en

en

Business

Apr 04, 2022

5 min to read

And the Expansion Award goes to…

Discover the success story of Babolat, winner of the Unlock Expansion Award 22.

Keywords

b2b product experience

business

d2c

expansion

pxm champions awards

sales channel expansion

Unlock 2022

 Since last year, the Akeneo team has wanted to reward the organisations among its Community that have been able to move forward on their path toward being PXM Champions. But no 2 companies have the same exact needs and business growth goals. This is why we have our annual Akeneo Unlock PXM Champions Awards, recognizing true PXM Champions across 5 categories for 5 main ways to Unlock growth thanks to well managed Product Experiences (Expansion, Accelerator, Global, Leadership, Experience Awards).

The first category, the Expansion Award, aims at rewarding organisations that are changing their business by focusing on creating better experiences in both current channels and introducing new ones, addressing new audiences and challenges, and resulting in measurable results through the use of Akeneo PXM Studio.

This year, for this category, we received great submissions, and had 3 short-listed Akeneo customers were: 

  • Kitwave Group (UK), along with their partner iWeb
  • Babolat (FR)
  • Nationwide Marketing Group (US), along with their partner Sitation

But only 1 can win…

Game. Set. Match. For Babolat this year! Yes, it was an easy one 😉 But for the last 2 years, Babolat’s teams have invested time and energy in creating a strong foundation to grow globally. 

After more than a century of selling tennis racquets and equipment in a B2B model, Babolat more recently embarked on an ambitious project to grow via a D2C approach. 

Their products are used by professional and recreational players worldwide. Today, the company employs 370 employees and maintains a global presence. Babolat distributes its products through a network of distributors via a B2B website, a brand showcase website, and a print catalogue. 

Babolat needed to adapt its sales strategy to meet the expectations of players and retailers around the world while offering them quality product information.

Setting up a complementary model of direct sales to the consumer quickly became a necessary step for the group. With this in mind, the work on product data enrichment had to be streamlined to satisfy both a B2B audience of distributors, retailers, coaches, and clubs, as well as their new direct-to-customer audience of tennis players.

The first step in solving any problem is recognizing that there is one.

Guillaume Sérodon, Digital Project Manager, joined Babolat 3 years ago at the beginning of their digital transformation. 

The goal was to deploy in 9 months a brand new website showcasing their products and expertise with e-commerce functionality in the main countries the brand operates in. He had the responsibility of implementing the PIM and DAM as MVPs (Minimum Viable Products) to answer the most urgent needs of aggregating, controlling and delivering the product information and assets on the babolat.com brand platform.

Prior to choosing Akeneo for Product Information Management and Cloudinary for Digital Asset Managements, the teams had no tool allowing them to have product data governance, and no control over how accurate data should be shared with them.

14 Excel masterfiles were used by the internal teams to manage the product information in Sharepoint shared folders. This resulted in: 

  • Big and slow files to work on
  • Lot of manual work and manipulation errors
  • Duplicates – it was complicated if not impossible to know where the most recent and accurate information was
  • Completeness and accuracy issues
  • Tiresome translations – content was created only in English and French and doubled the number of files to maintain

“The good thing is that our external partners had access to the information, the bad thing is we had very little control over it” says Guillaume.

With the goal of launching a worldwide website in 8 languages and a whole new marketing narrative targeted towards the end-consumer rather than the B2B clients, the need to implement an adaptable tool came naturally.

A new way of working

Perfectly aware of the change management such a project involves, Guillaume and his team organised 2 days of workshops gathering 1/5th of the company, regrouping all the services even remotely linked to product information, to design the data architecture. 

“We were all gathered in a huge room, we had the list of all the identified product attributes on the wall, and the groups went through each of them debating on the use of the attribute, the responsibility for the data, the ones consuming it, the rules which should be applied to them, the timing of completion, and all the relevant data governance you should clarify prior to launching such a project.” explains Guillaume.

They succeeded in dividing by 3 the number of product attributes, and defined the responsibilities and completion deadlines of each involved team.

Knowing the hardest challenge would be the implementation of a strong data governance in the enrichment processes, Babolat selected the SaaS version of Akeneo PIM Enterprise Edition as a flexible and continuously-improving solution. The goal was for it to centralise and distribute information to all channels and applications consuming marketing product data.

Time being of essence, they decided to implement the PIM in their growing technology landscape as a MVP which could be integrated with a DAM and their eCommerce solution, Salesforce Commerce Cloud. 

It took 6 months from the discovery of Akeneo until its connection to their e-commerce platform to design the ideal product experience for their customers (both B2B audience and D2C) and set-up the smoothest internal workflows to craft it. 

We can definitely say that they champion the Expansion category!

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