In today’s digital world, product information has become an organization’s digital front door. However, the number of channels, marketplaces, and fluctuating requirements of these channels means that managing all the essential product information (images, videos, SKUs, product descriptions, reviews, translations, and more) is impossible without automation.
With a PIM (product information management) solution, enterprises can manage, enrich, syndicate, and optimize all product data from one platform. It turns product information into strategic assets that drive revenue in the omnichannel world.
In the light of what’s mentioned above, it’s our pleasure to introduce inRiver, a firm that helps brands create engaging product stories to build a better, more relevant, and personalized customer experience. Headquartered in Malmö, Sweden, with offices in Amsterdam and Chicago, inRiver offers a product information management (PIM) solution, which is the backbone of a digital commerce ecosystem.
The inRiver solution started life as an on-premise offering back in 2007. However, with technology advancements, they moved the solution to a SaaS model. It helped them deliver scalable and secure technology to their customers with predictable costs of ownership and access from anywhere in the world.
Interview Excerpt: Thomas Zanzinger, CEO, speaks about his journey with inRiver and the successes they have achieved so far.
How did you come up with the idea or concept for your business?
During the telco explosion in the Nordics in the late 90s, the rapidly expanding telco industry experienced a breakneck growth in products and markets. Combined with frequent product releases, it became more challenging to communicate product information rapidly and effectively. Bringing the creation and maintenance of data and content upstream became necessary. So, we built solutions to improve the creation and distribution processes. We used all the knowledge we had gained over the years and developed our product information management (PIM) solution that we now know as inRiver. The core concepts of scalability and streamlining processes are still the same today as they were when we began the company. The end solution and use cases have just changed a little over the years.
Every business, big or small, gets its fair share of challenges, especially during the initial days. What were your challenges, and how did you manage to overcome them?
We’ve had challenges in growing the organization fast enough to meet customer needs. It’s often hard to separate product vision from market readiness and to time product launches correctly. Initially, we were ahead of the curve in achieving some of our revenue goals. Our product vision and early goals provided us with a clear roadmap, bringing us today as a fundamental solution for e-commerce. The e-commerce space and the need for digital transformation have accelerated growth for companies like inRiver. We are on an excellent path for growth and continue to innovate to meet evolving market and customer needs.
On what ideals are your work culture and business ethics based?
The inRiver culture is about being purposeful, an active member of a team, and giving back. We call it ‘asOne,’ which is key to what we do and how we act across the organization. We have five core values, and all are centered around the underlying principle that ‘No one is as smart as all of us.’ This results in a solid team spirit throughout the organization.
The values are:
- We act responsibly
- We have fun while winning
- We take action
- We simplify
- We are trustworthy
These values guide our everyday actions and help us make a difference, ensuring that our customers thrive and grow their businesses.
What do you think is the unique aspect of your business?
Even though our customers span different geographies and industries and sell via different marketplaces or channels, we’ve built our technology to deliver specific solutions for each customers’ challenge. We purposely created a very flexible, scalable data model to meet our customers’ evolving needs, and that’s what makes our business unique.
Not all PIM solutions do that. Our SaaS platform ensures that our customers don’t have to worry about downtime or costly hardware upgrades. And our architecture enables integrations and plugins with different technologies to ensure we grow with you.
Where do you see your company a few years from now?
A few years from now, we want to be the integral solution for any e-commerce business, regardless of vertical or geography. We hope inRiver will be an organization that is regarded as a leader in the industry, not only for our technology solutions but also for our company.
To build a successful company that lasts means that the greater “community” supports them and will grow with them. We want to achieve that level of success and continue to be a leader who helps the industry thrive.
How has your journey been so far?
The inRiver journey has been exciting so far. I first joined inRiver as the sales executive for Europe and then moved into the CEO role. It’s been a pleasure to work with our teams through some exciting times, including a global pandemic, an investment raise of $34 million, acquisition of Detail Online, and ultimately, into a rapid-growth period. It hasn’t always been a smooth ride, but that’s what makes the role of a CEO exciting as we navigate change and rise to meet new challenges. I’m very proud of our teams, what they have accomplished, and look forward to a bright future.
The Leadership Team
Thomas Zanzinger, CEO
Thomas holds a degree in Business Administration from Berufsakademie Stuttgart. He started his career at DELL Computer and broadened his experience while working for Novell, Mitsubishi Electric, and Software AG. Thomas leads the organization from inRiver’s Amsterdam office.
Johan Boström, Co-founder & Chief Product Officer
Before inRiver, Johan took the lead in starting new businesses and holding leading positions at DDMM, Sema Group, and UDK. He has worked internationally with software development and strategy for e-commerce and content management since the mid-1990’s in North America and across EMEA. Johan leads the product team for inRiver’s Chicago office.
“A part of why we’re successful is because we don’t hide our mistakes. We learn from them. Innovation is encouraged in all we do. We just try to fail fast, and we don’t make the same mistake twice.”