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The Downside of Disposable

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Jul 17, 2024 6 min to read

The Downside of Disposable

Explore the issues of reckless consumerism and its impact on the environment and economy, and discover how detailed product information can empower consumers to make sustainable choices and drive positive change.

In a world of doorstep deliveries and instant gratification, one thing has become abundantly clear:

Convenience often trumps sustainability.

But convenience often comes at a cost, typically to both our pockets and the planet. While it might be easy to overlook the consequences of tossing away an old smartphone or replacing a barely worn shirt, the cumulative effects of these choices are far-reaching and alarming; in fact, a recent study found that only one percent of products are still in use six months after their purchase. 

Landfills overflow with mountains of discarded items, oceans suffer from plastic pollution, and wildlife faces threats from toxic waste;  disposable, low-quality products contribute to a cycle of resource extraction, production, and disposal, generating unprecedented amounts of greenhouse gasses and depleting natural resources. 

“If our demands on the planet continue to increase at the same rate, by the mid-2030s we would need the equivalent of two planets to maintain our lifestyles.”  WWF International Director General, James Leape

It’s all too easy to place the blame on the consumer, but in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, the allure of cheaper products can often be too tempting. And although these items often come with a lower price tag initially, repeated purchases add up over time and perpetuate a cycle of wasteful spending.

What is Reckless Consumerism?

Reckless consumerism refers to the excessive and often irresponsible consumption of goods and services, typically characterized by:

  • Overconsumption: Buying more products than necessary, leading to waste, unnecessary expenditure, or excessive returns
  • Short product lifecycles: Preferring disposable or quickly outdated items rather than durable goods
  • Impulsive buying; Making unplanned purchases based on emotional triggers or marketing influences rather than actual need

Reckless consumerism can manifest itself in many different ways within the market, but let’s take a look at a few of the most common examples.

1. Serial Returners

In recent years, there’s been an uptick in shoppers who have been dubbed “serial returners”, meaning customers who intentionally buy more products than they need with the intention of returning some or all of the products.

The main issue with serial returners is that returned items often cannot be resold as new, leading to increased waste and disposal issues. Additionally, the logistics of returning goods involve extra transportation, which increases carbon emissions and negatively affects the environment. 

The processing of returns also incurs expenses for retailers, which can result in higher prices for all consumers or more strict return policies,

2. Planned Obsolescence

If you’ve bought a smartphone in the past decade, you’ve likely heard of the term “planned obsolescence”, which describes the practice of intentionally designing products that will break or become unusable in the near future to encourage sales of upgrades or new products. This tactic forces consumers into frequent replacements, leading to increased consumption and waste as discarded products often end up in landfills, contributing significantly to pollution and environmental harm.

This practice also exploits consumers by compelling them to spend more money on replacements rather than investing in durable, long-lasting products. The constant need to produce new items to replace obsolete ones also leads to inefficient use of resources and energy, exacerbating the strain on our planet’s limited resources.

3. Fast Fashion/Microtrends

One of the biggest culprits of reckless consumerism is the fast fashion industry.

Through the rapid production and consumption of low-cost clothing items that follow fleeting trends, this industry encourages high turnover, prompting consumers to frequently update their wardrobes to stay in style, resulting in the quick disposal of old clothes. 

The fashion industry in general is a major contributor to pollution, including water pollution from dyeing processes and microplastic pollution from synthetic fibers, and the rapid pace of microtrends nowadays only exacerbates this. 

Additionally, fast fashion often relies on low-cost labor in developing countries, where workers may face poor working conditions and low wages, which is neither sustainable nor ethical.

The PX Revolution eBook

A Shift in the Market

Consumers today are increasingly aware that their choices have consequences. However, despite this awareness, there remains a critical gap in the information needed to make well-informed decisions. 

This lack of transparency and guidance has long hindered efforts to shift towards more sustainable consumption patterns, yet the tide is turning. Younger generations in particular are driving this change, with 27% more likely to buy if they believe a brand cares about its impact on people and the planet. 

These individual changes in behavior are the driving force behind a revolution in consumerism. As more people choose quality, transparency, and sustainability, they collectively push businesses to adopt better practices; 66% of consumers now spend more time researching information and validating purchases than before. 

By making informed choices, consumers are not only improving their own lives but also contributing to a larger global effort to combat reckless consumerism and its detrimental impacts.

It Starts With Product Information

Empowering consumers with the right information is crucial for mitigating this trend of reckless consumerism. People want to spend their money on products they know will last, so providing them with detailed, transparent information such as a comprehensive supply chain report, raw materials data, and details about end-of-life disposability or recycling/resell programs enables informed, data-driven purchases.

Particularly when it comes to serial returners, providing accurate information about size, fit, and color, along with abundant user-generated content (UGC), can significantly reduce return rates. When consumers feel confident in their purchases, they are less likely to order multiple items with the intention of returning those that don’t meet their expectations. This not only reduces waste but also encourages more sustainable buying habits. 

By equipping consumers with the knowledge they need, businesses can foster trust and loyalty, ultimately contributing to a more sustainable future.

The Future of Disposable

This throwaway culture we’ve found ourselves in not only strains our finances but also contributes significantly to environmental degradation, and promises to only get worse over time unless we take action now. 

The best way to combat this trend of reckless consumerism is to establish a foundation of trust with consumers and provide them with the right information in the right way for the right products. By doing so, we empower them to make responsible, informed decisions.

If you’re looking to learn more about how product information and a product experience (PX) strategy can help your organization empower consumers to make sustainable decisions, download our eBook, ‘The PX Revolution’ today!

The PX Revolution

Discover the latest shift in consumer behavior, and learn how your organization can combat reckless consumerism with detailed product information and an enhanced product experience offering.

Casey Paxton, Content Marketing Manager

Akeneo

Announcing Akeneo’s New App Store Partner Program

Akeneo News

Jul 02, 2024 4 min to read

Announcing Akeneo’s New App Store Partner Program

Akeneo has launched a new partner program for our developer ecosystem that includes Independent Software Vendor partners, System Integrators, and independent developers that contribute to Akeneo’s App Store. Below, we’ve outlined the top things we’re most excited about with this new program.

I am thrilled to announce the launch of Akeneo’s new App Store Partner Program!

Since day one, Akeneo has been bullish on partnerships. But this launch is a special moment for our ecosystem and customers as it marks the next phase of Akeneo’s very intentional investment in partnerships, to both accelerate our noteworthy success with existing technology partners (many of whom are in the MACH Alliance) and to welcome new partners, including system integrators and developers, providing new innovative solutions to our customers via Akeneo’s App Store.

Akeneo’s App Store isn’t just any hub for integrations – it’s the most connected and extensible Product Experience Management (PXM) marketplace with 200+ integrations, allowing our joint customers to activate product information in marketing, sales, and customer support channels, onboard new data sets, enrich product experiences with AI, and generally customize the Akeneo Product Cloud to meet their unique business needs.

