The Tile Shop adds a new dimension to its online content with Adobe

Photograph of family room.

Selling online takes more than static images on a website. It requires rich content that brings your products to life in a virtual space. For The Tile Shop, that means allowing shoppers to experience its thousands of tiles, setting materials, and accessories as if they were in a live showroom speaking to its sales associates.

“You can’t try on tiles virtually the way you can with clothes, but we also can’t expect customers to get excited about static 2D photos of our products. Especially if those images don’t relay the endless materials, styles, and shapes of tiles we offer,” says Jill Byrnes, senior director of marketing and merchandising teams at The Tile Shop.

Byrnes joined The Tile Shop in 2019 and immediately spearheaded a project to reset the company’s approach to digital content and customer experiences. Supported by Adobe Experience Manager Assets, as a Cloud Service. The Tile Shop is now cleaning up its digital asset library, discovering new ways to create virtual content, and breathing new life into its online storytelling.

A platform for endless possibilities

The Tile Shop offers a staggering assortment of products. It has more than 5,000 unique SKUs in its online portfolio, from stone and manufactured tiles, to edges, to maintenance accessories. Moreover, it sells products from 30 different countries, including a newly launched line of luxury vinyl tiles. In short, the company offers endless possibilities to the consumers and professionals who rely on its products to complete their design and renovation projects.

“We pride ourselves on offering unparalleled quality and variety to our customers, but to sell products online we need to create an equally comprehensive suite of digital assets to represents each of these products in a virtual environment,” says Byrnes. “Our 850 in-store associates excel at helping customers visualize how a set of tiles will look in their homes, but we need to recreate that wow moment online with a rich library of dynamic content”.

Dynamic media is more than a buzzword at The Tile Shop. It is the lynchpin of the company’s digital strategy. The Tile Shop’s previous asset library only allowed it to publish simple, static imagery on its website, on top of which it had no way of consolidating, tagging, or organizing its digital content. All of its assets were housed on different servers and categorized according to which agency created them, making it a challenge to source, enhance, and publish high-quality online content for every product.

“To be frank, we needed a new approach to image storage, management and creation,” recalls Byrnes. “That required an ecosystem that could support our ambitions for dynamic media, and Adobe Experience Manager Assets was the clear choice to anchor our transformation”.

Mastering metadata with smart tags

The Tile Shop jumped head first into its new content strategy, loading more than 10,000 assets onto the new digital asset management (DAM) solution in just 18 months. Using the Smart Crop feature in Adobe Experience Manager Assets, Byrnes’s team was able to adapt individual assets for desktop, mobile, and virtually every format its customers use to browse The Tile Shop’s portfolio. Customers can also toggle between color swatches when viewing product images, a new feature for the website that puts more power in shoppers’ hands.

“It’s a breeze to make changes to a product page or upload a new one. I never tried to do that before we had Adobe’s dynamic media capabilities, but to be honest I couldn’t even imagine trying,” says The Tile Shop digital asset manager, Luke Crownover.

The Tile Shop is now in the process of assigning metadata to every asset in its digital content library with the aim of making these available to its designers via Adobe Asset Link to be enriched further. Asset Link will be integrated directly with the Tile Shop’s Adobe Creative Cloud applications, allowing its designers to easily search, edit and check assets in Adobe Experience Manager without exiting their creative tools. By assigning Smart Tags to each asset, the Tile Shop also plans to improve search results with suggested imagery that designers can use in new creative ways.

“Dynamic media is just one piece of the puzzle,” says Crownover. “With Asset Link, our designers will be able to easily find the assets they need and create tailor-made content for any stakeholder, be it marketing, sales, or recruitment”.

Byrnes has major plans for Adobe Experience Manager Assets, especially as The Tile Shop continues to work with its implementation partner, 3|Share, to explore the solution’s features and train its design teams to unlock its full potential.

“When you’re buying tiles, or any product that will be part of your home for years, you want to feel confident you’re making the right choice,” she says. “Working with Adobe and 3|Share has certainly boosted confidence at The Tile Shop. Our digital offering is stronger than ever and we get to pay that forward to our customers”.

An enterprise design solution

Looking ahead, Byrnes is particularly excited about the Brand Portal feature in Adobe Experience Manager Assets, which will allow sales associates across the organization to share rich imagery between themselves at the touch of a button.

“Each of our stores has more than 30 room displays. Now imagine if every one of our sales associates could access and show those displays to customers in any location. Instead of 30 displays, you’re talking about thousands of unique use cases to inspire our customers no matter which store they visit,” she says.

The Tile Shop also expects to see productivity gains in its design process with Adobe. Its designers currently spend more than one quarter of their time search for assets, a figure that it expects will drop dramatically once designers can use precise keywords to find relevant content.

“Experience Manager Assets is not just a repository. We see it as a one-stop shop for our digital content processes and strategies,” says Byrnes. “It’s a true enterprise solution, and we’re only beginning to see its impact on our customer experience and internal operations”.