All posts by Bert Gregory

Global Director Community Engagement

In Cart We Trust

Over the past few years, there have been several technological advances pushing the Omni-Channel expansion into brick & mortar stalwarts.

One of the last frontiers has been grocery.  But times are changing…Amazon Fresh and Walmart have been making major plays to move your weekly trip from the grocery store to your living room couch.

Just last week, Walmart announced that they will expand their online grocery delivery services to 100 metropolitan areas and 800 stores nationwide by the end of the year. They are contracting drivers through Uber, Deliv and other delivery platforms.

What about the relinquishing of choice?  

If I go to the store, I make a decision about which apples to select from the bin, what steaks to get from the counter, which milk has the best expiration date etc.  In the digital space, that choice is in the hands of the person designated to pull my order and deliver it to me. Will he/she have the same eye for quality and will take the care to select the right product for me? That is a tall order and without the right product content, my expectations as a consumer will not be met.

In store, I can see, touch and sometimes taste the food before I commit to buying. If I make the wrong choice, be it due to variety or dietary needs, then it is on me.  When we shift to the digital space, the only choice I make is by the touch of my mobile screen. All the activities I performed in store were limited to just one sense – sight. So my trust has now narrowed into two areas: a) what I can see and b) who is bringing my groceries to the door.

Because the delivery is entirely in the hands of the merchant, I have trust that Walmart [recently rolling out grocery delivery] is going to make the best selection from the products on their shelves for me.

Seems like information on that product better be complete and correct to ensure that my decision is the right one.

How does your content look?

Could it use a check-up? 1WorldSync, the leading provider in product content solutions,  can help.  With our Data Quality offerings, we  provide the right content to the biggest Omni Channel merchants and offer insight for end consumers so that they are making the right visual decisions.

To Marketplace, To Marketplace..To Buy And Sell! – Part 2

How is the Alibaba marketplace different than the Amazon marketplace?

Short version, for end consumers, there is not a huge difference.  People shop products, and there are multiple sellers who will fulfill those products.  Longer answer would focus more on the suppliers providing product and supporting them with content.  Vetting processes, agreements, reverse logistics, and commission/percentages all play factors into how suppliers/distributors/retailers collaborate to get product up on these marketplace sites.

Why has Amazon grown to be known as the best online marketplace?

  1. Much like real estate, location location locaton.  Amazon is a brand virtually everyone on the planet knows, and as such companies want to feature their products on Amazon.com.  For Amazon this results in one of the largest and richest selections of products available.
  2. End Consumers know how to interact with Amazon.  They are continuing to evolve their platform to ensure a user-friendly design [think Alexa], along with intuitive search options and multiple filters to get the end consumer to the right product.  
  3. They also provide end consumers comprehensive review system with star rating, personalized offers and recommendations to consumers, based on their shopping and browsing history and customer loyalty programs with free shipping and other goodies.

Why is it more important than ever to get your products listed on online marketplaces?

I wouldn’t say it is important to get your products listed, as they are already out there.  I would say that it is important to work with these marketplaces to ensure your brand’s integrity is maintained across all digital challenges, and be aware of how you as a manufacturer are being viewed by the global consumers.  Your products are out there, but how they are being represented might not be how you and your organization envision it.  

How Does 1WorldSync Enable You To Get Onto Marketplaces Like Amazon, Alibaba, Walmart.com & Google?

Marketplaces have the potential to help your products reach millions of new, global customers and 1WorldSync has you covered! It’s time for your products to be discovered by more buyers on the world’s largest marketplaces.

1WorldSync believes that trust and transparency are key components that account for a successful marketplace. What draws consumers to a marketplace is how the marketplace manages trust. A certain level of trust is required for any transaction to take place.

As a leading provider of product content solutions, 1WorldSync helps brands and suppliers organize their product content according to marketplace specifications and gets their products listed and in front of millions of new shoppers.

1WorldSync helps you easily publish your product content to key marketplaces such as Walmart, Alibaba, Amazon and beyond by:

  • Streamlining the item setup process with 100% accurate data and complying with industry standards.
  • Gaining exposure and managing all your product information via one solution.
  • Reducing operational time while increasing your online presence and penetrating new markets.

Learn more at http://solutions.1worldsync.com/getyourproductstomarketplaces.

To Marketplace, To Marketplace..To Buy And Sell! – Part 1

Today we sat down with Bert Gregory, 1WorldSync’s Community Manager to discuss the importance of marketplace and the path to purchase.

What is a marketplace?

An online marketplace is a website or app that facilitates shopping from many different sources. The operator of the marketplace does not own any inventory, their business is to present other people’s inventory to a user and facilitate a transaction. eBay is the ultimate example of an online marketplace, they sell everything to everybody. There are many other types.