With the new App Store Partner Program, I am especially excited to:

1 – Speed and scale the development of apps for the Akeneo App Store with investment in new technology, like GraphQL and a design system to guide app UI development, plus new technical resources, like on-demand enablement videos and a Helpdesk for support questions related to app development.

2 – Accelerate joint customer success with focus on providing new enablement opportunities for partners with our field team and directly with customers in order to drive app adoption and value (yes, even better than the 10x increase in app adoption we saw in 2023!).

3 – Identify and influence new business opportunities by doubling down on some of our tried and true partnership tactics, plus providing new enablement and co-marketing opportunities to build awareness and demand for our partners and their apps — not to mention, a referral model for higher tier partners!

4 – Expand our partner ecosystem with new partners that solve for new use cases and industry-specific needs for our customers, both by integrating with more of our customers’ existing tech stacks and also by helping them discover new technology to uplevel their Product Experience.

5 – Support dedicated program management with a new operational infrastructure, including better internal tracking of our partner success metrics and stronger feedback loop with our partners.

This new program is designed so that, as we are more successful together with partners driving joint customer success, pipeline impact, and innovation, our partners will graduate through our new partner tiers and unlock more benefits.

Meredith Kivett, Director, Technology Partnerships

Akeneo

The Shift in B2B Buying Behavior

Trending

Jun 27, 2024 3 min to read

The Shift in B2B Buying Behavior

Discover the stark contrasts between the B2B and B2C buying worlds, and how these digital-savvy customers are starting to expect the same efficiency and innovation in their professional roles as they do in their personal shopping experiences. Plus, learn how to streamline procurement processes, enhance customer satisfaction, and boost profitability through PXM practices.

The typical B2B purchase journey is filled with bureaucratic red tape, convoluted procurement processes, and protracted vendor negotiations; it can often feel like sailing a ship through a sea of molasses.

Compare this with the B2C experience, where the waters are smooth and the sailing is swift. Shoppers glide effortlessly through an omnichannel environment, hopping between online stores, physical shops, and mobile apps with ease. Personalized recommendations, one-click purchases, and rapid deliveries make the journey as delightful as a leisurely sail on a sunny day.

But why such a discrepancy between these two worlds? After all, a B2B transaction, though technically business-to-business, is ultimately still a human-to-human interaction. The people making these decisions are the same ones who enjoy the streamlined, user-centric experiences in their personal shopping lives. It stands to reason they would crave the same efficiency and innovation in their professional roles.

The B2B sector cannot afford to remain anchored in outdated practices. As digital natives—those savvy, tech-immersed consumers—begin to influence market trends, B2B companies must follow suit or risk getting left behind. 

The B2B Transformation

The good news is that the B2B sector is undergoing a significant transformation, spurred by the evolving expectations of digital-savvy customers. These customers, who are accustomed to the sophistication of B2C eCommerce platforms, now demand similar experiences in their professional procurement processes. 

According to IDC’s 2023 SaaSPath Survey, only 16.8% of all respondents sold exclusively as a B2B operation, and 52.8% stated that they were both B2B and B2C.

IDC Spotlight graph

From streamlined procurement processes to advanced analytics that anticipate customer needs, the future of B2B commerce lies in its ability to mirror the agility and customer focus that define successful B2C platforms.

With potentially 74.4% of an organization’s total sales occurring through digital commerce applications, B2B organizations need a strategic recalibration focusing on user-friendly interfaces, personalized content, and streamlined transaction processes. 

Benefits of PXM for B2B: Flexibility and Business Agility 

Product experience management (PXM) enables businesses to gradually replace outdated systems with more flexible, modular solutions and create a solid foundation of reliable, updated product information. 

Once the catalog is well-structured and has clean data under the hood, the other elements of the commerce ecosystem can be gradually decoupled from monolithic systems and integrated with best-in class technologies without the need for time-consuming and expensive rip-and-replace projects. 

This flexibility is vital for swiftly adapting to market changes and customer needs, ensuring that B2B organizations are not just reactive but also proactive in their digital commerce strategies. 

Centralizing components of product catalog management, ensuring seamless integration, leveraging relevant data, and enabling measurement dramatically increase the value in B2B scenarios, especially when considering supply chains, wholesale-retail relationships, or CPG/brand-retail relationships.

IDC Marketscape 2024

Key benefits that PXM provides for B2B engagement include the following: 

  • Rapid change enablement: PXM solutions empower B2B businesses to swiftly address and mitigate potential order issues, including rerouting packaged goods, transferring items to new way stations, defining and reducing inventory holding costs, and appropriately disposing of perishable items. These capabilities are facilitated by the rapid dissemination of product information across various boundaries through PXM.
  • Efficient restoration of services and product availability: PXM enhances scenario planning and disaster recovery efforts, enabling businesses to develop contingency plans. This includes the ability to implement product substitutions, quickly update missing product information, and identify and designate variant options beyond the item level for specific product types.
  • Price and contract efficiency: PXM supports the creation of fully omnichannel experiences, which translates into improved coordination of pricing, B2B contract negotiations, delivery automation, and replenishment for raw materials. Leveraging just-in-time concepts and managing transactions efficiently helps capture float and reduce days sales outstanding, thereby enhancing B2B efficiency.
  • Increased profitability: PXM allows product metadata and historical data to accompany the product throughout its lifecycle, from sourcing to final destination or reclamation of used products. This access to comprehensive data enables businesses to identify, target, trace, measure, and optimize the product journey, ultimately improving profitability.

The Future of B2B

The days of cumbersome procurement processes and tedious vendor negotiations are numbered as B2B companies increasingly embrace the principles that have revolutionized the B2C landscape.

To bridge the gap between B2B and B2C experiences, businesses must prioritize flexibility, agility, and customer-centric strategies. Product experience management (PXM) is at the forefront of this evolution, offering a pathway to seamlessly integrate best-in-class technologies without the need for costly overhauls. By ensuring the accuracy and accessibility of product information, PXM facilitates rapid change enablement, efficient restoration of services, and enhanced price and contract efficiency.

The future of B2B lies in its ability to learn from and adopt the successful strategies of B2C. By focusing on user-friendly interfaces, personalized content, and streamlined transactions, B2B companies can ensure they remain competitive in an increasingly omnichannel marketplace.

To learn more about how the B2B buying landscape is changing and what your organization can do to prepare, make sure you check out “IDC Spotlight Report: The Power of a PX Strategy in Omnichannel Commerce”.

IDC Marketscape Report

Discover how businesses can integrate B2B and B2C operations across multiple channels, leveraging PXM to optimize product experiences, drive engagement, and stay ahead.

Casey Paxton, Content Marketing Manager

Akeneo

How Brands Can Take Full Advantage of Amazon Prime Day

Trending

Jun 26, 2024 6 min to read

How Brands Can Take Full Advantage of Amazon Prime Day

2024 Amazon Prime Day has officially been announced for July 16-17; if you’re a brand looking to take full advantage of one of the biggest sales events of the year, then you need to think of this as an opportunity to showcase your brand and captivate customers like never before. Discover tips and tricks for optimizing your Amazon storefront and detail pages to win customers this Amazon Prime Day.

