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Wedia helps international sporting goods retailer Decathlon manage the assets for more than 200 e-commerce sites around the world.supplied

There are many reasons why a company’s e-commerce site might be slower than it should be. For sporting goods retail giant Decathlon, there were literally millions.

The international sporting goods retailer, which carries more than 7,000 products on its Canadian e-commerce site alone, has eight million digital marketing assets — and counting. Every day, it adds another 20,000 new assets to its 200-plus websites, showcasing both its own products and the products of its marketplace partners.

Decathlon, which sells products for hundreds of fitness activities across 60 countries, owes a significant part of its success to its reliance on its content-rich e-commerce sites, which feature seven to 10 images for every product it sells.

When it reached operational limits with its in-house multimedia library, it sought the expertise of Wedia — a firm offering B2B cloud-based solutions for managing visual content — to create a digital asset management (DAM) platform that could handle the massive scale of its operation. What Wedia created was a solution that could not only support and speed up its e-commerce and brand sites, but also centralize those millions of photos, videos, 360-degree views and other marketing materials.

Not every e-commerce company has this many assets, and some have even more.

“We are working with complex clients that have complex and unique needs that are always different in the details,” says Sebastian Bardoz, Wedia’s North American vice-president of sales and operations. “Every business has its own abilities and needs and requires different solutions.”

Regardless of the size and complexity of your organization, though, e-commerce retailers typically share these common back-end struggles when it comes to providing customers with a seamless shopping experience:

Decentralized assets

When multiple teams and departments produce and use thousands of images a day, it’s easy to lose track of where assets are. This leads to duplication, which puts needless pressure on servers and storage, ultimately creating a larger carbon footprint than necessary. It also causes employees to waste their time searching for and replicating existing assets, and ultimately leads to inconsistent web experiences.

Wedia got its start in France and has been operating in North America since 2017.supplied

As an image-generating powerhouse, Decathlon experienced many of these problems. In response, Wedia created a tailored multimedia library that uses AI-aided search and is accessible to more than 67,000 internal and external users around the world. Today that database sends more than 15 billion media files per month to Decathlon’s e-commerce sites and web properties.

Poor compatibility with internal and third-party plugins, APIs, and apps

An enterprise DAM is a powerful tool for e-commerce brands, but it can’t do it all. Sites almost always rely on a variety of third-party and internal tools to generate a fast, high-functioning online shopping experience.

For example, Decathlon’s new DAM needed to work with the company’s existing software systems used for tasks such as accounting, procurement and project management, as well as provide rights management to avoid duplication of content for each channel.

That’s where compatibility comes in.

Decathlon needed to connect its unique DAM platform (dubbed PixL) with more than 30 applications without sacrificing speed and efficiency. “Thanks to the PixL solution proposed by Wedia, we are able to centralize and distribute all the company’s media to all of our employees and across our entire IT ecosystem,” says Antoine Massy, Decathlon’s digital asset management project manager.

Difficulty creating and modifying assets

While consistent imagery and style are critical elements of a branded experience, not every company has a team of graphic artists and UX designers on call.

That’s why Wedia’s distributed marketing management (DMM) solution exists: to provide sophisticated digital marketing tools to a company’s sales channels with minimal training and expertise. The DMM platform’s easy drag-and-drop functionality enables regional units, partners, dealers, and franchises to localize and customize marketing content while ensuring brand consistency, legal compliance and cost.

Improper response to local rules and needs

Decathlon’s challenges are not unique, says Sara Jabbari, head of marketing at Wedia. “There are a number of common issues that we encounter — usually a mix of challenges based on the client’s business size, environment and maturity,” she explains. One such issue shared by e-commerce companies operating in multiple regions is the struggle to adapt to local regulations and market conditions.

It’s not easy to maintain brand consistency while working with partners or franchises in disparate markets, each with their own local rules and unique market characteristics. That can include everything from not showing snowy images in tropical markets, to marketing in different languages, to third-party retailers asking for custom materials.

Localization is a key area where DAM in conjunction with an easy-to-use DMM tool comes in handy. Allowing on-the-ground teams to quickly access and customize product and brand images as needed is essential to maintaining a professional, consistent look in every market and on every channel.

Not measuring your success

Busy retailers know how tough it can be to keep on top of metrics and key performance indicators measuring the success — or failure — of their marketing assets. But knowing how effective and compelling your imagery is, is intrinsic to your e-commerce success.

A sophisticated digital marketing solution can deliver analytics that measure the impact of marketing materials in real time, giving retailers the ability to pivot sooner when an element is not performing well, or add to successful programs sooner to capitalize on customer interest.

Wedia’s DAM can be paired with its digital experience management module (DXM) to deliver an optimized content experience and to score content with the goal of improving performance and efficiency on e-commerce sites, social networks and other online properties.

“With analytics, you can drill down to see which images are working the best, how many views were generated depending on the types of assets, which content works best for which market and for which product,” says Ms. Jabbari. “So, you’re able to inform your content production strategy, ultimately reducing the number of assets you’re creating.”

In the fast-paced world of e-commerce, imagery makes or breaks sales. A robust all-in-one DAM solution like the one Wedia created for Decathlon can solve retailers’ existing problems while also helping them to scale for the future.

Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio with Wedia. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.