What is the difference between e-commerce and a marketplace?

Well to be fair, marketplace is a component of how e-commerce is evolving.  If we look at the original model for e-commerce, the process went like this.  Supplier sold product to the e-commerce site who warehoused the items and put them up for sale to the end consumers.  Marketplace takes 2 big components out of that process, 1. The products are sold to a 3rd party [either a distributor or other ecommerce player] and 2. The product sold on the e-commerce site are supported and fulfilled by the 3rd party and not the site itself.  But marketplace is not limited to goods, Airbnb is actually a marketplace, just with temporary housing as the items being traded.

What types of marketplaces are there?

Well that depends on what is being sold or traded.  

  1. i) There are switch marketplaces – which are peer-to-peer, VRBO and Craigslist are great examples of this.
  2. ii) There are also vertical or industry specific marketplaces like Trivago and Hotels.com which offer very specific products to end consumers

iii) Then there are the retail marketplaces, also known as global.  Best examples of these are Alibaba, Amazon and Ebay.

What pros and cons do marketplaces pose for end consumers?

Data gathered from the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide shows that, collectively, the 26 retailers that disclosed their sales from online marketplaces brought in 14.4% of their total $3.1 billion in sales in 2015. That’s up 42.9% worth of goods sold through marketplaces in 2014 for the same 26 retailers.

Marketplaces represent an opportunity for sellers to expand their reach to more consumers, both nationally and internationally. With a plethora of online marketplaces available, merchants can choose sites that make the most sense for them.

End consumers benefit a couple of ways from marketplaces, they have extended selection of goods and services, the ability to comparison shop the ecommerce site rather than leveraging search engines and also the potential for lower prices due to increased competition.  There are however some challenges for the end consumer as well.  They may not realize that the product they are buying is not actually being sold to them from their trusted site, which can complicate communication and returns.  Another challenge/con is the concern over counterfeit goods.  Marketplace sites and sellers strive for perfection with this challenge, however the sheer number of products being sold can cause items to slip through the cracks.

How have marketplaces evolved over the years?

Quite a bit actually, I remember when Amazon was just selling books, and would allow an end user to sell their used books to others hence a peer to peer system.  The same can be said for Ebay as peers were selling their goods digitally to others.  This has evolved to major retailers, etailers and distributors now selling their products via the marketplace platform.  Oh and let’s not forget that marketplace has also change how end consumers find hotels/lodging, buy airfare, shop for clothes and even go to rummage sales.  Yep, even the weekend activity of shopping other people’s stuff has turned into a digital marketplace.  Ebth.com [Everything but the house] and LetGo are perfect examples of this.

What is the difference between a gorilla and a mouse?

In short a lot.

I’m not talking about Harambe vs Ratatouille, this is about the big box stores we all grew up with vs the online shopping universe. However in the world of retail today, writers, pundits and advocates are focused on how the mouse is being agile and changing, while the gorilla is the past. It is hard to argue against this when you see the Chapter 11 filings and job cuts that have hit the retail sector. When you look at the big picture, those gorillas still generated a ton of revenue in the past 7 months, and several of them are proving to be as agile as any mouse.

Let’s for a moment look at the grocery space. Companies like Kroger, Walmart, Albertsons and Target are all “preparing for war” or “staring down the Amazon barrel”. Interesting quotes, but in truth does the Amazon machine have the footprint in place to dominate the grocery space like they did with books?

The American consumer is still spending a tremendous amount of their hard earned dollars at physical stores. Of the $611.9 billion grocery-store industry business, in 2016 Wal-Mart controlled 14% of U.S. food and grocery market share. While Kroger had 7%, Whole Foods had 1.21% and Amazon was under 1%. Many are predicting those numbers to change drastically in the next few years. (Marketwatch 2016).

There is a David and Goliath battle erupting in the retail industry where small to mid size retailers are encouraged to adopt giant-killing tactics in a bid to grow their brands. We covered a similar topic in our e-book  ‘Battle of the Brands: David vs. Goliath’ that includes strategies on how to move quick to capture new eCommerce market share.

Keeping an eye on the mouse is one thing. Calling it the victor is another.

References

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/amazon-will-be-a-top-5-grocer-in-the-us-with-whole-foods-acquisition-2017-06-16 

NRA, NSA and NBA..I have heard of those, but what is NRF?

Do you ever feel like all you do is translate acronyms for a living? In this day and age we all need a playbook and glossary to understand industry terms, customer’s language and our own organizations lexicon. As we interact more with new industry acronyms, we tend to forget that not everyone can understand the distorted alphabet coming out of our mouth.