When you think of the best sales events of the year, you think of Black Friday, Cyber Monday. But more and more, folks are flooding to the annual Amazon Extravaganza that’s become known as Prime Day. Typically a two-day affair taking place sometime around Amazon’s anniversary in July, Prime Day is one of the most highly anticipated eCommerce events to get all your favorites shipped directly to your house at a fraction of the original cost. Now in its ninth year, Prime Day is officially set to occur on July 16th and 17th.  after boasting the single largest sales day in Amazon history during last year’s Prime Day. Prime Day is especially important for small businesses selling on Amazon Marketplace – in 2022, Amazon announced their “Support Small Businesses to Win Big” sweepstakes as a Prime Day promo. That campaign generated more than $3 billion worth of marketplace seller purchases by offering raffle tickets for exclusive prizes based on dollars spent on third-party seller items.  

How Brands Can Prepare for Amazon Prime Day 2024

As we mentioned, this year’s Amazon Prime Day is slated for July 16th and 17th, which means that now is the time to ensure that your presence on Amazon is ready for one of the biggest digital sales events. Below are a list of things you should consider to optimize your Amazon readiness – because your competition likely already has.  As an example, we’ll be following the fictional company TechGear along as they optimize their Amazon storefront and listings for Prime Day 2024.  

1. Optimize your product pages

Optimizing your product pages is a vital step in preparing for Prime Day success. The worst thing that could happen is you spend lots of time and energy on getting shoppers to your product page, only to lose the sale because of poor or missing product content! There are a few key ways our friends at TechGear can optimize their Amazon product pages:

Conduct a thorough audit of product listings

Before Prime Day arrives, TechGear can meticulously review their product titles, descriptions, images, and other relevant details, ensuring that all information is accurate, up-to-date, and consistent across their entire product catalog. For instance, TechGear could verify that their headphone listings have compelling titles that include key features such as “Wireless,” “Noise Canceling,” and “Long Battery Life”, and that their product descriptions are informative and up-to-date, highlighting the unique selling points of each product. Of course doing this page-by-page is impossible, so it’s helpful to have a centralized source of truth like a Product Information Management (PIM) system that gives you visibility at scale across your product catalog, allowing you to make mass changes to quickly optimize the product information.

Utilize A+ Content

Amazon A+ Content enhances product pages with rich multimedia elements, including additional images, videos, comparison charts, and compelling storytelling.  This section of an Amazon product detail page is an opportunity to tell your brand story and connect with shoppers.  
Amazon A+ Content
For TechGear, Prime Day is the perfect opportunity to ensure as many of their product pages as possible have A+ Content with lifestyle imagery and brand storytelling to showcase the benefits of their products and increase customer engagement and conversions. They could create visually appealing modules, maybe even 3D-rendered models, and could split-test different variations of their A+ Content, enabling them to identify the most effective elements and layouts.

Generate reviews and address feedback

Customer reviews play a vital role in the Amazon shopping experience – just because they’re at the bottom of the page, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be at the top of your priority list! Positive reviews from satisfied customers build trust and encourage potential buyers to make a purchase. TechGear should proactively engage with their customers and encourage them to leave reviews, especially those with pictures and videos showcasing the product in action. This social proof will help build credibility and attract more customers during Prime Day. TechGear can also audit their existing reviews and address any negative comments or customer concerns ahead of Prime Day, showing their commitment to customer satisfaction and building a positive brand reputation before the increased flurry of customer activity.

Take advantage of Amazon Posts

Similar to social media feeds like Instagram, Amazon Posts allow brands to create a stream of curated posts showcasing their products in action. By utilizing Amazon Posts effectively, TechGear can keep their products top-of-mind for consumers during Prime Day by publishing posts showcasing customers using their bluetooth speakers during workouts, gaming sessions, or while traveling. Or maybe TechGear just wants to generate some buzz and awareness, so they feature their best-performing ASINs, like their highest-rated items or best sellers to capture the attention of customers who are actively searching for popular items on Prime Day.  

2. Offer multiple ways to save

To entice customers and maximize sales during Prime Day, offering various ways for them to save is crucial. Amazon provides several effective strategies that brands can utilize to drive engagement and conversions. 

Lightning Deals 

Lightning Deals are time-limited discounts on select products that create a sense of urgency among shoppers. These deals are prominently featured on Amazon’s website and can be highly effective in driving impulse purchases.  For our friends at TechGear, a Lightning Deal could be reducing the price by 30% on their best-selling headphones for a limited time during Prime Day. This deal would catch the attention of shoppers casually browsing for headphones and encourage them to make a quick purchase before the deal expires.  
Amazon Lightning Deals
 

Prime Exclusive Discounts

Prime Exclusive Discounts are special discounts visible only to Amazon Prime customers. These discounts showcase the discounted price alongside the regular price, highlighting the percentage saved.  TechGear could offer a Prime Exclusive Discount on their latest smartwatch, displaying the original price crossed out and the discounted price next to it, indicating a 20% discount exclusive to Prime members. This exclusive offer would incentivize Prime customers to take advantage of the savings and potentially drive more browsers to subscribe to Amazon Prime to get access to the exclusive discount.
Amazon Prime Exclusive Discounts
 

Coupons

Coupons on Amazon are displayed with an eye-catching bright green tag, making them easily noticeable for customers. These coupons provide instant savings on eligible products. For example, TechGear could offer a coupon for 15% off their entire range of phone accessories, including cases, chargers, and screen protectors. When customers visit the TechGear Amazon store, they would see the bright green coupon tag, encouraging them to apply the coupon and enjoy the discounted price at checkout.
Amazon Coupons

Non-Amazon promotions

Outside of Amazon, brands like TechGear can employ a number of strategies to drive customers to the popular marketplace during Prime Day, including social media promo codes, influencer codes, custom marketing pages, and buy-one-get-one (BOGO) deals.  TechGear could leverage social media platforms to run a Prime Day promotion where they provide a unique promo code only to their social media followers that offers an additional 10% discount on all purchases made during Prime Day. Or they could collaborate with influencers in the tech niche who would promote TechGear’s Prime Day deals through their channels, sharing exclusive discount codes with their followers.  This omnichannel approach leads us nicely to our third strategy.  

3. Utilize other channels to promote Prime Day deals

While Amazon is obviously the primary platform for Prime Day sales, don’t limit your promotional efforts solely to the marketplace! Leverage off-Amazon advertising channels such as Facebook and Google as these platforms offer sophisticated targeting capabilities, enabling you to promote your Prime Day deals and bundles to potential customers who may not be actively browsing Amazon.  TechGear could run targeted Facebook ads that showcase their exclusive Prime Day discounts and highlight the unique features of their products. By using precise audience targeting options provided by Facebook, TechGear can reach users who have shown an interest in similar products or who fit their target demographic, driving traffic to their Amazon storefront and increasing the chances of conversions during Prime Day. Or TechGear could utilize Google Ads to capture the attention of potential customers by bidding on strategic keywords and optimizing ad campaigns, ensuring their Prime Day promotions appear prominently in Google search results. Lastly, TechGear could utilize TikTok or YouTube for video content, enabling them to demonstrate their products in action by showing an Olympic swimmer using their water-proof headphones in the pool or doing a collab with a popular streamer as she reviews their newest keyboard.  

