It is not uncommon for marketers to have to justify their needs for the latest and greatest technology and marketing tools to their counterparts in IT. Some of these needs include solutions for marketing analytics, lead scoring, and email marketing that help marketers better target prospects and get messages out in a timely manner.
Here at inRiver, we pride ourselves on understanding the plight of the marketer, especially with respect to “content spaghetti” - product information that resides in Excel spreadsheets, PDF files, and disparate legacy systems. Implementing a product information management (PIM) system can bring relief to many of the frustrations that marketers feel regarding their product content.
However, to explain the content challenge to IT, it is sometimes necessary to quantify tasks that are, frankly, hard to quantify - time spent searching for the latest version of something, lost sales due to a lengthy time to market, or higher product returns due to incomplete or incorrect information. But, as e-commerce become ubiquitous - for both B2C and B2B enterprises, technology solutions such as these are increasingly critical.
With mobile shopping increasing exponentially, micro-moments are becoming equally prevalent. Micro-moments are those intent-driven moments when shoppers want to learn where to go, what to buy, or how to do something. These micro-moments are driven, for the most part, by our obsession with and reliance on our smartphones and tablet devices. You have heard the stats - 82% of smartphone users consult their phones while they are shopping in-store!
What this means for ecommerce merchants is that you need to be ready, with the right content and the right tools to capture those micro-moments when they arise. And to accomplish this, marketers need to cross the corridor and ask their IT counterparts for help. And in turn, the technology experts across the hall need to understand what marketing is trying to achieve and offer solutions to address the challenges of micro-moments.
Forrester Research’s July 2015 study on Moments That Matter brings this point home. Companies that have IT and marketing executives who are aligned to address micro-moments are more successful and have better ROI on marketing expenditures. When their infrastructure is integrated - with mobile experiences aligned with back-end systems, they outperform their peers and competitors.
We are so intrigued by the need for this partnership between marketing and IT that we are hosting a webinar with our technology integration partner, Jasper Studios. Join us on March 23 at 2 PM CDT for Meeting the Challenges of Micro-moments, when Johan Boström of inRiver and Jon Marsella of Jasper Studios will discuss the enormous opportunities and challenges that retailers need to be aware of when addressing micro-moments.
You will see that by meeting in the hallway, IT and marketing organizations can work together to create the relevant, rich experiences that customers are expecting in their micro-moments.
In the meantime, don’t forget to register for the webinar on March 23.
In September 2016, inRiver launched our new global inRiver PRIME Partner Program. Although the program is new, the inRiver partner community has been in existence for nearly a decade. It is because of these partnerships that inRiver has been able to evangelize product information management throughout Europe and the United States and assist enterprises in the retail, distribution, and manufacturing industries take control of their “content spaghetti” and tell better product stories.
We are delighted that several of our long-time partners have been highlighted in a recent Forrester Wave™ report. The report, which focuses on leaders in web Content Management System (CMS) features and functionality, recognizes the superior offerings of Adobe, Episerver, and Sitecore in this dynamic marketplace. All three of these leaders are noted for their deep expertise, vision, execution.
“Customer experience” is still the phrase of the day in the CMS marketplace, and these three partners are ensuring that their respective offerings address the need for “contextual digital experiences.” Enterprises are looking for ways to offer personalized, dynamic content to web site users while deploying a solution that is agile and user-friendly.
Among the 15 vendors that Forrester evaluated, Adobe, Episerver, and Sitecore rose to the top of the list. Each of these solutions has been proven successful in Forbes Global 1000 enterprises within at least two major geographical regions.
For each of the partners below there is an adapter or connector that integrates with the inRiver PIM solution. This CMS/PIM integration speeds data transfer and eases the display of product information.
inRiver has been partnering at customer sites with Episerver for years because of our Swedish headquarters and strong presence in the Nordic countries. However, we have also worked with Episerver at several customers in the US and are excited to continue to build our relationship and joint customer base in North America. With the inRiver Epi Commerce adapter you can publish your product information directly into Epi Commerce.
The Forrester Wave points out the key benefits of Episerver’s platform—solid architecture, scalability, and modular approach to marketing features. In addition, Forrester is impressed with Episerver’s vision for new capabilities such as cloud-native scaling, automation, and machine learning support.
Due to Sitecore’s Danish headquarters, inRiver has a number of joint customers in the Nordics with Sitecore. Sitecore has provided many marketing tools within its product, such as testing, optimization, and customer data profiles. Sitecore will also be adding a cloud solution in 2017 to complement its extensive partner and developer network across the globe.
The Sitecore adapter enables publishing product information from inRiver PIM to the Sitecore CMS. When the products in the inRiver Marketing Model are enriched and ready for display, they are loaded and automatically released into Sitecore CMS.
inRiver has a long-time partnership with Adobe, and there is a plug-in for managing automatic print support of high-quality product information.
In the Wave report, Forrester commends Adobe’s vision for speeding time to market, employing machine learning for analytics, and enabling integration with other marketing modules. Adobe’s Experience Manager Sites solution embeds tools that marketers increasingly find critical—digital asset management (DAM), analytics, and targeted content marketing.
Episerver has provided an opportunity for you to download and review the research compiled by Forrester Research in their CMS Report. Download the report to learn more about these leading-edge partners in the content management space.
Visit the inRiver Partner web page for more information about these and other partners in the inRiver PRIME Partner Community. The inRiver Marketplace provides additional information about connectors to and from inRiver PIM.
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager North America, inRiver
Polishing Up Your Products — Why PIM Really Matters
Telling A Consistent And Engaging Product Story Is Imperative
by Peter Sheldon
with Zia Daniell Wigder, Michele Goetz, and Rebecca Katz
summary written by Henrik Béen, CPO inRiver AB
In his latest report, Forrester analyst Peter Sheldon gives his view on “why PIM really matters” and the positive effects it has on Retailer’s sales. Recent Forrester research shows that 71% of all US online shoppers actively research product information online to help them make better purchase considerations. This of course puts pressure on the retailers to provide customers with rich, relevant, and consistent product information in all channels where they what to be present. Forrester concludes:
“For decades, product data has been the lifeblood of many large enterprises. Now, in the age of the customer, eBusiness leaders and marketers are critically reliant not only on their product data, but on curated product content to provide differentiated digital experiences. Key to this objective is telling engaging stories about the products being sold; however, many online retailers, brands and industrial manufacturers lack effective tools to streamline the product content creation process needed to efficiently create high quality, consistent product content. This report explores the role that product information management (PIM) systems have to play in telling compelling and contextual product stories, the primary drivers behind the investment in these systems and the steps necessary to steer clear of the hurdles that all too often derail these programs.”
Peter Sheldon means that PIM (Product Information Management) should be seen as the “gestation engine” where products are fully enriched and where they mature to be marketed and sold. With no proper PIM strategy and without governance and control, it is very likely that you end up having a “product horror story”. In his report he highlights some key benefits from deploying a PIM system in the organization. According to Peter, with a PIM system and process in place these companies can: