Q&A: Mike Paxton, VP Sales at Canto
Canto helps retailers across the globe work faster and smarter by streamlining the way they organise, search and share their digital content. Mike will also be joining us as an expert panelist at our annual Retail Digital Marketing event on April 21.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
You wouldn’t expect it, but I started my career in operations for the London Metropolitan Police, before entering the charity sector, working in software and equipment procurement for the RSPCA. While there I learned the importance of working with reliable and economical partners and I’ve developed this ethos at Canto.
What does your company do? / What is your USP?
Canto offices are based in San Francisco (USA), Berlin and Giessen (Germany) with team members in markets including the UK.
Canto helps retailers across the globe work faster and smarter by streamlining the way they organise, search and share their digital content. We’re the original digital asset management (DAM) system with over 30 years of helping organisations to work faster and smarter.
We provide a single cloud-based repository for retailers to store all of their content assets, including imagery and video. This comes with built-in features such as image recognition and facial recognition that allow teams to make sense of this content at scale and improve team efficiency.
What’s special about the platform and your approach?
Typically, retailers store their digital assets in many different places, and time is lost because teams cannot search, manage and share files easily. Our system cuts out that process completely, reducing it to a simple keyword search.
Instead of reliance on internal shared servers, or bulging Google Drive or Dropbox accounts, Canto solves this problem. We provide dedicated DAM software that easily scales and is used by thousands of companies globally.
We’re ranked as an industry leader on software user review site G2, and as a cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution anyone with permission can securely access and collaborate on the files and content they need. Everything is accessible through a web browser.
What advantage does it add?
Managing visuals from suppliers, plus your brand’s own content, and being able to find all these files quickly later has become increasingly burdensome. Documents, presentations and spreadsheets all contribute to the content challenge. Where is everything securely stored? Who has access?
The main reasons Canto is chosen by retailers are ease-of-use, our experience of similar use cases, and onboarding with Canto is usually weeks compared to a few months with others. Even larger retailers want an intuitive system – there will often be quite a few users that are not tech savvy and Canto is the easiest to use option amongst our top competitors.
With image recognition, Canto can automatically tag objects and people within visual content, allowing it to be quickly indexed and searched through. In a single click you can see all your images and videos featuring, for example, an item like a hat or an umbrella, or a particular person.
Also, Canto’s portal feature leads in our field, allowing you to share a subsection of your image or content library with an audience of your choice. For retailers that have a studio we have workspaces which are private project areas where they can collaborate with agencies, retouchers etc. As Canto also has integrations with software like Adobe, design files are instantly saved back into Canto.
What does implementation look like?
Implementation is based on training and workshops focused on each retailer’s use case. Afterwards we have review sessions with our customer to discuss proposed structures. During training we focus on teaching Canto best practices and how they can get the most out of the DAM solution.
How are retailers using your systems to gain competitive advantage and what does best practice look like? Can you share a case study with us?
We work with a diverse range of retailers in the UK and internationally. This includes fashion names such as Birkenstock and Ralph Lauren, popular health & beauty brands including Aveda and eos, and consumer goods and electricals like Thermos and Sennheiser. Our software is also chosen by a diverse range of food and drink brands, from Godiva Chocolate to Fairtrade.
These brands and more choose to work with us because of the efficiency we enable their teams to work with – which in turn allows them to spend more time on what makes a difference to their business’s bottom line.
Godiva is a great example (read the full case study here). Their quick-moving internal design team needed a centralised library so that everyone across the company had on-demand access to brand assets. By introducing Canto the team can save resources and easily refresh high-quality content to effectively tell their brand’s story globally and consistently. .
What challenges and opportunities do you currently see in UK retail?
With a surge in online shopping in the past 12 months, outsiders could be mistaken for thinking it’s been an easy ride for such retailers. Competition is rife, growth always brings challenges, and many internal operations have been subject to the obstacles of lockdown.
We see that growing omnichannel retailers often evolve partnership and distribution models. But being able to work smoothly and consistently with partners is critical – it can be a big differentiator when it’s done well.
Furthermore, investment in quality digital content across both product and marketing is really shaping customer experience, influencing purchase decision making and building brand loyalty.
How will you address these challenges and turn them into successes?
Key to success in all these areas is maximising efficiency upstream, in areas like design and procurement, as well as in marketing and sales execution often working with third-parties. Getting everyone working in the same way is fundamental to success.
DAM is growing in popularity among retailers because it streamlines the way teams of all shapes and sizes organise, search and share their digital content.
What is on the horizon for you as a company?
Our software never stands still – we’re constantly adding new features and integrations.
We’re now looking at how retailers and other organisations are going to work in a post-pandemic world where distributed team members and high volumes of digital content are here to stay. With a development team in Silicon Valley, we horizon scan for the latest technology, to ensure our software always provides the best, most efficient way of managing digital content. For example, we recently made some major enhancements to how video content can be better managed with smart tagging, facial recognition, auto-transcription and watermarking.
To find out how Canto can help your retail operation, click here.
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