All posts by Kelly Kucera

Head of Global Marketing

“Retailers & “Summer-itis” – 3 Tips on How Online Retailers Can Avoid the Summer Blues”

“Summeritis”

“A rapidly spreading condition occurring every year when the weather begins to warm up and summer approaches. Symptoms include: extreme laziness, distraction and sudden lack of effort.”

Yes, indeed it’s a real disease (according to the Urban Dictionary). So here we are, with Memorial Day in our rear view mirror and summer literally days away.  And of course, with summer comes…. vacation and people wishing they were on vacation… and full blown cases of what we call “shopping summeritis.”  While this may be a joyous time of the year for many, online retailers may not exactly share the same excitement. Don’t believe us?  Well, there’s research to confirm that. When temperatures rise, online sales go down – way down.

“When consumers start reaching for sun block and ice cream rather than their credit cards and tablets, that shows up on e-retailers’ bottom lines. An analysis of online shopping habits in the summer by SumAll shows gross sales for online merchants in July decline 30% from December highs, and average order value falls nearly 5% below the annual average in August.”[1]

Well, have no fear.  We have a few great suggestions that will help keep your shoppers engaged and avoid the dreaded ‘summer-itis.’

  1. Leverage Monday Madness

Online shoppers spend the most per item on summer Mondays ($41.13) and the least on summer Fridays ($34.74). So it’s a great opportunity to incorporate sales incentives, such as free shipping for orders of $100 or more on Mondays. This will help push consumers to purchase higher priced items.

  1. Increase your Social Media Engagement

Remember those millennial shoppers we’ve talked about?  Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, no matter what the season, you can always count on millennial’s heavy usage of social media.  This means that their phones and tablets are still within reach. Take advantage of this opportunity to constantly update your social media channels to engage with your customers. Whether you are showing off a new product or providing a discount code. One day to focus your energy towards is Wednesday. During the summer, Wednesday accounts for a very high number of sales throughout June to August, according to Internet Retailer.

  1. Information, Information, Information!

While people may not be reaching for their keyboard or laptop, their mobile device is always within reach. Take this opportunity to create a summer focused communication sharing information pertaining to discounts, new products and special promotions. Provide links to product specifications, photos & videos and customer comments.  Don’t underestimate the power of relevant, complete and trusted product information to boost your online sales this summer.  It might just be the antidote you need to combat the dreaded summer blues.

[1] Internet Retailer

How to make a ridiculous, drool-worthy and perfectly dangerous online shopping experience

“I shop all the time – on my commute, at work, at home, during the weekend…..The ability to find exactly what I want at the moment I’m thinking about it can be dangerous.” Lisa Green, head of fashion & luxury brands at Google, NYC[1]

Consumers today have more places and ways to shop….and have increasingly shorter attention spans. So if you have an ecommerce business, and you want online shoppers to click BUY NOW , then you need to be able to grab their attention, keep their attention and convert the sale. Yes, I’m sure you already know this…but how?

Product Content is King.

Don’t underestimate the power of high quality images – with the ability to zoom in and see multiple angles and views.  Shoppers find images incredibly reassuring and helpful in identifying that this is in fact the actual product they will purchase.  Don’t assume the more commonly recognized or generic products (batteries, diapers, etc.) might not need that level of visual appeal.   Countless studies and surveys have made it abundantly clear that visuals are the most influential factor affecting purchase decisions (*92.6% of shoppers say visuals seal the deal[2]).

“The most important piece of information a manufacturer can provide to help sell their products is an image. Most sales people tell us this significantly increases their odds of closing a sale. In fact, the trend seems to be that they won’t even suggest an item without one.”

Chief Commercial Officer, Major Food Distributor

What did other customers say?

