Sitecore is a global leader in experience management systems. The Sitecore Experience Platform (XP) is a powerful, robust and scalable digital experience platform with powerful features.

Sitecore is feature-rich. It has advanced editing and digital marketing capabilities that allow users to create exciting and dynamic websites.

As an experienced Sitecore solution partner, we’ve put together an overview of 16 of the best Sitecore features:

  1. The Experience Editor
  2. Workflows and security
  3. Versioning
  4. Personalisation
  5. A/B and multivariate testing
  6. Campaigns, goals, and events
  7. Marketing automation
  8. Email Experience Manager
  9. Marketing taxonomies
  10. Content profiling
  11. Forms
  12. Cortex
  13. Commerce
  14. Reporting
  15. Publishing service
  16. Horizon

1. The Experience Editor

The Experience Editor is a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) interface that makes creating and editing pages simple.

Pages are configured to accept specific content. The ‘Add Here’ function helps editors identify areas on the page that content can be added to. Creating a page in the Experience Editor can take less than five minutes!

2. Workflows and security

Workflows

Workflows moderate content. They allow editors to create one or more workflows based on business requirements. Workflows consist of three elements:

  1. States (assigned to Workflows): The various stages of content creation
  2. Commands (assigned to States): Moves content from one state to another
  3. Actions (assigned to Commands): Triggered actions when they're in a particular workflow state

Content is visible in the Workbox where approvers can select workflows to see workflow states so they can approve/reject accordingly.

Find out more about workflows.

Security

Administrators can create Users, Roles, and Domains. Assigning security permissions to roles helps safeguard against users accessing content they’re not meant to.

Security permissions to items are assigned in the Security Editor and viewed in the Access Viewer. Each item in the content tree displays the access rights roles are assigned with.

3. Versioning

Versioning allows users to create new versions of content. Users can see differences between versions and which editors created them. This is especially useful for keeping track of who created which content, and when. There are two types of versioning:

  1. Numbered versions: Items in the same language are versioned
  2. Language versions: Items in different languages are versioned, For example, users can create a specific language versions of a page (French) and populate it with French content 

4. Personalisation

Personalisation is the process of delivering the right content, to the right people at the right time. Users can assign rules to deliver an enriched user experience.

Sitecore comes with many out-of-the-box categories (or conditions). Each condition has its own set of rules that can be assigned to content.

Sitecore feature - Rule set editor 
The Rule Set Editor

Find out more about personalisation

5. A/B and multivariate testing

This feature enables users to configure two types of tests in the Experience Editor or in the Experience Optimisation interface:

  • Page tests: Also called A/B Tests or Split Tests, these test two or more variants of a page
  • Component tests (Multivariate): Tests multiple combinations of page elements at once. For example, a Call-to-Action (CTA) can be tested against an alternative CTA (with a different message) to see the visitor engagement of each

Sitecore also suggests tests on pages so conversion and engagement are maximised.

Find out more about testing.

6. Campaigns, goals, and events

Campaigns can either be created in the Campaign Creator feature or in the Marketing Control Panel. Each method generates a unique marketing campaign link. There are two ways users can track campaigns:

  • Item association: Campaigns assigned to specific pages
  • Campaign tracking codes: A unique marketing campaign link generated, appended to a URL and triggered when the page is visited

Goals measure the effectiveness of actions throughout the user journey. They are created in the Marketing Control Panel and assigned with Engagement Value Points (EVP), that are tracked in Sitecore Analytics.

Find out more about campaigns and goals

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7. Marketing automation

Marketing automation is an integrated system available from the main dashboard. Marketers can easily create automation campaigns to deliver real-time, automated responses triggered by actions visitors complete during user journeys. For example:

For example:

  • Trigger: A customer abandons their shopping cart
  • Automation: An automated email is sent to remind the customer they’re cart is abandoned. The email may even offer a discount for completing the purchase. This is marketing automation process was triggered
  • Action: Customer completes purchase
  • Automation: An automated ‘thank you’ email is sent

Find out more about marketing automation.

