28 June 2017

Perfect Content is the Key to Success in Micro-moments and Last Millisecond Marketing

The digital transformation of commerce brings new challenges, but also opportunities for companies on a global scale. Because consumers want instant, rich, and personalized experiences as they scan the digital marketplace for products that can meet their highly set expectations. What used to be a predictable and predominantly linear customer journey is now fragmented across several devices and channels.

In these times of revolutionary digital change, the giants of the digital era help us to understand the high expectations of consumers of today, and how we as vendors must act in terms of providing the best possible experiences.

Forrester describes this in terms of Digital Intelligence; “The practice of developing a holistic understanding of customers across digital touchpoints for the purpose of optimizing and perfecting the experiences delivered and decisions made by brands during moments of engagement.
But there are others to guide us here. Adobe for example has minted the concept of “Last Millisecond Marketing” which gives marketers the opportunity to be either heroes or just average. Last Millisecond Marketing comes down to this; as an event is triggered, either by clicking a link, logging into a site, entering a web page, loading an app, etc., only milliseconds after the action has been made, the consumer has to get the right, personalized experience delivered.

Adobe suggests that we need to execute on four key pillars:

  1. Listen – to the signals of what consumers are trying to tell us
  2. Predict – based on these signals we have, predict the experience to deliver
  3. Assemble - pull the optimal content together for a personalized experience
  4. Deliver – provide the experience to the consumer in a context that makes sense

You need to understand where your customers are spending their time, not only in physical locations, but in social, app stores, etc. Every interaction through any touchpoint is truly relevant. You need to think about when and how they try to interact with you, and in what way they try and want to do so. You need to think about every digital use case – from a PC, tablet, phone, car, store, etc., and deliver a personalized experience in that instance between an action and the next step in the consumer’s journey. It is clear that you need to go to your customers, or they will not come to you.

In a similar fashion, Google declares that life is lived through micro-moments. These are the moments where consumers suddenly have an urge to get inspired, to learn, get information, or even to buy something that will either help us or just to make us satisfied. These micro-moments dictate the way consumers act. They have dramatically fragmented the customer journey. What used to be a linear path of making a purchase is not anymore. And right now, people all over the world are trying to make the most of every moment. The question that Google asks is - are you there to satisfy their needs?

Today, marketers have so much data at their disposal. They are not really asked to do more with less, but rather, do more with more. They need to connect the dots of all the data that they have at hand in order to deliver the most compelling offering, in the right moment, across exactly the right channels – where the consumer expects to find it.

This is where the Product Information Management (PIM) is added as a crucial part of the equation. A PIM solution is designed to put marketing organizations in control of the creation and flow of consistent product information across all channels. Successful companies rely on PIM to make sure that the right content, for any type of interaction, through any touchpoint, can be delivered in the exact millisecond or micro-moment, exactly when the consumer expects a personalized experience.

Where marketers can connect the dots to deliver great content in these moments, that is where the big results start to happen. When companies engage in every touchpoint, to deliver great consumer experiences, it can make a real difference to the business.

Henrik Béen, Vice President Product Marketing, inRiver

20 June 2017

Thanks for Joining inRiver at IRCE!

This year, from June 6-9, the best of all things “retail” for Internet retailers gathered in Chicago at McCormick Place West. We were excited to have this time to meet with many of our customers and partners, as well as hear about the product information “pain” that so many retailers are feeling as they expand their e-commerce efforts.

It was not surprising that Amazon was the “elephant in the exhibition hall.” I was pleased to be able to attend a session hosted by Peeyush Naharm, the Vice President of Amazon Marketplace. He outlined three of the top priorities of Amazon: seller-fulfilled PRIME service, Amazon Lending, and Amazon Business.

Fifty-five percent of sold items on Amazon are now delivered on behalf of sellers. An increasing number of products are being delivered at PRIME speed. Growth in the business is as high as 20%.

Prior to this session, I had not been aware of the scope of Amazon Lending. Amazon has made $3 billion in loans to more than 20,000 small and medium businesses in the US, UK, and elsewhere.
Last, Amazon Business now has 45,000 active business sellers offering more than 400 million products. These sellers now have access to new services that they can offer their customers, such as automated workflows, bulk shopping, and varying payment terms.

It is evident that Amazon is indeed the company to either beat or join!

Regardless of your strategy with respect to Amazon, we here at inRiver believe that it all starts with stellar product information so that you can tell perfect product stories. If you didn’t have a chance to see a demo of Product Marketing Cloud at IRCE, request a demo now!

Thank you to everyone who attended our After Hours parties—hosted by us alone at the award-winning luxury Swissôtel on Thursday, June 8 and in concert with our partner Salesforce CommerceCloud, on June 7 at one of Chicago's most stylish venues, Fremont. We hope you experienced some lovely sunsets and great views of the Chicago skyline. We also hope that you were able to network with other IRCE attendees and exhibitors and learn about all the amazing e-commerce solutions that are available in the ecosystem.

