Industry Voices: Yudu Media
CEO of YUDU Richard Stephenson explains Catalogue App success What makes YUDU distinctive?
YUDU is unusual in many ways. Firstly it is a privately backed company and this gives it a distinctly different flavour and set of values. Secondly, we believe in delivering excellence that springs from the closeness to our clients and our capacity to listen and feed our world-class development team. We serve retailers such as Screwfix and Shop Direct and today YUDU-powered catalogues occupy 4 of the top 6 slots on the Apple App store. But we also deliver our solutions across the world including to US retailers such as Lands’ End and L.L. Bean.Why did you found the company?
YUDU really was born from a belief that a cloud-based infrastructure would be the most efficient way to scale the business. In 2005 we used software we did not own and we could not influence its development, so the path to growth was limited. In May 2007, YUDU was born and today we publish up to 1,200 publications each day.What problems do you solve for the ecommerce sector?
Retailers need to be present in all channels and in the best form for each channel, and web-based browsing is not always the best experience. Although some are more important than others, being present on iPads, desk and laptops, Android and Windows tablets and smart phones is essential. It is this universal presence that we deliver.What is your experience of how consumers engage with Apps?
This easy page-by-page catalogue browsing behaviour fosters discovery and impulse purchases that are distinctly different from the search and buy behaviour consumers do on websites. We have done thousands of browser-based catalogues but the iPad has turbocharged the e-catalogue. Tablets are mobile devices with screens that allow consumers to review products and buy with confidence. Our stats show that purchases are being made when travelling to work, and in evenings and on weekends.Should retailers have Apps or just mobile enabled websites?
The correct answer is both as consumers are not a homogenized group. Apps are your valuable pieces of branded real estate that sit on the online stores. Consumers can download these Apps onto their devices and read the catalogues offline or online. Just like with the paper catalogue, they can browse without the need to go online. But now they can bookmark, add to wish lists, share on Facebook, Twitter or by email and buy when they are online. And for those retailers that want to take the consumer experience further, with YUDU they can enable embedded slideshows, video clips, 3D rotatable images or lightboxes that pop up with more information.What do Apps deliver for retailers?
By downloading a retailer’s App, the consumer is effectively joining your club. Push notifications are great marketing tools for alerting the consumer to new catalogues or new offers. This only works if you have an App that integrates natively with iOS. The App is a fully brandable reader framework that receives catalogues and gives the user the best browsing experience. Any number of catalogues can be published into the App and that requires a fast and effective production process to deliver new catalogues. This is YUDU Premier Platform.What data can be gathered from Apps?
The power of data is well understood and Apps produce very powerful information. For example, our Apps allow publishers to ask their customers specific questions for feedback and to enter their details or other information using custom form fields. Between 35% and 65% do this without incentives. Email databases are built very quickly and our comprehensive stats monitor in-catalogue behaviour and locations.What are the challenges?
Non-standardisation: Google, Apple and Microsoft have separate stores and operating systems. To solve this we create cross-platform Apps built using Adobe AIR. The Apps behave like native Apps and can be deployed on all platforms. Linking product codes and images: We solve this with our SmartCat technology. This scans the catalogue for product codes and links the individual code to a database that can be uploaded to the catalogue via a spreadsheet. Images on pages can be rapidly linked to the codes.
Large catalogues: Downloading quickly is not just a function of the catalogue size. Compression techniques and smart management on the device can deliver more than 10 times the speed. YUDU has invested heavily in these techniques. The iPhone 3GS and the iPad 1 have limited processing power, but we can successfully deliver 1,000-page catalogues with more than 50,000 linked SKUs.Have your clients seen good returns?
Yes. The only statistic that really matters is whether our Apps deliver results. One retailer has booked more than £5 million of sales through 2 YUDU-powered Apps in less than a year. We typically see an ROI on our Apps in less than 6 months.For further information on YUDU’s catalogue solution please visit www.yudu.com/catalogues or email [email protected]. You can also watch a full video of our latest app features here http://www.yudu.com/videos.php.