We have asked our employees to share their predictions for 2015. The result is the following collection of topics related to PIM, e-commerce and print. It was also a nice opportunity to get to know our colleagues a little better.
With this in mind: Enjoy our omnichannel trends for 2015 and see you next year!
Customers prize project excellence
In 2014 we started some large omnichannel projects with our customers. Omnichannel projects with interleaved PIM, e-commerce and print activities involving our purchasing, product management, marketing, sales and IT departments as well as some of our partners pose a real challenge to our project management and to our customers. Many years of experience, comprehensive, in-depth knowledge of methods and excellent communication and project management skills will still be the key to successful projects – even and especially in 2015.
Steffen Zipperer, Project Management Office, parsionate
Responsive UI & mobile!
Due to the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, users can easily learn and adopt mobile UX patterns. Smartphones have become constant and always ready companions. Mobile design principles and patterns will therefore be transferred to the desktop. Even on a PC monitor mobile technologies offer significant benefits, but not every pattern must also necessarily work in the desktop environment.
Nam Nguyen, Senior Technical Consultant, parsionate
Dynamic pricing is a pricing strategy in which price of an item fluctuates based on consumer demand. This principle has already become prevalent in many industries including gas stations, hotels and airlines and it is becoming a part of mainstream retail. Amazon, for example, varies prices according to demand multiple times a day. Of course, Amazon benefits from price transparency in its own market place, and thus has, consequently, a further, undeniable lead. More and more retailers are adopting a strategy in which market observation and dynamic pricing play a major role. The first step is the optimization of the retailer‘s own prices as well as of the bargaining power in purchasing by a continuous, software-based market observation.
Vladi Gordon, Product Management, RS Media Group
Increase use of beacons
Beacons are small, simple transmitters that don‘t do anything besides sending an ID. At first glance it doesn‘t seem a big deal – but in connection with a smartphone and an app that can interpret the given ID, it empowers a whole new range of applications. Department stores can guide customers to specific products and can display instant and limited offers. Additional information, such as product videos, can be offered to customers. 2015 is going to be an exciting year as far as beacons are concerned as there are still many unexploited areas of application.
Jan Richter, Business Consultant, parsionate
Updates, Updates, Updates
In 2015, the print and digital publishing sector will change faster than ever before. We expect new and brilliant features in Adobe InDesign CC 2015. Coming at the beginning of the next year, QuarkXPress2015 will include the top 10 of the most user-requested features and will be based on a new and fast 64-bit architecture. Microsoft Windows 10 is scheduled to be released in late 2015. The next major update of Mac OS X could be already announced next summer. We follow these trends in order to be able to support all of these applications and operating systems with our publishing tools on the date of their release.
Piotr Jędrys, Developer, RS Software Solutions
Two important events are announced for 2015 in the publishing world: QuarkXPress2015 und Adobe InDesign CC 2015 will celebrate their debut. This clearly shows that electronic publishing channels play an increasingly important role in the world of publishing. Automation of publishing processes in the cloud is in high demand. For customers this implies measurable benefits in terms of lower infrastructure costs, a reduced number of required licenses and simplification of the publication process.
Cezary Ożarowski, Developer, RS Software Solutions
Changes in B2B purchase behaviour B2B goes B2C!
Many of our customers observe that the purchasing behaviour of corporate clients is changing. While in the past framework contracts, prices and terms and conditions clearly defined from which suppliers you had to procure certain goods, a certain liberalization is now gradually taking place. This shift is brought about by the unprecedented price transparency through the Internet and price comparison portals for different products and product ranges (including MRO) as well as by the increased willingness of corporate clients to buy products also from non-dedicated suppliers. Cost savings for companies are such that we are convinced that this trend will continue in 2015 and beyond!
Kolja Cords, Principal Business Consultant, parsionate
Web developers will focus on HTML5, because it’s fast, efficient, offering a rich set of functionalities and is natively supported in browsers without installation of additional plug-ins. HTML5 is associated with technologies like Bootstrap or AngularJS, that make Web applications easily available on any mobile platform. Next year will be a milestone for HTML5 and Angular JS, which already set the new direction for Web applications.
