In one of the latest blog posts I touched upon inRiver and our community, and the strength that lays in that combination. As the topic of what the platform enables the community to do is very close to my heart, I felt that there is more to be said around this.
What our customers tell me when I talk to them is that if you look beyond the capabilities and the UI of inRiver, one of the key features for choosing inRiver is the flexibility and power in the strong community surrounding the platform. What they usually refer to is what the community can do to solve a customer’s specific business challenges. This use case is usually relevant only to the customer, and is often a perceived feature gap. It may be only a 10% gap, but can still represent 90% of the business value for the customer. This is why it is so important, and such a strength, that the inRiver platform and the community have the capability and the knowledge to support our customers in solving these challenges.
At inRiver we believe that if you look at the challenges ahead, and try to foresee who will be best equipped to meet these, you will probably come to the conclusion that the company with a large community that shares ideas and gets ideas generated will always be ahead. This is in stark contrast to the company that has a “one-stop shop” approach that tries to solve everything in a black box. The hard part in this is that you do not have time on your side when making a decision on what company you should partner up with, since time is the best judge on which approach is ultimately the best for you.
Some of the initiatives that we at inRiver have taken to inspire, share, collaborate and interact with our community are:
inRiver Academy - In our work to inspire our community (partners & customers) we train and certify individuals to give them the necessary tools to design and implement inRiver in an inspiring way. See more on Academy.
ICP – inRiver Champions Program, where we invite inRiver champions that stand out in our great community and get them involved in building the next generation of inRiver. This is something that we are looking forward to launching soon. More information will be found on the inRiver website shortly.
Collaboration – We will start sharing all our adapters on GitHub for the community to benefit from our efforts, but also for us to benefit from the great competence in the community.
Marketplace – Here we share on our website all the great apps and additional features that our community has developed. See Marketplace.
So a big and humble thank you to the inRiver Community for all that you contribute with!
-- Jimmy Ekbäck, CTO --
When looking at how you can increase the value of what your products are bringing to the market, there are a lot of options available. One option could be to work with your product content and the story that enables your products to sell. Another option could be to work with the assortment you bring to the market. A third option could be how you price your products.
When I talk to our customers, I often hear of two of these three options quoted as being essential to the success of increasing the value of the product marketing. This is what they say:
When our customers describe what the consumer wants, or how they can inspire the consumers to both understand and want their products, it is what I described in my last blogpost “From PIM to PXM”: they need to speak to “System 1” of the consumers, the feelings. Since consumers are taking emotional decisions rather than rational decisions, our PXM (Product Experience Management) concept is about giving our customers the tools to give all their products this emotional story, enabling their products to tell, not just sell.
The inRiver PXM concept also contains a feedback loop where inRiver PIM helps with refining the product story, based on how customers are experiencing the story being told. Looking at how consumers like to search on a product assortment, you may find that you need to enrich your products with more content, or add different content to make the products more attractive. Looking at which products are being abandoned in the shopping cart, you may want to consider telling the story of that product in a different way to catch the attention of consumers. The feedback loop can also be used for capturing user-generated content from one touch point (e.g. eCommerce), and re-use this information in another touch point (in-store or an inspirational magazine) for augmenting sales.
To be able to speak to consumers’ feelings and to make your products more attractive, it is important to be on a platform that focuses on the experience your products are giving, regardless of customer touch point.
These are some of points that I believe are important with our new PXM concept, telling a story no just selling a product.
-- Jimmy Ekbäck, CTO --
Consumers, myself included, are looking for convenience when considering a purchase. Most prefer to search for products by using Google, Amazon or similar services instead of talking to one of your sales reps or walking into a store. Depending on industry, between 50-60% have researched their product purchase online before they even talk to you.
The more precise the question is that we formulate in the search field, the better response we get, we believe. Or are we actually just getting the results from companies that have figured out SEO, search engine advertising, and the whole content marketing thing? Truth is, companies are spending billions of dollars on search engine ranking and advertising, indicating that it does have a huge impact. The amazing thing is that I have talked to many companies that are spending significant amounts of money on search ranking, but when you go to their website, it does not give you the expected experience. It could be everything from difficult navigation to insufficient product descriptions and product details, difficulty to search for products, hard to find accessories or spare parts, or lack of detailed images.
So how come companies continue to spend their money on search ranking, and just accept that the majority of the spending is not doing any good? Search engine ranking is important, but imagine this: if you take some of the money you spend on search or advertising and use it for actually producing great product content and really letting your products tell their story, then your (potential) customers would not only find your products more easily, they will actually buy products from you. This is a researched fact, and as Peter Sheldon from Forrester recently shared in a Webinar we hosted (watch recording here), almost 70% of your online customers rely on the product-related content when they make a purchase decision. He also shared that 66% of all consumer visits to a manufacturer’s website involves consuming product-related information.
With companies spending seriously big money on getting a top search engine ranking to attract customers to their webshop or store while lacking good product content, many are literally giving their money away. Trying to optimize a web shop without having that product content in place, you will probably continue getting unsatisfactory conversion rates. And adding a new tactical tool to merchandise your assortment will probably not help much, either. I’m not saying that tactical solutions are wrong, but since all of these solutions depend on good product content, you should address the real problem instead: your product content.
Having tools like a PIM (Product Information Management) system helps you manage your product content smoothly and efficiently, and I can promise you that you will see your KPIs improve. But most importantly, your customers will find you and your products, and they will buy not only once, but continue buying since you now provide them with a great customer experience that entails great product content. Great product content leads to informed customers that make purchase decisions.
CEO and President, inRiver