Why Trusted Product Data Matters for Omni-Channel Retail

Big Data’s Big Election Fail

If you followed this year’s United States presidential polls at all closely, chances are that you expected Hillary Clinton to win. So did all of the major prediction models that use polls to game out election outcome probabilities.

This year’s divisive election painted a picture of data divisions by race, gender,  and education. Pollsters will be digging for months (at least) to figure out how exactly their results may have been off. What can we learn from this year’s election?

The election may have divided us, but one thing that we are all unified on is the need for accurate data. This is especially true when it come to product data demands. The rules of competition have changed and your product information is now as important as the product itself, at least in the eyes of the consumer.  

With 81% of consumers scouring through product information online to find or verify the data about a product they are considering, and over 33% abandon shopping carts when the information they crave is absent, it’s apparent how critical product information is in the consumer’s path to purchase (ClickZ 2016).

The Challenge with Managing Product Information

One may think that managing product content and data is easy, but the challenges include:

  • 10’s enterprise systems in typical back end to manage product data.
  • 100’s people sourcing, aggregating, cleansing data needed for commerce.
  • 1000’s trading partners requiring exchange data with in a variety of formats.
  • 10,000’s of websites, apps and 3rd parties, representing your product/brand to the consumer.

Deliver Trusted Product Content Your Customers Can Rely On

With the proliferation of omni-channel commerce and the rising customer expectations, the stakes have been raised. Businesses that fail to provide consistent and contextual experiences across channels stand to lose customers and revenues.

Yes, product information matters – the quality, the completeness and the accuracy matters.  And as suppliers connect and partner with multiple retailers, the need for accurate, complete product information is even greater. Four in 10 shoppers say they’ve given up on an online purchase because they didn’t have enough information on the purchase (Internet Retailing 2014).

For example, consider Google’s 2016 mandate for GTINS (Global Trade Item Numbers which help classify and display products on Google Shopping) now needed for all products.   As of May 16, 2016, Google disapproved relevant products that didn’t meet the GTIN requirements, so it’s critical that suppliers double check that product data is correct and up to date. And according to Google, the financial implications can be significant:  “Merchants who’ve added correct GTINs to their product data have seen conversion rates increase up to 20%.”

The Google GTINS mandate demonstrates that they understand that product content (descriptions, feature bullets, images, videos, reviews) is a critical factor in driving conversion.  Consumers demand to know exactly what they are buying – and the right content makes for a great consumer experience.

Sourcing A Single Source of Truth

Accurate and timely product information helps instill trust and customer loyalty in the interchangeable and complex world of retail.

By working with 25,000+ brands and retailers to build scalable process to ensure the highest impact, consistency and levels of quality, 1WorldSync is the product information company. The 1WorldSync Product Information Cloud solutions deliver rich and trusted product content to engage customers and consumers regardless of the medium. 1WorldSync helps organizations align on the product information governance strategy to apply GTIN standardization, and implement for Google, GDSN, Walmart and beyond.

References

1 ClickZ, 2016

2 Internet Retailing 2014. ‘Four in 10 Abandon Purchase For Lack Of Information Study’. http://internetretailing.net/2014/02/four-in-10-abandon-purchase-for-lack-of-information-study/

 

Teal Pumpkins aren’t a Trick, but a Sign of Safe Treats

As a kid, there was no holiday quite like Halloween. The crisp fall weather, the decorations, the parties, the costumes and of course, an evening spent trick-or-treating. We’d navigate the neighborhood with precision, focusing on the houses that gave out full size treats by the handful. And like any smart spy, we’d steer clear of those houses offering raisins and left over Valentine conversation hearts.

Halloween today remains the holiday for kids. There’s still the thrill of sorting through a candy-filled bag of goodies, trading for our faves (hello Kit-Kats) and negotiating with parents on just how much candy we could eat before bedtime. But times have changed and so have children’s (and parents’) wants and needs, especially related to allergens, nutritional requirements and other health concerns.

Enter the Teal Pumpkin Project. Inspired by a local awareness activity by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET), it was launched as a national campaign by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) in 2014 to promote food allergy awareness, peer inclusion and community building. Homes with teal pumpkins sitting outside their front door is a clear sign to trick-or-treaters that non-food treats, such as glow sticks, pencils or small toys, will be among the treats to choose from. The intent is to provide children with allergies or health issues the ability to enjoy the fun and tradition of trick-or-treating, without the feeling that they will come home empty-handed.

