Alibaba’s Astounding Success In Changing The Face Of Global E-Commerce

Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, ranks as the world’s 18th richest man and 1st in Asia. He is worth $37.4 billion, according to the Forbes real-time billionaires list. His formula for success?

“I’m not a tech guy. I’m looking at the technology with the eyes of my customers, normal people’s eyes.”

Tapping Into New Market Potential With Alibaba…Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’!

On Sept. 8, at the party commemorating Alibaba’s 18th birthday, the Chinese e-commerce mogul, paid an ambitious tribute to the ultimate showman – Michael Jackson.

He has a reason to celebrate his company’s 18th birthday in style. The company’s stock has endured a rally since January 2017, and its valuation recently passed the $400 billion mark—putting it just a short distance behind Amazon. Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall e-commerce sites offer everything via distributors; from clothing and electronics to food and services on the platforms.  

“By year 2035, we will be the fifth largest economy in the world,” Jack Ma says of Alibaba.

A couple years ago, Ma outlined Alibaba’s strategy during a speech at the Economics Club of New York, according to company president Michael Evans.

“Our (Alibaba’s) U.S. strategy is not to sell products to U.S. consumers. Our U.S. strategy is to connect retailers, brands and small businesses with the Chinese consumer,” Evan said. “Our edge is a massive base of consumers in China, more than 500 million of which are on our platform. As that consumer base moves in the middle class, one thing we know, based on our data and activity on our platform today, is that they are more and more focused on buying high quality American products.”

Alibaba’s ‘New Retail’ Concept: Black Or White?

Alibaba Founder and Chairman Jack Ma coined the term “New Retail” in a letter to Alibaba’s shareholders in October last year. Ma said, “Pure e-commerce will be reduced to a traditional business and replaced by the concept of New Retail―the integration of online, offline, logistics and data across a single value chain.” We believe that this is very much how next-generation commerce will look globally, with large retailers and niche category specialists leveraging technology to provide an integrated service with the consumer at its core.

The “New Retail” concept adopts advanced cloud computing technologies, including big data and artificial intelligence (AI) to study the data generated from various aspects of the brands. This will greatly improve the online and offline buying experience for consumers.

Gain Control Over Your Product Content..Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough!

You may or may not sell your products on Alibaba platforms directly but your products may be currently sold by distributors on Alibaba. This is why it’s in your utmost interest as brand owner to gain back control over the quality and comprehensiveness of the product content used by the distributors selling your products.

Alibaba and 1WorldSync Call For Trusted Content

To help Alibaba in their quest for an improved product experience driven by brand identity and quality standards, they brought 1WorldSync, the trusted global source of authentic product content, on board. The goal is to improve the accuracy and trustworthiness of product content and therefore protecting brands against counterfeiters.

Learn more about how to tap into new market potential with Alibaba!

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.

Great News for 1WorldSync Customers! Amazon Sources Product Attributes Via The GDSN

Last week, I attended a webinar where Amazon announced that they will begin sourcing attributes via the GDSN with 1WorldSync as their content strategy provider.

Amazon is clearly committed to providing accurate and complete product content to consumers via Amazon.com marketplace. As a testament to this commitment, they are working with 1WorldSync to receive enriched, standardized product content through the data synchronization process.

Amazon leverages Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) product content to:

  • Improve attribute completeness and accuracy of the product data listed on the Amazon catalog
  • Reduce defects that arise as a result of inconsistent or poor quality product data
  • Decrease turnaround time for attribute changes

During the webinar, they announced that they are working initially with thirty companies to receive this information. This will act as the foundation to feed the future state when more data will be integrated.

How do you prepare to meet Amazon’s product content requirements?

  1. Commit to your product content journey and GDSN initiative.  It’s more important than ever to commit to your product content journey to ensure your product content is robust, accurate, and complete to meet the continually changing mandates and regulations and meet the needs of the end consumer.
  2. Leverage ONE solution. 1WorldSync is the only company working to feed Amazon GDSN and eCommerce data. You cannot keep up with the ever increasing demand for product content, unless you have a holistic strategy that addresses the entire project. There are many companies that are trying to address parts and pieces, but there is only one company that addresses the whole thing and addresses it on a global scale.
  3. Create a cross-functional team and work together on your product content strategy. You may be solely responsible for GDSN data, however now is your opportunity to demonstrate the value of the GDSN data. Work with your eCommerce, marketing and even Amazon team to ensure you have a strategy in place to get Amazon and other retailers the product content they’re demanding.
  4. Act now! The majority of consumers look to the Amazon Marketplace to learn more about the products they buy.  1WorldSync is working with Amazon to collect ALL product content needed to make your product discoverable.  Develop a roadmap to collect and send Amazon (and all of your other recipients) additional product content today!    

