All posts by Nihat Arkan

CEO of 1WorldSync - Connecting Trusted Product Data Everywhere

A Connected Lifestyle for 2017

We are all living a Connected Life in 2017.

Connected and mobile commerce is a way of life for us all and businesses are striving to leverage this connectivity to improve consumer safety, the customer experience and increased market penetration.   The growth of cross-channel commerce is a core component of every business plan, regardless of industry or geography.

Global market leaders embrace product content as vital to their engagement with business partners and customers.  Trusted content turns that engagement level into commitment.  Every business leader knows that more content is better, but what we have all learned is that trustworthy information is often the difference between loyal, repeat consumers and lost sales; or worse injury from lack of available product information.

The Smart Label initiative for consumer goods and EUDAMED and the FDA UDI regulations for medical device labeling initiatives, provide guidance for companies on which content is needed to aid patient safety and provide consumers with information to make health and wellness decisions.  However, in the absence of regulations, what content is needed, which channels, and how frequently?  These are problems many companies are challenged with in 2017.  Digital content is a requirement, not a luxury; and the proliferation of the content consistently remains obstacles to be overcome for all industries globally.

In the 1WorldSync data study launching in April, Charting the Course for Global Commerce, over 400 global respondents reported thirty-nine percent of merchants cannot support mobile commerce, and 68 percent have yet to integrate product information management capabilities across web, mobile apps and in store.  Establishing a connected commerce platform remains elusive for many companies.

The 1WorldSync Product Information Cloud solutions continue to evolve and leverage both industry best practices and best in breed technologies to assist our community in overcoming many of the connected commerce challenges: from UDI and Healthcare solutions in Asia, Europe & the Americas to Hazmat solutions and retail apps for increased sales and market penetration.

The Connected Life is a reality for consumers, patients, brands, suppliers, hospitals, governments, retailers and distributors….Everywhere, Every Day.

2016, A Year in Review!

As we wrapped another year, I want to thank you for your continued business and trust in 1WorldSync.  We know that to deliver a truly exceptional experience, we must have an innovative and forward looking global team to serve you, from product development to support. As I traveled the globe meeting with customers, partners and employees, I am proud of the accomplishments we’ve made as a company collaboratively with your feedback and involvement. I believe that we have truly evolved from the global leader in delivered product information, to ‘The Global Leader in Delivered Product Content.’

We began 2016 with several key priorities encompassing both our technology and market expansion.

  • Achieve Major Release 3 (MR3) compliance;
  • Obtain ISO27001 Certification for Information Security Management
  • Help customers globally (both recipients and suppliers) share product content to meet the industry’s growing commerce and cross channel / omni-business challenges; and
  • Leverage evolving capabilities to help onboard a variety of companies in multiple industries – both large and small – that traditionally have not participated in GDSN.

I’m pleased to say that 1WorldSync is succeeding on all fronts and are well positioned for even greater success in 2017.

Historically, product information has served a very specific purpose, such as supplier communications or logistics, and was B2B centric.  Today, regardless of your industry or product mix, the evolution and growth of omni-business commerce is a game changer for B2C commerce and has placed product content as a business imperative for all companies.

Consumer behaviors, shopping tastes and expectations have evolved and have become key drivers in the transformation to a more consumer-centric world.  I’ve spoken before about today’s “Omni-shopper,” which essentially means that the consumer, not the channel, is defining the business relationship. Trusted product content is what empowers a consumer in their cross-channel shopping experience and in their daily purchasing decisions.

These new demands are completely reshaping the retail landscape and with an increased focus on regulatory compliance, the healthcare and foodservice industries are evolving as well. Today there is a much greater focus on the role of trusted product information.  Establishing a product information and content management framework for high growth, compliance and transparency is no longer a nice to have, but an absolute mandate.

Looking ahead, we continue to make innovation an integral part of our strategy to help our global community share more product content with more people, whether B2B or B2C, no matter where they are located or have business operations.  Our Transparency, Supply Chain and Omni-business solutions help our customers succeed with the ability to:

  • Be Flexible – ability to develop digital product content and catalogs for maximum responsiveness
  • Go Digital – deliver content efficiently and enable operational efficiencies at the global level
  • Sell Everywhere – showcase and promote more products on any channel in any region
  • Be Transparent and Compliant – integrated content designed to help meet regulatory and local mandates
  • Go Global – discover new products and brands from any region to feature and sell, with digital ready content
  • Be Consumer-Centric – rich product storefronts, collateral and trusted product content for sales and eCommerce

Thank you for your continued confidence in 1WorldSync. On behalf of the entire company, I can confirm to you that we are motivated and inspired by the opportunities that you give us to help you succeed. Continuing to deliver results that exceed your expectations is our top priority in 2017.

Sincerely,
Nihat Arkan
CEO, 1WorldSync

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.

Have you attended 1WorldSync Annual User Group, yet?

One of the main value adds we bring to our customers is the ability to provide our community with collaborative platforms for open engagement and industry alignment. 1WorldSync Annual User Groups ensures opportunity for community engagement and encourages user-led information sharing.

Driven by 1WorldSync experts coupled with leadership and guidance from our valued customers, 1WorldSync has a series of usergroups to capture the community needs and develop roadmaps towards industry betterment.

