An interview with Steve Gershik, Chief Marketing Officer at inRiver

In advance of Comma’s sponsorship of PIMpoint, I had the pleasure of catching up with Steve Gershik, inRiver CMO. We discussed their aspirations, views of the market, and the undeniably complimentary nature of our partnership…

What are inRiver’s aspirations for the upcoming year, where do you want to be and where do you see yourselves going?

“The rate of change in online selling has never been faster.”

inRiver provides technology to help marketers and merchandisers to better sell their products online. What we hear increasingly these days from our customers is that they need help in understanding the dynamics in the market, aside from their own business, and what they can do to address the changing consumer needs.

Consumers now have a different set of expectations for retailers and manufacturers, and we’re focussing a lot this year to help our customers, and the industry in general, understand what those needs are and how to address them using not just technology, but driving organisational change within their own firms, and how to manage those processes.

So you mention market trends in there, I know your upcoming talk is based around ‘Turning browsers into buyers’ – would you be able to expand on this, and give people more of an idea as to what you mean by this phrase?

“It was nearly unanimous when we did a survey of thousands of consumers in the UK: 94% said that product information is critical to their purchasing decision when deciding to buy online and offline.”

50% of respondents said they consulted at least two different sources before making purchasing decisions online, which highlights that no one is doing a killer job of answering all consumer questions in one place. This offers the opportunity for marketers and merchandisers to be more comprehensive and complete in anticipating what buyers needs are regarding product information, and then fulfilling those needs.

The other key learning outcome from the study, which was surprising, is that among millennials expectations have never been higher!

“This relates to retailers, real brick and mortar stores, 72% of 18 to 24 year olds reported that, whilst they were in store, they were also using a mobile device to research product information.”

This is a huge call to retailers and manufacturers that in store experience is, right now, today, in need of augmenting by a compelling online experience as well.

Older consumers have a different set of expectations than those with the strongest purchasing power, which is a trend that will only increase as digital natives become the majority of purchasers of discretionary items.

Looking to the future, Comma are thrilled to be partnered with inRiver, but I’m interested to hear what you see from inRiver’s perspective as being beneficial and possibly unique about our partnership?

We are really excited to be partnered up with Comma, especially in the approach to product experience management. It isn’t merely a technology challenge that we’re helping our customers solve, it’s about thinking how to redeploy and go to market. There is a lot of internal education that needs to take place, this idea of socialisation and change management within companies in an industry which typically moves slowly, hence why this gap between what retailers and manufacturers can provide to customers versus expectations is widening.

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“This is where partners like Comma can come in and work directly with organisations to effect that change internally. The fact you are able to come in as a thought leader and strategic partner in the advisory area to help them prepare for this change is so very important.”

Thank you so much to Steve for taking time to speak to us, and be sure to catch his talk at PIMpoint expanding upon ‘Turning browsers into buyers’.

Be sure to come and introduce yourself to the Comma team at our stand or reach out to info@comma-group.com beforehand if you are attending! We look forward to seeing you there. 

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