Grzegorz Urbanowicz, Developer, RS Software Solutions
In 2015, Big Data processing and analytics will continue to be an area of growing focus. The new trend towards Fast Data will encourage the development or further enhancement of tools for streaming data processing and streaming analytics. Stream processing is on the rise and will become more and more important for many companies. Currently leading are open source solutions such as Apache Storm and Apache Spark and commercial solutions such as IBM InfoSphere Streams and TIBCO StreamBase. There will be a huge demand for programmers as many solutions are still developed and new ones will arise. In 2015 and the following years Big Data industry will be turning to a Fast Data industry.
Maciej Jakubowski, Developer, RS Software Solutions
Omnichannel as survival strategy for the stationary retail
Many stationary retailers that sell, for example, clothing, home electronics or home furnishings and accessories are facing increasing (price) pressure from pure online retailers. For these companies, 2015 will be a pivotal year. Omnichannel strategies can offer long-term perspectives when they combine expert product advice with a significantly increased coverage and availability of product ranges: from “Click & Collect” to a seamless, superior after-sales service, where the customer is really “always right” and the price is only one reason amongst others when choosing a product.
Enrico Romstedt, Presales, RS Media Group
Better decisions thanks to PIM data cockpits
The long tail strategy is nothing new. Retailers expand their product range in their shops. Storage doesn‘t “cost” anything there. But what about the costs of generating product data? Which of the many additional online stock items should include more and better product information? Is it worth generating this additional product data? How much more effort will you need in order to reach the next data quality level? These are all legitimate questions. Concise data analytics and system-based administration processes will help steer data management in the right direction.
Michael Mezger, Senior Business Consultant, parsionate
The 3rd Platform
2015 will be the year of the 3rd Platform. Fast growing sectors such as Big Data and cloud services will set the pace. Analytics based on large amounts of data will become an essential tool for every leading e-commerce company. Analyses are performed on unstructured Web data, therefore their correct processing is crucial. At the same time, a new trend, Fast Data, will become even more important and could bring about major changes in the coming year.
Damian Pawlaczyk, Head of Development, RS Software Solutions
The tablet market has come of age and is still in the race! Maybe it‘s a little exaggerated to consider it a separate distribution channel, but „couch commerce“ should definitively be part of an omnichannel strategy. Many customers in the B2C sector are frequently using this channel to shop and therefore the market can no longer be ignored. Often, the decision to buy is taken through this channel: a direct product emotion is not always paramount. Most customers expect perfect product data and an emotional online product presentation. The purchasing behaviour will further change in 2015 and the focus will be even more on product data accuracy with channel adjustments.
Jens Seidel, Sales Director South/Austria/Switzerland, RS Media Group
Like queues, purses and wallets will probably soon be a thing of the past. One of the trends for 2015 is mobile payment. You‘ll probably come across services such as “Google W allet” or “Apple Pay” more and more often. Especially in POS they are a great advantage because the customer can leave his wallet in his pocket and avoid queuing. It will also be interesting to observe how the payment service PayPal will deal with mobile payment. After its spin-off from eBay, PayPal will now be able to focus on its own core business – for example mobile payment.
Jan Richter, Business Consultant, parsionate
Success through multi-touchpoint management and omnichannel experience
As the saying goes, “Trade is change”. In future, making use of various distribution channels and integrating them seamlessly will play an increasingly important role. Be it an online shop, a mobile app, a catalogue, direct mail, a brochure, a tablet app or a brick-and-mortar retail store, the customer expects a consistent shopping experience across all channels. Retail business needs to be where the customers are. The smartphone will play a central role, because no matter where the customer is – whether at home or on the go – he can always get information about a product and buy it. Retailers that have implemented cross-channel integration are the ones that will have a chance to win. Successful multi-touchpoint management and omnichannel experience requires perfect product data. This can only be achieved through a central repository of product data (PIM) that is utilized to feed all sales channels. That‘s the only way to ensure a continuous added value.
Claus Vöhringer, Sales Director Central, RS Media Group
Integration instead of isolation!
More and more merchants are turning their backs on their old IT infrastructures and invest in new, efficient and integrated omnichannel software and will continue to do so in 2015. We think that cloud-based solutions will have a real chance to succeed on the market. Customers simply don’t care where they shop, so whether it‘s online, through a catalogue or in a store, it‘s absolutely important to ensure that a retailer’s channels are truly integrated and synchronized and that all back end processes work seamlessly. That‘s how B2B and B2C retailers will ultimately succeed in gaining market share and in improving margins.