During the week of May 31- June 3, 1WorldSync held its Annual User Group, Americas and Joint Industry Council meetings in co-location with GS1 Connect in Washington DC. This event and all associated activities and workshops were very well organized and ushered remarkable customer attendance from the US/Canada to Germany, UK and Japan. Having such a diverse community, along with GDSN’s post Major Release 3 excitement, initiated very interesting discussions around today’s demand for omni-channel requirements and product content management.

I received many positive comments around 1WorldSync’s User Group workshops where many of our customers (Sam’s Club and The Kroger Co. to Target and Kellogg’s)  shared their experiences, opportunities and best practices. I was particularly pleased to see how well 1WorldSync customers eCommerce content acquisition strategy is aligned with 1WorldSync’s omni-channel strategy (linking  GDSN to Digital Commerce  requirements).

As a global organization, 1WorldSync hosts various community activities throughout the year. In fact, building on the momentum and success of 1WorldSync Annual User Group, Americas, we are in the final planning stages of 1WorldSync Annual User Group, Europe scheduled for September 19 – 20 in Berlin, Germany.

This is 1WorldSync’s largest event in Europe with over 200 community members from CPG, Retail, Foodservice, Healthcare and DIY industries discussing strategies on Data Quality, Supply Chain Enablement, Transparency, Compliance and Omni-Channel Commerce.

We will keep you fully engaged and informed on all our community events and will continue to invest in global community enablement and engagement.  In the meantime, I would like to thank 1WorldSync customers and partners for openly sharing their experiences and insight with the community. We all look forward to seeing you soon at our upcoming European event.

And the winner is… 1WorldSync gewinnt den Kölner Unternehmerpreis 2016

Zum neunten Mal schrieb der Wirtschaftsclub Köln den Unternehmerpreis aus, der am 07. Juni 2016 durch den EU-Kommissar für Digitale Wirtschaft, Dr. Günther Oettinger verliehen wurde. Der begehrte 1. Platz ging an 1WorldSync GmbH.

Die Auswahlkriterien für die Vergabe des Kölner Unternehmerpreises waren:

Das Unternehmen…

  • bekennt sich zum Standort Köln und zur Verantwortung von regionalen Arbeitsplätzen.
  • behauptet sich auf dem Markt und meistert Veränderungen und Anpassungen.
  • sichert mit seinen Gewinnen die eigene Zukunft.
  • stellt sich den Herausforderungen der digitalen Zukunft.
  • betreibt einen schonungsvollen und verantwortungsbewussten Umgang mit Ressourcen.
  • wirtschaftet nachhaltig und gesellschaftlich verantwortlich.

Als besonderes Kriterium wurde in diesem Jahr die Digitalisierung hervorgehoben.

Wir bedanken uns herzlich und freuen uns sehr über die Würdigung unseres Unternehmens hinsichtlich der Auswahlkriterien, denn als global agierendes Unternehmen, mit Hauptsitz in Köln, arbeitet 1WorldSync getreu dem Motto ‚think global – act local‘.

1WorldSync GmbH gewinnt den diesjährigen Kölner Unternehmerpreis

Transparency – The New Consumer and Corporate Social Mandate

For some time now we have been living in an era of Transparency. Transparency in our policies and procedures, transparency in the business practices we operate, and transparency in the products and services we buy in business and in our daily lives. The transparent manner in which consumers expect to discover, buy and express opinions about products or services is the new norm for any business that expects to flourish in the mobile social economy.

Product information is in demand throughout the entire discover-to-review lifecycle, and at virtually every touch point of the consumer experience. Understanding the importance and value of product information transparency and its accessibility is simple, however, delivering it efficiently and seamlessly is anything but simple. Businesses must revisit the manner in which product information is created, exploded, standardized, quality assured and syndicated to all parties that enable the consumer experience.

Consumer demand for transparency and accountability is forcing businesses and entire industries to revisit the way product information is sourced, aggregated, distributed and labeled. Years ago, the seller was in control as purchase decisions were based on the availability, convenience and brand. The paradigm has shifted, and with an abundance of choice in front of them, consumers are making selections not simply on brand or availability, but on the attributes about the product. 

Compounding this even further, a plethora of global legal and regulatory mandates have been put into place, requiring Brand Owners and Sellers to comply with product information centric regulations. For example, EU Food Regulation 1169 or FDA’s Unique Device Identification. Such regulations are another compelling force for companies all around the globe to take a closer look at the digital information chain that accompanies their products as they pass along transitional and new Omni-channels to market.

For 1WorldSync, product information transparency gets to the heart of everything we do. Our mission is to empower global businesses and consumers with trusted product information that enables improved decision making, efficiency, health and well-being.

Our Product Information Cloud platform purpose was built to deliver syndicated product information solutions and services to customers around the globe that rely on product information to power their businesses. For many of our 16,000 customers, the ability to mobilize a product information transparency program is a logical next step on top of the solid product information management foundations they have built with us over the last decade or more.

Every industry we operate in is actively investing in software and processes transformation that enables transparency. From the product development, to aggregation and management of product data at the manufacturer to setting up an item for sale at a retail or online store, to presenting that information to the consumer.

It is such a hot topic this year that we have made it the focus of our annual customer user conferences in both the USA at GS1 Connect, and in our EMEA customer event alongside ECR Europe this year.