Last year, households from all 50 states and 14 countries participated in the Teal Pumpkin Project, helping to create a safer, more inclusive Halloween for all trick-or-treaters.

1WorldSync keeps a pulse on these market shifts and understands that major brands have many demands from their consumers. 1WorldSync solutions and capabilities make it possible to meet these demands, allowing consumers to make informed decisions regarding their purchases, health & well-being. Find out more about how we can help your business.

Here are some great ideas from the folks at the “Teal Pumpkin Project” on how everyone can become involved:

  • Place a teal pumpkin in front of your home to indicate that you ‘re handing out non-food treats.
  • Provide non-food treat options for trick-or-treaters, such as small toys.
  • Display a free printable sign or premium poster from FARE to explain the meaning of your teal pumpkin.
  • Make a donation to support the Teal Pumpkin Project and receive a free gift.

1WorldSync 2016 Annual User Group, Europe Recap

More than over 100 1WorldSync community members, from over 19 countries, gathered in Berlin, Germany for the 1WorldSync 2016 Annual User Group, Europe that took place on September 19 & 20. This year’s focus concentrated on emerging trends and developments surrounding omni-channel commerce under the theme: CONNECT. TRUST. EMPOWER. Attendees heard insightful and stimulating sessions from Europe’s industry pioneers touching on the enhancements and implications of digital supply chain, as well as participated in dedicated industry workshops focused on trends and developments in Healthcare and FMCG & Foodservice sectors. Rounding off the agenda, 1WorldSync’s Chief Marketing Officer, Nick Parnaby gave a dynamic presentation on extending the GDSN for omni-channel use.

Additionally, 1WorldSync took the pleasure in hosting its annual Power of 1 Awards Networking Reception honoring Hilcona AG, Edeka, Henkel, Markant, Metro AG, Nestle, P&G Services GmbH and Dr. Oetker for having made outstanding innovation and community advances in the global product content aggregation and distribution space.

Annual User Group, Europe attendees actively engaged in the 1WorldSync Events App, creating a dynamic community digital experience right at their fingertips! Users were able to access 1WorldSync and customer collateral, share ideas and thoughts in real time, and participate in contests and polls.

Overall, the week was a great success with positive reviews and reinforcing the need to continue the next phase of product database and supply chain management in Europe.

Everyday is Black Friday with the 1WorldSync Omni-Channel Solutions.

As a brand owner, manufacturer or supplier, you want to get your products onto as many shelves, storefronts and retail sources as possible so that everyday feels like Black Friday!  Retailers are asking suppliers to deliver more content, faster and more often than ever before. The problems suppliers, manufacturers and brand owners face in their quest for speed to consumers and online shelves are numerous.

Tis’ The Season To Be Cross-Channel Ready

1WorldSync has an announcement that will undoubtedly make your holiday season to do’s a lot more doable. Suppliers can gain the first-mover advantage by utilizing the 1WorldSync Omni-channel solutions to enable global content distribution and syndication for all your product information, across all channels. Further, 1WorldSync solutions help our customers discover and publish products and more importantly product information in a standardized, easily accessible digital format ensuring accurate information…whether you are shopping online, in store, or eating lunch at your favorite cafe.  

We’ve now made it easier for existing 1WorldSync Data Pool customers to publish their product content and take advantage of our Omni-Channel solutions. 1WorldSync customers can publish and make updates to their 1WorldSync data pool product information and enrich their product information for cross-channel commerce, enabling global content distribution and syndication for all your product information.. Foodservice customers can grow sales to discerning consumers by offering total product information transparency on nutritionals, allergens and more, on all channels.

1WorldSync Capabilities Deliver Rich and Trusted Product Anywhere and Everywhere

The 1WorldSync Omni-channel solutions make it possible to share content anywhere, anytime in any format with anyone such as Google, Walmart, Amazon and beyond.

How to Offer Customers Choice, Convenience and Control

The 1WorldSync Fall Release makes it easier than ever to help organize for omni-channel commerce, making your product content discoverable and highly shoppable during a holiday shopping season expected to set online shopping records (digital sales are expected to hit $94.71 billion this Christmas period, according to research firm eMarketer).  This is a great opportunity for our current customers to gain a major competitive advantage.

How do we find out more?

