Agility Multichannel Blogs gives you insights to all the latest developments and also give you the tips and tricks for all your work related hassle.

Forrester Keynote Replay: More Choice, More Convenience (and More Content!) Redefine B2B Commerce Strategies

Our Agility & Kalido Magnitude North American User Conference just wrapped with Forrester Vice President, Research Director Allen Bonde delivering the keynote address titled: More Choice, More Convenience (and More Content!) Redefine B2B Commerce Strategies. Allen shared his insider perspective on why there’s never been a more exciting time to reimagine what’s possible with B2B commerce.

Today, B2B commerce is being disrupted in the same way consumer models have fundamentally changed as digital transformation takes hold. The rise of new options for buyers, including marketplaces and new digitally enhanced selling motions for manufacturers and distributors are creating new pressures — and generating massive opportunities as well.

Watch the full keynote video on the state of omnichannel commerce and how consumer-style experiences are shaping the future of B2B relationship and you’ll also get a peek into Forrester’s newly released 2020 B2B Predictions!

 

How Agility PIM Drives Product Content Performance

Product Information Management (PIM) is essential for driving commerce success, but there’s a wide disparity in solution capabilities among vendors. For product and marketing leaders, investing in the right PIM platform is a crucial decision — and one that requires understanding how PIM can optimize your product information strategy and performance across your organization.

Agility v8 provides a crucial hub where internal and external stakeholders can collaborate to integrate, enrich, preview, approve and syndicate product content and analyze its performance.

Watch this short demo video to learn how Agility unites and dramatically improves the process for every role involved the transformation of products for Commerce.

Key topics:

  • How content managers can improve SEO and product findability through consistent categorization and attribute values
  • How product managers and merchandisers can maximize product sales and margins
  • How asset managers can easily preview digital assets in context of the products they represent
  • Improving product translation, localization workflows and more

To learn more about Agility PIM solutions, let’s have a conversation.

Related Assets

B2B Imperative: Why Product Data is Critical to Digital Distribution

Product data is the lifeblood of eCommerce. The right product information management (PIM) solution enables manufacturers and distributors to create, manage and optimize product data from one central source to ensure brand consistency across all customer channels.

Join our Agility Multichannel team at B2B Online (November 11-13) and attend our case study session to learn why an effective PIM strategy is the bedrock for empowering B2B companies to compete and thrive in today’s hyper-competitive eCommerce environment.

Featured Case Study Presentation

From Catalog and Call Center to eCommerce: Why Product Data is Critical to Digital Distribution

Tuesday, November 12 | 2:45 pm – 3:05 pm

 With ever increasing expectations of the customer experience, savvy competitors can quickly disrupt your market. Enriched product information is the foundation for B2B companies operating online and is critical to supporting the customer experience.

Our Dawn Zassick joins Stacey Ostermann of Allied Electronics & Automation to discuss the types of product information that help drive customer engagement and conversion.

They’ll offer practical examples for looking at product data in conjunction with sales and analytics data for evaluating whether you’re investing enough in your PIM strategy to drive results and identify opportunities for improvement.

To learn more about Agility PIM solutions, schedule a meeting with our experts.

Integrate Agility PIM with AI Services to Reap the Power of Artificial Intelligence

As a follow-up to our Agility v8 Integrates Amazon Rekognition and Google Cloud Vision article, here’s a deeper dive on how we’re leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Agility to deliver automation and drive greater value for our customers.

It’s easy to integrate Agility PIM with other powerful systems. In this article, we’ll illustrate how you can integrate Agility with AI image analysis, like Amazon Rekognition or Google Cloud Vision AI services.

The tags generated by these services can be indexed by Agility to provide powerful searching capability. This integration has three main steps: Agility Data Integration (DI), the AI image analysis service and Agility v8’s Search Service.

Agility DI

Agility DI is at the core of the integration. DI runs Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) processes grouped into “jobs”. These jobs can be run on-demand or on a schedule.

In the example below, the job reads assets stored in Agility and sends their preview images to the AI service.

The service analyzes the images to generate “tags” that describe the image, then sends those tags back to the job.

