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Introduction

Headless CMSs started the movement towards separating content from presentation. Headless Commerce platforms continued this shift in mindset towards a more open architecture. Conscia brings it all together by empowering non-technical users to manage truly headless experiences that encompass both content and commerce. The biggest differences between Conscia and its competitors when orchestrating experiences across multiple back-end channels is our ability to stay truly headless. Conscia is not only back-end agnostic, it’s also front-end agnostic. You can consume our APIs in your web or mobile front-end frameworks such as Next.js, React, Angular, or choose to build a native mobile application, or even an Apple TV app.

DX Engine - The Headless Experience Engine

Conscia offers a headless Experience Engine that assembles content from any existing headless source such as Contentful, Contentstack, Agility, Shopify and Salesforce, and delivers the experience in real-time to any channel through a single, unified Experience API. The real-time decisioning performed by the engine can be managed and controlled by non-technical and business users through an intuitive interface, which offers both rule-based and AI-enabled features.

Component Level Personalization

Conscia breaks down the experience into components that can be individually personalized/contextualized based on the customer's real-time context. Instead of having to create a variant for each page for every combination of contexts, you can define logic/rules at the component level, which will significantly reduce the duplication of effort performed by the marketing team.

Here is an explaination by Sana Remekie, Conscia's CEO, of the importance of modular (component-level) personalization, in her article, "Personalize at Scale With Modular Content", published on CMSWire.

Let’s say you have four channels with a total of 45 interfaces that need to be designed and personalized for 10 different personas. In the traditional web CMS world, you would need to design and create a total of 10 versions for each of the 45 interfaces amounting in 450 variations. Now imagine that each of these variations also needs to be localized to five different languages. This takes us to 450 x 5 = 2,250 variations. It doesn’t end there because there are times when you need to account for markets, products, brands, etc. That only explodes the complexity of the content creation process.

Breaking down the content into reusable components provides multiple advantages including reusability, consistency, scalability and most importantly, personalization at scale. The first step is to take stock of all of your interfaces and identify common components across them all.

Here is a visual that demonstrates what that process may look like:

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In the above image, we have identified seven unique components that are common across all interfaces. Now, if you want to personalize the content within each component for 10 different personas, we’re looking at creating 70 variations, which is quite a bit fewer than 450! The reality is that every component on every page does not need to be personalized. For the few sections of the experience that are, marketers end up having to create a whole different version of the entire page. So in the example above, 70 variations is the worst case scenario.

A Unified Experience API

The rise of Composable Commerce means that the number of best-of-breed applications that organizations have to manage and build experiences against has and will continue to rise. One challenge that naturally emerges from this revolution is that developers must understand the APIs for each of the vendors in order to create unified experiences.

Conscia simplifies the presentation layer with a single unified API response so that the front-end can simply interface with the Experience Engine that in turn takes care of connecting to and assembling content and data from multiple backend systems.

Here is how Conscia fits into your overall Digital Experience Stack.

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API Orchestration

Digital Experiences often require an orchestration of various systems and applications. For example, consider a scenario where your customer profile is sitting in a Customer Data Platform (CDP) such as Segment. Segment holds on to customer traits such as 'brand affinity', 'product affinity', 'churn propensity', etc. When the customer comes to your website, you want to offer them a personalized experience. In order to do this, you would build custom code to first go pull the customer profile from the CDP, pull the customer traits from the profile and provide that as an input to the commerce platform - all of this must be done in real-time!

Conscia offers a zero-code alternative to the 'build' solution. The Engine orchestrates both APIs and Experiences, reducing the dev effort required to build complex logic in your backend.

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Edge Performance

Conscia's lightweight Experience Engine is deployed on the Edge, specifically on Cloudflare, making experience orchestration lightning fast. There is no longer the need to pre-generate 100s or 1000s of variants of each page and publishing them to a CDN. Instead, Conscia's Experience Engine evaluate the right content to deliver to the right time, all in real-time, at unprecedented speeds. The response from each of the backend content or commerce sources can also be cached at the component level, and the engine uses a dependency tree to determine the optimal API call sequence to assemble the full response, making your overall performance faster than any other commercial product in the market. Based on our performance benchmarks, the evaluation of business logic and rules is executed in less than 10ms by the Experience Engine.

Embedding the Experience Engine within existing platforms

Conscia offers an intuitive interface to business users and digital teams to create and manage cross-channel experiences. There are times when it makes sense to embed this capability into an existing CMS, Commerce or Loyalty platform to provide a seamless experience to business users. Conscia's UI is built on APIs such that these are also exposed to our partners and customers to create their own admin interfaces. These APIs are documented here:

Experience API Reference

Event Logging and Reporting

Every request and response is logged in order to provide:

  • Back-end system response times (or outages)
  • Analysis of Behaviour to provide intelligent recommendations

Each event contains the following information

  • The context of the call sent to the Experience Engine which includes Device, Location, Current Navigation Context, Channel, Real-time Intent, Customer ID/Profile
  • The response returned to the calling application which includes the set of content/products that the customer would have seen along with the type of rule it was such as 'Intelligent Recommendations', 'Hand Selected Records', 'Dynamically Selected Records'
  • Other Experience Rule details such as Active Start Date/End Date, Campaign Codes, Tracking Codes and other metadata that was set for that experience rule.