During my time at 1WorldSync, I have become fluent in GS1, Walmart, AutoZone and several others. Why do I label them like languages? Because they are. An organization that makes products is called a manufacturer right?

Well, in 1WorldSync, this organization would be a called a supplier, at Walmart they are known as a vendor and for GS1 they are known as a source. Why the different terms? It starts with understanding how 1WorldSync, GS1 and all the others view their world of customers/suppliers/contributors/partners/vendors. Each one has their own perspective on how this organization fits into their world.

NRF, the National Retail Federation, has been a popular acronym added to my repertoire lately.

Why is NRF the most recent addition to these industry languages and why should this interest you? NRF has a mission to “advance the interests of the retail industry through advocacy, communications and education.”

Sounds like a bold mission, and they have a massive membership that includes all aspects of retail consumption ranging from Department Stores to Grocers and chain restaurants, and we, 1WorldSync are a member too.

For anyone with children, you know that the back to school shopping rush seems to come earlier every year. The NRF has been conducting a Back-to-School survey since 2003, reporting on how consumers shop for the back to school season and how retailers need prepare as well adjust to industry trends. The NRF is a great “back-to-school headquarters” for every consumer and industry insider.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind..Does Your Brand Leave A Lasting Impression?

The strategy of getting product content from one place to another is pretty easy. Executing against that strategy is where it gets tricky.

It seems simple enough. Take the information that is shown on TV, Digital ads, social media posts, on the package and pass it on. Everybody sees the content daily so it must be in a place that is easy to share, oh and while we are at it, let’s send all the good info that helps an item get from point A [the manufacturer’s end of the production line] to Point B [a warehouse] to point C [The store or digital shelf]. In today’s digital age, you would think that this would be easy as pie.

Product Content Is King

Turns out it is a bit trickier than that. First off, you need to make sure that all the information is in a format that the organization you are sending it to can process and display in their systems and online. Not so bad you say?  

What about a picture of the product? You want the best light, studio quality pictures to perfectly represent your product in advertising and on your website right? The picture should also be a exact representation of what someone could buy today. The question is why does that not apply when you setup a product for a retailer? I am guessing it is because the images are not available at the time of setup or it is assumed that the retailer/e-tailer/operator can get those images elsewhere. Feels like there is something missing right? Retailers think that too.

Can you imagine how drastically different our purchasing decisions would be if product content wasn’t as detailed as it is today?

How Reynolds New PIM Implementation Cultivated Trust in Data and Decisions

If we examine a use case, Reynolds Consumer Products Company was faced with the challenge of decommissioning an existing Product Information Management (PIM) solution that would no longer be supported.

To implement the solution seamlessly, Reynolds enlisted the help of product content experts, the 1WorldSync Professional Services team, whose best-in-class product content management strategy solution consolidated product information from multiple, disparate sources, offering a “single source of truth” for all product attributes and allowed synchronization of product information to trading partners directly. Download our case study to learn more!

Shift or Reverse? Retail Is Alive!

Over the past couple of months, we have had some pretty significant changes to the retail/e-tail landscape. From mall staples shuttering their doors, to brand divestiture and IPOs going south.  It almost feels like the wild wild west. What has happened to change the landscape?  

Well it depends on the organization. Some took to embracing the future too far and lost who they were. Others did not change with the times and got stuck with their core competency shrinking.

When was the last time you went to a Sears or Kmart store? The announcement earlier last year announcing the closure of 265 stores was followed this announcing an additional 43 Sears & Kmart stores closing in 2017. They are no longer the new generations go to place when you need advice around tools or appliances.

Could these challenges have been stopped? Could companies like Sears have changed course? I could say yes, but the reality is that those driving the ships were the ones to initiate the change and not course correct. Even with some recent positive news around their deal to sell their Kenmore-branded appliances on Amazon, they are just another store, where you can now get their products online from Amazon.

I have been listening to experts for years talk about the end of retail. They have changed their tune and now call retail locations as assets to the omni or multi-channel commerce experience.   

1WorldSync and DiCentral set out earlier this year with a white-paper exploring how brick & mortar retailers can develop the operational backbone that supports e-commerce investments. On September 12 they will host a webinar in which we provide valuable tips for achieving operational excellence and a connected commerce approach.

It’s Just Commerce!

Since I was a toddler, I have been exposed to multiple paradigm shifts within the marketplace that in one way or another are an attempt to reinvent how we as consumers buy things.