90% of consumers read online reviews and 88% of them trust the online reviews as much as personal recommendations. In other words, more people read reviews as part of their pre-purchase research before purchasing a product or service.  In fact, customer reviews are trusted 12 times more than a marketing piece from an organization and will specifically seek out websites with reviews[3].  By making ratings and reviews easily accessible across every touchpoint, brands can ensure a positive customer experience.  And there’s more!  Enabling customer reviews on your ecommerce site can have a positive effect on your company’s organic results. Each product review increases the amount of authentic and robust content offered… “meaning you’ll be seen as having higher authority, more relevance, and, as such, a higher chance of getting those pages ranked.” Forbes.

Trusted Product Information

Your shopper wants to know what they’re buying:  How big? What color?  Place of origin? Technical requirements? Add-ons Plug-ins.  Images, video clips, specifications, customer reviews and more are all part of the giant need of trusted and accurate product information.  The quality and completeness of product presentation in online retail has a quantifiable and direct impact on product sales.   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.

What’s a Retailer to Do?

A successful omni-channel shopping experience is dependent upon the depth and accuracy of trusted product content.   Working with 1WorldSync, etailers and retailers alike help to provide better quality product images and information, while reducing the cost of data acquisition. Your users will experience fewer errors when searching for products and you will have more time to concentrate on growing your business.

[1] Vogue, March 2016

[2] Invodo Marketers Summary, 2015

[3] Econsultancy, 2015

4 Reasons Why Consumers Heart Online Shopping

Welcome to the leveled playing field of eCommerce.  A field paved with opportunity, growing market shares and reduced barriers of entry.  Forget traditional store fronts and other demands of maintaining a physical presence.  Who needs costly advertising in Yellow Pages, newspapers, or magazines when there are free search engines, email campaigns, low cost banner ads, or other online promotional tools like Google AdWords.  And as a consumer, why brave the snow, sleet and rain to purchase the latest “toy” when your heart’s desire is merely a click away?

Because, along with banana slicers, live lady bugs and canned unicorn meat (yes, you read that correctly), you can officially buy just about anything online.  Even craft beer is getting into the act, such as AB InBev, hoping to engage fans of craft beer by embracing e-commerce.  Overall, 70% of Americans (and 85% of the world’s population) are regularly shopping online and the reason isn’t just for the beer.  So why the online shopping explosion?  Here’s what we think.

It’s so easy.

Yes it is easy.  Certainly the proliferation of mobile devices has been the driving factor (4 out of 5 shoppers are mobile shoppers).But whether by phone, laptop or tablet, you can shop anywhere and at any time.  You don’t have to drive, park and battle with long lines.  You shop at your own pace – whether laser focused for one item – or leisurely scrolling for next year’s Christmas gifts.

More to choose.

If you’re an online business, you have an advantage over traditional retailers in that you aren’t limited to the amount of shelf space available when considering which items to stock. Adding selection, therefore, may help you appeal to online buyers, as can keeping your prices below traditional competitors and streamlining your purchase process to create a convenient experience for shoppers.

Comparison shop.

Try spending a Saturday afternoon comparison shopping for a new flat screen TV.  How many brick and mortar stores will you hit on your quest for the best value and the best product for you?  Sound exhausting?   Ironically, you’ll likely spend more money on gas than you are planning to save.

Conversely, online shopping is ideal for comparison shopping.  Product details, specifications, photos, customer reviews and pricing are easily searched and weighted according to a customer’s needs.  As consumers spend more time researching product purchases online (71% of in-store shoppers use smartphones for online research), the importance of high-quality product content becomes paramount for retailers, manufacturers, CPG firms and distributors alike.

Find More.

One of the best benefits of ecommerce for customers is they can get robust information that is not possible in a physical store.  As talented as instore salespeople can be, they’ll likely have challenges responding to customers who are looking for information on different product lines. But ecommerce websites offer additional information to their customers in a much more direct and thorough manner.  All the given information is provided by vendors so that their customers find it easy to purchase products with information.

This is where 1WorldSync’s Omni-channel solutions help.  We put authentic, trusted content in the hands of your customers and consumers; empowering them to make the right choices, purchases or health and lifestyle decisions.