Register now for our upcoming webcast on Wednesday, November 2nd at 1 pm ET.

  • Receive a demo of the new capability to publish from Item Management into Catalog1 keeping the product information accurate and complete (seamlessly pull your information).
  • Learn how to organize for Omni-Channel sales growth and make your product digital, discoverable and highly shoppable.
  • Understand our new capabilities and apps that have recently been released.

It’s The Holiday Season for Omni-Channel Retail

We know it’s only October, but believe it or not, a survey by CreditCard.com says that 1 percent of Americans, or 34 million Santas, say they are done with their shopping. Already. Before the first week of October.  Whether these folks are looking for bargains or are just hyper-organized, experts say those who had their Christmas shopping wrapped up before fall officially arrived likely made their purchases online.  

What about the remaining 99%?  They’ll be shopping, too. On Tuesday, Oct. 4, the National Retail Federation announced that it anticipates holiday sales to increase 3.6% to $655.8 billion.  While in-store purchases will continue to dominate, with 91% of holiday shoppers planning to spend at physical stores, that leaves about 8% or so shopping online (though about 85% of holiday shoppers will likely research online before making in-store purchases). Clearly, holiday shoppers are expecting an omni-channel experience this season with physical and digital retail converging, trying to get consumers to spend.

According to The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), “shoppers intend to take advantage of the diverse options for shopping, spending across channels. Most prominently, consumers are reliant upon omni-channel retailers versus pure play online or solely physical retailers.”

Brands and retailers will have lots to do in order to drive higher conversion rates, so here’s a quick hit list of reminders:

  • Go Digital: Centralize and digitize product content for omni-channel.
  • Get Discovered: Connect with new buyers and category managers to create new opportunities.
  • Sell Everywhere: Showcase and promote products on any channel.
  • Deliver Content Efficiently: Engage and integrate product information with Omni-channel customers.

It’s a crowded omni-channel world especially during the holidays! Can all of this happen in time to take advantage of the anticipated big boost in holiday spending? Absolutely. 1WorldSync omni-channel solutions can help your products stand out and engage the elevated expectations of seasonal shoppers.

Blurred Lines & Blended Commerce – Are You Organized To Win?

Sync-Up! With Nihat
Nihat Arkan, CEO, 1WorldSync

The retail industry is in a transition.  Some of those changes have been unfolding over a long period of time, but more rapid changes have propelled the industry into a near revolution.  Retail as a whole was always complex and diverse, but with today’s technological advancements and globalization, the industry landscape has dramatically changed.   Consumer behaviors, shopping tastes and expectations are evolving and have become key drivers in retail’s transformation to a more consumer-centric industry.  International retailers (and consumer product manufacturers) have relied on developing markets and technology to fuel growth and I believe that a change in retail strategy is needed.

According to a recent study released by PwC, “The 2020 retail landscape may represent one of the more complex environments retailers and their trading partners have ever faced. Retail organizations that do not change where and how they sell and operate will fail to adapt and succeed in this challenging landscape.”  

Retailers are at a critical fork in the road.  A strategic mindset is needed.  Change, expand or become obsolete.  Globalization, cross-channel commerce, and transparency of product information must find an intersection point for retail businesses to thrive current day.

The Global Landscape

Amid ongoing economic turbulence, developing markets continue to offer retailers prime opportunities for growth. China, for example, has become the world’s undisputed leader in e-commerce, with 2015 online sales of $672 billion after 42 percent year-over-year growth. The rapid rise of e-commerce has turned China into a leading innovator in mobile payments (Global Retail Development Index, 2016).

I had the pleasure of attending a customer event in Berlin recently and had an opportunity to speak with customers about their challenges and their agendas.  During one particular conversation, a major global retailer in the U.K. shared that mobile commerce is now surpassing desktop (Criterio Research, September 2016).  The result is that they can no longer ignore mobile (whether apps or the mobile web) nor mobile targeting strategies if they wish to engage shoppers.

Retailers worldwide are challenged to rethink everything from store formats and payment methods, to digital impact on their operations. In order to survive and thrive in this evolving environment, retailers and suppliers alike need to acknowledge that changing landscape, identify those most critical to their business and chart a course for adaptation and change.

