Company spotlight: inRiver

What does your company do?

We are a software company that builds software to help our customers sell and market their products, independently of channel. We’re about helping bring products to market in a fast, efficient way.

What is your USP?

There is customer confusion in this space in that there is PIM and also MDM. Master Data Management is a more back end-centric solution – it’s about managing data. PIM is centred specifically around product and inRiver’s take is really about taking a product to market. So we actually co-exist with other MDM solutions. We can compete with them on one project and partner with them on another.

Our differentiator is usability. We win a lot of deals because they really like our interface and its ease of use, since we are more like the interface of marketing software, while our competitors have more ERP-like interfaces. Also, the time to market – how fast they can implement and start using our software. This is key since a lot of customers have an urgent need to launch a new campaign or commercial initiative and don’t have 12 months to get up and running.

The manual process is very error prone and time consuming and the impact of this is on the customer satisfaction and increased product returns
Niclas Mollin CEO

We have a subscription model, so our business model is another differentiator. The competitors have a perpetual licence but we say, “Hey, you can grow with us. Sign up and subscribe to the software but if you don’t like it, you can discontinue, pull the information out and export everything over to a new system.” While our competitors say, “Hey, you have to buy this licence.”

We believe that we have to earn our customers’ trust instead of locking them in. We will not be able to attract as many customers as we want with a legacy business model, so having a subscription is a growth strategy. Even though it would be nice to get a huge payment up front when anyone signs a contract, I’d rather have the customers paying over time and staying with us, and that’s validated in the historical numbers. We only have 3% churn on an annual basis. This figure gives us the confidence that we have a product that customers like.

How would you describe your company’s vision?

From an operational standpoint, if you look at our customer base, the number of products each one adds per month is about seven to ten percent of their total catalogue. Additionally, the information on each product increases too because consumers want to be able to compare different products. They want to be able to see the product from different angles, to zoom in and maybe see a movie. If it’s furniture, they want to be able to see it as part of a room. In combination with the main product catalogue growing, this creates lot of pressure on the marketing, merchandising and category management within a company. So continuing to manage it with spreadsheets simply will not work.

PIM handles everything that relates to a product offering. If you’re managing things manually, you have to maintain a different spreadsheet for each channel. This manual process is very error prone and time consuming and the impact of this is on reduced customer satisfaction and increased returns.

What are you doing currently in the ecommerce/multichannel market?

There are some core functionalities that you need to have and one of those is good product management capabilities. We choose our partners because they realise they’re really good at what they do but less so at Product Information Management (PIM). A lot of the companies out there, definitely ones in the UK, who are looking at replatforming can maybe invest in an inRiver solution and keep their existing commerce solution instead. We’re thinking more best of breed.

If we’re looking at this from a multichannel perspective, commerce is only one channel and an ecommerce engine is not built to support the other sales channels – maybe that’s a printed catalogue or a kiosk or a digital flip magazine. So inRiver is purpose built to support the sales and marketing into all the different channels – Amazon, your own sales channel or the reseller’s network. It’s a big deal for a company to have one place where it can manage the whole product catalogue and then re use that information across all the channels.

How does this compare to what your competitors are doing?

What we focus on more than our competitors is to take their products out into the market instead of just managing. We say it’s not about putting data into databases, it’s about putting products into markets. You’ll find functionality within inRiver where you can plan your campaigns for launching a new product or line. That’s functionality you won’t find in other PIMs.

Who are your customers?

The common denominator is that they all sell products. Whether that’s a Volvo truck or a Converse sneaker or a t-shirt for H&M, they all have the challenges of managing their product catalogues in an efficient way so they can sell in different channels and markets.

All of those are physical products. What we don’t see right at this moment in time are companies with virtual products. They have the same challenges but they are just a little bit behind in the maturity curve. Look at insurance, look at travel. If you want to combine the travel with the hotel booking and also the pool-side barbecue party – that’s something you could easily do in inRiver by combining these different products with relationships.

Back in the retail space, let’s say you have a sofa that you can buy in a range of different colours and sizes. A retailer can put each one in context of other items that might go with it in your living room and maintain control of how that can be presented in different ways.

What do you see as challenges/opportunities in the coming year and what are you doing to meet those challenges?

It’s about finding the right people to help us grow. I also think that it’s very important for inRiver to keep true to our mission and that we don’t try to dilute our offering. I’ve seen too many software companies trying to be something that they’re not. We believe in best of breed, so we’ve got to be the leading software that helps customers bring their products to market. There are thousands of marketing products out there. We need to co-exist with the market automation, the CRM, the CMS, the ecommerce engine and so forth. We have to stay true to what made us successful and find the right people who’ll help us grow.


Customer case study – SAIL

Hiking, skiing, camping and fishing are among the many activities shared by outdoor enthusiasts. To indulge these passions, energetic Canadians turn to the 40-year-old veteran, SAIL, with ten showroom stores in Quebec and Ontario and the two Sportium stores that opened in November 2015. SAIL has over 500,000 items in its assortment and Steve Cristofaro, project manager, digital marketing for SAIL, shares how this leading retailer remains on top:

“inRiver allowed us to create a centralised system that can manage the large quantities of product information we need for our website while at the same time making the information available to all other channels within our enterprise. We chose Absolunet in Quebec to implement the solution.”

The results? Website traffic increased on average 30%, organic traffic increased by 25% and the project was delivered on-time and under budget. SAIL customer case and video: www.inriver.com/customers/sail/


inRiver IN BRIEF

Company founded: 2007 in Sweden
Global reach: Since 2014, we have had offices in the US, with more than 20 people in that team. Our HQ is in Malmö and we also have offices in Amsterdam, Stockholm and outside London, so although we have expanded outside Europe, the majority of our customers are still in Europe.
UK launch: We started supporting the UK in 2015, when we got a couple of partners that signed up to use our software and got a few customers. This year, we opened an office and hired people in the UK. We see the UK as a great opportunity because of its maturity in the commerce and digital marketing space.
Turnover: We don’t share that because we’re a private company. However, we’re growing at a pace of 70% year-on-year and have been doing so since 2011.
Customers: We had 80 new customers last year. We now have around 250 customers but between them, we have over 750 brands using inRiver.
Number of employees: At the start of 2016, we were 50, in September we are 80 plus and we’re going to end 2016 with between 90 and 100 staff.
Number of partners: Partners for us are system integrators, technology partners and value-added partners. There are now around 200 system integrators who implement our solution and the thing I’m most proud of is that we have over 600 certified consultants. We run an academy training programme called the inRiver Academy, where business consultants, developers and the end users can attend and train on our platform. This continuous process is a core foundation for inRiver. We can scale thanks to our partner network because we don’t have a lot of the limitations . Our competitors do the servicing themselves, which isn’t a scalable way to grow a company. Less than 10% of our revenue is services, the rest is software.