We hope you had a chance to chat with us at our booth. If not, please feel free to contact us or check out the many retail and e-commerce resources on our web site.

See you at IRCE 2018!

Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager, inRiver Inc

15 June 2017

PIMpoint North America: Virtually Inspiring!

Last month, inRiver North America hosted our first ever Virtual PIMpoint. Our goal was to provide value for our customers and partners, through sharing insightful keynotes and customer case studies, and by highlighting the latest innovation in product information management—Product Marketing Cloud.

Intial feedback included the following comments: ”Great sessions!” ”Informative and concise...covered a wide array of topics from many viewpoints.”

We are so delighted that more than 150 of our customers and partners registered to join us, together with individuals simply wanting to learn more about PIM or micro-moments. As mentioned in our earlier blog, we featured world-class keynote speakers, such as brand strategist Pixie Sartang, trends expert Daniel Levine, and the legendary fashion brand builder Johan Lindeberg.

Johan Boström, inRiver’s Co-founder and Evangelist discussed disintermediation—a phenomenon that was further acknowledged by many presenters at last week’s IRCE tradeshow in Chicago. Niclas Mollin, inRiver’s President & CEO and Jimmy Ekbäck, EVP Products & Services at inRiver highlighted all the great things that are going on at inRiver to grow customer success, while David Sultan, Director of Sales Engineering did a “deep dive” into key features of inRiver Product Marketing Cloud.

We know there has been a lot going on this Spring, so if you were unable to attend, you are in luck. Take a few minutes during the Summertime (when the livin’ is easy) to watch the session replays. Just register on http://virtualpimpoint.inriver.com/en/ and sit back and relax in the comfort of your own home or office.

Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager, inRiver Inc

07 June 2017

Are You Managing Your Product Data or is it Managing You?

Guest blog by Trevor Olson, President & CEO, Aware Web Solutions

For many organizations, product data has taken over. That mighty spreadsheet (or series of spreadsheets) created years ago by that one guy nobody really remembers is the master. Every product detail, spec, and line of marketing copy must pass through it. It’s a beast and no one ever wants to anger the beast.


Part of the problem is that your product data continues to grow. Today's empowered consumer demands more before they purchase a product from online retailers.
How so?
  • They demand higher quality images, 360-degree views of products and videos.
  • They demand more data about those products, with a higher degree of accuracy.
  • They want to find those products faster with better filters and empowered search. 
If you aren’t able to keep up, sales will go elsewhere… and fast.

And so you continue to feed the beast… that master spreadsheet of product data, routing it internally via email to all the different folks in the company who touch or impact your organization’s product marketing. It’s time-intensive to put it mildly and is chalk full of human errors. You don’t have the time, patience, or frankly, the will, to dive in to fix it. Remember, you’re dealing with a beast, your daily master. OBEY.

And we haven’t brought up the multiple channels to which you’re sending this product data. Your web site, catalogs, online retailers, industry marketplaces…you name it…they all now require that the product marketing content you send them is unique. That’s just more fields to add to that master spreadsheet.

Are you managing your channels or are they managing you?

Turn It Around. The PIM Solution.

The only method of fulfilling those demands is a central repository for your product data and content. This repository is known as a Product Information Management System, or a PIM.

Picture this for a moment. Imagine a single click, and you are instantly in a solution with a fully cleansed, organized repository of all master product content. It’s a single view of everything you need as a product manager. No more spreadsheets, files, and images scattered throughout networks, file systems, and individual inboxes. PIM systems accomplish several goals, including:

  • Connecting to ERP, PLM, and other data systems to input basic product data.
  • Enabling marketers to accurately describe their products in rich detail.
  • Allowing images, videos, and other digital assets to link to those products.
  • Allowing relationships to be built between products, like Upsells and Cross-sells.
  • Allowing kits and bundles to be built efficiently. 
  • Mapping products to hierarchies through rule-based classification.
  • Outputting data to multiple channels, including Web, Print, and Syndication channels.

Why inRiver?

inRiver is a Product Information Management suite that is built for marketers. Its advanced User Interface and adaptable design make it a leader in publishing your items quicker and to more channels. inRiver features include:
  • Customization of the inRiver marketing (data) model and workflows to your business model, and business logic. No Need to fit into someone else’s idea of how to model your data.
  • Generation of consistent normalized data faster with powerful, yet intuitive administration and business user interfaces.
  • Ability to view your products, product relationships, and output channels in easy and intuitive business-oriented user interfaces. 
  • Customizable business-facing activities that can be implemented by business users. Let IT handle IT tasks.
  • Control of your product messaging with one source of data for your e-commerce, syndication, and print channels—in one tool with a single data source.
  • Ability to easily add more images and videos to make your products stand out.
  • Push/Pull data synchronization and standardized product onboarding to make data collection and distribution faster and less costly.
  • Enrichment of product attributes and content so that you can consistently tell your product story.