Here’s a great example of just that.  More and more customers and industry insiders are talking about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how they can leverage this in relation to product content. Specifically, people are talking about how to reduce friction associated with mass data management by implementing AI assisted content entry, validation and data quality.  We’ve taken steps in this arena by engaging a leading machine learning professor Dr. Sascha Lange (PSIORI GmbH) to prove out predictive standards allocation.  We were pleased to discover that we had over a 95% accuracy rate for application of standardized product classification structures to product information at the point of entry to our catalogs.   

With the rise of SO/LO/MO (social/local/mobile) commerce our retail customers are demanding that tens of millions of products be available to present to consumers, with thousands of attributes per item.  AI will be instrumental in helping to source, classify, structure and analyze content for commerce.

The Changing Global Omni-Shopper:

Today’s “omni-shopper” shops when they want, how they want and where they want.  Consumers proactively search for savings, are generally brand loyal and shop across channels (McKinsey, March 2016).  They have more places and ways to shop and are exposed to an infinite number of shopping choices online.

As such, retailers are able to engage with shoppers via a variety of touch points, from a traditional shop around the corner to the 24/7 accessibility and convenience of their laptops, tablets and smartphones.  According to a report from Zebra (Zebra, 2015), “Today’s consumer seeks out stores updated to reflect the new shopping paradigm, equipped with digital tools like mobile checkout, to flexible delivery options that reflect their omni-channel purchasing patterns, such as buy online, pick up in-store.”

The notion of a global omni shopper is extremely powerful since this essentially means that the consumer, not the channel, is defining retail.  These global shoppers, no matter if they are in Los Angeles, Hong Kong or Dubai (and wish to shop within and between those countries), have infinitely more choices in today’s environment.  For the brand and retailer, that means a challenge or an opportunity.

Transparency and Knowledge-Centric Shopping

As consumers shop when/how/where they want, they are also more demanding of ‘what’ they want.  Today’s omni-shopper has high expectations for a rich and consistent experience with a retailer’s products and brand, across multiple commerce channels and borders.  Therefore, the way a retailer informs, educates and engages customers and consumers using product information must be comprehensive, trustworthy and current. One cannot ignore the value of that product information.  Of course, perhaps I’m biased in this regard.  Yet, I should mention that one of the largest retailers in the world told me that “digital product information is as important as the product itself.”

In that light, it’s clear that the quality and completeness of product presentation in online retail has a quantifiable and direct impact on product sales.   My belief is that the on-line retailers that offer compelling, engaging, and complete content to shoppers will be rewarded by repeat purchases, lower levels of returns, and long-term loyalty.

The key to success is identifying and maximizing the opportunities where they exist.  Just as consumers are more connected, retailers will need to follow suit, engaging with consumers wherever they are and at each stage of the promotion of a product or service: the before, during and after have never been more important.

Final Thoughts

As an organization that operates between businesses, 1WorldSync has privileged access to over 23,000 brands and hundreds of analog, digital and blended commerce players.  That gives us an ideal insider advantage – we can observe and advise our customers’ journey towards a blended commerce.  

Finally, let me conclude with a question.  Is your business already organized in a way that you can operate seamlessly between analog and digital channels to market?  If the answer is no, that’s OK.  Only a handful of companies can answer ‘yes’ to this question.  However, I can tell you that hundreds of companies are already on that path.

Happy National School Lunch Week!

Established by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, National School Lunch Week (NSLW) is a week-long celebration of the school lunch program. Every October, schools across the country participate in National School Lunch Week celebrations, reminding students, parents and communities that a healthy school lunch helps students learn, grow and achieve. Teachers and students celebrate in their cafeterias every year with decorations, costumes (dressing up like fruits and veggies!), special menus (international flavors) and events (chili cook-offs, bake sales and more).

But it’s become far more than a celebration and has evolved into community awareness and education.  From students making healthier choices to improved academic performance, nutrition education can benefit the whole school and family communities. For example, students bring home food samples and printed menus to share with family members, providing additional visibility and transparency into their school lunches and also encourages parents to make equally healthy meals at home.

That’s why the NSLW is so important. This year’s theme, “Show Your Spirit,” is about getting excited about the benefits of consuming wholesome, healthy school lunches—fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains and dairy products such as milk and yogurt.