For me, it started with going to stores, or shopping in a catalog and then blossomed into the world of connected commerce today. Recently when I stepped back from the daily act of using my phone or computer to research and buy products I came to a realization, the revolutionary experience I have been leveraging was not all that different from when commerce started.

Commerce took a turn for increased accessibility to products and a centralized way to purchase multiple goods/services from one location. Trust, reviews, availability and price were still the cornerstones of commerce.

Customers trusted the store to offer friendly advice (owners & employees), have products on the shelves and if the prices weren’t right, the customer went to a different store. The main thing that changed was how the products were brought to the customer.

First Came The Big Box Retailers

You no longer needed to be concerned with selection, because the big box had “everything’ you could want. Stores got bigger allowing for greater availability, lower prices, and product insights from media outlets (newspapers, TV, Radio).

E-commerce has shaped our relationship with how we buy and sell products, but at it’s core e-commerce is just next evolution of catalog shopping The innovation is not the method or even commerce itself, but an expansion on the idea of getting any item even from the comfort of your couch.  

Bridging the gap between digital and physical does present a challenge for the retailers/e-tailers etc. as they are looking to make the trust, availability, price and review experience seamless across all avenues of purchase.

From Brick To Click

1WorldSync recently completed a data study that highlighted some of the key challenges suppliers and retailers face when trying to achieve true cross-commerce capabilities.  and uncovered key insights into the struggles that are faced in today’s omni-channel world.

Key findings suggest that a majority of merchants and suppliers are not fully prepared to meet the varied demands of modern customers. 45% of merchants and suppliers have lost more than $1 million in revenue due to challenges faced when integrating cross-channel capabilities into their commerce strategy (Source: 1WorldSync Data Study).

You can read more here about how 1WorldSync can you make your products stand out in a very crowded Omni-Channel world.

1WorldSync AUG 2017: What Happens In Vegas..Does Not Stay in Vegas!

Oh what a time!  Late June back in 2017…

Sounds a bit like a song, right?  I was asked to write up a little something to recap our recent Annual User Group, and I have to say, there were some amazing times had in Las Vegas.

On Day 1

Ken Yontz from 1WorldSync, our MC for our two-day event, painted a picture for the audience around “why” were we here. That simple question has a host of different answers, regulations, mandates, efficiencies and last but not least, end consumer impact.  

Vernetta McDowell from Reynolds then provided the attendees some amazing insights into their product content journey and transformation. I can’t tell you how many attendees came up to me after that sessions relating to Reynolds’ story and were ready to start moving forward on their own product content journey.

We then had some great breakout sessions with insights around visibility, content sourcing, as well as process & governance. Thought leaders from Dot Foods, Kellogg Company, the J.M. Smucker Company, Target Corporation, Tyson Foods, Walgreens and Walmart Stores Inc all provided insights into how they are addressing the need for more content. They engaged the audience in collaborative conversations to discuss what other challenges, and opportunities were in place.

We closed the day with two additional plenary sessions. The first was focused on the upcoming GDSN release presented by 1WorldSync’s own Cristina Macias. Cristina, our Director of Implementation, walked the audience through the changes coming, and provided guidance and insights into the newest feature functionality and capabilities of the latest release.  

The second had Mark Hoyle of Teleflex provide insights on their product content journey through insights around UDI, and how they educated their organization on what effort would be needed to meet those needs. Mark then capped off his session with a riveting video that took us back to the news reels of the 1940’s.

Power of 1 Networking Reception

That evening, we had an amazing event in the Boombox Room of Marquee Nightclub at the Cosmopolitan Hotel.  Living it up the only way Vegas can provide, the attendees enjoyed fabulous views of the strip while 1WorldSync recognized some amazing organizations for their efforts and achievements:

We also announced the recipients of the 1WorldSync 2017  Power of 1 Awards. These awards honor organizations that have displayed exceptional leadership and made a significant impact in transforming their product content practices.

On Day 2

Day 1 and the Power of 1 event did a great job highlighting what has been accomplished or is currently underway within our client community.  Day 2 took a different angle and provided the audience direction on “what” is coming.  It started with a few of our Industry & Share Group Customer Chairs providing insights around what has occurred, and direction towards where they see the groups going.  

Greg Zwanziger, from SuperValu, provided some milestones that the Recipient Share group have accomplished, and pushed for a call to action from other recipients to join the group and help drive change within the community.  

Mark Whitman, from Intalere, provided a brief history around how the Healthcare Industry group is re-introducing itself, and where we are looking to grow.  

Lastly, Tim McDaniel from Constellation Brands, and Eric Ginsburg from Sazerac, introduced the Alcohol Beverage Industry Group to the audience and provided insights into the opportunity they see, and what this group is looking to achieve through their product content journey.

