The Ntara team attended Akeneo Unlock 2024 in beautiful Boston, Massachusetts, on March 5 and 6, 2024.

Large purple letters lit internally with lights spell out Akeneo. Lights are in front of tall windows.

We sponsored and exhibited beside our partner InBetween Digital Publishing. Together, we helped spread the word about the power of integrating product information management (PIM) with print automation software.

Nine people stand smiling, side-by-side. On the left, three men and one woman represent the InBetween publishing software team. They are dressed in traditional German clothing. On the right, four men and one woman represent the Ntara systems integrator team. Behind each team is a large sign that has its company logo.

Unlock 2024 was a jam-packed, well-paced, informative conference. Here’s a recap of what we learned.

Akeneo Unlock Day 1 keynote: The PX Revolution

Akeneo CSO Kristin Naragon introduced the phrase “reckless consumerism.”

“For years,” she said, “buyers have been enticed by sales, trends, free shipping, and free returns. We’re all trained to shop a deal. The danger in that is substantial because most of what we purchase ends up in a landfill.”

In fact, she quoted a statistic that only 1% of the stuff we buy is still in use six months after purchase.

But there is evidence that consumers want to change.

She said two-thirds of consumers now spend more time researching and validating purchases. They do it in pursuit of smarter purchases, fewer returns, and more satisfaction with what they purchase.

Similarly, the rise in minimalism and right-to-repair laws signal a shift in how manufacturers must bring products to market. And with the impending digital product passport and initiatives like California’s Advanced Clean Cars program, it won’t be optional for long.

So, what can manufacturers and brands do about it?

Embrace the responsible consumption revolution by focusing on product experience (PX) over customer experience (CX).

Step 1: Set a PX standard to encourage confident buying experiences

You need clean, rich product information—including environmental impact. That’s important to today’s consumer. Typical Akeneo customers see a 20% reduction in returns once accurate product information is in place. Your customers will be more confident because they will understand your product.

Step 2: Participate in the sharing economy

If your product can be resold and reused, someone is likely already doing it. Manufacturers and brands must embrace this resell/reuse mindset.

Naragon mentioned a distributor client that sells 1.4M products online. They now sell their refurbished products on their ecommerce website, right alongside their new products. Apparel brands like Michael Kors and Lululemon have also embraced the sale of “pre-loved fashion.”

This trend is doable for many brands and manufacturers. It provides a significant environmental impact and also creates opportunity for greater revenue.

Step 3: Empower your buyer with environmental transparency

Today, this is no longer an option. The aforementioned regulations will be standard before you know it. The time is now to begin locating and enriching your sustainability data. Both B2B and B2C customers want it—and soon, they’ll have the legal right to access it.

Akeneo Unlock spring release 2024

Akeneo team members Sarah Assous, Senior Director, Product; Andrew Webb, Product Director; and Andy Tyra, Chief Product Officer, introduced several exciting new features, many of which were outlined more in-depth on day two of the event.

With these new features, Akeneo users will be empowered to unlock responsible business growth, with the ability to showcase products better, faster, and anywhere.

Ubiquitous AI in Akeneo Product Cloud

Thanks to Akeneo’s acquisition of Unifai last year, customers can now leverage generative AI in the PIM to create bulk product descriptions and romance copy in minutes. They can also use it to translate descriptions into 50+ languages.

Akeneo’s Supplier Data Manager feature now uses native AI to onboard suppliers. It can help automate mapping, normalization, categorization, and supplier data enrichment.

Akeneo App for Salesforce

This new, customizable app empowers users of both platforms to seamlessly import PIM data into Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Experience Cloud.

It gives teams quicker access to product information so they can drive more meaningful customer engagements.

Grainger and Wayfair activation destinations

Akeneo already had activation to 300 marketplaces and retailers. Now, they’ve added two more, thanks to requests from their user base: and

Configurable Enrichment Workflows

New customizable workflows make it easier for users to enrich data and quality-check content before it’s published.

Product Family Templates

Akeneo users can kickstart catalog modeling with new, industry-focused templates. At this time, the platform includes 45 templates spanning 11 industries. Akeneo invites users to submit suggestions for what should be next on their template roadmap.

The best thing? Product Family Templates allow you to modify completeness requirements, which will be extremely helpful for onboarding new teams and team members.

This feature speeds up catalog modeling processes, reduces time to market for new products, and improves data accuracy.

Simultaneous Work capabilities

This new feature enables efficient teamwork. Simultaneous Work saves time, reduces duplicate work, and helps teams launch products faster. It alerts active users when more multiple people are editing the same product. And when multiple users contribute to different attribute values, all modifications are considered and saved (versus the previous version, in which the last save always won).

Business Analytics function

This new feature is critical for various product initiatives. With five key business metrics right inside Akeneo, PIM users can track KPIs and easily export graphs for internal reporting.

The five new business metrics in Business Analytics include:

  • Total number of units sold
    Measured in quantity, this metric assesses product performance and popularity
  • Total revenue
    Measured in currency, this one tracks overall financial performance
  • Average add-to-cart rate/views
    Measured in percentage, this helps you understand user intent and optimize the purchasing journey
  • Average conversion rate/views
    Measured in percentage, this gauges the efficiency of turning interest into action
  • Total pageviews
    Measured in quantity, this metric measures user engagement and content effectiveness

Akeneo case studies & labs

To round out day one, Akeneo invited customers from all different backgrounds to compare notes onstage about how PIM has changed their business. The varying perspectives were refreshing, showcasing how the same software and features can solve an array of business problems.

On day two, Akeneo hosted labs demo the new features rolled out on day one.

We enjoyed the event from the 33rd floor of the State Room, overlooking the Boston harbor. (Although, the fog blocked our view for most of the event. 😊 If you know, you know.) And we look forward to sharing these new Akeneo features and insights with our current and future clients.

Three men and one woman smile at the camera. 

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