At Pimcore, our partners are an integral part of our success. We take pride in showcasing who they are, what they do, and their many successful Pimcore projects. I recently had the opportunity to interview Lightning Jar’s Chief Creative Officer, Alan Ruthazer. He and his partners, Chief Strategist, Kevin Peckham, and Chief Digital Officer, Ashley Laing, are the founders of Lightning Jar – our strategic gold partner based in the US. They specialize in comprehensive brand, user experience, and technology strategy to help B2B and B2C companies more effectively communicate and collaborate with their customers & partners. As gold partners, they have always delivered topnotch work and results, and we are honored to have them as part of our partner community.
1. What are your primary business objectives?
Our business has evolved into two core units: a digital design and build studio and an ecommerce consultancy. The design studio focuses on creating great digital and mobile experiences for our clients. The ecommerce consultancy focuses on using Pimcore to help resolve deep challenges our clients have with managing product data and powering ecommerce, which in turn helps their customers. Our goal is to deliver the greatest, most intuitive and inspiring user experiences possible.
2. What pain points do you help solve for your clients?
Customer expectations are higher than ever, and a lot of brands are struggling to keep up with those expectations. We design solutions to help them bring their products and services to market in a world that is more digital and more mobile every day. That means working closely with our clients during the research and strategy phase so that they can better understand their customers, needs, goals and expectations — and then evolve a new vision of what it means to go to market in the present day where technology changes at breakneck speed, and customer habits around mobile and digital technology change even faster.
We think a lot about the experiences that customers have come to expect over the last decade. From Amazon to Uber, it’s all about convenience and the omnichannel experience. Pimcore has really helped to meet those expectations — what I want, when I want it, how and where I want it. Not only do you need great data, great content, and great product information, but it needs to be accessible and consistent across channels without you getting swallowed up by the burden of maintaining it all manually.
3. What is your competitive advantage?
Since we’re equal parts creative agency and technical consultancy, we’re able to approach things from a customer experience perspective. Our competitive advantage is our thoughtfulness and thoroughness. We’re not just a production company. We’re designers at heart.
We’re here for the client that comes to us with a set of business challenges that they need help diagnosing and solving. The client that is just realizing that their go-to-market strategy relies on outdated assumptions about technology and customer habits — that’s who we’re looking to help. And we help them with a combination of research, strategy, and design rigor.
There is sometimes this chasm between a good design and the back-end data that powers it. We excel at being able to bridge that gap to create elegant, meaningful systems out of what might have previously felt chaotic and disorganized.
4. What Pimcore project are you most proud of and what did it entail?
We’ve done big and small projects on Pimcore. From complicated rental commerce sites to massive product data organization initiatives for brands like Beam Suntory, the world’s third-largest premium spirits company. My favorite Pimcore project that we’ve done was for Space Racers, a children’s television show meant to educate and inspire pre-schoolers to want to learn about science and space. What was fascinating about that project was the idea of designing a mobile-first website for a swipe-first generation. We designed navigation that was distinct in shape, color, and sound. Pimcore was the perfect platform because of its flexibility and its ability to maintain various types of media — videos, sound, games, even downloadable coloring books.
It’s great to think that the website you designed might be a link in a chain that leads one child on a path towards becoming the next Nobel prize-winning scientist or astronaut. Maybe one of those kids that played a science-based game on the Space Racers website is the first to set foot on Mars.
5. What led you to partner with Pimcore?
We came across Pimcore for the first time early on while working on a project in early 2010. We had a client who wanted to be the first in their industry to offer an ecommerce rental experience for construction equipment. At that time, there were no open source ecommerce frameworks that could handle the complexities of equipment rental transactions. We carefully vetted a list of 15 open source PHP-based CMS systems and a similar list of PIMs. Pimcore rose to the top of both lists. We took the top three solutions and validated our selections by having developers teach themselves to code a widget in each. We timed them and counted the lines of code it took. Pimcore was the clear winner.
The fact that it is an open-source environment made it particularly attractive to us as an agency, not to mention its ability to combine web content management capabilities, ecommerce, product information and digital asset management together in an omnichannel environment.
While working on that project, we got to know the Pimcore crew in Austria – Dietmar Rietsch, Roland Dessovic, and Bernhard Rusch -- and visited them a few times. We helped them launch Pimcore in the USA with business plans, thinking about a global rollout, and the need for a partner program. We’ve been in the conversation from the beginning. We love the platform and use it whenever we can.
We are very thankful for Lightning Jar’s contribution to Pimcore’s success – to learn more about Lightning Jar please visit their website.