We then entered the hallmark session for the Annual User Group, the “Tonight Show Panel”.  Our host, Harris Diamand from 1WorldSync, provided a bit of levity during his “when good signs go bad monologue”, and then welcomed up our first guest, Patricia Chavez, from Walmart Stores Inc. Patricia provided some great insights into where Walmart Stores Inc is going, and what changes we can expect to see during the rest of 2017.  

Jean-Marc Klopfenstein, from Nestlé, was the next guest on stage, and provided a very thoughtful manufacturer’s perspective on how Nestle views and seeks to improve the world through their innovation, transparency and philanthropic efforts.  

The final guest for the session was Nick Kaufman, from The Kroger Company.  Nick shared the current state of Kroger’s content efforts, and a peek into where they are planning continue to disrupt the Grocery industry in the near future.  Harris wrapped up the session with a couple of questions to all guests focused on industry direction.

Our closing session for the Annual User Group was led by Dan Wilkinson from 1WorldSync. He provided the vision of where 1WorldSync is continuing to grow within the Product Content Space and how the journey for all of us is just getting started with new innovations that are in need of massive amounts of content.

This all led into a great GS1 Connect networking event as well.

It’s a Wrap!

I want to thank all the speakers, who shared their insights and direction and all the audience participants who helped to make the collaboration sessions a success. We are grateful to our Customer Community for making the 2017 Annual User Group the best one to date!

Please visit our 2017 AUG website to reflect back on the content including speaker presentations and photos from the event.

There is no I in Team…but there is a me

Congrats, you are part of a team. One that is focused, has a vision, one that needs….COLLABORATION.  Being part of a team is great, you get diverse ideas, insights and others to share in the wins and challenges.  It is also highly ineffective if you do not know how to collaborate with one another.

Collaboration Is Everything

Merriam-Webster defines collaborate as: to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor.  What is my take on collaborate?  What does it take to successfully collaborate?

The definition describes the act, but not the effort needed to be successful at it. Each team is made up of unique individuals with different strengths and weaknesses. To be a truly successful and result driven team, each must concentrate on the “Me”. Bringing together each individual strength creates a more powerful team. This is your internal team of Justice League or Avengers, whichever you are partial to.

Enter the Total Beverage Alcohol (TBA) Group

Recently a new industry group was formed here at 1WorldSync.

1WorldSync is the leading provider of product content solutions. Enabling more than 25,000 global companies in over 60 countries to share authentic, trusted content with customers and consumers, 1WorldSync provides solutions that meet the diverse needs of the industry through its technology platform and expert services empowering intelligent choices for purchases, wellness, and lifestyle decisions.

Over the past few months, 3 major wine & spirits manufacturers have been collaborating with 1WorldSync to form a group focused on an opportunity to standardize product content management and distribution in the beer, wine & spirits industries.  

This group, the Total Beverage Alcohol Industry, came together organically from a side conversation between 2 former colleagues over coffee. The thought was that the industries of beer, wine and spirits have unique opportunity to leverage standards & best practices currently in place within the Consumer Package Goods industry.

From that simple meeting, the start of collaboration occurred. Both parties were able to internalize the industry needs and focus on their “me” strengths to form a collaborating team. More organizations were recruited to drive change and build strength. Two organizations became four, and a full planning team was created.  This team is now actively recruiting additional members to fully represent the multi-tiered system in the US.

During this recruitment phase, the collaboration and “me” are showing up more and more. Each participating organization is being asked to help drive towards modernization, cooperate with peers, reduce duplicative work, support on & off premise efforts and develop/adopt industry best practices. At each stage within this collaboration, the “me” is split. Some of the “me” is focused on how collaborating on an industry wide solution help “me” & my organization. The remaining are focused on how collaboration can drive impactful change within the industry.

Trusted Content That Our Customers Count On..Anytime, Everywhere

The good news is that collaboration at it’s core can help you achieve so much if you are able to internalize the goals and understand how your teammates are also.  Industry efforts in particular like the TBA, are being driven to enact change, bring awareness to opportunities for improvement and enable all participants in the multi-tiered system to  benefit from the collaboration.  

One of the hallmarks of 1WorldSync is how we view our customer community.  We are partners in continually improving our offerings, addressing industry opportunities and driving towards innovation that will help position our customers in the driver seat for years to come.  

If you are not part of one of our 1WorldSync Groups, I highly encourage you to email Brandon White, our Global Community Engagement Manager. And if you happen to be part of the beer, wine and spirits industry please let us know if you would be interested in collaborating with us there too! Other questions? Don’t forget to reference our FAQ if you haven’t already.