Sascha Orth, Sales Director North, RS Media Group
Today it‘s smartphones – tomorrow it could be smarthomes
Communication channels are constantly changing. Today‘s retailers are increasingly faced with the challenge to offer a seamless shopping experience across multiple channels, and to constantly adapt to changing requirements adding new sales channels. Today it‘s smartphones, tomorrow it will be smarthomes. In order to be able to swiftly integrate new channels of communication and ensure a consistent shopping experience throughout all sales channels, a single, high-quality, central repository for all product data that can be flexibly adapted to the different channels is a must.
Andrea Glende, Senior Technical Consultant, RS Media Group
Data quality will be increasingly important
With the ever-increasing option to easily compare products and prices in real time, data quality is becoming increasingly important. If customers feel they do not have enough information in an online shop, they just look elsewhere and buy there. Product descriptions, high-quality images with zoom and customer reviews are critical factors for consumers‘ purchase decisions.
Tools such as PIM ensure a high level of data quality. Retailers and manufacturers are often not aware of this fact. I still see a lot of potential here.
Sören Berger, Senior Business Consultant, parsionate
Omnichannel will play an increasingly important role
Although online retailers are discovering the potential benefits of “brick-and-mortar” stores, it will not suffice to just add another sales channel. Consistent communication across all different sales channels is much more important. Experience gained through the usage of different channels should be applied to other channels as well. Integration makes the difference. Good communication is not only a fundamental part of a healthy relationship, it is also crucial in business.
Marc Keil, Business Consultant, parsionate
Trends in retail
One of the most important issues is using existing customer information to provide personalized and individualized advertising. This presupposes detailed product descriptions, high-quality image information, etc.
Omnichannel is playing an increasingly important role because single-channel
commerce is limited in growth.
Advertising budgets will be adapted accordingly.
Antonius Huerkamp, CEO, RS Media Group
Success depends on automation and individualization
In 2015, individualization will be the magic word in marketing. There are two key drivers involved that will eventually lead to success: The first one refers to data. Marketing needs Big Data – preferably as part of a cross-channel solution. The next one is automation. It‘s virtually impossible to address every customer individually if you have to customize and send every mail manually. Automation has to take over. Marketers should move beyond generic mass mailings, supplements and catalogues and deliver personal and individualized experiences for customers.
Kitty Wahr, Head of Marketing Services, RS Marketing Services
Increased use of digital printing
There‘s no getting around digital printing when talking about “personalization” in the printing industry. Digital printing has been around for a long time and will still be a trend in 2015. Individual advertising strategies such as, for example, targeting a consumer directly by name or a brochure proposing matching accessories, will play an increasingly important role. It remains to be seen what will be the drivers of digital printing in 2015 – its potential is far from being exhausted!
Jan Richter, Business Consultant, parsionate
Is your data still big or already smart?
In Gartner‘s latest Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, Big Data has just been replaced by the Internet of Things at the “peak of inflated expectations” and has moved down the “trough of disillusionment”. The hype will therefore soon be over and it‘s time to prepare for useful applications. The challenge is to separate the wheat from the chaff and to collect and evaluate data intelligently. This means that you should not only understand and interpret data but also know the procedures and the users‘ requirements. Only those who understand and apply this principle will be able to successfully move from Big Data to Smart Data and ultimately reach the plateau of productivity.
Jost Gödecke, Principal Technical Consultant, parsionate
Decentralization in pre-press
Although in general the market share of print advertising is declining, printed flyers are still a valuable advertising tool, especially on a local basis. To ensure a fast and cost-effective creation of advertising material, decentralized processing is essential. This presupposes robust and secure interfaces that are not only integrated into the workflow, but support and expedite it.
Jörg Maibaum, Senior Technical Consultant, RS Media Group
Undoubtedly, Big Data is one of the fastest growing technologies in the IT market. 2015 will bring stability. For some projects it will mean ROI and for others the end of the project. In 2015, Hadoop is expected to be enhanced in two main areas:
- leverage of data analytics in view of the increase of data-as-a-service providers focused on commercial and open data sets.
- faster data access since more and more often Big Data storages are not only used for data analysis but also in real-time systems.
Bartosz Jankowiak, Developer, RS Software Solutions
Big data = big wisdom?
The “Big Data” approach has already been a top trend in the last years and it looks as if it has come of age to act as an inseparable catalyst for analysing contents of Web pages. And the Web – along with the amount of potentially interesting data – grows even faster than we can imagine. More data crosses the Internet in one second today than the amount of data that was stored in the entire Internet just 20 years ago. In order to excel on constantly changing markets Big Data should not be treated as a gimmick but become an important utility in the decision process. Data omnipresence offers big opportunities but the next step still remains to be done in order to turn Big Data into even bigger wisdom. Brace yourselves for that in 2015.