The time is now! It’s time to get your product content strategy in order now and take full advantage of 2018.

Learn more about the completeness and quality of the product content supplied via the GDSN and how you can provide an automated process to manage and distribute your product content to Amazon.

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!

The Connected Consumer and the Changing Face of Commerce

In their fourth annual report, the Walker Sands retail practice team tapped the insights of more than 1,600 U.S. consumers, uncovering how technology is changing consumer behaviors – and how consumer behaviors are transforming the customer experience for retail brands in 2017.

The study reveals that the connected consumer and voice controlled devices are the future of retail in 2017 and as retailers struggle to stay ahead of consumer desires, their biggest challenge will be evolving at scale as technology continues to disrupt the industry.

The consumer is changing again, and the future of retail is now about much more than just online shopping. Technology like connected home devices, virtual reality, streaming television services, voice ordering and drones have made digital shopping easier and more integrated into everyday life.

So where is commerce headed in the age of the connected consumer? What do brands, retailers and manufacturers need to know about their shifting audiences?

Predictions For The Future Of Retail

The shift to the connected consumer shows no signs of slowing down, and buying habits are transforming. Retail isn’t just about when customers are ready to buy anymore– it’s a constant engagement with technology and experiences that drives the future of commerce. Based on the 2017 Walker Sands Future of Retail 2017 findings, we predict these three trends will shape the future of retail in the years ahead.

  1. As consumers become even more connected, they will demand a more transparent and continuous commerce experience from retailers. The walls between channels will continue to fall as connectively becomes ubiquitous, and consumers fluidly move from one medium to another.
  2. Voice ordering will drive a new era of commerce, and brands will have to learn how to navigate a landscape that doesn’t have a traditional user interface. “Zero UI” will transform the customer experience and further heighten customer expectations.
  3. The in-store experience won’t go away, but it will shift as retailers blur the lines between physical and digital stores. The two worlds will be linked by authentic brand experiences that allow customers to move seamlessly between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar shopping.

While the future of retail was once all about the e-commerce experience, online shopping has become so commonplace that it’s now an assumed retailer capability. The future is now being shaped by the connected consumer and the increasingly ubiquitous nature of technology. In this always-on environment, brands must themselves be always on – not just online, but everywhere their customers go.

Compete With Trusted Product Content Your Customers Can Rely On

1WorldSync delivers rich and trusted product content, including digital assets and insights – to engage customers and consumers – regardless of location or medium.

While the study revealed several interesting stats around smartphone penetration, free shipping and voice commerce, those around the importance of product content appealed most to me.  

Future of Retail Statistics Implications
35% of consumers would be more likely to use a mobile app if it had more in-depth product information. Merchants who are unable to provide complete and consistent product information are losing consumers, as they also recognize disparities across platforms. This leads to a lack of trust.
46% of consumers prefer to shop online, instead of in-store, including mobile and voice commerce. Today, retailers can sell their products on so many different channels. Because of this, it’s crucial that product content comes from one consistent and accurate location.

 

To take a deep dive into the world of today’s consumer and the changing shape of the commerce landscape, download Walker Sands’ 2017 Future of Retail study today!

Amazon’s Continued Content Attribute Explosion

According to a recent report by Kenshoo, 72% of consumers visit Amazon before making a purchase. In fact, shoppers start their product research nearly 2X more often on Amazon than Google  (BloomReach 2016). 

It’s  more important than ever  your product content is highly discoverable on Amazon. Content is what connects you to your customer and,  more importantly, to  potential customers on their  critical  path to purchase.

Amazon announced it will begin sourcing attributes via the GDSN with 1WorldSync.

Amazon has invited a select group of suppliers to participate and they working closely to expand the group to include more suppliers and attributes in the near future. Amazon is now able to receive enriched, standardized product content through the data synchronization process enabling Amazon to:

  • Receive product content and changes in real time, speeding item setup from days to hours
  • Leverage brand owner GDSN core product content already available to help ensure product content accuracy, consistency and completeness
  • Leverage the GDSN rules and validations to ensure data quality

Leverage your GDSN product data to build a foundation for sending product content to Amazon!