The job collects the tags for each image and adds them to the asset in Agility.

Finally, Agility’s new Search Service indexes the asset by those tags, giving you all the benefits of faceted searching.

Agility's new Search Service indexes the asset by those tags, giving you all the benefits of faceted searching

How your job might look

AI Service

Both the Rekognition and Vision services process images to identify objects, people, places and activities, which you can then use to enrich your assets with metadata.

For example, using the Rekognition and Vision services, this image generates tags like:

  • Guitar, Musical Instrument, Leisure Activities, Electric Guitar
  • Guitar, String instrument, Musical instrument, Electric guitar, Plucked string instruments

AMI v8 Search

New in Agility v8, the Agility Search Service indexes your data into sets of keywords. These keywords unlock the power of faceted searching. Faceted searching boosts traditional search techniques by giving you filters for your search results.

By associating the generated tags in the example above with your assets or the products they are related to, you could instantly filter your list of images or products to show only results with the “Musical instrument”, “Guitar” or “Electric guitar” keyword.

Taking it forward…

We didn’t stop with image tagging. We’ve also created a similar job to implement automatic AI image moderation that uses the same AI image analysis services.

It’s that easy to integrate with other services! And, there’s no reason to stop at AI image analysis—you can power your Agility PIM with any number of AI and other services.

To learn more, contact our PIM experts.

Agility v8 Integrates Amazon Rekognition and Google Cloud Vision

Hot on the heels of launching a ground breaking new version of our award winning product information management solution (PIM), Agility v8, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve integrated Amazon Rekognition and Google Cloud Vision directly with our Agility platform, giving our customers the most advanced AI-powered product information enrichment with automated image tagging and moderation features.

So, what’s the significance of this?

Having high quality images is now table stakes for eCommerce success. Product images drive online shopper engagement, conversion and retention, and more importantly, customer lifetime value. A good picture of a product instantly conveys applicability, information and branding to a shopper in a way that lines of text struggle to. In fact, over 75% of eCommerce shoppers say product images are very influential when they’re deciding whether they want to buy an item online, according to a recent Weebly survey.

There are a number of key commerce considerations for having quality product images:

  • Images must be up-to-date and relevant;
  • Images must be searchable by having image tagging with key words;
  • Images must be moderated to ensure they are appropriate for the desired audience.

However, the job of managing, tagging and indexing the many thousands of images in a typical customers library soaks up a lot of time and resource.

One of Agility’s greatest strengths has been our commitment to constant innovation, and this continues with our focus on integrating artificial intelligence technologies from Google and Amazon. Our integration with their automated image tagging and moderation services is now available for Agility customers and will identify the objects, people, text, scenes and activities within their images, and store them in Agility as searchable attributes. It will also detect potentially inappropriate content and can also extract text within the images.

Our developers have done the hard work, so you get the help you need to index, tag and moderate your images automatically – it’s like having an extra team member! We have also built this in a generic way that can easily be extended for use in other online AI services, so watch this space!

Agility customers will have the opportunity to experience the full breadth of our advanced PIM capabilities during the Agility v8 showcase at Magnitude’s upcoming user conferences in York, UK (October 15-16) and in Dallas, TX (October 29-30).

To learn more, contact our PIM experts.

Advice for Marketing Leaders Considering a PIM

How to determine if your business is ready for a PIM solution

Do you have an effective product information management system, or are you drowning in barely managed spreadsheet-driven chaos?

If you are reading this blog, chances are that you and your team have already started to think about implementing a product data strategy and investing in a Product Information Management (PIM) solution.

We’ve created the PIM Readiness Assessment as a resource. The answers to some simple questions can quickly help you determine if your business is ready for the benefits a “proper” PIM solution can offer:

  • How many SKUs (products) do you have?
  • Are you promoting products across multiple touchpoints/channels (website, print catalogs, brochures, marketplaces, data exchanges, stores, sales teams)?
  • Are you integrating content from multiple data sources (suppliers, trade services, price lists, PML, ERP, main systems)?
  • Do have product content in multiple languages?
  • Do you manage cross sells/upsells or product bundles?

