The Connected Consumer and the Changing Face of Commerce

In their fourth annual report, the Walker Sands retail practice team tapped the insights of more than 1,600 U.S. consumers, uncovering how technology is changing consumer behaviors – and how consumer behaviors are transforming the customer experience for retail brands in 2017.

The study reveals that the connected consumer and voice controlled devices are the future of retail in 2017 and as retailers struggle to stay ahead of consumer desires, their biggest challenge will be evolving at scale as technology continues to disrupt the industry.

The consumer is changing again, and the future of retail is now about much more than just online shopping. Technology like connected home devices, virtual reality, streaming television services, voice ordering and drones have made digital shopping easier and more integrated into everyday life.

So where is commerce headed in the age of the connected consumer? What do brands, retailers and manufacturers need to know about their shifting audiences?

Predictions For The Future Of Retail

The shift to the connected consumer shows no signs of slowing down, and buying habits are transforming. Retail isn’t just about when customers are ready to buy anymore– it’s a constant engagement with technology and experiences that drives the future of commerce. Based on the 2017 Walker Sands Future of Retail 2017 findings, we predict these three trends will shape the future of retail in the years ahead.

  1. As consumers become even more connected, they will demand a more transparent and continuous commerce experience from retailers. The walls between channels will continue to fall as connectively becomes ubiquitous, and consumers fluidly move from one medium to another.
  2. Voice ordering will drive a new era of commerce, and brands will have to learn how to navigate a landscape that doesn’t have a traditional user interface. “Zero UI” will transform the customer experience and further heighten customer expectations.
  3. The in-store experience won’t go away, but it will shift as retailers blur the lines between physical and digital stores. The two worlds will be linked by authentic brand experiences that allow customers to move seamlessly between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar shopping.

While the future of retail was once all about the e-commerce experience, online shopping has become so commonplace that it’s now an assumed retailer capability. The future is now being shaped by the connected consumer and the increasingly ubiquitous nature of technology. In this always-on environment, brands must themselves be always on – not just online, but everywhere their customers go.

Compete With Trusted Product Content Your Customers Can Rely On

1WorldSync delivers rich and trusted product content, including digital assets and insights – to engage customers and consumers – regardless of location or medium.

While the study revealed several interesting stats around smartphone penetration, free shipping and voice commerce, those around the importance of product content appealed most to me.  

Future of Retail Statistics Implications
35% of consumers would be more likely to use a mobile app if it had more in-depth product information. Merchants who are unable to provide complete and consistent product information are losing consumers, as they also recognize disparities across platforms. This leads to a lack of trust.
46% of consumers prefer to shop online, instead of in-store, including mobile and voice commerce. Today, retailers can sell their products on so many different channels. Because of this, it’s crucial that product content comes from one consistent and accurate location.

 

To take a deep dive into the world of today’s consumer and the changing shape of the commerce landscape, download Walker Sands’ 2017 Future of Retail study today!

Amazon’s Continued Content Attribute Explosion

According to a recent report by Kenshoo, 72% of consumers visit Amazon before making a purchase. In fact, shoppers start their product research nearly 2X more often on Amazon than Google  (BloomReach 2016). 

It’s  more important than ever  your product content is highly discoverable on Amazon. Content is what connects you to your customer and,  more importantly, to  potential customers on their  critical  path to purchase.

Amazon announced it will begin sourcing attributes via the GDSN with 1WorldSync.

Amazon has invited a select group of suppliers to participate and they working closely to expand the group to include more suppliers and attributes in the near future. Amazon is now able to receive enriched, standardized product content through the data synchronization process enabling Amazon to:

  • Receive product content and changes in real time, speeding item setup from days to hours
  • Leverage brand owner GDSN core product content already available to help ensure product content accuracy, consistency and completeness
  • Leverage the GDSN rules and validations to ensure data quality

Leverage your GDSN product data to build a foundation for sending product content to Amazon!

Leveraging your GDSN product data to build a foundation for sending product content to Amazon saves time and ensures that consistent information will be sent all recipients.

Currently that content attributes ingested to Amazon’s Vendor Central are ingredient statements, nutrient type code, daily value intake percent, measurement precision code and quantity contained and UOM. The Amazon technology roadmap includes mapping more GDSN attributes, so it’s time to get started today!

Provide More Content to Amazon and Beyond

Consistent and fully populated product content allows your products to get discovered!

