All posts by Kelly Kucera

Head of Global Marketing

Shoptalk 2017 Recap

It was a great week at Shoptalk 2017.  Connected Commerce is the name of the game…companies are mobilizing behind mobile and beyond!  From sessions on how online is going offline to rising mobile commerce in China;  with major retail and brand speakers like eBay, Nordstrom, Walmart, Kimberly-Clark, Mondelez, Samsung, HSN, Apple, Lowe’s and on and on and on….the discussions were insightful and engaging.  Not to mention the appearance of the Bumby’s for fair and honest appraisals of attendee appearances.

So for our loyal 1WorldSync followers, let’s boil it down on a few key insights relative to product content.

  • Shoppers will start and end their purchase journey in different places.  It’s a fact.  Brands and retailers alike must make their cross-channel commerce capabilities and content in those channels consistent, authentic and engaging.
  • Omni = Om-need…one speaker coined a phrased that omni really means om-need.  As a brand, you need to have your product content available when the shopper wants it, needs it, and when they ask for it.  Is it a Dash button?  Store Display? Alexa? Challenges abound!
  • Content is global, distribution is local.  Content is not “one-size-fits-all;” yet, brand reputation, recognition and market position has to be consistent globally.  However, consumers around the world consume that information differently – it must be tailored for local markets.  Product content strategies are following global commerce strategies and no longer siloed within channels.
  • The “connectivity of things” means product content is traveling and traversing mediums in exponential fashion.  Voice search to physical outcome is not easy.  Natural processing language and search context are just the start of challenges (or opportunities) facing retailers and brands on the consumer path to purchase.

All this points to the fact that connected commerce is growing, changing, evolving, iterating, exploding and imploding…all at once. Product content in this environment must be trustworthy, authentic, consistent, relevant and timely.  Brands and retailers need partners to help them in this quest for delivering frictionless commerce.  The eco-system is growing, these global power houses are choosing trusted, experienced experts to help them on their journey!

 

Thank you Shoptalk for another great year of rewriting the commerce blueprint!

Walmart Unleashes Bold Strategy To Take Amazon Head-On

Walmart has just issued its strongest response to the growing Amazon threat, since its acquisition of e-commerce newcomer Jet.com last summer.

Last week, Walmart announced an unlimited free delivery program offering free, two-day shipping on over 2 million items, with no need for a membership fee.

  • Walmart has done away with it’s  “ShippingPass” program that charged customers $49 a year, just about half the cost of an Amazon Prime membership.
  • Walmart said that ShippingPass customers will receive a refund on their membership, since the program is no longer required in order to take advantage of free shipping.
  • Last week, Wal-Mart announced free two-day shipping program to compete with Amazon Prime program. Wal-Mart also decreased its minimum order amount to $35 from $50, but experts think that Arkansas-headquartered retailer giant is far from denting Amazon’s business.

A new Slice Intelligence report suggests that Amazon.com, Inc. captured over 53% of total online e-commerce growth in the US in 2016, up from 40% a year earlier. Other ecommerce and retail players were battling for the rest of the 47% of the market share.

However Walmart has become agile and is now operating like a start-up reacting quickly to test ideas to capture new customers that includes this free shipping strategy.

Walmart U.S. eCommerce Marc Lore stated in a media briefing “I couldn’t be more excited. We are moving at the speed of a startup. In today’s world of e-commerce, two-day free shipping is table stakes. It no longer makes sense to charge for it.”

Battle of the Brands: David vs. Goliath – Does Size Matter?

In a crowded commerce world, it’s critical to move quick to capture new customers and drive conversion. 1WorldSync has you covered with our new eBook, ‘Battle of the Brands: David vs. Goliath’ that includes strategies on how to move quick to capture new eCommerce market share. This eBook will demonstrate that bigger doesn’t always mean better and how David can compete with Goliath all year long!

Download the eBook now

Are You Ready to Get Your Products to Walmart.com and Jet.com? Learn more

1WorldSync Product Information Cloud solutions help 25,000 global customers engage the elevated expectations of today’s omni-channel shoppers.

Further, 1WorldSync is a strategic partner of Walmart and has been facilitating product content exchange for Walmart manufacturers and suppliers for more than a decade. As a certified Content Service Provider to Walmart, we can help you get your product content to Walmart.com and Jet.com.