Take our 3-minute PIM Readiness Assessment (and get instant results) so you can clarify potential next steps and begin your journey of attaining actionable product information intelligence.

Looking for best practices and benchmark data to help build a stronger PIM business case? Our team is here to help – contact a PIM expert today!.

Related Resources:

IRC 2019: Positioning PIM at the Heart of the Commerce Journey

Curious how the biggest retailers in the UK are planning for 2020 and beyond?

Join Agility Multichannel at the InternetRetailing Conference (IRC 2019) in London on October 10, 2019  to hear industry thought-leaders ideas on the actions that retailers must take to stay competitive.

If you ask the Agility experts onsite… they will tell you why a “proper” PIM is the essential piece of a retailer’s product management and marketing strategy. Read More: 5 Reasons Why Retailers Need a PIM

Attend Agility’s featured workshop at IRC 2019:

Why product information management is essential in your digital commerce journey

Thursday October 10, 12:05pm – 12:35pm

Workshop Theatre – Workshop 2

Providing a consistently exceptional experience across all of your customer touch points is key to thriving in commerce today. In this workshop, we will outline some of the key challenges that online retailers face and showcase how exceptional product information management (PIM) at the core of an eCommerce strategy has helped global retailers and brands increase market presence, expand into new channels, and thrive in the digital market.

Presented by:

Richard Hunt, VP MDM, DIW & Agility Solutions – Agility Multichannel (by Magnitude)

Jason Simpson, Director of European Sales – Agility Multichannel (by Magnitude)

Visit Magnitude’s Agility Multichannel at Stand #18 to learn about our latest Agility v8, the industry’s most advanced PIM platform. In designing v8, we’ve set a new standard in PIM by modeling the PIM experience on the eCommerce experience customers come to expect –- by fully integrating Product Management, Experience Management and Commerce.

Our solution experts will be on hand to show you what Agility PIM can do for your business and why PIM is an essential piece of a retailer’s product management and marketing strategy.  Schedule a meeting with us to learn more.

Five Reasons Why Manufacturers Need a PIM

As a manufacturer, your brand is your identity. Your reputation and the perception of all of your products and services is wrapped in a name, logo and stock market symbol. It doesn’t matter if your brand is long established in the market or new to the scene, it is essential to proactively maintain your marketing message.

Source of Truth

Consumers look to manufacturers to provide the original, single true source of information about their products. From concept to design to prototype to finished product, the manufacturer owns every step of the process. Every aspect of the final product derives from the manufacturer — each spec, detail, feature, benefit, part, component or instructions. All of this information is part of the package that is stamped with your brand. This is true for a garment, a drill, a tractor or a turboexpander for a power plant. The manufacturer’s information is fact. And so, managing the creation, maintenance and dissemination of this information is as critical to the manufacturer as controlling its distribution channels.

Why is this important?

B2B and B2C distribution channels have changed dramatically with the rise of the internet and                eCommerce. Print catalogs remain viable, but old-fashioned “mail orders” have been nearly wiped out by electronic transactions. Even that reliable field call by your sales rep might end in a customer order placed electronically.

The sales process moves much quicker today. Thanks to global sourcing, the number of products available to customers continues to rise exponentially. So does the amount of product information, especially when the same basic information is replicated and edited through retail, distributor and reseller channels.

Do a quick search for some of your products on the internet and see how many times you can find them. Then look at the product information. Are these websites providing all of the details you want to share about your products? And in the way you want it to be presented? Just like gossip gets distorted when it passes from person to person, your product information may not survive intact through all of these hands. You’ll find that many sites provide minimal product information and no detail at all.

