It takes vision to change an industry. Interview with Tjeerd Brenninkmeijer, Executive Vice President EMEA at BloomReach
Today, customers not only demand the best deals, but they also want seamlessly mobile, socially integrated and inspiring offers. Due to the impact of technology, today’s commerce landscape is increasingly complex and competitive.
1. How would you describe the current state of the digital commerce industry?
In our industry, the only constant has always been change. At the moment, I’m seeing two big changes that are having a lot of impact on the market.
First is the shift away from classic CMS to DXP, which is in a lot of cases also a shift from application to platform. Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs) offer a whole range of added value on top of core content management functionality, like the use of artificial intelligence for personalization and improved search capabilities and integrations.
Second is the movement toward headless commerce, which is based on APIs and microservices to deliver more velocity and agility. With our hybrid platform approach, we’re able to serve any scenario. For commerce players that are using a headless platform like commercetools, we’re offering a state-of-the-art head to power their experience and personalize not only content but also products. On top of that, they can use our AI-powered search and merchandising functionalities to deliver super relevant search results and optimize the experience for the best possible business outcome.
2. What is the challenge that BloomReach addresses? And why is it a challenge?
The big challenge for commerce players nowadays is to be able to deliver relevant, personalized content and full experiences on any touchpoint, ranging from web and mobile to voice and IoT. In the past, commerce experiences were powered purely by commerce platforms that were not built to design customer experiences, they were just for facilitating a transaction. That’s why all commerce sites used to look the same – and still do to some extent.
To differentiate in today’s market, you need a commerce experience that integrates engaging content with extremely well-curated products and offers a search experience that is AI-driven to continuously optimize every experience. This is why the future of commerce will be an experience platform with API-based commerce on the backend.
3. How does BloomReach solve this industry problem?
First of all, the BloomReach platform is open and intelligent. Open because it is based on open source technology and because it allows customization of all elements. Intelligent because it was built from the ground up on artificial intelligence. BloomReach is the only vendor in the market that combines AI-driven search and merchandising tools with a next-gen content management system (CMS). Our intelligent algorithms personalize all elements of the experience to accelerate conversions, increase revenue, and provide real-time insights for business goals.
4. Customer Experience First! That’s BloomReach’s latest mantra. What will be the most influential disruptions in experience-driven commerce?
The biggest shift we’ll see in the near future is that commerce will be available everywhere, not only on desktop and mobile but also through voice applications, in cars, etc. This means that the way we interact with brands will change and they will have to make sure they can deliver a fully integrated experience on any given touchpoint. This is a big challenge for brands, so our aim as an experience platform is to enable them to do this with our intelligent applications.
5. Fast and flexible are the key words behind the BloomReach and commercetools partnership. Now there is an integrated version of BloomReach’s digital experience platform and commercetools’ commerce platform. How is our Starter Store giving retailers a head start?
With the BloomReach and commercetools Starter Store we deliver a productized integration of our experience and commerce platforms that serves as an accelerator. With 80-90% of the use cases being available out-of-the-box, businesses can dramatically reduce their time to value. Components like search, merchandising, insights, content and templates are pre-configured which saves a lot of implementation time and basically means that you can get an enterprise scale commerce environment up and running within four to six weeks instead of months/years. This is a significant competitive advantage as businesses will be able to jump on market trends ahead of their competitors.
6. You inspire customers, but how do you inspire your people to work with technology?
In general, BloomReachers are very tech-savvy people who enjoy working with the latest technologies like Docker, Kubernetes, AI, NLP, etc. Our open source background and industry-leading platform attract the brightest minds of the industry who choose not to work for a legacy software platform but for an innovative disruptor.
Fun Fact: Why is BloomReach called BloomReach?
Our customers use our software to grow the reach of their amazing products and services. And by doing so, they can unlock the full potential of their business e.g. get to full bloom – hence, BloomReach