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Personalization and contextualization will become key for successful e-commerce business – interview with Tobias Schlotter (Akeneo)

Your favourite series of interviews with e-commerce professionals is officially back! We decided to invite Tobias Schlotter (General Manager for Central- & Eastern Europe at Akeneo) for a virtual cup of coffee and talk about a few interesting things related to his role and e-commerce in general.

What is your role in Akeneo?

I am the General Manager for Central- & Eastern Europe. In that role, I am responsible for the team and market growth.

What e-commerce trends do you think will appear in the near future?

First, I believe online and offline will become more and more intertwined in the customer experience, meaning that the barriers are further going to disappear and we’ll stop seeing it as separate disciplines, siloed departments and so on. Second personalization and contextualization will become key for successful e-commerce business. And last but not least, I believe the concepts of B2B and B2C will disappear with time and be fully replaced by B2X (differentiations will be made based on touchpoint and customer persona instead of a business model role).

What problems does Akeneo solve?

A lot of companies are struggling to deliver a consistent and compelling product experience. Mainly, because they are using inappropriate tools like Excel, spreadsheets or other tools that are painful to work with or were not meant to manage product information that is delivered in across all channels. Akeneo helps to create a single source for product information across all channels and languages and provides a comprehensive and easy to use toolset to establish efficient processes, workflows, and automatization to increase productivity, sales and reduce time to market and returns down the line.

What do you think is the biggest challenge in transforming the offline business into online commerce?

The biggest challenge, in my opinion, is the need for change in the mindset of companies. They need to become much more agile, customer-centric and brave to rely on the new technologies and methodologies, the new playground (omnichannel) expects as default.

Is omnichannel the key to success for commerce?

Yes and No! It really depends on the business and the strategy. But if you want or need to do omnichannel, you need to commit fully to it and to be prepared to fail at some level at some point. You will need several tries and be able to adapt until you find what works best for you. The key is time and investment. Be fast and agile, try things quickly and allow yourself to fail just as quickly, adjust and start over.

What is Product Experience Management?

Product Experience Management is what is needed to create a compelling customer experience with the concept of product experience at the core across all touchpoints. Product Information Management is the WHAT of product data management, while PXM is the HOW.

Do you use machine-learning solutions at Akeneo? We read about Ask Franklin…

Yes, we do! We invested in AI as one of the first PIM vendors in the market. We believe that AI can support companies, especially with basic, repetitive tasks in product information management, such as collecting and validating all technical information or recommending a perfect categorization till helping to create the perfect classification model.

Thank you for this short chat, Tobias!

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