Mozu is a powerful enterprise-level e-commerce solution that enables brands to create the sort of seamless cross-channel experiences that today’s consumers demand. The platform provides each facet necessary to that experience: fast speed; gorgeous website designs that can be altered easily; personalized offers and discounts tailored to individual behavior; and smooth coherence between copy, pricing, offers, and display, across all channels, online and offline.
This type of seamless experience has become a key factor in achieving optimal growth.
Mozu was built primarily for marketers, providing them with these advanced features, and enabling them to go from “light bulb to live” without requiring (or waiting) for IT to execute.
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Background and History
Funded and developed by Volusion, Mozu claims to be the only e-commerce platform that was built after the Apple iPhone came onto the market and changed the way consumers behaved online. The company is focused on helping you build a sleek, modern e-commerce platform, and they have experience working with businesses both small and large. Over the years, Mozu’s clients have included Bluefly, Boathouse, Jelly Belly, and Sigma.
In October 2016, Kibu Commerce, makers of omnichannel (that is, retail that encompasses multiple methods of shopping, including online, over the phone, and in brick-and-mortar stores) commerce solutions, acquired Mozu.
If you’re new to the notion of consumer demand for a “seamless” or “cross-channel, cross-device” experience we recommend reading this Think With Google article “How successful businesses win consumer experiences.” It’s fair to suggest that Mozu has operationalized most of the customer experience factors that forward-thinking brands know are key to exceeding consumer expectations.
Mozu is a software-as-a-service platform designed for you to provide an engaging e-commerce experience for your visitors. Mozu provides you with most, but not all of what you need. For example, if you want custom domains or SSL certificates, you will need to speak to your account representative about acquiring and implementing these.
Mozu’s platform is comprised of the front-end, administrative area and the developer center, where you can make the technical changes required by your implementation. Mozu is not a DIY-option that you can use without developers — if you don’t currently employ any, you’ll need to do so (or you can opt for one of Mozu’s professional services packages or get in touch with one of Mozu’s partners).
Commerce Platform Features
While Mozu works with you to build the online presence that best features your business and best suits the needs and wants of your customers, there are commonalities between all sites developed using Mozu. Such features are designed to provide the best possible user experience and include:
Responsiveness: Because you’ll be getting visitors using all types of devices, from laptops and desktops (with large screens) to the tiniest of smartphones, it’s important that your site is responsive and adapts according to the device used by the visitor. Mozu makes implementing responsive sites easy by including such considerations early on in the design and build process, eliminating the need to create and manage multiple themes.
Fast Page Load Speeds: Speed matters; if your site hasn’t loaded by the time four seconds have elapsed, you’ll have lost 25% of the people who navigated to your page. Mozu claims that their pages load faster than pages run on their competitors’ platforms. Fast page load times means a lower bounce rate, which directly impacts your bottom line — in a positive way.
Intelligent Search: The goal of Mozu’s search feature on your page is to eliminate as many barriers as possible between your user and the product they want to buy. By creating intuitive categories that allow for easy navigation, your visitors can find what they want with ease. To accomplish this, Mozu helps you personalize search results for specific keywords and search terms, tuning your search results, filtering out irrelevant or distracting results, and creating dynamic categories and custom URL routing.
Promotions Support: People love a good deal, and Mozu claims to deliver “retail’s most advanced promotions engine.” Using this, you can greet customers upon login by their first name, present them (on any device) with offers based on their previous behavior, allow shoppers to use any combination of discounts, and target promotions toward specific segments of customers. All of these things are helpful for encouraging conversions and increasing the future likelihood of repeat purchases.
Full-Featured Shopping Cart and Checkout Process: To reduce the possibility of hiccups occurring during checkout, Mozu allows you to implement soft carts and one-page checkouts. This makes the checkout process easy and reduces cart abandonment. Also, you can add things like cart customization based on user behavior, infusing incentives into the checkout process, support for third-party payment options, and the ability to choose between checking out as a guest or as a registered user.
In addition to providing the platform by which you can offer your goods and services and your customers can make purchases, Mozu offers an assortment of built-in marketing tools to help drive your sales, bring in new customers, and increase the rate at which customers return to your site to make future purchases.
Your marketing teams can use Mozu for things like:
- Managing content, catalogs, and brands (even across sites and locations).
- Rapidly deploying new sites and brands
- Updating sites in real-time
- Use the advanced promotions engine to get word out about specials quickly and efficiently.
