The future of retail lies in delivering exceptional product experiences. That’s the key message from digital commerce expert Kristin Naragon in this insightful episode of Talk Commerce. As Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at Akeneo, Naragon has seen firsthand how centralizing product data and incorporating AI is revolutionizing online shopping.
- Implementing a product information management (PIM) solution led to a 36% sales increase for Rural King and 15 minute time-to-market for Staples Canada.
- 61% of retailers are adopting augmented reality, with some seeing conversion rates double for AR-enabled products.
- AI can be transformative but needs human validation – incorrect product details could be dangerous.
- A comprehensive product experience strategy requires buy-in across the c-suite, not just marketing.
About Kristin Naragon
With nearly 20 years in tech marketing, including senior roles at Akeneo and Adobe, Kristin brings a wealth of go-to-market strategy experience. As a customer-obsessed, outcomes-focused leader, she’s passionate about developing partnerships and solutions that drive business success. At Akeneo, that means delivering product experience innovation that transforms retail.
Exploring Centralized Data and AI for Next-Gen Shopping
Kristin traces the genesis of Akeneo back to a frustrating shopping experience – her husband struggling to find compatible AV equipment across various retailer sites. The problem? Inconsistent and conflicting product information stemming from decentralized data. As Kristin explains, “You can control the product information. Having that core record, categorized, cataloged, complete, enriched…that’s what Akeneo uniquely solves.”
That product record lies at the heart of Akeneo’s product experience cloud. By centralizing all product data into a PIM, retailers can distribute accurate, up-to-date listings to every touchpoint – web, mobile, print, and more. The result, as evidenced by Rural King and Staples Canada, is operational efficiency, reduced time to market, and revenue growth. “It touches every part of the business,” Naragon states.
And that was just the beginning. The launch of Akeneo’s in-platform app store unlocked innovation opportunities through 3rd party AI integrations. As Kristin explains, “We had about a dozen applications developed leveraging AI to help different parts of the product experience management process.” From onboarding data to generating descriptions and translating content, AI is transforming PIM capabilities.
Ultimately, Akeneo’s acquisition of AI startup Unifi was fueled by demand for enhanced data enrichment. But Kristin cautions AI requires oversight. “Bad product information generated from these AI models can really serve the business in a bad way,” she warns, sharing examples of incorrect phone storage stats and dangerously mixed chemical data. The solution lies in Akeneo’s workflows – “introducing a checking system with employees, humans.”
The Future of Retail Will Be Experiential
As the podcast wraps up, Kristin points to AI, AR, and the blockchain as technologies that will converge to enhance shopping dramatically. But the biggest shift must start internally. “Making product experience strategy a C-suite initiative – that’s something we’re going to be focused on,” she predicts. Because as omnichannel retail blurs lines, the brands offering the most contextual, consistent and helpful product experiences will win consumer loyalty.
In closing, Kristin perfectly captures the ethos of our digital era: “It seems so obvious, I guess. And sometimes the things that seem so obvious are often overlooked.”
“You can control the product information. Having that core record, categorized, cataloged, complete, enriched…that’s what Akeneo uniquely solves.”
Here Kristin eloquently sums up the universal product data dilemma facing retailers – and how a properly structured PIM solves it through centralization.
“Bad product information generated from these AI models can really serve the business in a bad way.”
A stark reminder that while AI delivers efficiency, its capability to propagate nonsense means implementing guardrails is crucial.
“Making product experience strategy a C-suite initiative – that’s something we’re going to be focused on.”
This prediction underscores Kristin’s belief that optimizing product content across channels needs to become a boardroom priority to drive sales.
Tune In and Join the Product Experience Revolution
If mindset shifts, emerging technologies and real-world use cases have you rethinking your ecommerce content strategy, be sure to check out the full episode. Subscribe to Talk Commerce so you don’t miss future conversations at the intersection of commerce and digital disruption.
At its core, this podcast highlights that product experiences represent the new competitive battleground. As consumers increasingly demand personalized, contextual, and helpful shopping journeys, retailers must transform product content from a cost center into a revenue driver. The brands that invest in product experience now will shape the future of retail.