Here’s what just a few of our nation’s schools are doing this week:

Knoxville, Iowa:

Schools in Knoxville, Iowa serve a wide variety of fruits & veggies, available at Salad and  Garden Bars, & fresh fruit carts open at every school during lunch. In addition, a grab & go lunch option named the Panther Power Pack is available daily for students to purchase at Knoxville High School. Nearly all of the baked goods served are made from scratch & baked fresh daily!

San Angelo, TX:

Schools in San Antonio, Texas recognize National School Lunch Week with the theme  “Vote for a Winning Lunch.” Student-made posters and weekly menus adorn the cafeteria to promote voting and healthy nutrition throughout the week.Parents, students and school officials all cast  ballots for their favorite school lunch and show that healthier choices are critical to feeling good and succeeding in school

Marietta, GA:

Cafeterias in Marietta City Schools will roll out new menus featuring Greek, Jamaican and Thai-inspired cuisine. With hopes that the healthy-eating habits continue at home, Harrison said the district uses name-brand food products so students can recognize the healthy food in the grocery store.

Want to learn more about how 1WorldSync helps with school lunches, nutrition and transparency?  Read “Back to School Blues: The Chore of the Daily Lunch” and “This Year’s Back to School Checklist Includes Transparency & Traceability.”

The Evolution of Online Shopping Through a Millennial’s Eyes

It’s no secret that over the last decade, online shopping has evolved in ways we (millennials) could not have imagined. Growing up in what may now be classified as the “Digital Age”, technology has allowed e-commerce to virtually customize the way we shop.

We millennials have not only conformed the way all generations have learned to shop online but we’ve also forced industries to adapt this new transformation. For example, if I wanted to go to the mall and buy makeup I would have to physically try it on, see if I like it, and then buy it at the store. Now that millennials have eclipsed all generations from the way we communicate, access information, and live our lives on a daily basis, cosmetic etailers and app providers have even gone as far as offering facial scanning programs; allowing consumers to fill out a form based on their skin type and face shape. They even offer certain brands and products based on the user’s characteristics. If this is the new face of online shopping, it makes me wonder…what did online shopping look like before the connected consumer era? So, I decided to investigate.

E-commerce sites continue to improve in user experience and lifestyle. Current e-commerce statistics state that 40 percent of worldwide internet users have bought products or goods online via desktop, mobile, tablet or other online devices (Statista, 2016). This amounts to more than 1 billion online buyers and is projected to continuously grow. Let’s be honest… “ain’t nobody got time to go to the mall and shop!” It becomes time consuming and you are never guaranteed to find exactly what you are looking for. Been there, done that. What did people do before online shopping existed?!

Through a Millennial’s eyes, here are “5 ways millennials have helped change the way we shop”.

1. “We Know Everything” – Shoppers know as much as Salespeople
I can’t tell you how many times I hear… “Millennials think they know everything”. Well, maybe we do!

Then: When going to the mall to shop was the only option people had, they relied heavily on the salesperson’s expertise to advise them on what they needed to buy and all the features of items offered in that store.

Now: With the magical power of Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other wonderful search engines, we have the option of doing our own research and have become “smart shoppers”.  We have the potential and capability to know when we are getting a good deal. After all, every moment in a consumer’s purchasing decision journey matters.

2. Retailers now know everything too!

Then: Apparently, the introduction of retail began with retailers and shopkeepers getting to know their customer’s preferences and needs based on face-to-face interactions. Sounds a bit horse and buggy to me.

Now: In the world of connected commerce, a phone, tablet, or computer can do just that.  E-commerce sites, such as Amazon, integrate customization features that recommend products based on your interests and your online behavior paths. Ultimately, these features allow companies to appropriately offer suggestions and get to know their customers more personally based on their interests.

3. Mobile devices drive foot traffic to stores

Then: Finding the right stores with the right products you needed was either based on familiarity or luck.

Now: It’s much easier nowadays to find a product in a specific store you’re near, right at the touch of your fingertips. Most retail websites such as Target, have features that allow customers to find a store near them that carries the product they’re looking for, pay for it online, and pick it up in-store. Mobile makes it much quicker and more efficient to find exactly what you need while also providing store location information and a product finder all in one.

4. Nothing wrong with a little bit of gossip!

Then: Word of mouth influenced purchase decisions and most retailers relied upon these in order to boost sales. Personal references help, but the retailer could not directly influence.

