they also create significant challenges within many businesses.
Composable commerce projects are not for the faint hearted and are as much about seismic shifts in company culture and technical approach as the selection of a new vendor.
So back to the why. In many ways, Upgrading to Optimizely Commerce 14 and CMS 12 offers you the best of both worlds. More modern technology and architecture plus the same great options for your commerce marketing platform – with a number of major enhancements to the platform.
Modernised, agnostic and future proofed technical foundations
Following Microsoft’s announcement of their intention to deprecate of older versions of .Net in 2021, Optimizely set about building their newest versions to leverage the new wave of .NET Core. As well as, to support a wider variety of hosting architectures, front end frameworks and headless style deployments (via Optimizely CMS 12).
Optimizely Commerce Cloud was reborn as V14, underpinned by the new CMS 12, built on .NET 6.
Features, gains and enhancements of the ecommerce platform
The Optimizely offering has expanded significantly since the days of Experience Driven Commerce and Content & Commerce propositions. The go to market is now as much about organisational and experience optimization as the underlying CMS and Commerce platforms.
Commerce 14 and CMS 12 deliver new features for sure, but the key benefit is the ability to leverage the new and more seamlessly integrated platform capabilities for Collaboration (Content Marketing Platform) and (Web & Feature) Experimentation. This means you can focus on continuous optimisation in efficiency, effectiveness and customer experience – pushing the major vitals of your commerce experience – rather than commissioning huge projects to select, develop and implement new content, marketing and commerce platforms.
We all feel the need for speed
Initial announcements from Optimizely suggested 5 times faster site speed and similar increases in ability to serve requests and response time. If this could be achieved from the upgrade alone, this would surely be a game changer and would extend the lifespan of any current implementation.
Following our own analysis in real world production scenarios, we aren’t quite seeing those 5x increases in front end speed, but we are seeing significant and impressive increases in performance.
On lower levels of traffic (50 concurrent users) across key customer pathways such as Homepage, PDP and PLP, we can typically see in the region of 10-20% increase in page load based on comparable hardware. A study by Google found that every one second decrease in page load speed has a 27% increase in conversion rate. It is widely accepted that page load speed directly correlates with increases in conversion rate, and in search engine performance, we all feel the need for speed and would happily accept that benefit.
Scale faster too
But whilst the site speed benefits were impactful, our research threw up even more interesting data. As we increased the volume of concurrent users to 100, then 200 concurrent users, still on comparable hardware, we noted performance improvements in the region of 70%!
This of course means we can have much greater confidence in our ability to scale and serve customers at peak performance in peak periods, when it matters most.
Lowering cost of ownership
With all this inherent enhancement in speed, teams are less likely to need to increase hardware resources around busy periods, reducing consumption and lowering cost of ownership. Whilst Commerce Cloud supports auto scaling in those periods, we should all be keen to reduce energy and cost consumption.
A no brainer then!
So, the Optimizely Commerce 14 upgrade delivers more marketing capabilities, more modern technology foundations, headless capabilities and the flexibility for experience design. This is resulting in faster sites that scale better and all this comes at a lower cost of ownership. It must be a no-brainer – right?
Well, not exactly. The upgrade path is an extensive and complex one. As usual it is made more complex based on the amount of customisation and number of integrations – sometimes high in such commerce implementations.
So let’s talk about the how
An upgrade project such as this one needs careful consideration and planning. How many of those challenging integrations do we need to consider? How does it align with other projects in your roadmap – for instance an ERP integration, checkout enhancements, implementation of new payment options or simply a desire to redesign core elements of the commerce experience. All of these are key considerations you should take into account.
UNRVLD is delighted to have a team of Optimizely and Commerce specialists including technical and strategic Optimizely MVPs. If you’re considering your next move and want to know more about Optimizely Commerce 14 or Composable Commerce strategies – Let’s talk about the why – and the how.