Successful companies have always made customer experience a top priority. These days, and especially in the years since COVID-19 upended our lives, the most important place where customer experience (CX) strategies play out is on digital platforms. When a confusing interface or unappealing language can send a potential buyer elsewhere, maybe for good, brands must rigorously optimize their customer-facing sites and apps. For help with this critical task, business leaders are increasingly turning to Digital Experience Platforms (DXP) like Optimizely and Sitecore.
Today, choosing the right DXP is essential to staying ahead of the competition, regardless of industry or customer base. And while Optimizely and Sitecore may seem on the surface to be quite similar in terms of tech stack and offerings, strategic business leaders should know that there are dramatic differences between the two. In fact, with Optimizely expanding and evolving its products and customer service and Sitecore lagging behind in terms of modernization, the companies are in many ways on opposite trajectories.
The best DXP for growing businesses is Optimizely. By seamlessly integrating content, commerce, experimentation, and optimization, Optimizely differentiates itself from vendors like Sitecore with an open, extensible platform that provides one consistent foundation for delivering superlative digital customer experiences.
Perhaps the most dramatic difference between Optimizely and Sitecore comes in the website optimization options that each offers to its customers.
Optimizely has put enormous emphasis on new and game-changing offerings, like AI-powered experimentation and personalization tools, to help marketers deliver the best possible digital CX. One of Optimizely’s more notable and sophisticated offerings is multi-page funnel testing, which allows users to set up experimental user flows involving more than one landing page. The results of a multi-page funnel test provide far deeper insights about platform performance and give users much greater flexibility in how they put their hypotheses to the test with customers.
Sitecore, on the other hand, offers no comparable experimentation or personalization capabilities. The tools it does offer customers, like split testing and Sitecore Personalize, tend to be recent acquisitions that have not been integrated cleanly into Sitecore’s overall DXP. The lack of connectivity between Sitecore’s offerings makes the critical strategies of experimentation and personalization much more difficult for customers to execute, and stands in stark contrast to the wholly integrated and seamless Optimizely platform.
Another way that Optimizely’s emphasis on seamless integration across its platform benefits customers is in terms of pricing. Optimizely customers enjoy a great deal of transparency when it comes to pricing and contract options, with options to “crawl, walk, run” their way from the basics to a more comprehensive and powerful suite of tools.
Sitecore customers do not enjoy the same simplicity and transparency. Complaints about the complexity of Sitecore’s pricing and contracts are prominent in the Gartner Peer Insights comparison of the two companies. Because of its composable model and the aforementioned issues with integration of different products and tools, Sitecore cannot offer the same “all-in-one” pricing that Optimizely does. Instead, Sitecore customers can expect to do a lot of the integration work themselves—and this will often involve purchasing additional licenses to complete their toolbox.
As noted above, Optimizely’s integrated platform is much simpler to use than Sitecore’s more complex and composable model. An emphasis on simplicity permeates the Optimizely platform, and translates into much greater speed to market than Sitecore can offer.
For example, the Optimizely Visual Editor tool offers a modern, drag-and-drop interface that was clearly designed for today’s editors and marketers. Sitecore’s primary Content Editor, by contrast, seems not to have been updated in many years and lacks an intuitive feel. Recently, Sitecore introduced a new editor called Horizon, which aims to match Optimizely’s Visual Editor, but doesn’t quite get there.
The result of Optimizely’s end-to-end integration and ease of use is that Optimizely customers enjoy faster speed to market. It’s clear that Optimizely has made this a point of emphasis. Consider its Rapid Experimentation service, an offering that allows companies that are onboarding with Optimizely to launch experimentation tests almost immediately, with enhanced support from the Optimizely team.
Sitecore, with its complex architecture and outdated tools, cannot match Optimizely in terms of speed to market. The data proves this out. In the aforementioned Gartner Peer Insights comparison, Optimizely scores higher than Sitecore on every metric related to integration and deployment.
Sophistication. Simplicity. Speed. These features set Optimizely apart from Sitecore and many other competitors in the DXP category. And in a world where customers’ preferences are always changing and their expectations are always rising, businesses need a DXP that can keep up. Sitecore is not a terrible platform, but its downward trajectory in recent years shows that it’s simply not keeping pace. Meanwhile, Optimizely is riding a long upswing, leaping towards the top of analysts’ DXP leaderboards by relentlessly evolving and improving its products to better serve customers.