the number five reflected in a cylinder
PHOTO: chintermeyer

One of the big challenges for enterprise technology buyers is finding a vendor that not only ticks all the boxes in an RFP, but that understands the specific needs of their organization and business model. Buyers in the market for digital customer experience technologies are no different. While the inevitable challenges in implementation, integration and execution will present themselves after the selection period is over, performing due diligence up front to find the right partner can ease those challenges down the line.   

We caught up with a number of vendors in the web content management/digital experience space to ask them for their favorite recent case study. While not reflective of all implementations of the software, this side-by-side comparison will hopefully provide some insight into where a vendor's strength lies.

Editor's note: Case studies are presented, with light edits for clarity, as provided by the vendors. 

Acquia: Going for Digital Bowling Strike

With 300-plus locations in the US, Canada and Mexico, Bowlero Corporation is the world’s largest owner and operator of bowling centers. And while its four brands —Bowlero, Bowlmor, AMF and Brunswick Zone — were delighting customers at brand centers, the company’s online presence wasn’t meeting expectations of today’s consumers. The look-and-feel across each of the four brand sites was outdated and lacked consistent, intuitive design elements, making it difficult for consumers to navigate. 

The issues were most noticeable in the online booking tool, which was neither responsive nor user-centric. Complicating things further, each site’s ecommerce flow lived in a separate environment, meaning that in addition to managing the four sites, Bowlero staffers also had to manage four ecommerce environments, causing issues with content updates and maintenance. And because none of the sites used a CMS, Bowlero relied heavily on web agency partners for small updates, including copy changes, which could only be pushed weekly and were often delayed. 

Sharing Web Components Across Brands

Bowlero wanted to support all 300-plus centers at brand and local levels across all lines of business, and to accommodate unique features of each center, while still sharing components across brands. The company wanted to boost ecommerce conversions and create a way to manage thousands of specials, promotions and alerts for all their centers — from a single area. 

Bowlero also wanted to take advantage of cross-promotion opportunities, specifically driving customers to another brand center if time and date preferences were unavailable. The company’s disjointed web platforms, tedious content updates and unintuitive booking experience kept visitors from easily getting the details they wanted, resulting in an 82% drop-off rate due to pricing information requiring a name and email address to view. 

Screenshot of a Bowlero web page.

Major Relaunch for 4 Sites

Bowlero worked with open digital experience company Acquia and development consultancy Avantia to re-platform and relaunch all four of its brand websites (,,, in addition to its corporate site ( Of note, the teams made changes to user flow and content and conducted tests for key areas of the site, including the online booking tool. They also worked together to integrate backend systems to support the websites’ transactional elements for event booking and leagues. 

Avantia worked directly with third parties for credit card processing, mail marketing and retargeting, analytics and live chat integrations. It also trained Bowlero’s content editors to use the sites’ new functionality. The Acquia platform and Content Hub empowered editors to become more nimble and manage all content in one instance across all brands. Since many had already used Drupal, the teams worked productively in new sites immediately.

Traffic, Booking Conversions on the Rise

In just five months since launch, Bowlero has already seen clear results, including increased use of the site, improved online booking conversion rates, lead generation and overall improved customer experience. More specifically, metrics include:

  • 79% increase in conversion rate year-over-year
  • 27% increase in online reservation volume year-over-year
  • 33% increase in online booking revenue
  • 54% decrease in drop-off rate
  • 20% increase in site traffic in only five months

Looking ahead to 2020, Bowlero will launch and implement several measures to continue its mission of delivering top-notch digital experiences across all brands. They include enhancing the online booking experience, specifically an entirely new way to reserve lanes online, implementing automated, cross-channel retargeting and launching a new loyalty program with member accounts online.

Related Article: What Should Your Digital Experience Stack Look Like? It Depends

Adobe: Crafting Orvis's Future Digital Transformation Road

Orvis is one of America’s oldest companies still in operation. Founded in 1856, it has sold high-quality sporting goods for 163 years. While this legacy is impressive and helps with brand recognition, Orvis realized that its core customer had an average age of 70, likely due in part to aging technology and marketing tactics. Until a few years ago, Orvis continued its history of primarily offering products through a direct mail catalog. There was no shared company vision, and creative and marketing teams were uninspired and struggled to work together. There reached a point where competitors saw Orvis as their prime target for stealing market share. 

'Enormous Business Transformation'

However, with the help of Adobe, Orvis undertook an enormous business transformation, with the primary goal of delivering more powerful customer experiences with greater agility. Orvis made the decision to move past its traditional catalog model to deliver dynamic experiences across direct mail, web and email. The goal was to create an integrated platform for an improved shopping experience online and in physical stores. 