Now: Word of mouth is a very influential factor. We share our thoughts, opinions and reviews on products within our YouTube, Instagram and Twitter community. This has affected the beauty industry tremendously with the boom of famous beauty gurus uploading “Hit or Miss” tutorials, giving their honest opinions on products and whether they are worth the price or quality. This could affect the reputations of cosmetic brands, if they have bad reviews. It can also provide them with major opportunities to position their brand towards specific targets. I’ve seen products literally fly off the shelves because of these YouTuber’s influence and the “must-have” opinions they give.

5. Products jump off the screen at you!

Then: Paper advertisements and the internet gave an image of what the product looked like but nothing can replace the actual physical feeling of a product and seeing it right in front of you.

Now: Personally, I believe there is still truth to this. Even today, a lot of sites have really stepped up their game when it comes to displaying what a product looks like before you purchase it. Products now have live 360° videos and imagery and zoom capabilities giving the shopper a better sense of what the item really looks like (Think with Google, 2014).

As you can see, we’ve come a long way since the introduction of the internet. As a result, retailers have undergone a digital transformation to meet the needs of today’s online shopping. Living through the differences in what it “used to be” compared to “now” makes us think about how much we rely on technology when it comes to shopping. E-commerce has revolutionized the way we buy and provides shoppers with a more convenient and personalized way to access what they need. At the end of the day, great shopping sites exist because of advances in technology and companies who have conformed to provide accessible, reliable product information to consumers as and when they need it.

How The Consumer Experience is Driven by “I Need to Know Moments”

According to Forrester’s 2015 Customer Experience Index (Forrester, 2015), 86% of companies want to excel at customer experience. But only 27% of brands even qualify as “good” in the eyes of their customers.

Today’s omni-channel consumers expect brands to address their needs in real-time and turn to their mobile devices when contemplating making a purchase.  A wealth of information is a mere tap away via our smartphone apps and a poor experience can be easily replaced with another viable option a click away.

These intent-driven moments of decision-making and preference-shaping have fractured the consumer journey into hundreds of real-time “I want to buy” micro-moments of decision-making and preference-shaping, as termed by Google.  

Today’s Shoppers Demand Information Right Here & Right Now

Welcome to the new world order of 24/7 great expectations shaped by customers who expect to be able to make more intent driven decisions with a seamless experience.

Today’s shoppers demand product information in real-time. Whether it be trusted and authentic reviews, product photos or nutritional information, as consumers we’ve come to want exceptional experiences exactly when and where we want it.  And nowhere is it more apparent than in retail.  

  • Fully stocked shelves bursting with variety? Done.  
  • Loyalty program? Goes without saying.  
  • Free overnight delivery? Naturally.  

But these great expectations go beyond the “what” and are firmly rooted in the “how.”  And that’s all about “Omni-channel” being touted as shopping’s new norm.  The bar has been raised and the expectations are clear.  Consumers expect that retailers will/better deliver a seamless and consistent experience across channels and devices.

Omni-Channel Shoppers: An Emerging Reality for Retailers

For the retailer, omni-channel requires overlapping to ensure that the customer remains delighted and perceives a seamless experience from end to end. Helping a customer through their entire buyer’s journey means knocking down internal barriers to hold their hand at each stage, making sure that each hand-off is perfect. (BigCommerce, 2016)

An Aberdeen survey (Internet Retailer, 2013) cites that companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to customer retention rate of 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement.

Fortunately, many online retailers and suppliers have already enabled omni-channel functions and are clearly seeing the benefits. They’ve made the required investments in understanding their consumers’ needs and then tailored the rest of the organization to meeting those needs.

It’s An Omni-Channel World After All: Engaging Consumers and Connecting Trusted Product Data Everywhere

By enabling products to stand out in a crowded omni-channel world, 1WorldSync delivers rich and trusted product content, including digital assets and insights – to engage customers and consumers – regardless of location or medium. 1WorldSync’s Omni-Channel solutions helps leading retailers capitalize on product information to drive conversion.  

Walmart is one such retailer that views the omni-channel shopper as its sweet spot. At its annual shareholders meeting last year, Walmart’s CEO, Doug McMillon addressed the importance of an omni-channel strategy (Marketing Land, 2015). He said that Walmart will keep making technology top of mind when it comes to internal and external customer facing initiatives.

“I want us to stop talking about digital and physical retail as if they’re two separate things. The customer doesn’t think of it that way, and we can’t either. One customer can shop with us in so many different ways – in stores, on their phones, at homes, a pick-up point. But they just think they’re shopping at Walmart, at ASDA, at Sam’s Club.”