When you increase product content discoverability, you increase your brand awareness. It’s a fly wheel- but it starts with product content…

So why not leverage the GDSN data you have today and get it to Amazon? Ready to leverage your GDSN and get your products discovered by Amazon…..Learn more today!

References

http://go.bloomreach.com/rs/243-XLW-551/images/state-of-amazon-2016-report.pdf

Connecting the Label to E-Commerce

Think about how you shop.  Chances are, you’re online.  And you’re not alone.  Now, in order to establish a successful packaging and labeling strategy, companies have to understand the multiple product data distribution channels they have at their disposal.

Product content transparency is critical in the path to purchase from discovery to delight.  Today’s consumers are increasingly active participants in product attribution, basing their purchasing decisions on information beyond the standard product label to attributes like ingredient origins and composition.

They report social media, mobile apps, and other digital sources are key components of their purchasing behaviors.  They rely on this product data to give them visibility into and information about how a product aligns with their preferences.

BLUE Software  & 1WorldSync: Powerful Alone, Better Together

So, for next month, BLUE and 1WorldSync have packaged up (pun intended) everything you need to know about product data transparency – learning what it means, understanding its implications, and taking a look at the tools you have at your disposal to ensure product data accuracy and distribute product data through multiple consumer communication channels.   We’ll explore how companies can present up-to-date, accurate product images and information including item descriptions, nutritional information, ingredients, marketing claims, and warnings to maintain consumer confidence and encourage a purchase decision.

BLUE Software, the leading provider of label and artwork management (LAM) solutions, and 1WorldSync, the leading multi-enterprise product information network, have partnered to deliver turnkey solutions to address the growing demands of e-commerce to their large customer base.

 BLUE’s advanced Label and Artwork Management solution stores the final, approved and audited digital file with all product information required for e-commerce, retailers and customers alike. 1WorldSync, the worldwide leader in product data syndication, pulls this product information from BLUE, and distributes it across all of your company’s trading networks.

The end result? When a shopper scans a QR code on a package or searches for their product online, he or she is presented with up-to-date, accurate product images and information including item descriptions, nutritional information, ingredients, marketing claims and warnings.

We’ll also showcase real world business cases and discuss how these companies have leveraged technology solutions to deliver product content data across multiple platforms – ultimately meeting product revenue objectives.

Learn More! Register For Our Webinar

Join BLUE’s Chief Product Officer, Stephen Kaufman, and 1WorldSync’s Vice President of Professional Services, Tammy O’Donnell, on Wednesday, October 4, when they’ll discuss how to:

  • Deliver rich, robust product content directly from the package to the palms of consumers’ hands
  • Synchronize real time consumer messages and accurate product information including ingredients, marketing claims, item descriptions, etc.
  • Leverage cutting edge, digital platforms to maintain consumer confidence and encourage a purchasing decision

Click here to learn more and save your spot.

How Real-World Retailers Can Better Compete With Ecommerce

With an influx of consumer purchasing decisions driving ecommerce today, retail stores are struggling to find innovative ways to keep consumers walking through their doors. Small businesses must take action in order to survive the digital evolution. Fortunately, by targeting the right consumers there are optimal ways brick-and-mortar retailers can thrive.

The Power of Touch

Stores definitely have the upper hand when it comes to physical interaction with a product. No matter how advanced ecommerce sites become with 360 degree visualization and high resolutions images, nothing compares to a consumer’s ability to touch, feel, and have a full hands-on experience with the products they are interested in buying. A majority of average shoppers, approximately 78 percent worldwide, prefer the initial engagement with the product rather than a virtual one (Retail Customer Experience, 2017).

But Retailer, I Want It Now!

We all have those Veruca Salt tendencies where we want things NOW! Brick-and-mortar stores definitely excel in that aspect. Take the Hema Supermarkets owned by Alibaba, for example. They’ve redefined the shopper’s experience by integrating online and offline shopping, deeming it “New Retail” (Alizila, 2017).

As part of the shopping experience, everything is powered by their mobile app. They can seamlessly order their groceries, check to see if it’s available in store, find detailed product content by scanning a barcode, and get everything they need within seconds. If retailers continue to incorporate consumer efficiency into their path of purchase, they will continue to have buyers walking through their doors.

The Comeback

As ecommerce businesses like Amazon continue to set the bar high in terms of availability, delivery, and speed, that doesn’t mean all other shopping experiences like in-store are doomed. In fact, many predict a comeback with 54 percent of shoppers confirming they still prefer it (Future of Retail, 2017).