How Akeneo Can Help

With so many things to consider when preparing for Amazon Prime Day – it’s important to have the right processes and technology to help you take advantage of this event by keeping your listings complete, consistent, and compelling.   Akeneo PIM helps global brands and distributors centralize their product information and assets and enrich it at scale so they can compete and win on channels like Amazon, leaving Excel spreadsheets and outdated technology behind.  With Akeneo PIM and Akeneo Activation for Retail, businesses can activate their optimized product catalog on retail sites like Amazon.  With a near-real-time API integration, Akeneo pulls in the PDP requirements from Amazon Vendor Central and makes it easy for you to map and transform your PIM data to match the Amazon fields, always ensuring that your most up-to-date and accurate product information is being sent to Amazon. Activation for Retail can help you combat third-party sellers that compete with you on your listing pages by refreshing your listings often and ensures that all of your products have A+ Content.  

Set Yourself Up for Success for Prime Day 2024

Amazon Prime Day has grown into one of the most important annual sales events, and it’s promising to only get bigger. If you’re a brand looking to take full advantage of Prime Day 2024 and beyond, then you can’t treat it like any other sale – it’s a chance to showcase your brand and captivate customers like never before. By offering multiple ways for customers to save and expanding to channels outside of Amazon, you’ll create a buzz that can’t be ignored. However you go about it, now is the time to start preparing for Amazon Prime Day 2024. If you need some help on how to get started with your Amazon storefront, or want to talk to one of our experts about optimizing your Amazon product pages, reach out to an Akeneo expert today.

Akeneo Product Cloud

Akeneo technology can help you take full advantage of Prime Day every where. Reach out to us to get started towards a better Amazon experience.

Casey Paxton, Content Marketing Manager

Akeneo

Exploring The Future of eCommerce Retail with Generative AI

Trending

Jun 20, 2024 3 min to read

Exploring The Future of eCommerce Retail with Generative AI

As retailers face new questions and possibilities, discover how GenAI can revolutionize both front-end customer interactions and back-end processes. From personalized search suggestions and AI-generated collections to localized product content, now is the time to integrate GenAI into your business strategy to ensure you remain competitive in this evolving market.

Retailers are asking new questions they haven’t asked before. What wasn’t possible is now in the realm of possibility. Which begs the question: where will your shopper be in just a few years, and how can you meet them there?  Introducing: Generative AI (GenAI) This emerging technology has quickly become a necessity for modern business in today’s competitive market. So let’s take a look at the future of eCommerce retail with GenAI so you can start strategizing on how to stay ahead in a saturated landscape.  

Moving Beyond GenAI-Powered Chatbots 

GenAI does a good job processing vast amounts of information to generate relevant responses, thanks to its advanced algorithms and learning capabilities. This presents massive opportunities — along with its fair share of limitations. Just because it can understand and answer unknown scenarios, is an all-encompassing tool such as this the best solution and subsequent interface for users? The most effective approach for eCommerce is to tailor the AI’s capabilities and interfaces to specific user needs or goals; in other words, the right retail way to utilize GenAI isn’t always just a simple chatbot. For example, a customer-facing interface could involve integrating GenAI into the search bar, transforming the shopping experience by offering personalized search suggestions and responding to complex queries more intuitively. Beyond advancement in front-end interfaces, GenAI can revolutionize backend processes as well, via: 
  • Attribute enrichment. By automatically enriching attributes, GenAI acts as your brand’s behind-the-scenes quality control specialist. It can identify and fix gaps in product data, from product descriptions and pricing details to specifications, categories, and more. This automation ensures your brand capitalizes on fast-moving trends (think: those common of fast fashion), maintains a strong image that builds customer trust, and reduces zero result searches for even the most obscure queries — all at instant speed.
  • AI-generated collections. GenAI can also create personalized collections at scale, tailored on a user level. This allows merchandisers to not only take the guesswork out of creating landing pages that convert, but also leave tedious updates to the AI, which optimizes rules in real-time according to clickstream data, business KPIs, and other critical signals.
  • Translated and localized product content. From regional spelling (“color” and “colour”) to different interpretations of the same word (“pants” in the USA vs UK), global eCommerce retailers need to connect with customers on an individualized cultural level. GenAI-driven localization algorithms adeptly catch errors and discrepancies, helping to tailor product content to align with cultural contexts, regional preferences, and linguistic nuances.
All of these automations not only reduce manual work for merchandising teams, allowing them to dedicate more time to strategic, needle-moving initiatives, but they also enhance the accuracy and efficiency of merchandising efforts.

5 Myths About GenAI

The Go-To for Answering Complex Needs

Ecommerce search has evolved massively since its beginnings. Once-limited keyword search engines were replaced by vector search, which was state-of-the-art for a long time due to its ability to grasp concepts. But they still couldn’t fully understand long-form nuanced queries, such as “show me fashionable and brightly colored men’s shirts.”  Until today. GenAI is the newest form of product discovery in about 20 years, providing a more conversational product discovery experience. This opens the floodgates to revenue-boosting possibilities for eCommerce retail websites. Instead of turning to Google for intricate queries, users can now find solutions directly on-site. By gently introducing GenAI to eCommerce platforms via chatbots or enhanced search bars, customers will gradually become accustomed to and familiar with their interfaces. With this comes the ability for companies to capture traffic that previously would have opted for other modes of search, such as searching, browsing, or finding products via recommendation pods or quizzes. Constructor CEO and co-founder Eli Finkelshteyn predicts that “as these solutions become more standardized, we expect to see user interfaces (UIs) for them become more standardized as well. Similar to how a shopper intuitively knows they can find a search bar on an eCommerce website, the shopper will also know where they can express their longer form needs, or have an interface where the ecommerce site asks questions to help understand their needs better.”  He also foresees the retail industry creating more scaffolding around these solutions, to merchandize within them, help them play a role in SEO, and more.
Constructor GenAI quote
 

Heightened Retail Media Success 

Alongside GenAI and AI-based personalization, Retail Media was the talk of Shoptalk 2024 “It makes sense why Retail Media is so important to retailers: it creates an additional, high-margin revenue stream for businesses trying to become more profitable in tougher economic climates,” Kevin Laymoun, CRO at Constructor, shared on LinkedIn post-event. Using Retail Media, retailers can connect with shoppers more effectively and enhance their overall shopping experience. By strategically placing ads based on customer history, retailers can even guarantee ad revenue. And now that GenAI allows brands to capture more customer loyalty and traffic, brands may have heightened success with advertising partner products.   

