When you walk into a small fashion boutique, it can feel almost like a liberating experience. Although by nature I am not a shopper and small boutique prices terrify me, I do enjoy the pristine, sparse environs of an intimate and high-end boutique. Each garment is delicately hung several inches from its neighboring items, the displays are fastidiously placed in strategic areas of the store, and the hardwood floors have not a speck of dust. Even the store personnel are meticulous in their attire and comportment. Equally tranquil, it seems, is the transition from one season to another—the introduction of the new and the dismissal of the dated.
Despite this calming in-store experience, I would argue that retail fashion ecommerce and merchandizing resemble more the duck that is calm on the surface but paddling frantically underneath. Behind the immaculate façade of a department or chain store display may actually be organizational disarray and chaotic disparate sources of product data that result in “product content spaghetti.” This breeds insecurity and doubt among marketers, who are left continuously searching for the latest version of a product’s information, while worrying about the product information’s accuracy, completeness, and appeal.
It is this content spaghetti that the team at inRiver seeks to address, store, and organize for our customers—to make the lives easier for fashion marketers everywhere. We are fortunate to have many customers who have benefited from this and are willing to tell their stories.
One of these customers is Claire Sharp Sundt of Varner Group, who is joining inRiver’s own Johan Bostrom at Episerver Ascend on Monday, February 27, 2017 at 3PM in Yaletown 1 for a session about how to streamline ecommerce processes from a product information perspective. The session is entitled: “Commerce: It Takes a Village. How Technology and Marketing Work Together for a Great Customer Experience.”
Varner Group is a house of many brands, some of which compete with one another! They embarked on ecommerce in earnest in 2013, having installed inRiver PIM in 2012. Ms. Sundt will discuss Varner’s journey from content spaghetti and organizational silos to empowered collaboration and information sharing. In addition, she will share how the marketing team built a partnership with IT to help bridge the gap between their marketers and their shoppers. Ms. Sundt will also describe the importance of key attributes for certain target segments based on specific customer needs.
Johan Bostrom will weigh in on how product information management applications, such as inRiver PIM, can be used to enhance product intelligence and rid organizations of content spaghetti once and for all.
Don’t miss this exciting session at Episerver Ascend on March 1. Stop by our booth at the Show—Booth #15—to discuss your content spaghetti or product information management needs. In the interim, please take a look at the Varner Group case study on the inRiver web site to learn more.
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager North America, inRiver
April will be an exciting month. Not only is inRiver’s annual customer and partner event PIMpoint Summit taking place, but the new and exciting details of the next release of inRiver will be announced at the event. It’s the launch of the next generation of inRiver PIM, and our most important release ever - meaning there will be a lot of new and interesting things to present to the user and partner communities at PIMpoint Summit.
It’s an amazing feeling, giving our communities a first look at what’s new. The first time we did this was 5 years ago, when we launched a major release of inRiver PIM to the community at our first ever PIM event. It was a powerful experience to be there, seeing how it was received, and how passionate our users and partners are about what we do.
inRiver’s strength lies in our user and partner communities. With their keen engagement and constant flow of feedback, we have been able to kick things up a notch and launch this next generation of inRiver PIM. This year, we are more excited than ever to engage our community attending PIMpoint Summit 2017 in the launch. We will provide break-out sessions at the event, presenting how the new features enable organizations to manage product information even more efficiently. New this year are the master classes, replacing the user and partner forums of previous years. During these master classes, we will be providing hands-on introductions to the new features in inRiver PIM, and answer questions.
But PIMpoint Summit 2017 is not just about the next generation of inRiver PIM. With more than 600 attendees expected at the event, it really is the place to be to see what’s cooking in the PIM market, and the best place to meet the inRiver community to network and exchange PIM experiences with peers. It is also about micro-moments, how top-quality product information has become more important than ever, how it has become a concrete competitive advantage, and how it can influence the attention and purchase decisions of customers.
This year we are extremely proud to present a well-known, cool, trend-spotter: Daniel Levine. Daniel is one of the world's best-known trends experts. He’s been called "genius" by Elle Magazine, and "the ultimate guru of cool" by CNN, and he is one of our high-profile keynote speakers. So if you want to be more relevant, innovative and profitable, you should definitely be at PIMpoint Summit 2017 on 6-7 April 2017 in Copenhagen, Denmark. See the agenda and all our speakers.
See you there!
Annette Ståhlberg, Content Manager, inRiver
Let me introduce you to my new best friend. Yes, in a household with three active children, a busy, distracted husband, and two “unruly” dogs (as described by my curmudgeonly neighbor), my Amazon Echo is my dearest friend. She actually listens to what I say and acknowledges my requests!
Yesterday, I had Alexa read me the news. The day before, she set a timer for 25 minutes so I wouldn’t burn the muffins. She plays my favourite music on demand and adjusts the volume to my liking. If she had arms, I would hug her—every day.
But there is more to Alexa than meets the eye. Did you know that she is also the ultimate shopper? Yes, indeed! Assuming that the items that you are seeking are either commodity—such as pet food or packaged goods—or easily described, such as a book or a song, Alexa can do your buying for you—at the sound of your voice.
This is your newest retail channel. We will be discussing this and more in our upcoming webinar on February 15.
As retailers and manufacturers, who are targeting consumers directly, strive to get the right offer to the right consumer at the right time, an additional channel can open up new opportunities, while also adding operational complexity. In the case of voice, the ability to utilize the technology and the channel effectively is key. And to do this, you need great product information.
Since consumers who order products via Amazon Echo, Apple’s Siri, Google Voice, or other voice-activated apps are likely not looking at a mobile device or laptop at the same time, they are not seeing product images or reading descriptions and specifications. It is imperative that your product information is complete enough for the service to recognize what the consumer is trying to order.
Not only that, but also your product description needs to utilize the key words that a consumer would use. Chances are, a consumer will order a “blue phone case for Samsung Galaxy S7” not an “aqua ombre glitter sparkles” S7 phone case. Your product information needs to tell appealing product stories using common, everyday terms.
Because consumers will be able to review a shopping cart to ensure that their order is correct, your product information needs to be discrete and concise enough to select the needed product with a superior level of accuracy. Basic information such as product titles, brands, and SKU numbers needs to be exact. In addition, your product information needs to be consistent across channels so that your consumer can view a product online and then be able to order the product later via voice with a high degree of confidence that the selection is the same product.
The advent of voice shopping can help retailers truly meet shoppers where they are, in those “micro-moments” when a product need crosses their minds. However, to make that great first impression and keep shoppers coming back to you through this channel, it is critical that you serve up the right content and product options. Keep this new channel in mind when you are crafting your product information. It might mean telling a simpler, more concise product story.
In the meantime, join inRiver and our partner Absolunet on February 15, 2017 at 2PM CST for a webinar on this and other eCommerce trends affecting retailers. Register here for this informational event!
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager North America, inRiver