Using Adobe Experience Manager Assets helped to create consistency across the catalog, website and retail stores by aligning messaging, photography and product campaigns. To achieve this transformation, Orvis saw the value in adopting a single suite of solutions and leveraged Adobe applications including Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Analytics and Adobe Target, as well as Adobe Creative Cloud for content creation. 

Adobe’s asset management tools especially played a key role in the company's transformation. Orvis received an early release of Adobe Asset Link, which simplifies collaborating on assets for creative and marketing teams. Orvis appreciated the ability to quickly manage assets across applications such as InDesign and Photoshop to create true personalization through organized assets. 

Improved Collaboration, Intelligence

Since onboarding the new suite of applications, internal conversations at Orvis now take a much broader view spanning website, email, technology and retail stores. Internal silos have also abated, and the team is succeeding by synchronizing as many movements as possible. 

Orvis and Adobe also succeeded at working with more intention and intelligence. For instance, Orvis can now quickly and easily create and deliver content to address an early warm spell in the southern US or a deep freeze in New England on a moment’s notice. Orvis has seen additional positive results, including improved efficiencies, higher conversions and more satisfied shoppers. 

New Crop of Customers Emerge

By making shopping experiences more personalized and relevant, newer and younger shoppers have been drawn to the brand, fulfilling a major goal. The process of finding and deploying assets is 100 times faster, taking minutes rather than hours. Orvis executives feel they have reached the “promised land,” and are set up for success for years and years ahead.

It has been four years since Orvis’ transformation, and given the success the team has seen, they are not stopping. The next step for Orvis is replatforming its 21-year-old website, using Adobe as the CMS of choice. Orvis now has its greatest focus on product innovation, and the journey to deliver great digital customer experiences continues.

Related Article: Don't Let MarTech Vendors Sweep You Off Your Feet: A Guide for the RFP Process

Bloomreach: Albertsons Boosts Its Grocery Baskets

Longtime Albertsons customers likely remember the grocer’s friendly jingle from the 1990s: “Albertsons: It’s your store.” While the slogan is long gone, the retailer, which operates more than 20 regional brands in over 35 states, still wants its customers to have those personalized experiences. With 34 million weekly shoppers, that’s no easy task — especially for a company that prides itself on staying ahead of the grocery curve. 

Personalization Means More Today

Albertsons was one of the first grocery stores to debut online delivery in the 2000s, offering its customers unprecedented speed and convenience. But today, personalization means more. Albertsons and its brands, which include Safeway, Vons and Jewel Osco, wanted to offer tools to help customers plan their weeknight dinners, relevant content to keep them informed and a variety of ways to complete their shopping lists. Those tools also needed to be scalable and accurate; the US grocery market is expected to grow by 18.2% to nearly $20 billion in 2019, making it the fastest-growing online product category. 

Screenshot of Bloomreach's semantic search function
Bloomreach's semantic search function in grocery.

Data Central to Everything

Albertsons turned to Bloomreach with the goal of opening new digital avenues that add a personal touch. We quickly realized data was central to everything the grocer wanted to achieve. But Albertsons’ sites offered low-quality search results, contributing to high bounce rates. That’s a major problem, considering nearly half of the company’s online sales are attributed to search, says Shanti Vellanki, IT director at Albertsons. Before consumers visit a grocery store, they prepare a shopping list and peruse the aisles. But online, the shopping experience starts with search. When results are inaccurate, the online shopping experience can also end with search.  

Customer Experience Overhaul

By adding Bloomreach Search & Merchandising (brSM) to its online shopping, Albertsons overhauled its entire customer experience. More accurate search results mean shoppers can add more products to their carts in less time; today, it’s 25% faster to build a basket. Meanwhile, a product filtering system allows customers to sort items by discounts and manufacturers’ coupons — a critical feature for families and budget shoppers. 

Customer data also contributes to better digital merchandising. Thanks to greater visibility into shoppers’ habits, merchandisers can offer more relevant products and suggestions. The result: grocery shopping that marries relevancy and the browsing capabilities of an in-store experience.  

Next up for the grocer? Integrated experiences that keep customers’ lives at the forefront. Plans include product suggestions based on shoppers’ past purchases, and a menu and recipe search that utilizes their preferred ingredients. Thanks to Albertsons’ partnership with Bloomreach, the grocer is empowered to pursue these and other innovative projects that make online customers truly feel like Albertsons and its regional brands are their store.

Related Article: 9 Tips to Consider When Selecting a Digital Experience Platform

Episerver: Living Spaces' Content-Centric Strategy

Living Spaces operates in more than 20 locations in the US. They aim to connect customers with their ideal home design and furniture. As the trends in home design shift and develop, the customer experience in matching their ideal look to the furniture they live in is changing with just as much color. 

Living Spaces has adopted a modern strategy to delivering a customer-centric experience at both their physical and digital spaces. By keeping focus on customer habits, they aim to leverage the shift in behavior and emerging technical capabilities available for their customers to make each person’s unique vision a reality. They desire zero friction for their customers to view and explore different styles, from their first idea to the lifetime of memories that fill the rooms of their homes. 

Stable, Continuously Improving Architecture

In their journey to remain a leader in their market and their customers’ minds, they continue to deploy CMS-enriched techniques to enable their marketing and merchandising teams to create custom content and packaging for different customers, and to deliver all of this in a stable and continuously improving architecture. Their previous CMS technology stack was in the way, as the needs of the marketing and merchandising team were outpacing the capacity for their IT team to support. 

Responding to Customers With Rich Content

The first step to create a foundation for this evolution was the selection of Episerver Customer-Centric Digital Experience Platform. The project implementation developed many practices that are core to the Living Spaces customer experience. A detailed and careful analysis of content that customers consume and prefer was performed with their partner, Luminos Labs, identifying the content customers needed at different phases of the journey. Knowing who is looking at different products and responding with rich content relevant to each stage of the journey was and is a key strategy for engaging customers. 

Prioritizing customer-centric content that is personalized for different people also required testing and optimization. The array of customer- and content-focused experiences were strategies for the initial project that have become operational. The capabilities of a customer-centric CMS deliver the Living Spaces audience a shopping experience that is unique and enhances the brand relationship with their customers. 

Screenshot of Living Spaces website powered by Episerver.

More Than Traditional Browsing

By delivering customers more than a traditional browsing experience, products can be showcased and highlighted with rich content experiences. Leveraging device technology such as mobile cameras and augmented reality, they can place their catalog through a customer’s hands and into the customer’s home. This provides many benefits to the customer and gives the Living Spaces team a clearer understanding of the customer’s preferences. 

Living Spaces has enjoyed tremendous success across channels. Within the first few months of launch, their store locations have experienced a 10% increase in revenue, showcasing an enticing mix of digitally influenced success. Overall digital conversion rates have increased more than 7%, with an 89% increase in revenue from mobile shopping experiences. An average order value increase of 22% wraps up an amazing success story, while Living Spaces is just beginning to test more experiences and deliver more content to their customers.

Related Article: Investigating the Cost, Integration and Other Realities of Digital Experience Platforms

Sitecore: Subway Reinvents Loyalty Program 

Over 50 years ago, Subway blazed the trail for providing a one-of-a-kind, personal restaurant experience allowing guests to create made-to-order subs, salads, wraps and more with freshly baked bread, meats, fresh vegetables, sauces, toppings and more. As the Subway brand has evolved and recently embarked on a global transformation, they haven’t lost sight of reminding consumers what they love about Subway. 

Bringing Passion to Digital

One of the most recent and significant changes Subway brought to its guests: a more personalized, convenient digital experience, including a new mobile ordering app and the Subway MyWay Rewards program at the center. After introducing its new mobile app and rewards program, Subway partnered with Sitecore and digital consultancies Avanade and Accenture to design and introduce a new, responsive ecommerce experience for ordering ahead at 

Not every guest who wants to order Subway online is interested in downloading a mobile app, leading Subway to extend its new personalization and rewards capabilities onto the web. Leveraging Sitecore Experience Platform (XP) and Sitecore Experience Manager (XM), along with Sitecore Experience Analytics Tools and hosting on Microsoft Azure PaaS, as well as working with Avanade and Accenture to implement these capabilities, the two-year initiative included a cloud-based, off-premise set up that has the scalability to support a robust content management system and cultural support for the global marketplace. 

Screenshot of Subway's website, powered by Sitecore.

Experience Efforts Leads to Sales Results

The results have been transformative thus far. The new website accounts for a significant percentage of the brand’s digital sales and carries an average check that exceeds its front counter averages by more than 30%. Furthermore, in comparison to its legacy website (which lacked personalization and rewards integration), desktop web conversions increased by 10%, and mobile web conversion saw impressive growth at over 40%.  

Offering one of the industry’s most impressive transformation stories this year, Subway and partner Avanade were honored with the Sitecore Experience Award for Best Business Impact or ROI from a Digital Experience and further selected for the Ultimate Experience Award Americas and the People’s Choice Award at Sitecore Symposium 2019.