A Key Piece of Business Strategies 

As we stated earlier, AI has become a necessity to stay competitive. As such, the time is now for companies to be more deliberate about their GenAI strategies.  Your overall goals should be to strive for operational excellence, unlock client experiences, safeguard privacy, and drive value for the company overall.  And in terms of actionable steps, product discovery experts from Sephora and Constructor weighed in on exactly how digital leaders can transcend the hype to solidify their GenAI business strategies:
  • Identify your legacy. What do you want your brand to be known for? Technical innovation? Customer experience? Consider how GenAI can form a piece of your legacy’s puzzle. 
  • Tie GenAI into overarching business objectives. What’s your business objective? What are you hoping to achieve? Tie that into the shopper journey. For example, if your goal is to build brand loyalty, where in that journey are you losing opportunities to reconnect with that shopper and constantly be valuable to them? 
  • Be clear on your hypothesis and what you’ll test. When retailers are clear on their hypothesis and what they want to test, there are various ways to integrate with GenAI, like a shopping assistant. But your north star should always be: How will this help meaningfully move our business forward? How will it impact shoppers? Start testing small to secure easy wins to always give your users a better shopping experience. 
  • Start building out development teams. Build cross-functional teams with interest and scope to start investigating GenAI use cases. Assign them to research GenAI’s potential, how it can affect shoppers and your business models, vendor roadmaps, etc. Even if you’re not going to market this year, asking those questions to flesh out use cases will help with future efforts.
  • Consider how to solve problems at scale. Don’t just look to solve individual use cases. With this comes rethinking your current Infrastructure and tech stack to accommodate larger use cases. GenAI is not a one-and-done initiative. 
  • Decide how quickly you need to move. The pressure of how fast you have to move needs to tie into the business strategy. This brings us to an all too familiar question around new technology: should you build or buy? Long story short: We recommend you buy to move quicker. Leave the building to the experts. 
Still feeling stuck on where to begin? Glean inspiration from the bigger companies in your space. Once they start doing something, it’ll be an expectation of everyone. Right now it feels new and shiny, but once someone settles on an interface, you don’t want to be left behind.   

Understand the Past to Foresee the Future of Generative AI in Retail

GenAI is currently the missing key that’s helping countless global eCommerce retailers meet and exceed customer expectations. Of equal importance is the fact that its advent marks the beginning of many emerging technologies yet to appear in eCommerce retail.  When these new technologies launch, there will be a lot of hype and vendors promising you the moon. One of the best ways to judge their potential merit is by understanding the past, specifically how emerging technologies have traditionally impacted the eCommerce landscape and — ultimately — companies’ bottom lines. Discover the evolution of product discovery so you can transcend the AI hype and feel confident in making strategic, future-fit investments in eCommerce technology. This is a guest blog post written by Constructor.io 

The State of GenAI in B2C Commerce

Discover this Forrester report that dives into how Generative AI is impacting the B2C commerce industry, and how your business can take full advantage of this technology.

Nate Roy, Director of Brand and Content

Constructor

Enhancing Customer Experience with PIM and Salesforce CPQ

Solutions

Jun 14, 2024 3 min to read

Enhancing Customer Experience with PIM and Salesforce CPQ

Learn how integrating a PIM system with Salesforce CPQ can revolutionize sales efficiency by providing accurate product data, enabling swift quoting, and enhancing customer interactions. Uncover strategies to eliminate data silos, reduce errors, and drive higher sales—all while ensuring a seamless, cohesive experience for your customers.

Imagine you’re a sporting goods manufacturer selling high-quality sports equipment in 2024. You’re not just selling through a single channel; odds are, you’ve got a B2B website, partnerships with small B2B organizations like golf pro shops, and relationships with larger vendors and web dealers, like Dick’s Sporting Goods or Intersport. Now picture that your Head of Sales recently noted in a meeting that the team is facing challenges around efficiency. They are struggling to create quotes and close orders quickly enough to stay competitive, as the market demands rapid fulfillment and quick quote generation. She also mentioned that her reps struggle to answer questions quickly about the 1M SKUs that you offer.  You decide to try to better understand her pain and see if there’s a solution to get the sales team back on track.  

The Pain Points

After speaking with your sales team, you uncover a common thread: even though your sales team often finds themselves on the phone negotiating orders with distributors, they frequently lack visibility into accurate, up-to-date product information. They have to navigate multiple systems, rely on outdated product sheets, or reference old product catalogs, leading to delays, errors, and, eventually, a less cohesive customer experience.  

The Role of High-Quality Product Information

Integrating a modern Product Information Management (PIM) tool with a CPQ solution can transform this scenario. 

Product Information Management (PIM) Solutions

PIM software is designed to centralize and manage product data across an organization, ensuring that accurate, consistent, and up-to-date product information is available to all relevant stakeholders, including sales teams, marketing departments, and customer service representatives.  PIM systems help streamline the process of collecting, managing, and enriching product data, as well as distributing it to various sales channels, such as eCommerce websites, catalogs, and marketplaces, and CPQs.

Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) Software

CPQ software is often used by sales teams to generate accurate quotes for products or services quickly. It enables representatives to configure products to meet customer specifications, determine pricing based on set rules and discount structures, and produce professional quotes, helping to automate complex sales processes, reduce errors, and increase efficiency.  High-quality product information within the CPQ contributes to a consistent and cohesive customer experience across various sales channels. With accurate and comprehensive product information readily available, sales representatives can:
  1. Provide consistent information: Ensure that customers receive the same high-quality information, no matter the channel, building trust and reinforcing brand reliability.
  2. Increase order values: Leverage product associations to suggest compatible products. For example, if a sales rep is discussing a golf club cover of a specific color and pattern, they can recommend a matching golf club bag, increasing the average order value.
  3. Facilitate swift quoting: Quickly search and add the right products to quotes. The ability to determine which fields (like product name and short description) are included in the quote improves visibility for the buyer, beyond just quantity and price.

Salesforce CPQ 

Built on the Salesforce platform, Salesforce CPQ is one of the most popular solutions on the market. Salesforce CPQ offers features such as guided selling, automated approvals, and real-time analytics, making it a powerful tool for sales teams. Its user-friendly interface and extensive customization options allow businesses to tailor the software to their specific needs.

Salesforce Industry Insider: Akeneo

Benefits of Integrating PIM with Salesforce CPQ

Now, let’s return to our sporting goods manufacturing example. Integrating a PIM system with Salesforce CPQ would offer numerous benefits and alleviate some of the pain points that were discovered within the sales team by enabling:
  • A centralized record of consistent, accurate product information: With this integration, sales teams would have access to accurate and up-to-date product data directly within Salesforce CPQ.
  • Improved quoting speed: Sales representatives can quickly search for and add products to quotes, leveraging comprehensive product data from the PIM system. This reduces the time needed to generate quotes, enabling faster response times and increasing customer satisfaction.
  • Increased order values: By utilizing product associations and cross-sell opportunities, sales teams can recommend complementary products during the quoting process. For example, suggesting a matching golf club bag when discussing a golf club cover can boost the average order value.
  • Enhanced customer experiences: Access to detailed product information allows sales reps to provide more informed recommendations and answer customer questions accurately, creating a more personalized and satisfying customer experience.
  • Streamlined operations: Centralized product data management eliminates the need to navigate multiple systems or rely on outdated resources, streamlining operations and reducing the risk of errors.