Leveraging your GDSN product data to build a foundation for sending product content to Amazon saves time and ensures that consistent information will be sent all recipients.

Currently that content attributes ingested to Amazon’s Vendor Central are ingredient statements, nutrient type code, daily value intake percent, measurement precision code and quantity contained and UOM. The Amazon technology roadmap includes mapping more GDSN attributes, so it’s time to get started today!

Provide More Content to Amazon and Beyond

Consistent and fully populated product content allows your products to get discovered!

When you increase product content discoverability, you increase your brand awareness. It’s a fly wheel- but it starts with product content…

So why not leverage the GDSN data you have today and get it to Amazon? Ready to leverage your GDSN and get your products discovered by Amazon…..Learn more today!

References

http://go.bloomreach.com/rs/243-XLW-551/images/state-of-amazon-2016-report.pdf

Connecting the Label to E-Commerce

Think about how you shop.  Chances are, you’re online.  And you’re not alone.  Now, in order to establish a successful packaging and labeling strategy, companies have to understand the multiple product data distribution channels they have at their disposal.

Product content transparency is critical in the path to purchase from discovery to delight.  Today’s consumers are increasingly active participants in product attribution, basing their purchasing decisions on information beyond the standard product label to attributes like ingredient origins and composition.

They report social media, mobile apps, and other digital sources are key components of their purchasing behaviors.  They rely on this product data to give them visibility into and information about how a product aligns with their preferences.

BLUE Software  & 1WorldSync: Powerful Alone, Better Together

So, for next month, BLUE and 1WorldSync have packaged up (pun intended) everything you need to know about product data transparency – learning what it means, understanding its implications, and taking a look at the tools you have at your disposal to ensure product data accuracy and distribute product data through multiple consumer communication channels.   We’ll explore how companies can present up-to-date, accurate product images and information including item descriptions, nutritional information, ingredients, marketing claims, and warnings to maintain consumer confidence and encourage a purchase decision.

BLUE Software, the leading provider of label and artwork management (LAM) solutions, and 1WorldSync, the leading multi-enterprise product information network, have partnered to deliver turnkey solutions to address the growing demands of e-commerce to their large customer base.

 BLUE’s advanced Label and Artwork Management solution stores the final, approved and audited digital file with all product information required for e-commerce, retailers and customers alike. 1WorldSync, the worldwide leader in product data syndication, pulls this product information from BLUE, and distributes it across all of your company’s trading networks.

The end result? When a shopper scans a QR code on a package or searches for their product online, he or she is presented with up-to-date, accurate product images and information including item descriptions, nutritional information, ingredients, marketing claims and warnings.

We’ll also showcase real world business cases and discuss how these companies have leveraged technology solutions to deliver product content data across multiple platforms – ultimately meeting product revenue objectives.

Learn More! Register For Our Webinar

Join BLUE’s Chief Product Officer, Stephen Kaufman, and 1WorldSync’s Vice President of Professional Services, Tammy O’Donnell, on Wednesday, October 4, when they’ll discuss how to:

  • Deliver rich, robust product content directly from the package to the palms of consumers’ hands
  • Synchronize real time consumer messages and accurate product information including ingredients, marketing claims, item descriptions, etc.
  • Leverage cutting edge, digital platforms to maintain consumer confidence and encourage a purchasing decision

Click here to learn more and save your spot.

How Real-World Retailers Can Better Compete With Ecommerce

With an influx of consumer purchasing decisions driving ecommerce today, retail stores are struggling to find innovative ways to keep consumers walking through their doors. Small businesses must take action in order to survive the digital evolution. Fortunately, by targeting the right consumers there are optimal ways brick-and-mortar retailers can thrive.

The Power of Touch

Stores definitely have the upper hand when it comes to physical interaction with a product. No matter how advanced ecommerce sites become with 360 degree visualization and high resolutions images, nothing compares to a consumer’s ability to touch, feel, and have a full hands-on experience with the products they are interested in buying. A majority of average shoppers, approximately 78 percent worldwide, prefer the initial engagement with the product rather than a virtual one (Retail Customer Experience, 2017).

But Retailer, I Want It Now!

We all have those Veruca Salt tendencies where we want things NOW! Brick-and-mortar stores definitely excel in that aspect. Take the Hema Supermarkets owned by Alibaba, for example. They’ve redefined the shopper’s experience by integrating online and offline shopping, deeming it “New Retail” (Alizila, 2017).