You can leverage Mozu’s database-like capabilities to manage your customer lists (including mailing addresses and payment options), and keep order histories and customer wish lists. You can also use Mozu for product and inventory management and identifying segments to which you target specials and discounts.
The built-in order management system (OMS) also complements Mozu’s client-side features. Mozu’s OMS supports the following capabilities:
- Modifying or canceling existing orders
- Requesting a return, refund, or exchange
- Making order or line-item adjustments
- Accepting promotions
- Handling payments
- Tracking packages, shipments, and fulfillment information.
If you have another OMS that you prefer to use, Mozu offers built-in support for such integrations.
Finally, if you’re looking to collect data about your sales volumes, cash flow, and so on, Mozu’s built-in analytics tools make it easy for you to complete your sales reporting tasks.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
One of the most significant parts of your marketing strategy should be search engine optimization (SEO), which is the practice of and the set of techniques designed to get your website to show up early in the list of search results presented to someone when they search for keywords related to your site. The higher that your website is ranked, the more likely it is the visitor sees your site and clicks its link.
In addition to organic techniques, such as ensuring that the appropriate keywords appear in your titles and descriptions, Mozu comes with the following to improve your SEO:
Admin Pages that allow you to provide meta titles, descriptions, and keywords
The ability to change your URL slugs so that they are more descriptive
Support for robots.txt pages to hide irrelevant assets
Support for custom sitemaps so that search engine crawlers reach all of your website’s pages
Mozu’s Tech Stack
To implement the front-end, Mozu has a robust tech stack powering their back-end.
- API Access: The entire Mozu ecosystem is built around a dynamic REST API. While Mozu is designed to be fully usable even if technical knowledge isn’t your team’s forte, you still have unlimited access to the Mozu API. This means that anything you can do on the front-end can be done via the API. Such access facilitates easy integrations with third-party applications, platform customization, or use of open-source SDKs and applications in the languages that you prefer. You aren’t limited by the design parameters selected by the Mozu development team.
- SaaS: Mozu’s SaaS platform means that you can expect rapid deployment, simple maintenance, and new features included in regular releases, yet avoid the problems typically associated with hardware — the best of both worlds. As with all SaaS products, they tend to cost more, but you also save money by not having to worry about the physical infrastructure on which your products run.
- The Hypr Theming Engine: Mozu’s Hypr Theming Engine is designed to help you create the site you envision, no matter little technical knowledge you have. It is easily-mastered and intuitive, which means that you can use its off-the-shelf technologies to create your storefront. However, if you have technical knowledge under your belt, you can easily write the code you need. You have full control over your site’s appearance, and Hypr helps you manage the intricacies that come with building a production-ready site, including developing prototypes on the fly, managing your files, and eliminating redundancies to make sure that your site doesn’t slow to a crawl even with the inclusion of all the bells and whistles.
- Arc.js: Mozu offers you server-side control, which means that you can extend and enhance the Mozu APIs and storefronts you have access to using Arc.js, an enterprise-grade language with lots of functionality and rapid development cycle. Your Arc.js apps can augment, replace, or customize the APIs and storefronts provided by Mozu (though, remember, you don’t need to leverage this power if you don’t want to — you can easily use Mozu even if you don’t have the development background to implement such customizations).Arc.js apps can do things like:
- Offer customers incentives based on their behavior on your site
- Manage soft allocations on carts and inventory handling logic to ensure that your products are available to users
- Customize shopper user interfaces and web applications
- Integrate third-party apps with Mozu
- Customize how Mozu handles orders and return requests.
The Mozu Developer Center
Mozu’s Developer Center is the online portal where you can find everything you need to manage your Mozu instance from the back-end, including modifying your theme and storefront and granting developer access to the appropriate parties.
For your developers, you’ll find the following resources to aid the development process:
- Documentation on using the REST APIs; Mozu has four — Commerce, Content, Event, Platform — and each allows you to manage a different aspect of your Mozu instance
- Reference information on Arc.js
- API and Application Guides, which are tutorials on how to implement a specific feature set
- SDKs for .NET, Java, and Node.js.
You’ll also find information on setting up an appropriate development environment and downloads to make Mozu customization easy (such as command line tools and application generators).
The speed with which your website loads plays a significant factor in how well your website ranks with search engines, but we wanted to dedicate a (brief) section to this because speed is extremely important to the end user experience as well.