All logged data is made available to clients as data extracts for further reporting, analysis and/or machine learning.

Connectors and Connections

Most Component reference a Connection so that they can fetch (or sometimes even modify) data in a source system. A Connection also allows Components to expose a set of API parameters to the front-end so that business users can configure what data/content is retrieved from the backend. For example, a Component may need to make an API call to a CMS backend to fetch content by ID(s), tags, content types or even execute a SQL query against the content store.

Supported Connectors

The Static and Dynamic Record List components pull content from back-end platforms via real-time APIs. The following connections are supported as of March 2022:

Content Platforms:

  • Agility CMS
  • Contentful
  • Contentstack
  • Strapi

Commerce Platforms:

  • Shopify
  • Salesforce
  • BigCommerce

Digital Asset Management:

  • Cloudinary

Search:

  • Elasticsearch
  • Algolia
  • Lucidworks

Universal API Connector

Conscia's Experience Engine enables organizations to use any headless/API-first platform of their choice as the source for content, data or business logic. For this reason, we offer a zero-code approach to our partners and customers to create new connections.

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Experience Studio - Managing Omni-Channel Experiences

Conscia offers an intuitive business user interface, Experience Studio, to manage and control who sees what content when and where.

Here is each of the above elements of the Headless Experience Framework connect to each other.

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Let's take a look at the various elements of the Headless Experience Framework:

Connections

The DX Engine can connect to any headless backend platform via APIs. You have the ability to create any number of connections within a single application.

Channels

You can create and manage experiences for any channel using Conscia’s DX Engine. You can define an unlimited number of channels such as Web, Mobile, Search, Chatbot, Kiosks, etc.

Templates

The Experience API allows you to organize Experiences into Templates, which are re-usable across Channels. You can map one or more Components to a Template. It is important not to confuse this abstract view of a template with a web-centric idea of a template.

A template can support an experience no matter what the channel is. For example, a web-based home page may have featured banner, main article and welcome message. A native mobile app may want the same information as the web-based homepage above.

Another example could be a template for Voice Search, which may provide a list of product results as well as the address for the nearest store to the customer.

Components

The foundational building block of an Experience is a Component. Components can be Renderable or logical and may or may not be connected to a back-end as its data source. Each Component is accompanied by a set of Experience Rules that define the real-time behaviour of the component. For instance, a 'Featured Articles' component will return may return a different set of articles depending on the Customer Segment that the customer belongs to.

Component Types: Renderable vs. Logical

Conscia offers two types of components, Renderable and logical. Renderable components could be Renderable or audible such as a list of product recommendations that appear on a web page or a mobile screen, and audible could be a response to a voice search on Amazon Alexa.

A logical component simply processes data based on some pre-defined logic and acts as an input to Renderable components. For example, a Customer Profile component can grab customer's information from a CDP and enrich the customer's real-time context with a customer segment, product affinities, email preferences, etc that can be used by Renderable components to render relevant information.

Renderable Component: Static Records List

A Static Record List component allows business users to hand select a list of content records or products from a backend system.

Renderable Component: Dynamic Record List

Dynamic Record List components return multiple records, though in contrast to a static record list (where users select a curated set of records), records are returned based on the taxonomy tag the user selects. Records matching the selected taxonomy value are returned as part of the experience.

Now that our Featured Properties components has been created, we can add it to a Template.

Renderable Component: Intelligent Recommendations

Conscia offers a pre-defined set of intelligent product and content recommendations that use a combination of Analytics and AI to extract insights from individual's interaction history and their real-time context.

These include:

  • Product/Content Recommendations

  • Personalized Search results

  • Layout, Navigation and styling Personalization

  • Similar products to what you're currently viewing

  • Customers who viewed this product also viewed/bought

  • Trending products or content or brands (over x weeks, months, etc)

    • over x weeks, months, etc
    • by Geography, Market
    • by Customer Segment

Experience Rules

Each Component can behave differently depending on the real-time Context of the user or application provided to it as an input. The DX Engine exposes an intuitive interface for marketing users to define omni-channel campaigns, which ultimately drive who sees what, when and where throughout the customer's journey.

Context

A context can be something as simple as the real-time location of the customer, or a list of Brand Affinities from the Customer's persistent profile, that you can use to go grab a relevant set of product recommendations. User’s or application’s real-time context can be passed to each Component within the DX Engine.