Daniel Zielinski, Senior Technical Consultant, RS Media Group
Excellent product data as USP
Nowadays, consumers expect accurate and consistent product information across all channels, be it the Web, print or at the POS. Even using the most modern PIM systems this cannot be taken for granted. Rather, the expertise of product data specialists will be needed more than ever to ensure data quality in processes that are perfectly tailored around the retailers‘ needs. It is a matter of ensuring that pr ocesses and systems are seamlessly integrated without overcharging the user.
Christian Engelmann, Senior Business Consultant, parsionate
B2B shops with B2C shopping experience
Due to the ever wide-ranging private shopping experience in e-commerce, purchasing agents and procurement professionals transfer their expectations to B2B-oriented online shops. Consequently, wholesalers and manufacturers too must consider all the issues related to UI, customer management and conversion optimization. The classic listing of products is no longer sufficient. Business customers expect an i ntuitive guidance and the same features as in the private shopping environment, e.g. faceted search.
Thorsten Schremmer, Senior Business Consultant, parsionate
Straight to the target through pragmatic action
More and more customers expect their service providers to deliver high quality projects on budget and in the shortest possible time. This is only possible if you focus expenses on the key topics in the level of detail necessary for the achievement of objectives. You can only achieve this goal without incurring in high risks if project team members have the necessary experience and expertise. We think that the number of these projects will increase significantly.
Kolja Cords, Principal Business Consultant, parsionate
Consumers are grateful for personal recommendations
You know how it is: You order a long-sleeved shirt, a pair of jeans and matching dark-blue sneakers in a popular online store. You‘re glad that the store informs you that the package has been shipped and two days later you will also be happy about the news that your package has been deposited in the parcel repository. Then you will be able to quickly pick up the parcel tonight and try your clothes…Great, it works!
We all know the disappointment if the colour of the shoes doesn‘ t match with the colour of the pants and the shirt‘s arm length is rather two sizes too long, not to mention the other proportions.
I expect that the quality of information such as the size and fi t of an item, e.g. from other customers‘ feedback, combined with recommendati ons on colour and style will significantly increase. If information about previous purchase behaviour is also taken into account for your recommendations, you will be able to reach your customer on an as yet unknown level in online retail – almost as if he were in a store.
The result: Increasing customer satisfaction and customer retention and significantly less returns!
Markus Schmidt, Senior Business Consultant, parsionate
Target group content individualization
More and more of our customers decide which product information text is shown through which channel or is passed down to which of their customers. A good eBay text is not necessarily a good Amazon text and in the OTTO shop there are some banned words. It‘s not only images that are different on mobile devices. These requirements must taken into account for each target/customer group and each output channel. Only with an easy and fast data management and data generation can differentiation be successful.
Michael Mezger, Senior Business Consultant, parsionate
Lexical category: Noun
Definition: The ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level 2015 will mark the end of many old thought patterns.
The signs are already there and are particularly evident in the area of Project Sustainability.
Many marketing, purchasing and IT managers still think that a successful software project will – just like the Holy Grail – solve all past, present and future problems.
Product data and printing products magically fly from one place to another in the omnichannel ecosystem and improve and correct themselves literally “on the fly”.
Many are starting to realize, though, that even after the project a central contact person that is responsible for the business processes and interfaces implemented in the software is essential.
“Keep moving!” is the motto.
Through constant optimization, persistent monitoring and proactive approaches companies will get to the top and above all stay there!
Julian Stoltmann, Principal Technical Consultant, parsionate
In large organizations (enterprises), the trend in IT is clearly going towards central infrastructure and data distribution components. Integration via ESB or EAI suites, alignment of processes of
decentralized application services and application-independent online portals in order to map end-to-end processes are increasingly used in these companies.
For each domain, distribution and consolidation of data and MDM data hubs play a major role for product data.
Small and medium enterprises will gradually adopt cloud solutions or choose SaaS-based solutions to avoid having to set up their own complex IT. On the other hand, enterprises are again insourcing IT know-how and secondary processes, focussing on core and outsourcing processes and services.
Marc Hölzle, Head of Technical Consulting, parsionate
Retail goes stationary