Episerver Customers on Personalization, AI & Content
While attending events, sitting down to hear customer’s experiences with a certain platform is one of the best parts. Often, I want to first inquire on how they’re leveraging capabilities as a way to inspire other current or prospective customers but under-pinning every discussion is the curiosity I have to hear how they’re inspired and if their true experience with a solution mirrors the experience the hosting vendor hopes their customers have.
At Episerver Ascend 2018, I was able to sit down with four customers of Episerver, all sharing a similar feeling on how Episerver understands and aligns with their own business and digital strategy as well as their palpable excitement about the new features Episerver was rolling out.
Personalization is Key for Mazda
One of the customers we were eager to talk to was Marcus Jones, Head of Digital Governance at Mazda Motor Corporation to understand how they were infusing digital experience into the automotive industry but also, the dynamics of their relationship with Episerver.
Being such a massive global brand, Marcus let us know there was no one size fits all for their consumer base so leveraging the power of personalization is key to their strategy and one of the reasons he brings up first as to why Episerver is a great fit for them: “We’re very interested in our consistent and future relationship with Episerver that really allows us to tailor the types of content we’re serving within all of our global websites for the customers that use that content and it allows us to assess if that’s hitting the mark.” Given the nature of buying an automobile can be a lengthier, more heavily researched purchase decision, they have the option to, as Marcus points out, thoroughly set the criteria in relation to visitor groups, ensuring the content they’re delivering is relevant to the needs of their consumers no matter what stage of the purchase cycle they are in.
Looking at their overall digital strategy, I was curious to hear more about why Episerver was their choice of platform to support that: “The ongoing communication we have with Episerver allows us to understand that the products and services they provide us as a business is fit for purpose, it has to be relevant to us so we are always impressed about the information and the content that is shared and the discussions that we have with Episerver.” One thing I found really interesting however, is again, I am hearing the advantages of having not only an organization who fulfills on the goals they set but their capabilities are quick to put into action: “What we’re conscious of is having too many long-winded conversations that will never come to fruition in the next 3-6 months and the beauty of what we’re talking about at the moment, as part of the Ascend conference here in Las Vegas, is we can implement things really quickly, really efficiently across different regions across the world that means that we can pretty much, at the flick of a switch, start to change things and then carry on the conversation between Mazda and Episerver to say ‘did that work, shall we try something different?’ to really maximize the potential in that way”
Topper’s Pizza Excited to Elevate Their Business Through AI
You may remember when Venus and I attended Episerver Ascend in 2017, we sat down with, at the time, brand new Episerver customer, Tony Ellis, VP of Information Technology at Topper’s Pizza for a conversation on why Episerver was his choice of platform to support their transformative digital strategy. Fast forward to a year and 16 new restaurants later, we made it essential to chat with him again, to hear his thoughts now that he’s spent time deeper in the platform and how that has refined his goals in relation to Episerver’s exciting new announcements.
During his evaluation process, usability for his marketing team was a need he had identified as well as ensuring the tools were easy to use out of the box, meaning from a time and expense point of view, he wouldn’t need “to buy a bunch of expensive add-ons”, he really needed something that would be everything they needed in one place. Another draw for him was Episerver’s Digital Experience Cloud offering which again, in part helped him from a budgetary standpoint: “we wanted a platform that had a really good managed cloud experience so we decided to move forward with the DXC platform because I didn’t really want to hire security professionals, I didn’t want to have to manage servers, and all those weird compliance check-boxes somebody else can just take care of. So that was great, helped me keep my team really lean and move forward with something that’s going to make a lot of sense for us.”
As mentioned above, I am always interested to hear how new feature releases can inspire customers to advance their business and Tony had plenty of great ideas for the future of Topper’s Pizza. The personalization they could execute with Episerver was very exciting to him along with new upsell capabilities and the way in which Episerver, beyond just being content and commerce solution can tightly integrate with their own point of sale feature they built themselves. Unique to their market, Episerver has also allowed them to create a pizza-tracker as well as many other seemingly small enhancements that overall will help them really elevate the experience, which echoes Episerver’s desire as an organization to do just that.
Looking to the future, Tony expresses the ways in which he wants to bring up-to-the minute capabilities to the world of pizza: “We think we can really use some of the artificial intelligence driven recommendation engines to really push our sales and our average order values to the next level. I think Epi has a ton of potential in how it relates to analytics, and seeing where customers are coming into the website, where they’re falling out of the sales channels and figuring out how to drive people more throughout the website and improve our eCommerce conversion rate and that’s just scratching the surface.”
Janome Executes on Content and Video Strategy with Episerver
When I picture the Janome logo, I think of my mother and grandmother’s sewing machines they would use when I was a child but as I soon discovered in speaking with Mike Seminara, Marketing Manager at Janome, digital transformation in that industry is alive and well.
As the first to pioneer the computerized embroidery machines, Janome is again leading the way in how they have infused digital into the world of sewing and embroidery in one way, by allowing for quick updates to the machine’s features and technology, ensuring that one machine can grow with the customer alongside the company’s offerings for the next 5-7 years. Another key factor to their strategy is to not only engage their consumers but to also act as a resource for them through the effective use of content and video. Thanks in part to their over 60 artisans and creators throughout the US who create new patterns and projects, they have a surplus of content offered on their site and on the machines to allow a continuous stream of fresh inspiration for their customers and, leveraging the semi-recent explosion in the success of online tutorials, their video strategy shows customers step by step how to execute on projects through the help of Janome’s social influencers.
One of the ways in which Episerver directly supports their strategy is hinged on what it offers in terms of content and personalization: “We’ve built a tremendous amount of content on our site and our users love it, they interact with us, now we want to go one step further. We’re going to implement Episerver Advance, and that will create customized and personalized content for people so as you see and interact with different articles and projects, we’re going to automatically personalize the site and feed you more content that you would want to see.”
D’Addario Tapped Episerver for Next Phase of Global Growth
As the largest manufacturer of musical instrument accessories in the world, D’Addario launched their site on Episerver late last year, created to replace a previous B2B eCommerce site they had that was more of a “homegrown eCommerce solution that we were ready to scale out of to have a more globally capable site.” Below, we spoke with Steve Loud, Digital Commerce Director at D'Addario about that and more.
Like many other companies, of every size, Steve explains at D’Addario they are highly focused on the customer and their experience, and given their goals of international growth and the need for a mobile-responsive site, their old solution even though it was popular amongst their clients wouldn’t support their digital strategy the way in which they needed.
Their overall B2B strategy is really hinged on convenience for their customers, both B2B and soon become B2C as well: “With B2B its certainly about the convenience, all of our products are consumables that are highly re-ordered products so making it really fast and seamless and easy to get in there and do that is critical, its not a content heavy site and that’s with intent, we are doing some education in there certainly about our brands but the focus is speed and ease of use for B2B. Then we’ll roll out a lot more content rich experiences on the content side later this year.”
At every event it’s wonderful to hear not only how customers are using the platform, but how the available features are inspiring their overall business strategy. At this particular event, the transparency and fulfillment of product aspirations from Episerver was felt from the customer perspective, but it was wonderful to hear how hands-on Episerver truly is with brands like Mazda for example, and how the effiency of communication events like Ascend can offer are a whole other type of value, for both the vendor and the customer.
We’re not done with interviews just yet! Check back to see my conversations with a few other members of the Episerver team, insight from an exclusive Episerver Partner and a discussion of personal data and the GDPR with a renowned web security expert.