“PIM is built with evolving needs in mind.”

blog

March 5, 2024

Dave Copeland, Global Director of Sales Engineering at inriver, shares his insights into the dynamic PIM market and why C-suites are paying attention.

“There’s a tangible sense of excitement about PIM in the C-suite.”

After 20 years of experience in technical sales and almost a decade in PIM, inriver’s Director of Sales Engineering, Dave Copeland, has long recognized the power and potential of product information management. 

What’s different now is that organizations can measure PIM’s direct impact on revenue – and the results are impossible to ignore. 

We sat down with Dave to find out why PIM is a game changer today and how inriver’s solution is scaling and adapting to the demands of tomorrow. 

David Copeland, inriver

Hi Dave. Your sales engineering teams are witnessing a global spike in interest in PIM technology. Why is the market so dynamic right now? 

Yes, it’s an immensely exciting time for the PIM market and the main drivers are seismic cultural shifts in the consumer landscape. 

The diversification of buying journeys has been taking place for decades now, but the COVID-19 pandemic significantly accelerated the shift to digital sales, particularly within B2B markets. Consumers not only buy products online, but also research ahead of in-store purchases. They expect to be able to shop anytime, anywhere, any way, switching effortlessly between devices and channels, the real world, and the digital sphere. Increasingly, they also want to know the stories behind brands, including the impact products have on people and planet. Again, this is not just on B2C channels either. We are seeing a shift towards this kind of experience for B2B buyers, too. Brands and manufacturers must deliver consistent and compelling product information at every touchpoint if they are to give these discerning shoppers a smooth ride on their buying journey. 

For decades, B2B and B2C brands have successfully relied on siloed, on-premises PIM systems to act as their single source of product data truth. But these don’t cut it in today’s fast-paced digital landscape. An advanced PIM like the inriver platform can manage data from across the product life cycle and distribute consistent product information to the digital shelf and beyond. This provides a constant stream of data-driven actionable insights, enabling brands to adapt swiftly to changing customer behaviors and ecosystem trends. It’s a game changer. 

Your teams are on the frontline of technical sales day in, day out. Have you seen any changes in the way businesses perceive the new breed of PIM? 

Absolutely. There is growing recognition at the very top of organizations that PIM is a business-critical application. Historically, it has been difficult to calculate the return on investment of PIM. However, advanced PIM solutions like inriver now offer integrated technology like syndication and digital shelf analytics capabilities, making it easier than ever to quantify their direct impact on a business’s revenue. Whether it’s accelerating time to market or ensuring fewer lost sales on the digital shelf, the impact of PIM is clear. That’s why there’s now a tangible sense of excitement about PIM in the C-suite. 

One key trend that we will see more and more of is Artificial Intelligence. AI is already incorporated into many PIM solutions and will undoubtedly play a major role in shaping their evolution due to advances in innovation.  

With brand loyalty dented by cost-of-living pressures around the globe, brands need to connect with consumers on an individual level, and AI will be key. Consumers increasingly expect brands to understand what they want and individualize promotions and product recommendations to their bespoke needs. They are also increasingly interested in the environmental and social impacts of products. PIM solutions will need to become ever more prescriptive and automated to deliver this level of insight and transparency at scale. Of course, the harmonizing of AI and PIM must be done in a secure manner that mitigates cyber risks and safeguards confidential information. 

What is it about the inriver PIM that stands out in a crowded market? 

What truly differentiates the inriver PIM is its extensibility.  This starts with our elastic data model which supports the ongoing complexity of modern product catalogs. For example, there is no need to recalibrate the data model with every attribute, product, or regulatory requirement – it grows with your business.

The platform is also built with evolving demands in mind, meaning it can power the entire product journey today while continuously adapting and scaling to the realities of tomorrow. Thanks to our extensibility and growing tech partner ecosystem, the inriver PIM integrates seamlessly with other leading technologies and tackles those value driving edge cases that do not come out of the box for most PIMs. That’s a dream come true for our end customers and a future-proofing core principle that elevates us in the marketplace. 

What about the people at inriver? Does the culture give you a competitive edge? 

Yes, I am fortunate to get to work with a smart, innovative, and passionate team every day. We have a strong culture of teamwork and innovation at inriver. We work hard and push each other to do the best we can while still maintaining a great work/life balance. 

What does a typical day look like for you at inriver? 

Managing inriver’s global sales engineering (SE) team is a problem-solving role that involves daily cross-functional collaboration. 

On a typical day I will spend time with colleagues in multiple departments – helping in marketing, in product development, with customer success, and of course, driving sales. I am also fortunate enough to devote time and energy into thinking how we can each get better every day, as individuals and as a team, and how our team can empower other teams to succeed as well. 

And finally, we know you have 20 years of experience in sales engineering and almost a decade of experience in PIM. Why are you personally passionate about this field? 

What I love about my role at inriver is that I benefit both professionally and personally when brands deliver a first-class experience for their customers. 

I AM that guy who sits on the couch late at night browsing e-commerce sites and buying stuff, even if I don’t need it, just because it’s easy and enjoyable. 

I AM the consumer who demands a great experience when I am shopping. I want lots of images, I want videos, and I want to hear about other customers who use their product. I want to know the story behind the brand and reassurance that the product has sustainability top of mind. 

So, I am in the equation we are solving for. How cool is that? I get paid to help global brands deliver ME a better buying experience! 

Thanks Dave. Happy browsing! 

want to see the inriver PIM in action?

Schedule a personalized, guided demo with an inriver expert today to see how the inriver PIM can get more value from your product information.

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