The Symbiosis of PIM and CPQ

The sporting goods manufacturing example we’ve walked through is not exactly a unique one; brands and manufacturers across the globe struggle with these issues of inefficiency, data silos, and unreliable product information. But integrating a PIM system with a CPQ solution, such as Salesforce CPQ, ensures that accurate, up-to-date product information is readily accessible,  enabling your sales team to provide superior service, drive higher sales, and ultimately contribute to the sustained growth and success of your business. Have you heard the news? Akeneo PIM now offers out-of-the-box functionality for Salesforce CRM and CPQ! This powerful integration ensures that sales teams have access to accurate, up-to-date product information, enabling them to generate precise quotes quickly and meet customer expectations effectively. By doing so, B2B manufacturers can streamline their sales processes, enhance customer satisfaction, and ultimately drive higher order values.

PIM for Salesforce CPQ

Leverage product information across your eCommerce platform, within Salesforce CRM, for CPQ creation, to support customer cases and more.

Sarah Hoffman, Senior Product Marketing Manager

Akeneo

Mastering Your PIM Go-Live: Strategies for a Smooth Implementation

Solutions

Jun 07, 2024

Mastering Your PIM Go-Live: Strategies for a Smooth Implementation

Are you ready to ensure a seamless go-live for your new PIM system? Discover how to master your PIM implementation process as trusted Akeneo partner Valtech delves into the critical steps required for a successful PIM go-live and, and how to ensure your project’s long-term success!

Everyone loves a surprise, but one thing that shouldn’t be a surprise is your go-live implementation process for any new technology, but especially a PIM.  As you build out your PIM and create a foundation of product information, you should be able to build a proper rollout strategy, create a release plan that would cover the different steps involved before, during, and after go-live, and plan a dry-run of the implementation when possible.  Go-live is not only a technical process, but you also need to account for other aspects (governance, business, user, …) to make sure that you have a smooth integration.   But before your go-live process kicks off, it’s important to ensure that you complete these first two steps:  
  • Functional and Technical Health Check  
  • UAT – User Acceptance Testing 
 

Functional and Technical Health Check

Before implementing any new technology, but especially a PIM, it’s important to run an audit on the current environment of your technology stack and your product data. Luckily, Akeneo can help you with this; once you get into a project with your Partner integrator, you might sign up for Project Success Assistance (PSA). This program will then walk you through a comprehensive health check during the project to ensure everything is in order ahead of your go-live.  
Akeneo PIM
  Akeneo, along with the partner, conducts a Functional and Technical system review at the end of each project, before a client’s go-live, to validate the solution and identify opportunities for improvement.   

User Acceptance Training (UAT)

As you finish your go-live preparation, you should make sure to complete user acceptance criteria. This is critical to make sure your project is completed and fulfills your requirements with the people who will actually be using the technology day in and day out.   This can be seen as the last step to ensure the adoption process goes smoothly as doing different user tests will help your team identify any misunderstandings or inefficiencies through feedback provided from these UAT sessions.    

Prepping the Release Plan  

One of the most important aspects of your PIM release plan is that you should have only one for the PIM and it should cover the different dependencies in the document. For example, a common use case would be to have some steps outlined around the ERP or eCommerce integration in the PIM release plan.  Additionally, you’ll need to make sure that all participants are aware of this documentation and understand it in its entirety.  Ideally, the release plan can be split into three main sections: Pre Go-live, Go-live, and Post go-live. In each section, you should cover the different milestones, steps, or actions required, and how you’ll measure success through certain metrics or gates. It’s also important to cover governance, business, and technical aspects in the document.  If you focus only on the technical part of the release, you will miss steps like governance signoff, communication to users to stop using an existing tool, and even more which could derail your go live.  Another important aspect of the release plan should be the rollout strategy. Within the rollout plan, you should have a critical milestone (final data import, platform integration, …) and a potential rollback plan, if needed. Sometimes, moving forward is the best scenario but it is often worth it to have some options on the table if things go south.   

Dry Run, or Don’t Run  

Dry run: a rehearsal of a performance or procedure before the real one. We do it for many other aspects of our work: presentations, certification, demo; and you should do it for your go-live.   It might not always be possible to do a practice run, but it’s worth it to at least give it a shot and go through the full plan. A dry run will help to complete the release plan and gain confidence around the Go-live. It often helps to identify missing steps, to reorder some steps, and to calculate (approximately) how much time implementation will realistically take.    

Final Advice

Now, you should be ready to start your go-live. Again, make sure to follow the release plan that you built, tested, and validated during your project and communicate throughout the Go-live.  For additional support and confidence, create a dedicated support team for the launch, typically made up of the people who have been working with the project implementation this whole time.  

After the go-live, the job is not finished! 

Once you have done the launch, it may feel like the bulk of the project is done, but it’s really only getting started. After the go-live, conduct a post-mortem review to assess and gather feedback from users and internal teams about what went well and what could be improved ahead of the next release. Adjustment, improvements, lessons learned… all of these are crucial to ensuring that future projects run even smoother.  Do you think once the PIM is implemented, your job as a partner will stop?  Do you think your client wishes to be on his own after all this time?   Well, let me tell you that some won’t ask for support, some will build the support internally, and some will ask for support from Valtech. So, to answer this need, the team here at Valtech have built an entire support system which covers: 
  • Support & Maintenance 
  • Strategic Support & Change Management 
  • Evolutions 
  • Project & Account Management 
Looking for more PIM implementation support? Check out some of our other Valtech featured articles diving into how to design your PXM program for success, the people-first approach to product experiences, how to maximize the ROI of your PXM organization, or the steps to perfecting your PIM selection process. This article is a guest post by Akeneo partner, Valtech.

Justine Carlier, Senior Consultant & Akeneo Lead Expert

Valtech

The Product Color Conundrum

Product Experience Strategy

May 13, 2024 3 min to read

The Product Color Conundrum

Discover the nuances of product color naming, and how it can have a massive impact on your customer experience, site search functionality, and SEO. Plus, we’ll dive into how Akeneo PIM can streamline this process and ensure consistency and accuracy across all channels.

The human eye can distinguish as many as 10 million different colors. From fashion and beauty to furniture retail and tile manufacturing, the impact of color is immense. Businesses often hinge their identity and product appeal on precise shades and tones, ranging from standard colors like Azure and Ruby Red to unique hues like Fern, Charcoal, Byzantium, Celadon, and Smaragdine (yes, that’s a real color). Some companies even venture into creating proprietary colors (the term ‘Tiffany Blue’ will always evoke imagery of that robin eggshell hue), underscoring how essential and influential color is to consumer preferences across diverse sectors. The lesson is clear: getting color right is crucial and something businesses cannot afford to overlook. Just as colors can be complex, the struggle for companies to manage them can be complex too. Across an entire enterprise, there could be multiple teams involved in managing color, from design and engineering to eCommerce and procurement. With multiple teams and users comes competing business objectives, a higher risk of human error, and lots of room for interpretation. For 100 instances of ‘Burgundy’ in a product line, you could expect to get some variation of the following:
As you can see there are a lot of ways of interpreting (and spelling) the same thing. These types of discrepancies are a lot more common than many people realize. They certainly detract from the product experience your customers have, but they also cause problems with Site Search and SEO, and can wreak havoc with attempts at applying analytics to products and buying trends. Fortunately, these types of issues with colors are what Product Information Management (PIM) systems were designed to eliminate.  