Amazon may impress consumers with drone and same-day grocery delivery. However, the new generation of shoppers who grew up as millennials crave authentic experiences. A more personalized shopping experience is achievable in traditional brick-and-mortar stores in a similar analytical fashion as online retailers. Retailers that feature both in-store and online shopping experiences are now tracking behavioral purchasing patterns from online all the way to the door.

For example, Sephora, a major cosmetics company inhibits both aspects. The consumer is tracked via a Beauty Insider card that the consumer provides each time they make a purchase whether it’s in-store or online. If they are purchasing online, once they log into their Beauty Insider and begin buying makeup, it automatically tracks the type of makeup they like to buy. Once you arrive at the store, it pulls that buying history from your account and begins offering recommendations via Sephora’s Visual Artist, which is an in-store augmented reality 3D facial recognition program.

The Future of Retail

In the not-so-distant future, we may even be able to expect same-day drone delivery, robot customer service and more. One thing is for certain…Companies will only continue to develop ways to intrigue consumers via a connected commerce approach.

 

References

 

Why Supply Chain Transparency is Critical to Your Business and Customer Loyalty

Food companies are facing unprecedented pressure to provide supply chain transparency not only to comply with FSMA and other regulations but to earn customer trust and loyalty.

A recent FoodLogiQ survey of 2,000+ consumers revealed that supply chain transparency by food companies is a critical driver in consumer purchasing decisions and brand loyalty.

But transparency is not achieved overnight, especially for food companies with with complex global supply chains. We are living in a technological atmosphere where information moves fast, and consumers are more aware about the food they eat and the companies they patronize. If a company is faced with a recall or a foodborne illness; the direct costs, lost of sales and brand damage can be staggering.

But there are ways for food companies to not only provide the transparency consumers are demanding but also make it part of their strategic business initiatives to protect their supply chain.

To help support this transparency, FoodLogiQ has partnered with 1WorldSync. Together, we offer a whole-chain traceability solution backed by product information that delivers transparency while tackling food safety and compliance issues.

On September 21st, join industry leaders from FoodLogiQ and 1WorldSync for a compelling webinar on:

  • The challenges and market forces in delivering safe and quality food products to the consumer and driving supply chain transparency
  • How companies are adopting transparency and traceability to drive business goals
  • The technology and skills needed to ensure customer loyalty while protecting your brand

We will present the results of the FoodLogiQ survey, A Food Company’s Guide to What Consumers Care About in the Age of Transparency and answer your questions about what leading food companies are doing to meet their transparent supply chain initiatives. We can help you create business value and decrease risk across your supply chain.

 

 

Happy Anniversary, 1WorldSync!

Last  week marked a special milestone: 1WorldSync’s 5th anniversary.

Looking back, 5 years ago the Board of Directors (GS1US and GS1 Germany) created the world’s largest trusted product information platform through a joint venture that united SA2 and 1Sync to form 1WorldSync.

Here are some highlights of our successes as an organization:

  • 25,000+ Customers
  • 65+ Countries
  • 200+ Employees
  • 7 Offices Worldwide
  • 1,825 Days of Industry Leading Service

It is amazing to think about how far the industry, the marketplace and our organization has come in five years. The value of high quality and timely product information is more valuable than ever. New entrants have emerged, some to partner, others to compete. We continue to work closely with our growing global customer community to listen, learn and serve them most effectively.

Most important to our success as a joint venture are all of you as members of the 1WorldSync team. Our growth in this journey will come from building on what we learn from each other as a 1WorldSync team.

Celebrate the Power of 1 and our continued growth as a company! The Power of 1 adds up to empowering our customer with trusted content to make informed decisions, health, and well being. Trustworthy content. Anytime, Anywhere.

I look forward to what we can accomplish going forward!

Best Regards,

Karin Borchert, CEO of 1WorldSync

Our apprentice Cynthia’s internship abroad

We are glad that our apprentice, Cynthia Jansen, had the possibility to do an internship in England in spring 2017. Cynthia has been one of five participants from her school class being able to take part in the scholarship program named GATE. The German Apprentices‘ Training in Europe (GATE) is a program which offers apprentices an internship in England or Finland, financed through the European Erasmus+-program. Each year, a defined number of apprentices gets the chance to participate in it.  Cynthia was proposed for the scholarship by her teachers, not only due to her outstanding performance in school but also due to her considerable social behavior in class.
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Insecticide Instead Of Bio: The Consequence Of The Egg Affair

Have you recently abstained from your breakfast egg?