What Makes a Trend… a Trend?

Rubik’s Cube.  Leg Warmers.  Juicers.  Boom Boxes.  Atari, Tivo, Game Boys. Chances are good that you bought in to one of the many product trends from the last couple of decades.  After all, whether its fashion, toys, gaming or foods (think “artisanal” cheese), who can resist jumping on a trendy bandwagon?  Admittedly, some trends are best left to the pop culture history books, but today – in 2016 – we’re seeing a definite trend towards trends becoming more than trends (did you get that?).

Consider eCommerce.  It was only 15 years or so ago that online sales were left to Amazon or eBay. For others in retail, online shopping was a nice add-on.   The theory was that the consumer wouldn’t abandon the brick and mortars.  Consumers wanted to see, touch and hold their purchases. So what was considered a trend in the year 2000 (15 ½ million households shopped online in September 2000), has evolved into a full-fledged way of life (spending a total of $4.2 billion online – an average of $272 per person).  Today, consumers are spending an average of $2,466 per person on online purchases.  Even traditional grocery items are added to the list, with online grocery growing at nearly twice the rate of any other industry.

Convenience, value and the proliferation of mobile devices have been key drivers in changing consumer shopping behaviors.  So what’s a growing retailer to do?  How can retailers capitalize on current eCommerce buying trends, while building for the future?

  1. Invest in digital technologies that enhance the Omni-Channel experience whether in-store, online or anytime. For example, consider tools that enable online chats and video merchandising to help describe and demonstrate how an item looks or works.  Curated content, suggested buys & upsell, on-line shelves and eCarts are varied components of an engaging on-line shopping experience. Walmart recently announced making a move to marry the retailer’s online and mobile assets with its 11,500 stores worldwide..  According to Fortune Magazine, “Walmart said it was merging to the two divisions to create a new unit called ‘Walmart Technology.’ Walmart pointed to the recent launch of its Walmart Pay mobile payment service as an example of the kind of collaboration between the teams that it hopes the merger will spur.”
  1. Offer a convenient shopping experience that responds to the consumer path to purchase. One-stop-shopping convenience is no longer about selling everything from a single supercenter or website. It’s more profitably targeted at giving a seamless Omni-Channel experience to shoppers who are budgeting for both time and money. Consider retailers that are offering services that combine their in-store and digital capabilities, for example ‘click-to-curb’ for groceries, ‘site to store’ at mass retailers or virtual dressing rooms for apparel.
  1. Content, content, content…did we mention Content?

We encourage retailers to focus on enhanced content and content distribution strategies to provide differentiated levels of product information for customers and consumers.  As research indicates, rich content, more content and trusted content will make a consumer click BUY NOW and continue as a repeat customer online and in-store.  Conversely, if a consumer cannot see a picture of the product they want to buy…they go elsewhere, and likely never return.

What sets a seller of goods apart from competition is their ability to give the buyer what they want, how they want, where they want it, when they want it.  Omni-Channel is not a trend – it is a full-fledged way of commerce and consumerism: yesterday, today and tomorrow.

The Omni Channel Challenge – 3 Tips on How your Organization can transition to a full customer shopping experience

“Here is a simple but powerful rule: always give people more than what they expect to get.” ~ Nelson Boswell

“The customer experience is the next competitive battleground.” ~ Jerry Gregoire

“Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will find your customers buying from them, not you.” ~ Mark Cuban

We love a good quote.  But three stellar quotes about the customer experience?  Absolutely irresistible.  Because as it relates the world of retail, we know that businesses are knee-deep in adopting new standards and technologies to improve and enhance the customer’s shopping experience.  After all, it’s the customer that now defines retailing, transcending channels to shop exactly the way they want to shop, whether online or in-store.  And their expectations are significant.  With a shopping basket in one hand and a smartphone in the other, shoppers also turning to mobile to do research, compare prices and even make their final purchase.

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Halloween is coming soon… What’s in your basket?