Benefits of Streamlining Color Variations

Streamlining the color naming process for a business when listing their products across different marketplaces and geographic locations offers several benefits: Consistent branding: Standardizing color names ensures that a brand is represented consistently no matter where its products are sold, aiding in maintaining a uniform brand identity and reinforcing brand recognition among consumers regardless of where they’re shopping. Improved customer experience: Consistent and clear color naming reduces confusion for customers, making it easier for them to find and select products, which can enhance customer satisfaction and potentially increase the likelihood of repeat purchases. Enhanced searchability and SEO: Using standardized color names improves searchability across platforms. Customers often search for products by color, and consistent naming helps in aligning with common search terms, which can boost SEO and visibility. Easier inventory and catalog management: When colors are named consistently, managing inventory across multiple channels becomes more straightforward. It simplifies tracking and reduces errors in stocking and distribution, leading to better inventory accuracy. Streamlined communications: A standardized color naming system simplifies communication within the company and with external partners, such as manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, and retailers, reducing the risk of errors and miscommunications. Cross-market appeal: Having a uniform color naming system helps in adapting and translating products for multiple markets without needing to customize the descriptions for each region too extensively, leading to more efficient expansions and launches in new markets. Reduced costs: Streamlining the color naming process can lead to lower marketing and operational costs, and simplified product descriptions and catalogs mean less time and resources are spent on creating and managing product listings across various platforms. Improved data analytics and reporting: Standardized color names make it easier to collect and analyze data on color trends and preferences across different markets. This can inform future product development and marketing strategies, allowing businesses to be more responsive to consumer needs. By adopting a streamlined approach to color naming, businesses can enhance their operational efficiency and market adaptability, leading to better customer engagement and potentially higher sales.  

Akeneo PIM & The Color Conundrum

In Akeneo PIM, this headache would be solved by creating a field (attribute) of the simple or multi-select type. These fields allow the business to decide on exactly how they want to present each color (is it ‘Burgundy’ or is it ‘Maroon’?) and then enforce governance for all of their users so that they are applied consistently. Just as important in today’s global markets, the translation of these colors can also be standardized. Here’s what this approach looks like in Akeneo PIM:
Another common problem with managing color is that an individual color may need several different iterations depending on what system or team is working with it. For example, it’s not uncommon for a new SKU to be onboarded by a purchasing manager who inputs it as a generic “Blue” to fit the basic (and boring) requirements of the ERP system. Next, this same color is recreated as “Sapphire” by a content specialist looking to provide a proper marketing name. And on yet another path along the color carousel could involve an eCommerce Manager accounting for a website filter or search engine and going with ‘Navy Blue’. In Akeneo PIM, users could account for this by making separate attributes like ERP Color, Color, SEO Tags, or Site Color. This allows you to manage the unique requirements of each component of color with data governance in the same product record. Or, you could utilize Reference Entities, which help you to maintain all of colors and color variations in a single centralized entity as shown below:
Reference Entities also allow you to store and manage additional color information like Hex Codes and Swatches. All of this information can also be adapted and translated to different Sales Channels and Locales. Finally, (and arguably this is where the real power lies!) if I want to change a color’s name or description information, Reference Entities allow me to update ALL of the products referenced to that record in a few clicks without having to update each record individually.  Managing colors is a complex and important part of product information management that is a struggle for companies of all sizes. High quality images may present what a product looks like to consumers, but it’s not enough. To optimize website filters, SEO, internal operations, and the tastes of discerning consumers who expect an exceptional product experience, color must be correct and contextualized across languages and business applications. Don’t whitewash color as I used to by treating it as just another data point to be managed in a back-end system. Instead, treat color like Picasso or Van Gogh did: as a powerful tool of great depth and intricacy that can attract attention and help curate the customer’s experience.

Akeneo Product Cloud

Discover how Akeneo PIM provides a scalable, flexible way to manage not just your color data but all your product information for a better customer experience.

Casey Paxton, Content Marketing Manager

Akeneo

How is PIM Transforming the Customer Experience?

Trending

Apr 29, 2024 4 min to read

How is PIM Transforming the Customer Experience?

Dive into how Product Information Management (PIM) is actively shaping the future of customer engagement and business efficiency, and discover PIM’s capability to streamline operations, enhance product personalization, and drive sustainability in an increasingly competitive market in this guest post from Akeneo partner, Tryzens.

The history of invention is scattered with accidental magic; creations that undergo a transformation in how we use and apply them. Bubble wrap was originally invented and sold as a type of wallpaper. That failed. Yet it eventually found success as an excellent packing material – and who can resist popping those bubbles?  Play-Doh was first marketed as a wallpaper cleaner before realizing its creative potential as a modeling compound for children’s arts and crafts. The rapid rise and proliferation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has us all scrambling to look for the best ways of integrating it into everything, from business products and services to workflows and personal self-development. As it evolves, so will our use of it. Product Information Management (PIM) is also evolving. And as the technology advances, the role of PIM in shaping engaging customer experiences will continue to grow. PIM is already helping brands and retailers centralize their product data to better manage and update product information across channels (physical stores, apps, websites, email marketing).  Some of the core benefits of PIM for businesses include:
  • Reach markets faster by streamlining processes of updating existing products as well as adding new ones. With this added agility, businesses can respond much faster to meet new customer demands and market trends.
  • Uphold consistency and accuracy by ensuring product information is the same across all touchpoints. By centralizing data into a single source of truth, customers receive a seamless experience regardless of where they interact with a brand.
  • Improve personalization by using data management to better understand customer behaviors, preferences, and needs. This can then be used to recommend products and create more tailored shopping experiences.
 

What’s Next for PIM?

When Tryzens analyzes PIM solutions, we have an eye for how the platforms are evolving and integrating other technologies to future-proof business needs. There are many areas to explore, but let’s zero in on five key areas that PIM is helping to shape.

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

PIM platforms are already using artificial intelligence to improve the product experience. For example, last year Akeneo acquired the AI platform Unifai, which is helping to improve data collection, cleansing, categorization, and enrichment. It has also created a dedicated Center of Excellence to optimize AI for the product experience. AI-powered PIM systems will be able to automate data categorization to further refine navigation and search for customers. They could also automate enrichment tasks to provide customers with richer product details, helping them make more informed purchasing decisions, as well as enhancing product discoverability.

The State of Generative AI

2. Real-Time Personalization

Through AI enablement and automation, PIM platforms will be a key enabler for deeper personalization in real time. For example, recommendation engines will leverage rich semantic product information data that has been created by artificial intelligence. With more effective ways of centralizing customer data, segmenting it, and automating certain efforts, personalization is becoming more sophisticated. PIM platforms may deliver hyper-personalized experiences that consider individual preferences, intent, and context, involving tailored pricing, bundling, and specific product promotions. This could also include customers receiving different product media being showcased to them on a PLP or PDP – like how Netflix curates personalized thumbnail images to each viewer.