Since it is known that the insecticide “fipronil” has been used for large quantities of eggs, the consumption of eggs or egg-containing products has intensely reduced.
However, it is not just the manufacturing industry that will suffer. Trading does not know yet either how bad consequences will be.

Will consumption reduce in the future? How will the turnover of such products change?

What exactly caused the “egg affair”?

Everything started with a simple cleansing material which was developed for stock breeding companies, especially for poultry farming. In the past, that cleansing material called “Dega-16“ was used by different cleaning companies in that industry to clean poultry stalls and was claimed as a “miracle cure“ for parasites by the Belgian manufacturer.

At that point, retailers and manufacturing companies should have been taken aback and should have realized that this product is a biocidal product because of its effect mentioned on the label. Sadly, this was not the case.

In addition, this product was not accredited as a biocidal product even though it was demanded by the legislator. Despite the missing registration number, this was missed. In accordance to recent chemical analysis‘, the plant protection agent “fipronil“ was added to the product, as well as the dangerous agent “amitraz“. Both are subject to a European ban on use in the food industry and should not have been used for “Dega-16“.

What happens to companies that used or sold the adulterated cleansing material even though it had an obvious biocidal effect?

Failure Of The Supply Chain

Environmental and consumer protection associations blame the involved parties (manufacturers, retailers, suppliers and users) as stakeholders of the supply chain for knowing that a product against parasites needed to contain biocides. They should have tested which agent was included in the product. With the help of the safety data sheet, they should have figured out that forbidden substances were added.

But the safety data sheet of that product was not correctly prepared. Responsible people just neglected the fact that these agents were added to the product. The supply chain failed and the population’s health was put at risk.

In accordance to the Federal Statistical Office, around 369,000 safety data sheets required by law were used in 2015 in Germany alone. Statistics around the safety data sheet check of the 1WorldSync HazMat Compliance Solution show that 35 % of all suppliers‘ safety data sheets throughout Europe contain mistakes.

A retailer or other stakeholder of that supply chain must determine those mistakes and forward it to the manufacturer/supplier or even collect the needed information himself/herself. If there is no safety data sheet about dangerous products at all or it contains gross errors, you cannot provide your customers the right information before or after purchase. It is already a statutory offense.


Generating Value Beyond Compliance

Can you imagine if this scenario applied to one of your own products? As a manufacturer, do you know which responsibilities you have to carry out regarding your own brand’s products?

In this case, you are fully liable for that product, for wrong or undeclared biocidal products or concealed dangerous components.

Even though not all details are clarified yet, the legislator is going to draw consequences on a European as well as on a national level because of this consumer protection disaster.

Trading has to be prepared to allow for tightened identification standards and stricter controls of purchased products and own brands, not only in the food industry, but most of all in the chemical industry (e.g. cleaners).

Up-to-date and available safety data sheets are essential for your business success. Avoid fines, compensation demands and damage to your image by conforming to the duty of supply information conformable to law.

To minimize your compliance risks, we are pleased to support you with our 1WorldSync HazMat Compliance Solution.

Walmart and Google Take on Amazon!

Google and Walmart announced last week a partnership that is starting next month. Walmart customers will be able to access hundreds of thousands of products from the company’s shelves via the online retailing service Google Express, an online marketplace where customers can purchase and set up delivery from stores like Target and Walgreens.

Walmart products will also be available through the Google Assistant and Google Home smart speaker, which competes with Amazon’s Echo. Walmart shoppers can link their customer accounts to Google and get personalized recommendations.

Walmart & Google: Powerful Alone. Better Together

Clearly, the two companies are combining their strengths to take on Amazon. Separately, the companies have had little success drawing shoppers aways from Amazon in the ecommerce space.

Walmart’s network of 4,700 U.S. stores and its fulfillment networks offer a competitive differentiator over Amazon offering an attractive omni-channel options including click-and-collect while Google has deeper artificial intelligence (AI) expertise and a huge pool of new data would allow them to leverage personalization through targeted ads.

Walmart and Google have combined their strengths to battle it out on the online retail market. Walmart’s huge product line will help attract shoppers and it’s the first time the world’s biggest retailer has made its product available online in the United States outside of its own website.

