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case study

Ntara delivers inriver PIM rescue for global footwear brand 

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The challenge

As a leading global brand, this footwear manufacturer presented a variety of digital transformation goals, including a major ecommerce launch. Unfortunately, slow and error-prone data processes stood in the way.

Interestingly, the organization had already invested in the inriver product information management (PIM) platform. But their goals did not materialize as they’d hoped.

Some of the challenges and gaps included:

  • Managing multiple instances of the platform. Their Western Europe division hosted an older on-premises version of inriver, which conflicted with a SaaS version for their US division.
  • A slow and ineffective connection to their ecommerce fulfillment platform, Salesforce Commerce Cloud (SFCC).
  • No way to get reliable data to order fulfillment and drop-ship vendors.
  • A complete lack of automated workflows. Every task related to imagery, translations, and product page creation required constant manual intervention.
computer screen, tablet screen, and iphone screen all with lists of shoe icons in various colors and sizes

That’s when Ntara stepped in to help, kickstarting a long and successful partnership that spans over six years.

Along with serving as a rescue mission, the initial project provided an opportunity to streamline operations integral to the success of selling on the digital and retail shelf.

Our approach

Within months of our team taking over the project, we delivered the first goal: launching inriver with seamless integration to Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

We also migrated the Western Europe division to a SaaS version of inriver. Then, consolidated the two instances of inriver into a single SaaS model to help reduce licensing costs and streamline the user experience. This multi-step process required heavy lifting to navigate complex attributes and processes that differed between the two regions.

With the initial performance issues fixed, we moved on to optimizing processes to solve a variety of pain points and opportunities.

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Faster connections

We noticed that the team lost time when sending delta files to SFCC (e.g., files that had changed since the last export). This was a critical performance issue. We audited their product file creation code to simplify and improve processing. Now, what once took days to complete is done in less than 10 minutes. This code clean-up was an essential step to optimize the connection to Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

Onsite training and modeling

Next, our team visited their headquarters for an onsite workshop, including data modeling, user training, and product data lifecycle mapping. We also helped them dream and imagine automation steps that could make their lives easier—many of which we went on to implement.

For example, an older process required manual work to move imagery to different locations within SFCC. We modified that specific extension to automate file organization based on image angle and location on the website. The team now has the flexibility to configure the structure when needed, while still enjoying significant time savings—all thanks to the new workflow.

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Tackling translations

As an international brand, the manufacturer also needed a more efficient translation process. Previously, employees had to contact their vendor manually for updates on the status of translation jobs. And with no transparency, some jobs went into the abyss. To solve the challenge, we built a translation integration that includes a way to track when jobs are created, executed, and delivered.

Fast-tracking fulfillment and marketing

We established data feeds from inriver to other crucial channels to boost efficiency for fulfillment and marketing. Arvato (their order fulfillment and logistics vendor) and two drop-ship vendors now automatically receive data to reliably process orders, generate invoices, and provide excellent customer service.

Meanwhile, the marketing team gained greater control over their online presence thanks to an intuitive method for configuring and modifying product information. This approach leverages field settings to give the group control over modifying details like product badges or care instructions—without custom coding or outside assistance.

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Bringing together bricks and clicks

Lastly, we reviewed their point-of-sale (POS) system requirements to unify data between the digital and retail shelf. Through inriver, the company can send flat file data to POS systems, allowing the brand’s retailers to access the same data published through Salesforce.

The PIM journey continues

This manufacturer’s inriver platform is now successfully integrated with SFCC, POS systems, logistics systems, and translation services. And while the rescue mission is complete, the partnership is ongoing.

Together, we’ve rebuilt all current integrations for speed and added over 60 custom extensions, drastically improving the steps to prepare a product for the digital and retail shelf. Our workflow automation and customizations help simplify and modernize their operations—saving time, reducing costs, and increasing efficiency at every step.

As the manufacturer’s PIM journey evolves, Ntara is here to help. Future plans include supporting their wholesale group to improve the data enrichment process.

Illustration representing the flow of data into product information management software and to downstream channels.

By the numbers

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time savings for a full send through Salesforce

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Custom extensions built

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cloud-based data platform for the entire global enterprise

Technology alone is not enough, as this project illustrates. Combining the leading inriver platform with Ntara’s deep PIM expertise, the manufacturer can finally achieve and enjoy the full benefits of workflow, automation, data modeling, and integrations tailored to their needs.

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