Exceeding Expectations and Creating Stellar Experiences For Omni-Channel Customers

Conversely, there are countless other retailers that are lagging behind – whether they’ve taken a few wrong turns or are just late to the game.  The consumer’s great expectation remains regardless.

A survey by Synthetix (Synthetix, 2016) indicates that 9 out of 10 customers expect to receive a consistent experience over multiple channels. They expect a valuable, memorable and story-worthy experience.  They expect detailed and consistent product content to aid in decision making.  They expect to see this same level of detail when shopping for another product in another department. They expect a single view with a wide array of efficient and convenient options. And they expect to shop at any time from any number of devices – such as their PCs, smartphones and tablets.

Clearly, given the consumer’s mighty requirements for an integrated omni-channel shopping experience, retailers and suppliers must move quickly to deliver on those soaring expectations or risk the curse of any industry irrelevance.

 

  1. “The US Customer Experience Index, Q1 2015 – Forrester.” 6 Oct. 2016<https://www.forrester.com/report/The+US+Customer+Experience+Index+Q1+2015/-/E-RES117482>
  2.  “Omni-Channel Retail and The Future of Commerce – BigCommerce.” 2016. 6 Oct. 2016 <https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/omni-channel-retail/>
  3. “Why an omnichannel strategy matters – Internet Retailer.” 2013. 6 Oct. 2016 <https://www.internetretailer.com/2013/12/31/why-omnichannel-strategy-matters>
  4. “Walmart positioned to drive omni-channel marketing in global retailing.” 2015. 5 Aug. 2015 <http://marketingland.com/walmart-positioned-drive-omni-channel-marketing-global-retailing-137007>
  5. “The rise of demand for multi-channel online customer service – Synthetix.” 2016. 6 Oct. 2016 <http://www.synthetix.com/website_documents/Synthetix_Online_Customer_Service_Survey_2012.pdf>

The OG of Product Information Transparency: The Mason Jar

A picture is worth a thousand words. But who needs words anymore, likes and shares are where it’s at! Take for instance, a picture of an organic, plant-based lunch in a mason jar. It’s hard to beat the layered combo of seasonal veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, all topped off with a vibrantly colored dressing.

Mason jars stepped back into the spotlight a few years ago and show no signs of overstaying their welcome. Once reserved exclusively for pickles and country-fair jams, they have become ubiquitous props of the social media set. Practically overnight, they’ve become the Instagrammer and blogger’s favorite mode of transport for every meal worth photographing.

Breakfast parfaits, gluten-free soups, cold-pressed juices and oven-baked casseroles have transformed the crafter’s favorite container into an adult lunchbox with the amazing ability to make even the simplest salad look like a work of art. The jars are inexpensive, environmentally friendly and easy to transport. It’s no coincidence that this ‘transparent’ lunch box has closely paralleled the modern food industry’s omni-channel and transparency driven market. Let’s be honest, consumers don’t only want transparency, but equally as important, an easy way to access the information from any device and the ability to purchase products from wherever they are at any time of day.

And as we’ve talked about often, consumers demand to know more about what is going into their food. That plays into this very transparent movement: people want to feel good about what they’re eating, which goes beyond just what is in a product. Information such as the country of origin, animal safety and treatment, and if the packaging is environmentally friendly have all become major factors in the purchase decision.

“People are increasingly demanding to know where their food comes from, how and where it’s grown and why certain ingredients are used. They now expect this kind of information to be accessible at the touch of a button. The question is no longer if companies should disclose the details of food ingredients, but how.” Dave Stangis Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at Campbell Soup Company

So while there aren’t any food labels on the iconic mason jar, you can be sure that the ingredient labels of the foods used to fill them have been dually scrutinized and given the official seal of approval.  The expansion and availability of food labels have made a real difference in providing families across the globe with the information they need in order to make healthy choices

Fortunately, resources and additional product labeling, such as the 1WorldSync SmartLabel solution, are providing consumers with many different ways to ‘see through’ the specific ingredient list, just as they can ‘see-through’ the layers of their delicious lunchtime layered taco salad. And in the spirit of sharing, we’ve included the delicious recipe. Now, what’s not to like about that?

Mason Jar Recipes (courtesy Pinterest)