Pimcore x Productsup: Interview Marcel Hollerbach
Hello Marcel, in your role as CMO at the SaaS company Productsup, you for sure are very busy.
Thanks for taking the time for a short interview with us today. To kick it off, could you briefly tell me what Productsup is all about?
Productsup empowers brands and retailers to reach more customers on more channels and maximize sales. The company's pioneering syndication platform enables leading global companies like IKEA, Aldi, and Sephora to successfully aggregate, optimize, and distribute product content across more than 2,500 marketing, eCommerce, and retail channels. Productsup is based in Berlin, Germany, with offices in London, New York, The Hague, and Sydney.
What is product data syndication?
Product content syndication lets you manage, publish, and optimize product experiences across marketplaces, search engines, retailers, and ad networks.
What are the typical marketers' challenges with product data syndication?
First of all, we tend to speak about product content (not data) syndication as modern channels like marketplaces, and social commerce channels expect much more than just product data. To win on the digital shelf, you need product experiences that also include things like high-quality images, videos, and even augmented reality content.
Typical challenges for marketers are that this content is often siloed, and aggregating it is very difficult and time-consuming. Additionally, due to increasing market demand, they have to frequently change that content, as well as contextualizing and adapting it to the requirements of the various channels. This slows down time to market (TTM) for companies using outdated systems.
What are the main benefits your customers realize when using product data syndication software in combination with their PIM software?
Our customers enjoy consistent, highly governed product content in their PIM in combination with an agile system that lets them contextualize that product content for their various channels and audiences. They can also:
- Speed up their time to market
- Reach more customers on more channels
- Launch cross-border through the relevant marketplaces
- Get up and running with social commerce and D2C
- Respond quickly to market changes
- Capture new opportunities as new channels emerge.
How do product data syndication and PIM work together optimally?
From my point of view, PIM, DAM, ERP, and product data syndication are perfect symbiosis. The challenge with most of these systems is that the product content is most likely very slow. Product data might be in a PI, images, and videos in a digital asset management platform, and there might be pricing and logistics information in an ERP. None of these systems was created for agility, multichannel contextualization, or the ability to speak to multiple audiences.
And this is not a bad thing! In fact, we say it is mission-critical that you have these systems in place. You might have a complex and international catalog. Or there might be multiple teams that create product content and need to collaborate. You might have to ensure a high level of governance with audit trails and high-security standards in place. All this will ensure you have consistent and compliant data.
But connecting a product data syndication solution to your existing stack lets you supercharge your product content with all the capabilities that you need to win on the digital shelf.
At Pimcore, we have customers in various industries such as fashion, automotive, distribution, retail, travel, etc. Which industries do you think can benefit most from a service such as Productsup and why?
We definitely have a love for retailers as Productsup was built to manage, syndicate, and optimize very large product catalogs with ease. Having to deal with 50 million SKUs requires a different approach than taking care of 1,000 SKUs.
On the other hand, a rather small catalog can become a complex challenge if you want to sell through a lot of different channels or need to connect to multiple marketplace APIs in multiple countries.
We are not focused on any specific verticals but have proven to be very useful for brands and retailers that either has very large catalogs or need to go on a lot of different channels.
Congratulations again on being named Gartner Cool Vendor! With Pimcore, the analysts from Gartner and Forrester often have a hard time finding the right box and category to put us. It seems to me that you have a similar challenge. In research by Forrester, you quoted two years ago you mentioned the upcoming of a new software category called "PIDS." Will there be a Magic Quadrant for Productsup to join soon?
We don't see the creation of a specific category for what we do happening in the near future. Productsup is a strange animal having mixed elements like master data management (MDM), digital supply chain management, PIM, marketing campaign management, and creative optimization together in one platform. Forrester categorizes us in PIM at the moment and puts us in the subcategory marketing and commerce solutions. Maybe we will have to invent a new category that fits us!
What are the upcoming trends in terms of product data syndication?
I see three megatrends at the moment.
1) Social commerce: More and more channels are adding native checkout capabilities, which means that shoppers can buy directly from the channel without having to leave it. Instagram, for example, launched its checkout, which allows brands and retailers to sell products through the Instagram app. The challenge that comes with this is the need for a robust order synchronization management that syncs orders with the brand or retailer's shop system, takes care of returns and cancellations, and updates stock levels across platforms.
2) Marketplaces: Supported by companies like Mirakl, many retailers are becoming marketplaces themselves, which means more sales channels are emerging. Choosing the right ones, and optimizing for these new marketplaces, is a challenge product data syndication helps with.
3) Video: As a lot of commerce has shifted to eCommerce during 2020, it has become even more important to provide retailers and marketplaces with as much product content as possible. One trend that we see is the creation of video. This trend is supported by platforms like Instagram, with the launch of reels, and TikTok.
Which hot & upcoming channels will Productsup be integrated with soon?
We are working on the integration with a new performance marketing product by TikTok. Brand and retail advertisers will soon have the ability to run performance ads on TikTok that are based on their product catalogs and will require video as ad creative since TikTok is a video native platform.