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WEBINAR OVERVIEW Best practices – shape your product content for the age of the customer

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In a recent InternetRetailing webinar, Best practices – shape your product content for the age of the customer, we heard from Henrik Béen, vice president, product marketing at inRiver, Michael Betteridge of education resources supplier TTS Group and inRiver sales engineer Andreas Josefsson. Here’s a bulletpoint overview of the event.

• Henrik Beén, VP product marketing at inRiver, opened the webinar with an introduction to inRiver and its product marketing cloud, which enables customers to take control of product information.

• Micromoments – and how they dictate the way customers act. “What used to be a linear path of making a customer purchase is not any more, and what used to be predictable is not any more. Consumers expect you to deliver them a great product experience to convert them into buying.”

• How shoppers now buy: 90% of people buy via a screen, while 87% go into store thanks to digital and mobile helps 82% of shoppers to buy.”In all these situations it’s crucial to have control over the product content, what is presented, and how.”

• Adobe: last millisecond marketing. “Where marketers can connect the dots to deliver on that last milliseconds is where great results are happening.” Three stages: consumer profiling, delivery, content: “The consumer expects a personalised experience.

Case study

• Michael Betteridge, business improvements manager at educational products supplier TTS, explained how the £16m turnover online retailer, which supplies 98% of UK primary schools and trades across 84 countries, went about using a PIM system with a wide product range that includes pens, paper, desks and chairs.

• He explained how product data was used across the business, in areas including marketing, ecommerce and catalogue production. Omnichannel retailing now demands a more agile approach to getting products to market.

• Before the PIM, a large proportion of data was stored locally on individual computers. It was also stored in a range of different areas, from the web shop to image servers and supplier data. “One product had 15 different versions of proudct copy – but to keep them in sync is unwieldy and often did not happen.” He added: “I could probably talk for an age on the benefits of just holding product attributes in one system.” Managing multiple product data and images led to inefficient working.

• Requirements for a PIM included the need to integrate with Salesforce Commerce Cloud, and quickly, as well as a scalable solution that could handle multiple online channels related to online sales. Organisational fit was a priority.

• Project started in 2015, ahead of a 2016 go-live. From the beginning the system steered the retailer to put in only the product attributes that it would use consistently. Task of capturing product information into PIM. “This was probably when I realised how bad our marketing data was – and where I could see the benefits of PIM.”

• 2017 has been a year of continuous improvement that will see an international platform launched in the autumn. “We anticipate a considerable saving in time, cost and quality.”

• Key benefits: smart marketing data model, improved quality, efficiency gains, cultural change towards data. “To be honest I now can’t imagine life without PIM.”

• “There’s been a defnite change in how people think abut data at TTS,” he said, adding: Data is now a more valuable commodity and there is a realisation that future success is reliant on every type of product data being of the right quality.”

Content spaghetti

• Henrik Beén then considered the challenges of ‘content spaghetti’, which develops as more channels are added and information is stored in different places.

• Information stored in silos is inconsistent: “this is confusing for the customer – if you have conflicting messages out there it’s hard to understand what is the product story. There could be conflicting information between a physical store and what you sell online.”

• Beén went on to consider how the inRiver PIM was developed to meet needs of the business user, such as marketers, without being complex, and how it functions.

Andreas Josefsson, inRiver sales engineer, then led a demonstration of the inRiver system in action.

The webinar was followed by a Q&A session. To see the webinar, slides and hear the Q&A session in full, visit the inRiver webinar page here.

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