5 Minutes With Thor Johnson, CEO, inRiver

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Inriver CEO

Tell us about the inRiver story.

inRiver was founded in 2007 in Malmö, Sweden. We’ve been helping ecommerce organisations create great experiences for their customers for over a decade. inRiver achieved early success with fashion and branded manufacturing companies as they sought to optimise the ways in which they launched new products online and to ensure that essential product information was consistent across channels and marketplaces.

We turn product data chaos into accurate and managed product information. Ultimately, inRiver helps customers ensure consistent omnichannel customer experiences to drive more revenue. We work with over 1500 global brands and 500 customers today to drive results.

What gap in the wider retail market does inRiver strive to address?

inRiver strives to address the customer experience issues that are plaguing the retail market today. Buyer behaviour is constantly changing and shoppers are now omnichannel. However, most retailers are not meeting customer needs across channels and that leads to poor conversions, higher rates of return, brand erosion, and ultimately, loss of revenue.

Most purchases today start with online search and product information is what matters when engaging potential buyers. Retailers must have their product information optimised to show up in search and that includes everything from product descriptions, images, customer reviews, SKU information, and more.

Product information must also be consistent and relevant across channels to help the consumer find what they need to make a purchase decision. This is where inRiver shines.

What’s in store for inRiver in 2019?

We are poised for growth in 2019. We just released our Contribute Application that helps customers achieve faster time-to-market and streamline the onboarding process for partners and suppliers across channels and marketplaces.

We are gearing up for the sixth annual PIMpoint Summit 2019 in Malmo, Sweden April 4-5. Our theme this year is Product Experience in the Age of the Customer. This year we will host 1000 of the world’s best ecommerce, customer experience, and product marketing professionals to learn, network, and continue to strengthen this amazing community of professionals. It’s an exciting time for our partners, customers and the inRiver team.

What is the importance of product experience in the age of the customer?

The importance of product experience in the age of the customer is that everything today needs to be customer-centric. That means thinking holistically from the customer’s perspective through the buying journey and beyond. The e-commerce and retail organisations that will be successful today and will survive and thrive in the next few years will ensure all engagements are friction-free, deliver a great experience, and exceed customer expectations.

Tell us a bit about the PIMpoint Summit in April?

PIMpoint Summit 2019 will be held in an amazing venue, Slagthuset, April 4-5 in Malmö, Sweden. The event will feature keynote presentations from thought-leaders Robin Teigland who will talk about exploring the future of value creation, Bryan Eisenberg who will discuss revenue blind spots, and Andreas Ekström who will deliver a presentation on seven ways to own the world.

The event features a hackathon, technical sessions, and vertical-specific track sessions. PIMpoint also features great networking opportunities, partner and customer advisory boards, and so much more.

This year will be the biggest event yet with 1000 attendees and sold-out sponsorship from our amazing partner community who serve this industry globally. It’s an event not to be missed.

What can attendees from the retail sector expect and why should they attend the summit?

Attendees from the retail sector have tremendous opportunities to learn from and network with some of the most exciting and successful brands. Sessions with Cartier and Clas Ohlson alone are worth the trip to PIMpoint. The content and event itself are focused on facilitating learning and sharing best practices to drive maximum results for attendees. Attendees and presenters are sharing fresh ideas to inspire and educate in this fast-moving space. Everyone who attends PIMpoint Summit will walk away with ideas, concepts and actionable information to use when they return to the office.

What would you say is the biggest risk for the UK retail sector, given the current climate?

The biggest risk for UK retail sector today is not adapting to changing buying behaviours and failing to deliver exceptional customer experiences. It sounds simple, but it is hard to achieve this at-scale. However, it is possible. The top retailers today focus on customer experience and ensure they optimise everything from product information to online checkout to in-store engagement. Retailers need to think like their customers, anticipate their needs, and find ways to deliver great omnichannel customer experiences.

How has your previous experience aided your current job?

Marketing and marketing technology dominate my professional life. With an international experience starting in Scandinavia years ago through Agency.com in New York and Eloqua in Canada, I’ve been helping marketers excel and deliver their own products to market for years.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

Managing growth with a global team keeps me entertained each and every day.

And the most rewarding?

The most rewarding part of my job is seeing our customers succeed and exceed their goals. We focus a great deal on customer success at inRiver. We work hard building a global community of partners, thought leaders, and industry experts to help facilitate that. Seeing success is the most rewarding part of my job.

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