Users tend to be impatient, and the longer it takes for your site to load, the more likely it is that your visitors leave your website before they ever see any of your content. As a small business, you can equate lost visitors to a loss of revenue.
Mozu boasts that it provides its users with fast speeds, which is definitely something you should prioritize.
While you can certainly take the DIY route and implement everything with the assistance of your software engineers, Mozu offers a wide variety of professional services. You can opt for as many or as few services as you want to create a package that best suits the strengths and needs of your organization. Some of the services offered include:
- Onboarding and implementation
- Integrations and custom development
- Re-platforming and migration
- Business continuity
- Theme development/custom design
- Creative and commerce strategy and user experience assistance
- Marketing consultations
- Usability analysis and research
- Training programs and workshops, either in-person or virtually over the internet.
Alternatively, you can purchase a professional services package, which are bundled offerings aligning to common challenges facing enterprise commerce. Some of these packages include guided go-live, proof of concept, strategy workshops, and site optimization.
Mozu Partnerships and Marketplace
While Mozu provides a feature-rich experience from the get-go, they also maintain numerous partnerships designed to enhance your overall experience and offer your services that complement your digital commerce platform. Current partners include Echidna, a full-service agency specializing in user experience design and ecommerce strategy, Brand Labs, which will handle all of your technical, design, and marketing needs, and Ignitiv, a consulting and technology company focused on omnichannel commerce.
Mozu’s partnerships aren’t limited to companies offering solutions and other professional services to you. The Marketplace lists Mozu’s partnerships with technology companies offering tools to extend, enhance, or improve your Mozu implementation. Current partners include Amazon Payments, Amplience Big Content Cloud, which is a dynamic media technology company, and IBM, which offers data synchronization services.
Mozu allows you to search for such partnerships using their customized search page. You can look for tools that are accelerators, integrations, services, or widgets, and you can specify whether you want a one-click installation or not, as well as the category of the tool for which you are looking.
Help and Technical Support
Mozu offers an in-depth resources page with in-house analyst reports, ebooks, executive briefs, videos, webinars, and white papers. If you’re in the beginning stages of crafting a new solution or you’re looking to get some ideas to jump start your next project, this is a great place to start. You can also refer to Mozu’s blog archives for similar information (since Kibo acquired Mozu, you’ll find current entries at the Kibo blog).
All customers receive technical support via telephone 24/7, as well as access to the Kibo NG portal to log technical support requests and view account-specific information. You’ll also have access to an account manager, who will act as a point person for your questions or concerns.
Security and Uptime
Mozu provides multiple security features, including protection against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, to ensure the availability of your site and the protection of your sensitive data, and 24/7 monitoring means that you and the Mozu team are aware of any issues that pop up right away. Mozu promises a 99.9% uptime, and they guarantee that your site is available to your visitors, even during seasonal traffic peaks where you stand to lose the most should your site not be available.
Mozu is also PCI-DSS Level 1 certified, which is a top-notch rating when it comes to e-commerce security and the well-executed handling of sensitive payment-related information.
Mozu is a full-featured solution aimed toward mid-market to enterprise-level companies, so expect the pricing for their products to be commensurate. To get complete details, contact Mozu’s sales team to discuss your company’s needs and to get a customized quote. Generally speaking, pricing is based on usage, and you’ll need to sign a three-year contract to begin working with Mozu.
Conclusion: Is Mozu Right for You?
Mozu is an advanced and comprehensive digital commerce solution that allows you to manage, in one place, your organizations’ branding, commerce, customer engagement, and publishing. While Mozu is not an easy-to-use option, it is extremely flexible and powerful. The company’s focus is on mid-market to enterprise level corporations, and their fully-hosted, cloud-based software suite offers you the ability to deploy rapidly and get new feature releases on the regular, while also freeing you from having to pay for and manage the physical infrastructure required for your implementation.
As with all enterprise-level products, you can expect top-notch support from Mozu. You also get a 99.9% uptime guarantee, around-the-clock monitoring, and security features to ensure that you see as little downtime as possible. All in all, Mozu is a well-developed, full-featured platform that would certainly be worth a look if you’re a larger business looking to build an ecommerce site offering a large array of products to a sizable customer pool. It is a product that will grow with your company and provides the experience you want, both regarding meeting your needs and in meeting the expectations of your customers.