Category Archives: Asia

NHS continues with GDSN implementation plans

The NHS (National Health Service England) announced in their January 2017 Case Study they will continue with their Global Data Synchronization Network™ (GDSN) roll-out now.

The Case Study confirms that GDSN is the right process to deploy for manufacturers to send all their product content to 154 trusts in the UK; with official implementations deadlines as early as September 2017 for the initial product categories.  Continue reading

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.

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

“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

Don’t Click ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button on Google after May 16, unless you’re using GTINs!

It’s that time of year…spring is in the air.  YoYo weather (hot one day, snow the next), debating the merits of iPhone6 vs iPhone 7, and counting the days until the Olympic Games in Rio.

But more importantly (really!), we’re waiting with baited breath for May 16 – the day the heavens will open on Google Shopping.   For those of you who need a refresher:

“If you sell brand-name products that are sold by multiple merchants, you should take a close look at the new requirements and double-check that your product data is correct and up-to-date.”

Bottom line: If you are promoting products that have Global Trade Item Numbers (GTIN), now is the time to make sure your feeds are updated to include them. Because come May 16, 2016, Google Shopping will start disapproving relevant products that don’t meet the GTIN requirements.  And this isn’t just for the U.S.  GTINs will be required when targeting ads in Australia, Brazil, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.

Doing it Now. You’re probably already including some of these, GTINs for most products in your feed for years. In mid-2015, Google Shopping started requiring all sellers who used its Google Shopping Campaigns to use GTINs in their product data for all SKUs across 50 handpicked brands. But now you need to include it for everything that’s a new brand-name product sold by multiple merchants.

What’s really important (and where 1WorldSync can really help) is that with this new GTIN update, Google Shopping is affirming the importance of data quality, which as we have learnt from experience contributes towards retailers’ bottom lines in more ways than one.

Shoppers Today: As consumers search and shop in-store and online, they expect access to richer product information to make informed decisions. They rely on trusted product information about products and services that may impact their health, belief systems, or nutritional well-being.

At 1WorldSync, we’ve been helping thousands and thousands of Retailers and Brands to align on the product information governance strategy to apply GTIN standardization, AND implement for google and beyond.

Talk to us about how we can help you map the product information footprint of your customer base, to win in the YoYo world that blurs the line between digital and physical commerce.

Technology, Transparency & Trust

The Three Pillars Defining Our Age

In our last blog, we discussed current pressures impacting the consumer markets, including the FDA’s Public Law 111-353 through its “Food Safety Modernization Act”, as well as from other governmental and ‘watchdog’ groups’ reviewing the food industry.

But we are now living in an age that is going beyond government mandates, because whether you are in the automobile or the peanut butter business, Transparency & Trust have become ‘headline’ concerns not just for regulators but ever more, and no less importantly, for consumers. And, in light of the latest news from the automotive industry, we must now acknowledge the irrefutable reality that there are, beyond government penalties, other consequences for brand equity and the managers who manage it.

In the recent past, most business have lived in the “IT” or Information Technology era, with an emphasis on the ‘T’- the technology aspect of the collection and storage of data. Advances in technology are now pushing us toward the Information (‘I’) age or Zettabyte epoch where the capture, storage and retrieval of information, and its access to all, is virtually unlimited. In this evolving new age, the mantra is … ‘If information can be known … it will be known!’

For today’s ‘Connected Consumer’, the entire universe of information is only a click away. Social media platforms, blogs and apps are keeping everyone constantly connected. Individuals increasingly feel the need to know—and share —everything. Whether its product reviews, political opinions, a family vacation, a dinner pic, or even their innermost thoughts, people are living their lives completely out in the open, laying bare all manner of minutiae online. And, while brands are noticing and looking for new ways to create corresponding connections they, too, are being laid bare.

As a result, consumers today are personally experiencing and demanding Transparency, before giving Trust. For a brand or a business, Trust from their customers and employees is critical. Transparency, is now an information technology mechanism that allows Connected Consumers access to information that defines a certain innate dissonance which always exists between disbelief and belief. Technology and Transparency therefore combine to determine the level –and increasingly a measurable level– of ‘Trust’ that is so critical to the success of a business and a brand.

Russell Ackoff, a noted academic and business consultant, often chided his students and clients to “stop doing the wrong things righter and do the right things.” Technology, Transparency & Trust are forcing marketplace change— a change that no longer allows a business to do the wrong things righter to enhance the P&L—it is a change that requires business to do the right things.

Hail the Consumer!

To learn more:
Brand
Etailer

As Global Vice President for the Consumer Markets, Michael Forhez, who recently joined 1WorldSync, brings 20 plus years of diversified experience in sales, marketing and management consulting. Frequently called upon to write and speak on subjects germane to the consumer markets, Michael is currently responsible for evangelizing 1WorldSync offerings within the Consumer Products and Retail sectors while engaging various stakeholders to better understand their collective requirements.

1WorldSync Annual User Group, Europe

The 2015 Annual User Group, Europe was a fun and informative event, bringing 184 participants from 89 companies and 18 countries together for a day of collaboration and sharing! Our key theme was: “Be efficient, Be compliant, Be transparent”.
The event kicked off with a networking boat cruise and the EMEA Power of 1 Awards.
This year’s winners include:
  • Data Quality – Dr. Oetker
  • GDSN Adoption – Robert Bosch GmbH
  • Innovation – Mars, Incorporated
  • Compass Award – David Sheldon, Nestle
The AUG agenda was packed with the first industry workshops for DIY, Healthcare and FMCG/Foodservice. Customer and partner speakers for the plenary sessions included Google, Mars, Lansa, SCA, Jorg Pretzel of GS1 Germany, The World Customs Organisation, and KPMG
PicMonkey Collage
Visit the 1WorldSync Annual User Group site to read more.

Food Safety has Life-Altering Consequences

History was made this week as a former CEO received the largest penalty ever for a food poisoning outbreak case because his product contained a deadly disease. This ruling will inevitably cause a fundamental shift in how future outbreaks are handled, by the courts and the foodservice industry alike. Food manufacturers are now on high alert that there are major repercussions for not complying with food safety regulations.

Continue reading