The Supplier Side – Must Do: Leveraging Walmart’s Store Assortment Online Initiative

Consumers continually demand a seamless shopping experience across all platforms. So, the flip side of course is that if a customer can’t find the right product online, it becomes a source of frustration and likely a loss sale. The quest for omni-channel supremacy continues for retailers across the board. Mega retailers, such as Walmart, are investing heavily in e-commerce (think Jet.com acquisition).

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Retail: The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated

A recent headline: “Out of whack weather, gluttonous inventories and changing consumer spending patterns have shouldered much of the blame for sluggish retail sales.”  Sluggish?   Well, we tend to agree with Mark Twain on this.  The reports of retail’s death are indeed greatly exaggerated.  In fact, most retailers — including some large ones — are finding plenty of growth.

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“Are You Ready for a Micro Moment?”

Picture this.  You’re in line at the airport, waiting to board that 6am flight to Atlanta.  You look to your left and notice the perfect smart carry-on luggage.  You try to look more closely to capture the brand.  As you board the plane, you take out your smartphone and Google the item name.  You scroll for the product specs – the size, the color.  A moment later, as you buckle your seatbelt, you hit ‘Add Item to Cart.’  The passenger sitting next to you pulls out the latest headphones du jour.  Is it compatible with your laptop? You take out your smartphone again.  What’s the show he’s streaming?  Who’s that actor?  Take out your smartphone and find out.  They’re serving breakfast now and you wonder what’s healthier – the bagel & cream cheese or the poppy seed scone?  No need to wonder, just check your smartphone one more time.  

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“Silos – A Roadblock to Omni-Channel Victory”

Silos: an insular management system incapable of reciprocal operation with other, related information systems.

No matter your company size, it’s quite likely you’ve seen “silos” in action.  Or maybe you’re struggling with this right now.  The power struggles, the lack of collaboration and the loss of productivity. Ultimately, your business, your ability to sell and market better will suffer.

Chances are that you know what it looks like – various isolated groups, with little incentive to the team and little information sharing.  You might see leaders focused on their own agendas and the inevitable result is poor productivity and missed opportunities.  For example, many retail organizations have IT systems that are a decade or more old. In many cases, the technology infrastructure that supports the channels of online, mobile, catalog and in-store operate in silos which result in a huge problem.  Data silos, by virtue of their inherent characteristics, breed data distrust.  One group owns branding, the other product specs or nutritional info, so if they aren’t talking, the data (product information) will not be optimized.

We know that consumers don’t view these as different channels, they expect (and assume) that their experience will be the same, no matter how they are choosing to shop.  Unfortunately, with silo’d technologies, the inconsistencies may proliferate across channels. It’s a key reason why products may not look the same to consumers; from the store, to the circular, the website, or the mobile app. Consider the consumer journey.  The nature of marketing, selling and customer onboarding today will likely mean a journey through a dozen different touchpoints and business systems. In order to overcome these challenges, retailers must remove the silos, and implement integrated technology and information strategies.

It starts with infrastructure – systems, process and content.  All of these have to be in place, and must work seamlessly across your organization for different channels to be supported. Omni-channel leadership requires a mastery of detailed, relevant and trusted product information. This is exactly where the 1WorldSync Omni-Channel Product Information Cloud can help.

1WorldSync helps to remove roadblocks to Omni-channel victory by enabling suppliers and retailers to deliver rich and trusted product content, including digital assets and insights – to engage customers and consumers – regardless of location or medium.

This Summer, we announced several value-added apps including merchandising and sales tools including a sales kit, merchant kit, and a universal content feed solution for all customers.  This release includes significant benefits for our customers that are organizing for Omni-Channel sales growth and making their products digital, discoverable and highly shoppable. New apps in this release include information and syndication capabilities to sell products through Walmart and other global retailers, and eCommerce providers.

The 1WorldSync Product Information Cloud enables businesses to move beyond foundational product content management, to drive sales and merchandising efforts while aiding in distribution, customer integration, consumer product transparency and regulatory compliance.

Interested in finding out more about Common Roadblocks to Omni Channel?  Check out our newest Infographic.