Your products—your brand—are at risk of being diluted in this electronic stream. It’s one of the reasons smart manufacturers are adopting a Product Information Management solution (PIM) as the core of their digital marketing strategies. Here are other reasons to consider:

  1. E-commerce is here to stay. Global electronic transactions neared the $3 trillion mark in 2018, up 15% from 2017, and continue to rise. Yet manufacturers are lagging in the race to ecommerce. A 2018 B2BecNews survey of 276 manufacturers indicated that 60.7% lacked an ecommerce site, but that 75% planned to launch one within two years
  2. Ecommerce is more than just a website. Digital transformation means giving customers access to your products where they shop—via mobile-friendly apps, phones, tablets and other portables. Today’s customers buy on the fly. They want an “experience”. You have to embrace this new wave of customer engagement in order to survive.
  3. A PIM gives you total control over product information. From one single source of truth you can manage products, specifications, SKUs, photos, schematics, and all other assets. You can ensure brand consistency across all of your distribution channels. And you have security over your data.
  4. Publishing from a PIM is easy. Print or web, catalog or brochure, data export to a distributor’s ecommerce portal—a PIM allows you to configure and feed product information from the data repository to an eCommerce storefront as well as publish to print or electronic catalogs. An ERP system cannot. This flexibility enables the manufacturer to target messages to specific audiences with exceptional efficiency and to archive publications for updates and reuse.
  5. A PIM “talks” to outside systems (SAP, Oracle, other ERPs, mainframes, sales data, price files, asset libraries, Excel, other marketing systems, etc.) and integrates data from these sources to provide real-time analytics and reports. This gives the manufacturer a clear picture of customer behaviors and other factors affecting business performance. Instead of wasting time compiling data, the manufacturer can evaluate the information from the PIM’s reporting functionality—achieving a 360° view of their products—and make better decisions faster.

A robust PIM solution is flexible, scalable, configurable and easily deployed and used. For these reasons, it’s essential to any digital transformation initiative. If you are looking to take control of your product information journey, we recommend the following steps to ensure a thorough PIM evaluation – check out our infographic: Choosing a PIM: What to Watch for.

The Evolution of PIM in Delivering an e-Commerce User Experience

Product data is the lifeblood of eCommerce. With global eCommerce projected to increase 20.7 percent to reach $3.535 trillion this year, savvy global retailers, distributors and manufacturers are honing in to ensure that their product information is ready to seize the tremendous growth opportunities.

As such, product information management (PIM) has risen to become a strategic imperative for every product company. With our own product innovation, we’re raising the bar and have set a new standard in PIM by not benchmarking our product based on other PIM offerings but against the best eCommerce experience. That’s our new guiding principle for the design of Agility: in designing our new Agility v8, we’ve modeled the PIM experience on the eCommerce experience customers come to expect.

Our customers are accustomed to the intuitive functionality of eCommerce websites where there is no learning required. We’ve designed our PIM with this mind by providing a more contextual user experience (UX), allowing users to search and refine as they would on an eCommerce site and then presenting the user with exactly what they need based on the content and the task at hand.

Evolution from two-dimensional to three-dimensional PIM

Historically, PIM solutions have provided a two-dimensional ‘what you see is what you get’ user experience, where you can preview the content, but it’s flat and you can’t actually interact with the data.  You might be able to preview how a product will look in your catalog or as presented in the product page template of your website, but you cannot see the results of interacting with your content.

Today, we’ve redesigned our PIM platform to deliver a three-dimensional user experience, where users interact with their data from within the PIM just as they would within an eCommerce site, by clicking on refinements. For example, what happens when you click on ‘black’ under your color attribute? Do you get the results you expect? Or do you have potential gaps in your data? Do your color options include both ‘grey’ and ‘gray’? If so, then you have data inconsistencies.

If you could easily identify these issues while working within your PIM, you could prevent accidental errors and omissions from going live on your website. Now, with Agility v8, you can. We’ve delivered an intuitive eCommerce-like, faceted search experience, leading to paged results that can be acted on immediately.

A win-win for retailers, brand manufacturers and customers

Delivering complete, contextually relevant and consistent product information is now table stakes in the era of the always-connected consumer. It’s why a robust PIM platform is needed for creating, organizing and optimizing product data from one central source to ensure brand consistency across all customer channels, wherever consumers choose to engage.

Having an effective PIM strategy in place is the cornerstone for creating an engaging and effortless commerce experience — one that drives long-term customer loyalty, increased sales and ultimately results in fewer returns.

To learn more about the value PIM can bring to your business, let’s have a conversation.