Other Side of the WCM Table: Wärtsilä and TJX Companies
Last week and earlier this week, we published the exclusive interviews with Progress’ highly knowledgeable executives, Loren Jarrett, John Ainsworth, and Dmitri Tcherevik to give our readers a glimpse into the current and future marketing trends in the market as well as the current and future relationship between Progress and Sitefinity. Knowing our audience is eager to hear stories from end-users, during the SitefinitySummit 2017 event, Laura and I also interviewed Johan Bäckman, Manager, external online channels at Wärtsilä and Dan Bushlow, Solution Delivery Manager - eBusiness Delivery at TJX Companies Inc. to get their perspective from the other side of the table.
Wärtsilä is a global leader in advanced technologies with net sales totalling EUR 4.8 billion in 2016 and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets with approximately 18,000 employees and operating from over 200 locations in more than 70 countries around the world. Managing three business units and local sites for over 50 countries and languages, the company knew that the “one message for all” approach wouldn’t move the needle, thus they needed a digital experience platform that can provide them with personalization capabilities, responsive design, and mobile device compatibility. To that end, just over two years ago, Wärtsilä chose Progress Sitefinity to redesign and relaunch a new website.
Seeing personalization as the way of the future, one of Wärtsilä’s main expectations from the vendor was the ability to personalize their content. During the interview, in terms of tailoring content and digital experiences, Johan told us that they started off very small by identifying some key landing pages which they wanted to drive the traffic for. He also noted that they have injected personalization capabilities into the site strategically, by tracking visitor behaviors. How so, you may ask? First, they enabled Sitefinity Digital Experience Cloud (DEC)’s scoring feature so visitors have been scored for each action they took on the website as they are further served personalized content recommendations throughout their visit on the Wärtsilä site based on those scores. The ultimate objective behind this campaign for Wärtsilä was to get the visitor to fill in a contact form displayed on their site, to initiate a conversation with the organization. By the end of this campaign, Johan told us that they saw a 300 percent increase in leads garnered through the contact form.
Since Wärtsilä is such a huge corporation of 18,000 employees, we wanted to inquire how they have rolled out personalization across the organization in terms of governance. He stated that they have a dedicated team to orchestrate user activities with regards to governance. According to him, this team is so thorough to make sure that everybody is on the same page and not stepping on each other’s toes. Not only are user roles and activities their concern; but also brand identity as the team is tasked to reassure that everything is done in the same fashion so moving forward, when the organization expands the campaign across more segments, things wouldn’t get messy.
Just like Progress CMO Loren Jarrett recommended during our interview, Wärtsilä started small with personalization capabilities implementation but now that they garnered favorable results and are very satisfied with them. Llooking forward, the organization aims at gearing up and diving deep into the way the customer journey is handled.
Why did the Thriving Retail Emperor Choose Sitefinity?
Let’s move from a great example of how a multinational organization can leverage a digital experience platform in the marine and energy industry to the story of the largest international apparel and home fashions off-price department store chain in the United States, choosing a content management system that can enable their marketing team to add and update their content in a timely fashion without having to rely on developers.
As you can get the hint from my opening paragraph and the headline, at this point, I will be telling the experience of TJX Companies, Inc. so far as a new customer with Sitefinity.
Before diving into the highlights from our conversation with TJX’s Dan Bushlow and the current situation of this retail empire in the market, I would like to give brief background information about the company for those who are not acquainted with it. The TJX Companies, Inc. is an American apparel and home goods company based in Framingham, Massachusetts. In the United States, the company’s stores are known by such popular names as T.J.Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods. Recently a new concept, Sierra Trading Post was added. In Canada, the names are Winners, HomeSense, and Marshalls. In Europe, the names are T.K.Maxx and HomeSense.
Knowing the organization is a brand new customer of Progress Sitefinity, we wanted to inquire why they chose Sitefinity as well as what the first and the next steps are for what they plan to accomplish through its platform.
Even though the organization is a brand new customer of Progress Sitefinity, having purchased the solution around last February, during the interview we learned that their story with the vendor actually goes back two years, when they were on the lookout for a good solution to redesign their websites. According to Dan, they compared many competitors of Progress Sitefinity and decided that Sitefinity would be the best fit. However, they couldn’t get adequate funding for the project back then so they had to postpone the purchase until last February.
Regarding the question of the reasons why they chose this particular vendor, Dan told us that being a .NET based solution made Sitefinity attractive for the organization as they do a lot of .NET development. Another big selling point for TJX, according to Dan, was the user-friendly interface of Sitefinity.
Prior to the purchase of Sitefinity, Dan and his team including developers were tasked to update the website and keep the content fresh on a regular basis. Therefore, one of their expectations from the platform was to enable the marketing groups who are the business owners of their websites to change the content by themselves without needing developers.
Knowing TJX built a retail empire, we wondered if the organization was embracing e-commerce. Dan informed us that among the group companies, T.J.Maxx is the only one that has an e-commerce website. For the rest, the only e-commerce related activity is selling gift cards. Therefore, the organization is expecting to utilize Sitefinity’s marketing tools to execute more sophisticated campaigns. As a first step, though, they formed a mobile app team as the first project with Sitefinity will be launching a mobile app.
“We chose Sitefinity for utilizing its marketing tools.” This sentence might sound like a pretty standard statement from a software buyer at first, but when that buyer is TJX, the story actually takes another turn as TJX Companies is one of the few retailers that managed to stay afloat amid the troubled waters of the retail sector. As I stated in one of my previous articles analyzing the reasons why 2,880 store closures were announced in the first three months of this year, the bubble created in the retail industry has now burst. However, TJX's earnings season history remains impressive as the company reported positive surprise in all the last four quarters, making for an average positive surprise of 5.29%. The company called out its marketing as a reason for such positive growth. Last year, Kantar Media reported that TJX has been incrementally adding dollars to its marketing budget each year and spending is up nearly 40% since 2011. Therefore, I would like to take a closer look at the platform chosen by this organization especially, when their reason is the marketing tools.
Such gains are mostly due to its effective marketing campaign but also partly its in-store destination strategy where shoppers can always find an ever-changing assortment of bargains. This strategy doesn’t only give consumers a shopping itch but also protects its business from an intrusion on e-commerce giant Amazon’s territory. That being said, winning the discount game is not an easy task as we have recently read many failure stories come from the off-price bandwagon which nearly every other department is jumping on. Macy’s, for instance, has been expanding its off-price outlets, called Macy's Backstage with a hope of getting their share from a consumer migration to lower-priced discount stores.
Having the principle of approaching every topic in a unique way, we, as the CMS-Connected team, always try to capture the real buzz directly from the event floors by interviewing customers, seasoned partners and leadership. And this year, especially, no matter if the person we spoke with was a customer or a technology partner; everyone from the events we attended stressed the importance of the same functionality of web content management systems: Personalization. That tells us businesses are no longer utilizing a web content management system (WCM) just for getting the content out because it now plays an influential role in the brand experience. The right strategy has been disclosed so all businesses need is a seamless execution. To achieve that, finding the right technology and the right solution partner/team seems to be the key middle piece of the puzzle.