It’s that time of year again…costumes are littering the house, pumpkins on the porch, and the kids are asking “what candy are we giving out this year?!”  This used to be a straight-forward question, but now we as  parents are left asking “what can we give out?!”  With thoughts in our heads of: what is nut-free, gluten-free, vegan, healthy and “cool”?  What’s fun but also a healthy alternative to the sugar-filled, fatty options?

Our kids’ school is not a “nut-free” zone, but the school does designate certain tables as nut-free.  At the same time, they are serving cookies at the lunch window, along with certain sugary beverages. So while, we’ve made strides to keep our kids safer and healthier, there are still many areas to work on.

Strides:

  • According to the USDA Smart Snack Final Rule, acceptable food items must have ≤ 35% calories from total fat as served and ≤ 35% of weight from total sugar as served. *
  • At least 39 states currently have some kind of competitive foods standard already in place.**

Slides:

  • Between 1977 and 1996, the number of calories that children consumed from snacks increased by 120 calories per day.***
  • There are still no federal requirements for Childhood Nutrition Labeling
  • Poor nutrition  effects a child’s ability to learn****

Since there are still no federal regulations forcing schools to label the food served, we as consumers and parents must gather as much knowledge as possible to help our children make the best and safest decisions when it comes to what they eat at school. Whether it’s evaluating gluten content, allergens, or ingredients, we want the information at our fingertips. Literally, whether I search online or I am shopping at my local grocery store, I want to be able to quickly and easily evaluate the food items I am putting in my physical or online shopping cart.

Thankfully, organizations like the Grocery Manufacturers Association are introducing new initiatives like SmartLabel, which seeks to standardize nutrition information available to consumers so they can make informed decisions – for our own kids and the ones that will knock at our door at the end of the month.

For Halloween…I’ve decided to give out pencils…really.  Unless a child eats one, I should be safe, right?!

Authors:

  • Kelly Kucera, Sr. Director, Industry & Commercial Marketing
  • Krista Gervon, Americas Marketing Manager

*http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/allfoods_summarychart.pdf

**http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/allfoods_QandA.pdf

***http://cspinet.org/nutritionpolicy/healthy_school_snacks.html

****http://www.publicschoolreview.com/blog/how-diet-and-nutrition-impact-a-childs-learning-ability

1WorldSync Annual User Group

Thank you to everyone who attended the 1WorldSync Annual User Group and GS1 Connect 2014. The week was a great success!

This year we gathered in San Diego, California with over 260 1WorldSync community members from the CPG/General Merchandise, Foodservice, Hardlines and Healthcare industries for the 1WorldSync Annual User Group. This full day of community collaboration included Workgroup breakout sessions, customer presentations and panel discussions.

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#1WorldSyncSelfie Scavenger Hunt Makes a Big Impression!

The first ever social media scavenger hunt was a huge hit at GS1Connect! Over 100 photos were uploaded or retweeted throughout the week! Thank you to all who took part in highlighting 1WorldSync and our exciting events! Lori Bigler from Smucker’s became our first #1WorldSyncSelfie contest winner! Congratulations Lori!

selfiecontest

We appreciate everyone’s involvement and hope that we were able to add a level of excitement and fun to your GS1Connect experience. You can check out some of the photos below and on Twitter by searching the hashtag #1WorldSyncSelfie. Don’t forget to continue posting “Selfies” at upcoming 1WorldSync events using the hashtag #1WorldSyncSelfie on Twitter and Instagram.

1WorldSync Social Media Scavenger Hunt

Welcome to 1WorldSync’s Annual User Group at GS1 Connect 2014…but first “let me take a Selfie!”

As always, 1WorldSync has an exciting line up of events, sessions, and ceremonies for our customer community. This year, we are bringing you an interactive #1WorldSyncSelfie Scavenger Hunt as a way for you to get involved with other attendees and participate in all that we have to offer! The rules are simple, and more importantly, a surefire way to make the most of your conference experience!

1WorldSync contest for blog  Continue reading