Company spotlight: Talkoot

Founders: Brian Hennessy, Derwyn Harris, Jason Buffington
Founded: September 2015
Headquarters: Hood River, Oregon, United States
No of Employees: 16
Customers: Brands including adidas, Burton, Reebok, Herschel and Wilson
Website: https://talkoot.com/

“Of course, AI will never fully replace human writers, but the combination of humans and AI in one fluid workflow allows our customers to produce tens of thousands of high-quality, on-brand product descriptions in a fraction of time at a fraction of the cost it used to take with human writers alone.”

Brian Hennessy, co-founder and chief executive of Talkoot:

What retailer need does Talkoot fulfill?

Retailers need every tactic going to get their products to market as fast as possible. But consumers won’t buy what they don’t understand, so if you don’t have compelling product copy on your product page, you don’t have a product to sell. 

Ultra-fast fashion brand Shein can get a product from concept to be ready-to-buy on a product page in just 10 days. Whether you’re in fast-fashion or not, every online retailer will feel the pressure of consumer expectation that brands like Shein create.

Talkoot is the only system purpose built to streamline the product content production process so that retailers can get their products online as fast as possible whilst building the most brand-loyal customers possible. 

What is your USP?

Talkoot is the world’s most flexible intelligent PIM, helping consumer-obsessed brands bring product information to life. Trusted by leading global brands, Talkoot keeps your brand voice in check, your writers happy and your product pages updated with the only AI-writer built for ecommerce.

Thanks to our AI writing and automation capabilities, Talkoot customers are now producing quality, on-brand product copy 10x faster across multiple channels.

Not only does this accelerate time to market and increase sales, but also allows content teams to focus on tactics that can have a far greater impact to the bottom line, such as Long Tail Listing Pages (LTLPs).

How do you deliver on this USP?

In the new DTC-led era of ecommerce, interesting, brand-building product storytelling is the new norm. Talkoot was built for this new DTC-led era in ecommerce where consumers expect both accurate product information and deep, interesting product storytelling across your entire product line. Like other PIMs, Talkoot stores and syndicates product information. But more importantly it also:   

• Centralises copy assets to ensure the correct version is used 

• Ensures consistent brand language across all products and channels 

• Helps teams adapt content by channel, collection, price point and target consumer 

• Yields much higher productivity, agility, and speed

• Is highly configurable and easy to implement 

How would you describe your vision?

Our vision is to help consumer-obsessed brands create deeper, more valuable connections with consumers on every product page, across every channel through more accurate, consistent and impactful product storytelling.

Which retailers do you work with?

Talkoot powers the product storytelling for some of the world’s most loved brands like adidas, Burton, Rossignol, POC, Reebok, Huel, Under Armour, Wilson and many more.

How would you describe your growth? What have been the main points in your expansion and what has been key to your success?

With the proliferation of digital channels, retailers are feeling the pressure to create more and more diverse types of content to meet customer demands. 

With Talkoot, teams can turn out higher quality product copy faster with far less work. The two features that primarily drive that efficiency are, 1) AI-powered product copywriting and 2) Brandcheck brand language controls.

AI-powered product copywriting

Our unique AI writers can be trained on a particular brand voice and style so their entire team can create on-brand, search-optimised product copy for every product across every channel in a fraction of the time it would take human writers alone.

Brandcheck

Brandcheck is a feature that keeps both human writers and AI writers on-brand and legally in the clear. Like spellcheck for your brand voice, Brandcheck continually checks for legally risky claims, biased language, off-brand phrases, or missing trademarks whilst you type, so they never make it onto your sales channels.

What challenges are you addressing for multichannel retailers as they approach peak season demands?

Most retailers happily engage in vast numbers of seasonal and event-driven marketing campaigns, but don’t have the bandwidth to follow through with seasonal or event-based content on their product pages. This creates an obvious disconnect in the customer journey, causing uncertainty and purchase paralysis. 

Talkoot radically simplifies the complexity of producing and tracking thousands of product descriptions – including seasonal/event driven content – all targeted to different customer segments shopping across multiple channels.

This is critical to online success since having clear, consistent and accurate product stories across all your channels is proven to raise conversion, lower returns and generate greater customer trust and loyalty.

How are you using emerging technologies to support retail growth?

Our latest focus is on using AI to help teams bring their product content to market even faster. Most AI copywriting software is built for small business. It’s inexpensive and solves many writing tasks but doesn’t excel in any of them. 

Talkoot’s AI, on the other hand, is built specifically for high volume, ecommerce copywriting. That means: 1) it can be trained on your unique brand voice, 2) it has a built in feedback loop that helps it improve with every edit, 3) it uses the data you already have in the format you already have it in, so no additional data entry needed and finally, 4) you can spin up any number of writers if you want to talk differently for different customer segments, channels or sub-brands.

Of course, AI will never fully replace human writers, but the combination of humans and AI in one fluid workflow allows our customers to produce tens of thousands of high-quality, on-brand product descriptions in a fraction of time at a fraction of the cost it used to take with human writers alone.

What do you see as challenges for retailers and suppliers over the coming years – and how will your business meet those challenges?

The ideal ecommerce experience matches the personalised, customer-centric experience of a local specialty retailer.

Product page content should match what consumers are looking for in real life when they enter their favourite specialty store: thoughtful, relevant information that answers questions they have about how your products solve their immediate challenge.

That means online retailers should be able to deliver personalised product copy and images that match the seasonal search intent of each customer across all their online channels.

The ability to deliver a seasonally relevant, personalised product experience to every customer across every channel represents a major leap forward in the sheer volume of content retailers need to produce, and an equally major leap forward in their ability to deliver that content to the right consumer at the right time. 

A retailer’s continual need to efficiently produce relevant product content is where Talkoot will continue to innovate and bring solutions to solve the personalisation conundrum.

What targets are you aiming to achieve in the next five years?

In the next five years we will be the leading data-driven, AI-enabled product experience optimisation solution for consumer-obsessed brands. Wherever consumers come in contact with our customers’ products, Talkoot will use AI to deliver self-optimising product experiences that delight customers, maximize sales and lower returns.

One sentence elevator pitch: “Talkoot is where consumer-obsessed brands bring their product stories to life.”

Case study: click here to find out how Talkoot saves Adidas $1m in production costs every year

About Brian Hennessy

Brian Hennessy is the co-founder and CEO of Talkoot, the PIM that combines AI-enabled product content automation with product information management, giving modern brands everything they need to get their product content to market faster.

Prior to founding Talkoot, he spent his career helping large consumer brands put their story to work, first as the global writing director for adidas, then as founder of Thread, a story studio that helps great companies like Twitter, Simms Fishing and Sonos find their story and use it to create better products, more inspired coworkers and more loyal customers. 

It was at Thread that Brian was tasked to build out the product content supply chain that helped fuel adidas’ rise from $89m in online sales in 2009 to nearly $5bn in 2021. Brian’s experience building a high-volume copy production process from scratch was the catalyst that inspired Talkoot.  

When he’s not starting companies, he’s raising two wonderful daughters and taking ridiculously long runs in the woods.

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