Aware’s PIM Advantage

Meeting the needs of retailers, manufacturers, and distributors requires speed, flexibility, and experience. Aware Web Solutions understands the importance of these needs and provides a proven system to implementing a PIM package that achieves your data and content goals. Aware’s system includes:
  • An approach to product data from a marketing perspective, not an IT perspective. We listen to your marketers, data inputters, and product specialists to understand their products.
  • Customized data modelling activities that work with your team to build software that empowers your business. We learn your assortment as well as you do, track your workflows from end to end, and view your channels as some of your business’s critical assets. By listening to how your business works we understand what you need not just from a software and hardware perspective, but from a product perspective. 
  • Software configurations that adapt to your business, not adapt your business to a static model. Every data model is different, and only software that can adapt to those differences can improve your product data quality, product speed-to-market, and your business’s bottom line.
  • An analysis to explore systems to improve your speed-to-market by finding workflows that can be performed in parallel, build systems that move items through the setup process instead of waiting for people to find their next task, and make finding your products in the system easier and quicker.
  • Faster implementations that have your resources developing a Return on Investment faster. You need to produce, syndicate, and display product data and content now, not two years from now. We can have your software installed in an average of 6 months from kick-off, providing you a return on your PIM investment faster.
  • Software meant to be adaptable to a wide variety of future business models, avoiding expensive development projects that restrict your future growth. Our software implementations grow with your business to empower it today and in the future. 
  • Cloud solutions that let your product setup process function globally without needing complex access restrictions or special software client installations. Your product setup process can be a 24-hour-a-day, 7-days-a-week machine making your items available online faster.
Our solutions help syndicate your product data and content using a single consistent message throughout your channels. Your marketing data and content outputs to your web site, your catalogs, Amazon, Google Manufacturing Center, and every other channel your business feeds can happen at higher Speed-to-Market rates and more accurately with less work.

Learn more at AwareWeb.com.  Or contact us directly at info@awareweb.com.
Interested in a demo? Contact Aware

Trevor Olson, President & CEO, Aware Web Solutions

02 June 2017

inRiver Welcomes You to Chicago for IRCE!

At inRiver, we are so excited to have IRCE coming to town once again. This year, from June 6-9, the best of all things “retail” for Internet retailers will be in Chicago at McCormick Place West.

The conference is just around the corner and we are looking forward to networking with attendees and other best-of-breed digital solutions. In the meantime, download our Chicago Traveler’s Guide.

Come See Us!

inRiver has secured Booth #739. We invite you to come visit us during Exhibition Hours which are as follows:
  • Tuesday, June 6: 4:00 PM – 6:30 PM
  • Wednesday, June 7: 9:00 AM – 6:30 PM
  • Thursday, June 8: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
We will have videos, collateral, and staff available to answer your questions.

Join inRiver After Hours!

inRiver is hosting two After Hours parties—one to get the party started and one to close out a fantastic conference.

Join inRiver and our partner, Salesforce CommerceCloud, on Wednesday, June 7 from 7:30 to 10:30 PM at one of Chicago's most stylish venues, Fremont Chicago. Enjoy expertly crafted cocktails, great music, and good company under the stars with Fremont's retractable roof. RSVP now!

inRiver After PartyCome by our booth (#739) to pick up some tickets to inRiver’s IRCE After Hours Party that will be held at the award-winning luxury Swissôtel on Thursday, June 8. Enjoy a glass of wine or beer on us while you watch the sun set over Navy Pier and Millennium Park and network with other conference attendees and colleagues. You can also register for our party online.

Here are the deets:
  • When: June 8, 6–9 PM
  • Where: Swissôtel Chicago at 323 East Upper Wacker Drive, Chicago 
  • What: Cocktails, heavy hors d’oeuvres, networking with friends and colleagues
Designed by renowned Chicago architect Harry Weese, SwissôtelChicago is a four-diamond, all-glass triangular luxury hotel ideally situated in the confluence of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.

Join inRiver for this relaxing and fun event. We look forward to seeing you!

Meet us for a Demo

Don’t forget to join us in our meeting room (W472 – right at the top of the stairs) for a demo of our latest product—inRiver Product Marketing Cloud—the first true multi-tenant Product Information Management (PIM) Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution on the market today. No conference badge is needed to join us in the meeting room.

Our meeting room will be open at the following times:
  • Tuesday, June 6: 4:00 PM – 6:30 PM
  • Wednesday, June 7: 9:00 AM – 6:30 PM
  • Thursday, June 8: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Sign up online now to meet with inRiver in Room #W472 at IRCE 2017!
We look forward to seeing you at IRCE 2017!

Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager, inRiver Inc