8. Email Experience Manager

This is a powerful feature that enables marketers to create engaging emails and assign distribution lists. Email communications can also be personalised and tracked.

The EXM analytics has a detailed dashboard that delivers valuable insights into recipient behaviour like click-through rates, open rates and more.

Find out more about EXM.

9. Marketing taxonomies

Taxonomies categorise marketing activities in a hierarchical structure so that activity is tracked in greater detail. There are four taxonomy types:

  • Channels: Email, social etc.
  • Campaign Groups: Categorise campaigns into groups
  • Assets: Consumable content like PDFS, videos etc.
  • Venues: Location based - like events

Users can also create custom taxonomies to suit business needs.

Find out more about marketing taxonomies.

10. Content profiling

This is the process of tagging content with defined profiles to track visitor behaviour during user journeys.

It helps marketers gain a better understanding of how website content is consumed. The profiling elements consist of: 

  • Profiles: Categories
  • Profile Keys: Describe the attributes of the profiles
  • Profile Cards: Used to identify and segment contacts and are assigned to relevant content
  • Personas: Fictional characters that represent customer types
  • Pattern Cards: Used to map profile values to specific types of visitors. Pattern Cards are used to implement personalisation
Sitecore feature - Profiles
Example of profiling values

Find out more about profiling.

11. Forms

Forms are created directly in the Forms application. From version 9.1 it is the default form builder, replacing Web Forms for Marketers. In Forms, users can:

  • Create simple and complex forms, including multi-step forms
  • Assign save actions like ‘Send an Email’ when the visitor clicks ‘Submit’
  • Configure prefill values on form fields
  • See how visitors interact with the form

Find out more about Forms.

12. Cortex

Cortex is an advanced marketing feature that uses AI and machine learning to drive digital strategy and marketing outcomes. It's key features include:

  • ‘Contextual Intelligence’ to gain greater insights about visitor behaviour
  • Its machine learning capabilities can perform automated personalisation so that enhanced visitor engagement is achieved
  • Based on visitor data, Cortex can detect opportunities like new customer segments and increased sales potential
  • Cortex eliminates the ‘big data’ issue by processing data in real-time – quickly

Find out more about Cortex.

13. Commerce

Sitecore Experience Commerce has everything to create secure, seamless and personalised online shopping experiences.

Users can configure shops using seven essential tools:

  1. Merchandising: Creates and manages Catalogues, Categories, and Sellable Items
  2. Inventory: Organises sellable items and controls their availability for different channels
  3. Pricing: Manages pricing
  4. Promotions: Can be qualified using Date/time, Catalogue, Shop, or Customer Order History
  5. Orders: Enables users to view essential information on customer orders
  6. Customers: Stores all essential customer information
  7. Relationship Definitions: Establishes relationships between sellable items for cross and up sells

Find out more about Sitecore Experience Commerce.

14. Reporting

Sitecore Analytics has three advanced reporting tools presented in a variety of views:

  • Experience Analytics: Split into four categories: Audience, Acquisition, Behaviour, Conversions
  • Experience Profile: Shows a detailed view of website activity
  • Path Analyser: Tracks paths website visitors take during user journeys
Sitecore feature - Experience analytics 
The Experience Analytics dashboard

Find out more about Sitecore Analytics.

15. Publishing Service

The Publishing Service reduces the time it takes to publish a large amount of items (pages, images, etc.). The dashboard improves the user experience by displaying the state of items in the publishing system:

  • Active jobs: Items being published
  • Queued jobs: Items in the publishing queue
  • Recent jobs: Items recently published

16. Horizon

Available in Sitecore 10, Horizon is the successor to the Experience Editor. It offers advanced page editing capabilities that enable editors to swap between sites and languages.

Find out more about Horizon.

If you’re thinking about Sitecore as your preferred platform or if you already have a Sitecore website and need guidance on its rich features, then get in touch.