As part of the shopping experience, everything is powered by their mobile app. They can seamlessly order their groceries, check to see if it’s available in store, find detailed product content by scanning a barcode, and get everything they need within seconds. If retailers continue to incorporate consumer efficiency into their path of purchase, they will continue to have buyers walking through their doors.

The Comeback

As ecommerce businesses like Amazon continue to set the bar high in terms of availability, delivery, and speed, that doesn’t mean all other shopping experiences like in-store are doomed. In fact, many predict a comeback with 54 percent of shoppers confirming they still prefer it (Future of Retail, 2017).

Amazon may impress consumers with drone and same-day grocery delivery. However, the new generation of shoppers who grew up as millennials crave authentic experiences. A more personalized shopping experience is achievable in traditional brick-and-mortar stores in a similar analytical fashion as online retailers. Retailers that feature both in-store and online shopping experiences are now tracking behavioral purchasing patterns from online all the way to the door.

For example, Sephora, a major cosmetics company inhibits both aspects. The consumer is tracked via a Beauty Insider card that the consumer provides each time they make a purchase whether it’s in-store or online. If they are purchasing online, once they log into their Beauty Insider and begin buying makeup, it automatically tracks the type of makeup they like to buy. Once you arrive at the store, it pulls that buying history from your account and begins offering recommendations via Sephora’s Visual Artist, which is an in-store augmented reality 3D facial recognition program.

The Future of Retail

In the not-so-distant future, we may even be able to expect same-day drone delivery, robot customer service and more. One thing is for certain…Companies will only continue to develop ways to intrigue consumers via a connected commerce approach.

 

References

 

Why Supply Chain Transparency is Critical to Your Business and Customer Loyalty

Food companies are facing unprecedented pressure to provide supply chain transparency not only to comply with FSMA and other regulations but to earn customer trust and loyalty.

A recent FoodLogiQ survey of 2,000+ consumers revealed that supply chain transparency by food companies is a critical driver in consumer purchasing decisions and brand loyalty.

But transparency is not achieved overnight, especially for food companies with with complex global supply chains. We are living in a technological atmosphere where information moves fast, and consumers are more aware about the food they eat and the companies they patronize. If a company is faced with a recall or a foodborne illness; the direct costs, lost of sales and brand damage can be staggering.

But there are ways for food companies to not only provide the transparency consumers are demanding but also make it part of their strategic business initiatives to protect their supply chain.

To help support this transparency, FoodLogiQ has partnered with 1WorldSync. Together, we offer a whole-chain traceability solution backed by product information that delivers transparency while tackling food safety and compliance issues.

On September 21st, join industry leaders from FoodLogiQ and 1WorldSync for a compelling webinar on:

  • The challenges and market forces in delivering safe and quality food products to the consumer and driving supply chain transparency
  • How companies are adopting transparency and traceability to drive business goals
  • The technology and skills needed to ensure customer loyalty while protecting your brand

We will present the results of the FoodLogiQ survey, A Food Company’s Guide to What Consumers Care About in the Age of Transparency and answer your questions about what leading food companies are doing to meet their transparent supply chain initiatives. We can help you create business value and decrease risk across your supply chain.

 

 

Happy Anniversary, 1WorldSync!

Last  week marked a special milestone: 1WorldSync’s 5th anniversary.

Looking back, 5 years ago the Board of Directors (GS1US and GS1 Germany) created the world’s largest trusted product information platform through a joint venture that united SA2 and 1Sync to form 1WorldSync.

Here are some highlights of our successes as an organization:

  • 25,000+ Customers
  • 65+ Countries
  • 200+ Employees
  • 7 Offices Worldwide
  • 1,825 Days of Industry Leading Service

It is amazing to think about how far the industry, the marketplace and our organization has come in five years. The value of high quality and timely product information is more valuable than ever. New entrants have emerged, some to partner, others to compete. We continue to work closely with our growing global customer community to listen, learn and serve them most effectively.

Most important to our success as a joint venture are all of you as members of the 1WorldSync team. Our growth in this journey will come from building on what we learn from each other as a 1WorldSync team.

Celebrate the Power of 1 and our continued growth as a company! The Power of 1 adds up to empowering our customer with trusted content to make informed decisions, health, and well being. Trustworthy content. Anytime, Anywhere.

I look forward to what we can accomplish going forward!

Best Regards,

Karin Borchert, CEO of 1WorldSync