3.  Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

Brands and retailers are already experimenting with AR and VR. From virtual fitting rooms for clothing to virtual try-ons for jewelry, customers are getting a more immersive shopping experience. And it’s just the start. Sales of VR headsets have accelerated in recent years. Around 5.5 million were sold globally in 2019; 7.9 million in 2020; 14.3 million in 2021; 19.1 million in 2022; and 21.8 million last year.  What does that mean for retailers and brands? Businesses will be able to integrate PIM data with AR and VR platforms, allowing customers to explore and interact with products in a lifelike environment. This not only improves customer engagement and satisfaction but also reduces product returns by enabling customers to make more informed purchasing decisions based on realistic product representations.

4.  Voice and Livestream Commerce

Voice assistants like Google Assistant and Alexa increasingly sit on kitchen counters, living room coffee tables, and bedroom drawers. PIM platforms can help businesses adapt their products for voice-driven product searches, purchases, and recommendations, giving customers a convenient and intuitive way to shop online. With the growth of eCommerce, social media, and influencers, livestream commerce is a rising global trend. It involves a host showcasing products in a real-time broadcast and interacting with viewers, who can make a purchase during or after a show.  And the biggest benefit is that livestream sales have impressive conversion rates: they’re 10 times higher than traditional eCommerce rates, with 60% of livestream viewers making a purchase during or after an event. Connecting PIM data with livestreaming platforms presents exciting opportunities for brands to engage customers with more interactive and immersive shopping experiences, such as analyzing viewer interactions in real time to optimize content based on their preferences and behavior.  

5.  Sustainability

As environmental sustainability becomes an increasingly important consideration for both businesses and customers, there is a growing emphasis on tracking and managing the environmental impact of products. Future PIM will likely focus on further integrating sustainability metrics and environmental data that underscore responsible product management. By showing the carbon footprint, recyclability, and sourcing practices, it allows brands to communicate their level of eco-friendliness in a more transparent and user-friendly way.  

The Future of Customer Experiences

If the history of innovation has taught us anything, it’s that the most unexpected transformations often yield the most innovative uses, and PIM and AI are no different. The future of PIM is not only about enhancing product information management and customer experience but also about advancing sustainability and driving substantial business growth.  As businesses continue to leverage these innovations, PIM will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in meeting the dynamic demands and setting new benchmarks for customer engagement and operational efficiency. This article was provided by Akeneo, Tryzens.

Akeneo Product Cloud

Reach out to a PX expert today to learn more about how Akeneo and Tryzens work together to improve your customer experiences.

Radcliffe Cole, SVP Consulting Solutions

Tryzens

A Microservices Approach to Solving the Unique Challenge of Automotive Data

Akeneo Product Cloud Support

Apr 26, 2024 2 min to read

A Microservices Approach to Solving the Unique Challenge of Automotive Data

Discover the methodology behind automotive regulation policies such as ACES and PIES, and how Akeneo PIM and Sitation’s new Automotive App can help in this latest article from Akeneo partner, Sitation.

Managing product data is critical for selling any type of product in the 21st century. The importance of high-quality content and data has gone from only being needed for eCommerce, to a minimum requirement for competing in an omnichannel world.  The data standards required to compete today, especially in the automotive industry, require a unique approach that leverages many different types of data. This article will cover an overview of the data required for automotive products, the importance of a microservices approach to managing this data within your commerce system, and the importance of leveraging enriched product data for a compelling experience.

In the automotive industry, fitment is the beginning of personalizing the shopping experience. The consumer will never see the product data, price, or availability if you fail to connect the parts with the consumer’s vehicle.

Jon Dehne COO

Sitation

Automotive Industry Standards

The Autocare Association represents the automotive industry and sets the standards. These standards are commonly referred to as ACES and PIES, but there are several layers of database provided as part of the Autocare VIP service.  ACES stands for Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard, and PIES stands for Product Information Exchange Standard. The below chart details the relationship between the various databases and the higher level standards, but most industry professionals use ACES and PIES to discuss the requirements for automotive data.  
PIM ACES and PIES
 

PIES

PIES data covers the core attribution, assets, product makeup, and classification. From a product experience perspective, this data is no different in structure from other products in other industries.  All products need a title, brand, description, price, and some sort of hierarchy. While the specifics of PIES data structures are highly specific and tailored to the automotive industry, they very closely align with what we recognize as core PIM functionality. Completeness, data quality analysis, data validation, and assets are critical pieces of the enrichment of this data. According to the 2023 NRF report on Consumer Returns in the Retail Industry, 17.6% of online sales were returned in 2023, significantly higher than the 10.02% return rate for brick-and-mortar store purchases. This discrepancy is often due to improper fit, which is a leading cause of high return rates. In the US, returns across the retail sector totaled $743 billion for the year.  Anything short of a best-of-breed PIM to empower teams to enrich this data will result in a subpar experience for any shopper and result in lower sales and increased returns.   

ACES

ACES data covers application data, qualifier data, and other structures that power fitment. Fitment isn’t a unique challenge to automotive, but the Year Make Model (YMM) standard found in the VCDb is critical to automotive parts sales.  Take for example a common use case: A customer needs new windshield wipers for their 2016(year) Subaru (Make) Crosstrek (Model). There are millions of unique combinations of YMM, but this customer doesn’t care about the other vehicles on the road, they only need to answer 1 question: Does it fit?  Managing YMM is simplified by subscribing to the Autocare VCdb updates, but the assignment of valid fitment configuration (also known as application) is essential to converting sales in the market. Microservices Architecture has dominated the eCommerce space over recent years for good reason. Leveraging the ‘Best of Breed’ solutions for specific problems results in a more flexible system that can be improved in specific areas without needing to replace the entire system all at once. In addition, these targeted systems allow for companies to leverage the best tools for specific problems without compromising on other critical areas.  Akeneo excels at Product data including attributes, quality, attribute validation, and assets. All that was needed was a targeted add-on to manage the Fitment component, which we developed and released as the Sitation Automotive Fitment App. 
Akeneo PIM, ACES, and PIES
Similar to the ACES and PIES standards created and championed by the Autocare Association, the separation of Fitment and PIM enrichment, validation, and distribution is the ideal solution for a company following a microservices architecture for their commerce solutions.  Competition in the automotive industry is forcing companies to evolve or be left behind when it comes to competing in this space. Traditional powerhouses in space such as Advanced Auto and AutoZone now compete with Amazon and Ebay for the aforementioned Subaru driver looking to replace their windshield wipers, and those shoppers expect high-quality product data combined with confidence the product will fit their vehicle.

Akeneo & Sitation

Learn more about how Akeneo PIM and Sitation’s Fitment App can help you manage strict automotive regulations.

George Dzuricsko, Senior Director, Solution Architecture

Sitation