Are You Ready to Take on the eCommerce World?

1WorldSync has been a strategic partner of Walmart for more than a decade, facilitating product content exchange for Walmart manufacturers and supplies. Given this new announcement from Walmart, it’s obvious that they are looking to broaden their online presence and looking for more product content and product assortment.

Whether you have a single item, or hundreds of items; showcasing complete, accurate and up-to-date product content will improve your online search rankings, protect your brand,and increase your products’ visibility to consumers.

1WorldSync has been helping thousands (25,000+)  of suppliers and brands to build product content strategies to sell products to Walmart, Amazon, Google and beyond.

Whether you’re utilizing 1WorldSync to capture your GDSN data or non-GDSN data, we work with our customers to simplify product content exchange via a signal connection. The 1WorldSync Product Information Cloud (PIC) make it possible to share content anywhere, anytime, in any format, with anyone – easy.

Are you ready to get your products discovered by Walmart, Google and beyond? Learn more today!

Retail + Boxing: When Worlds Collide (Part 2)

The build up and preparation to a fight, for a fighter is the hardest, the fight being the fun part. Not sure if a retailer would agree, their fight can go much longer that 12 rounds.

In part 1, we discussed the link between boxing and retail. Let’s get back on track!

The preparation for stores to hook a customer is preparing a consumer’s mind to think of their service first, no matter online or at a store. These stats speak for themselves (IC Real Estate 2017).

  • The probability of selling to a new customer is between 5 and 20%.
  • The probability of selling to an existing customer is between 60 and 70%.
  • 96% US adults shop online yet…
  • 94% of total retail sales are still generated in brick & mortar stores.

Those numbers calculated with the speculated number of eyes for this PPV, early estimates speculate the fight almost double what Mayweather vs Pacquiao did. With fans from both sides tuning in, the probability of getting new customers and keeping existing fans hooked, the potential revenue will be well worth it. Customers from every end of the spectrum will tune in to not just cheer on one side, but continue the view of their own path to purchase.

Tale of the Tape

Everyone digests the newest technology to make their personal shopping experience more convenient. Technology has started blurring the lines of every industry from retail, healthcare and food service and forever changed the path a consumer takes on their path to purchase.

The bout will be UFC star McGregor’s first boxing match – and against a legend who retired with a 49-0 record.

Technology takes the ease of online pay to stores with simpler ways to pay.  71% of shoppers believe they will get a better deal online than in stores (Digiday 2013). This leads everyone from restaurants to retail stores to rely on new tech trends to entice consumers from their phone and tablets using things like Groupon to bring consumers in by capturing them online. Instead of going and waiting at a doctor’s office, you can now facetime a doctor from your phone. Thus making it easier for a busy mom with a sick kid, to taking pressure off of doctors offices in need of dealing with more extreme situations. Food service now makes delivery easier, Uber first transformed the way we moved, now they are transforming the way we order food with Uber Eats. Amazon is continuing to tease their new technology that will bring grocery shopping to once that of as “something from the future”.  

In response, many brick-and-mortar retailers have started to use omni-channel fulfillment methods that leverage their store locations and in-store inventory in order to better compete in e-commerce. These omnichannel services, including ship-from-store and click-and-collect, can help retailers manage the transition to digital by: Increasing online sales by offering cheaper, more convenient delivery options for online shoppers.

No one channel is the clear answer, but companies that stay competitive will need to more tightly integrate all of their approaches, both physical and digital. Embracing the meeting of the two worlds seems like a much easier decision that the head to head collision, but come Aug. 26 everyone will be watching the two worlds collide. No matter your side, your interest level, sit back and watch history unfold before your eyes, because this truly is history in the making!

References

“13 Alarming Stats About Retail In Digital – DigiDay” 19 May, 2013.  https://digiday.com/marketing/13-alarming-stats-about-retail-in-digital/

“Online -vs- Brick and Mortar Retail Shopping: The Statistics – IC Real Estate” 15 March, 2017. https://icrealestate.com/2017/03/online-vs-brick-mortar-retail-shopping-statistics/ 

“Floyd Mayweather Jr. Vs. Conor McGregor Total Revenue Should Surpass Pacquiao Fight – Forbes” 28 June, 2017.https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianmazique/2017/06/28/floyd-mayweather-jr-vs-conor-mcgregor-total-revenue-should-surpass-mayweather-vs-manny-pacquiao/#42cb85615c21