 

“Great News for Suppliers: Walmart’s Acquisition of Jet.com”

Consolidation: To bring together (separate parts) into a single or unified whole; unite; combine.

Generally speaking, market consolidation – be it health insurance, airlines or phone carriers – has not necessarily been good thing for consumers. Rather, it’s traditionally meant the potential for future price increases as a result of less competition. But faster than you can click BUY NOW on your shopping app, that’s all about to change. Enter in the biggest news in business and retail – Walmart’s deal to purchase Jet.com, one of the hottest new names in e-commerce. The world’s largest retailer has been getting a lot more aggressive in e-commerce over the past year in the quest to expand its online inventory and set aside $2 billion over the next two years to grow on the web.

The deal could help Walmart become the No. 2 online retailer and position the company for even faster e-commerce growth in the future by expanding customer reach and adding new capabilities. And that’s GOOD NEWS for consumers because according to the folks at Walmart, they plan to win by staying laser-focused on one thing: the customer.

That plan includes adding 1 million products per month, primarily through third-party vendors selling via Walmart.com. And that right there is GREAT NEWS for suppliers. Suppliers that were smart to get into Jet.com now are a part of Walmart’s community and their products will be shopped even more than ever. Not already on board? Then your company could have the potential to be one of those one million products added.

Make it easy and partner with 1WorldSync. Our Catalog1 solution allows suppliers to organize and centralize all of their product information in one place in the cloud. When ready to extend Catalog1 for sales, distribution and compliance, there are a number of value added applications that can be added. Your company’s products can get to Jet.com, Amazon, Google and beyond.

Want to find out more? Download our new eBook, “How Suppliers Can Conquer the Product Information Challenge To Grab the First Mover Advantage,” and gain the competitive edge you need in this every changing, ever growing eCommerce world.

How Shoppable Are Your Products?

According to the National Retail Federation, 73% of back-to-school consumers plan to shop approximately a month or two before school starts. Armed with school supply lists and cranky kids, parents are beginning the annual pilgrimage for folders and number two pencils. But lists have become longer and more specific.  And certainly college-bound students have precise notions about dorm room furnishings and decorations.  A simple comforter will not do.  Enter matching sheets, pillow cases, silverware and fancy lighting.  These shoppers know what they want.

As any growing manufacturer and supplier, your products are your business.  Pure and simple, your success is predicated on getting your products onto as many shelves – and screens – as possible.  And as we’ve seen, customers determine when, where, and how they will interact with YOUR brand.   Consumers search and shop in-store and online, they expect access to richer product information to make informed decisions. To remain truly “shoppable” and competitive, suppliers must deliver on that expectation.  If not – customers will move on to someone who can.   Not convinced?  Take a look at these recent stats.

  1. 81% of consumers scour through product information online to find or verify the data about a product they are considering.
  2. Four in 10 (42%) shoppers say they’ve given up on an online purchase because they didn’t have enough information on the purchase.
  3. 88% of them say that detailed product content is extremely or very important to their purchasing decision.

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.  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 will disapprove relevant products that don’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.

At 1WorldSync, we’ve been helping thousands (21,000+ globally) of suppliers and brands to align on the product information governance strategy to apply GTIN standardization, AND implement for Google and beyond.  We work with our customers to build scalable processes to capture their product information and scale globally across the portfolio of brands in an effort to ensure the highest impact, consistency, and levels of quality.

1WorldSync’s Omni-channel solutions helps suppliers and brand owners get their products to Google, Amazon, Walmart and beyond: mobile, desktop, storefront.

How shoppable are your products? Download are latest eBook “5 ways to grow your top line by making your products #SHOPPABLE everywhere?!

Download our free eBook on Shopability today!

The Dream of a Product Shelf. How to Get Your Products Online and Selling.

Every business person starts their journey with an idea.  An idea they hope will be life-changing.  For many, these entrepreneurial dreams hark back to summer lemonade stands, paper routes or garage made inventions.

Dessert queen, Debbie Fields[1] famously took to the streets, passing out freshly baked chocolate chip cookies to any passerby.  (Her Mrs. Field’s Cookie products are now sold in her namesake retail stores, grocery chains and an online bakery.) ScrubDaddy[2] (an ergonomically designed kitchen sponge) plied its wares on TVs Sharked Tank.  (Since the pitch, they’ve moved 10 million units for total sales of more than $50 million.)  Let’s not forget Joy Mangano, the entrepreneur known for inventions such as the self-wringing Miracle Mop.  Her first appearance on QVC helped the Miracle Mop sell out—more than 18,000 mops in less than a half an hour.

Of course, not every product has the benefit of a TV launch.  Far faster and far easier, it’s about selling your products online.  And yes, selling your product (s) on your own company online store is great and has its own benefits.  But far better is getting placement on one or more of the larger online retailers.  So how will you get your company ready for the selling with the big guys (think Amazon, Google, Walmart, etc.) so that you’re discoverable and comparable across all digital properties?

Correct Product Content

The first step is providing robust and accurate product data for your customers.  Every product online has a large amount of data associated with it, but it can be difficult for mobile applications or web pages to distinguish between two comparable products if the product data is inaccurate or incomplete.

Inaccurate or incomplete product data is extremely problematic for your customers.  Today’s consumers demand rich product information.

Is there enough detail?  Are there photos?  Is there enough detail for them to make a decision?  If not, the likely result is a lost customer and sale.

Consistent Product Content

Ensuring that the product displayed online is the exact same product sent from the fulfillment center can be a challenge.  It’s important to consider solutions that will ensure that product and package variations are managed properly in the fulfillment process so that consumer expectations are met.

Streamline Product Content Management

As consumers, we know the types of content we expect on retail websites and apps. But as a product supplier you know creating, compiling, managing, hosting, updating and publishing this content across all shopper touch points is complex and time-consuming.

For this reason, many retailers and manufacturers are working with 1WorldSync to streamline product information and content management. 1WorldSync’s Omni-channel solutions ensure product information is complete, accurate and consistent. Further, these solutions improve the consumer experience by delivering high-quality and complete data about the product in stores fortifying consumer loyalty and growing sales.

Learn how Dot Foods Increased Sales Using 1WorldSync: View the Case Study

References:

[1] http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2012/11/20/how-to-build-a-multimillion-dollar-company-the-story-of-mrs-fields-cookies/2/#4df04bfc78d3

[2] http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/082415/10-most-successful-products-shark-tank.asp

Game, Set, Match. Online Shopping Takes the Lead.

We confess.  We do love online shopping.  There’s nothing quite like the thud of a big brown box (or red/white/blue box) hitting your front door.  For a moment or two, it’s almost a mini Christmas morning.

Here’s confession number two – it’s happening more and more (insert festive emoji here).  So frankly we’re relieved to hear that we’re not alone.

In fact, for the first time, consumers say they bought more of their purchases on the web than in stores, according to an annual survey of more than 5,000 online shoppers by United Parcel Service Inc.  The shoppers now made 51% of their purchases on the web compared with 48% in 2015 and 47% in 2014, according to the June 2016 survey by UPS.[1] (“Although the findings are skewed toward consumers who already gravitate toward the web, and exclude the $602 billion bricks-and-mortar dominated grocery store industry, they nonetheless represent the latest in a steady climb over the past few years, as consumers become more comfortable buying items on the web.” [2])

The latest results of the survey—now in its fifth year—illustrate the degree to which the adoption of online shopping is accelerating. This year, 44% of smartphone users said they made a purchase from their device, up from 41% a year ago. It also helps explain why retailers are having so much trouble adjusting to the new cybershopping era.

There’s definitely been a dramatic shift as over time, people are getting more and more comfortable shopping online.  And unfortunately, that has hit retailers hard (conversely, Amazon accounted for 60% of total U.S. online sales growth last year alone).

Though millennials make 54% of their purchases online, the rate of adoption by older people is growing at a faster rate. Non-millennials made 49% of their purchases online, according to the survey, compared with 44% in 2014. And as for shopping by smartphone users: the survey found that 63% of millennials use their phones to shop, while 19% of baby boomers and 8% of seniors use their phones to make purchases.

Fortunately, 1WorldSync customers are well positioned to continue building on this trend.  Our customers are able to provide better quality product images and information, while reducing the cost data acquisition.  Ultimately, their customers (online shoppers) will experience fewer errors when searching for products, resulting in more time to concentrate on growing their business.

[1] https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/

[2] http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/08/digital-buyers-becoming-even-more-loyal.html