Tag Archives: Connected Commerce

Shift or Reverse? Retail Is Alive!

Over the past couple of months, we have had some pretty significant changes to the retail/e-tail landscape. From mall staples shuttering their doors, to brand divestiture and IPOs going south.  It almost feels like the wild wild west. What has happened to change the landscape?  

Well it depends on the organization. Some took to embracing the future too far and lost who they were. Others did not change with the times and got stuck with their core competency shrinking.

When was the last time you went to a Sears or Kmart store? The announcement earlier last year announcing the closure of 265 stores was followed this announcing an additional 43 Sears & Kmart stores closing in 2017. They are no longer the new generations go to place when you need advice around tools or appliances.

Could these challenges have been stopped? Could companies like Sears have changed course? I could say yes, but the reality is that those driving the ships were the ones to initiate the change and not course correct. Even with some recent positive news around their deal to sell their Kenmore-branded appliances on Amazon, they are just another store, where you can now get their products online from Amazon.

I have been listening to experts for years talk about the end of retail. They have changed their tune and now call retail locations as assets to the omni or multi-channel commerce experience.   

1WorldSync and DiCentral set out earlier this year with a white-paper exploring how brick & mortar retailers can develop the operational backbone that supports e-commerce investments. On September 12 they will host a webinar in which we provide valuable tips for achieving operational excellence and a connected commerce approach.

It’s Just Commerce!

Since I was a toddler, I have been exposed to multiple paradigm shifts within the marketplace that in one way or another are an attempt to reinvent how we as consumers buy things.

For me, it started with going to stores, or shopping in a catalog and then blossomed into the world of connected commerce today. Recently when I stepped back from the daily act of using my phone or computer to research and buy products I came to a realization, the revolutionary experience I have been leveraging was not all that different from when commerce started.

Commerce took a turn for increased accessibility to products and a centralized way to purchase multiple goods/services from one location. Trust, reviews, availability and price were still the cornerstones of commerce.

Customers trusted the store to offer friendly advice (owners & employees), have products on the shelves and if the prices weren’t right, the customer went to a different store. The main thing that changed was how the products were brought to the customer.

First Came The Big Box Retailers

You no longer needed to be concerned with selection, because the big box had “everything’ you could want. Stores got bigger allowing for greater availability, lower prices, and product insights from media outlets (newspapers, TV, Radio).

E-commerce has shaped our relationship with how we buy and sell products, but at it’s core e-commerce is just next evolution of catalog shopping The innovation is not the method or even commerce itself, but an expansion on the idea of getting any item even from the comfort of your couch.  

Bridging the gap between digital and physical does present a challenge for the retailers/e-tailers etc. as they are looking to make the trust, availability, price and review experience seamless across all avenues of purchase.

From Brick To Click

1WorldSync recently completed a data study that highlighted some of the key challenges suppliers and retailers face when trying to achieve true cross-commerce capabilities.  and uncovered key insights into the struggles that are faced in today’s omni-channel world.

Key findings suggest that a majority of merchants and suppliers are not fully prepared to meet the varied demands of modern customers. 45% of merchants and suppliers have lost more than $1 million in revenue due to challenges faced when integrating cross-channel capabilities into their commerce strategy (Source: 1WorldSync Data Study).

You can read more here about how 1WorldSync can you make your products stand out in a very crowded Omni-Channel world.

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.

Shoptalk 2017 Recap

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

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

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

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

 

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

Essential 2017 Omni-Channel Tips: How to Beat The Competition In The Digital Era

There is no denying it…2016 was a rough year for various brick and mortar retailers. The 2016 holiday season  wasn’t as merry as industry pundits anticipated, resulting in the following store closures:

  • Hancock Fabrics:  Filed chapter 11; all 255 stores    
  • The Limited: Filed chapter 11; all 250 stores
  • Office Depot/Office Max – Merged; closed 400 stores
  • Sears / Kmart:  Closed 142 stores (10% of its store base)
  • Sports Authority: Filed chapter 11; all 140 stores
  • Macys: Closed 100 stores
  • American Eagle: Closed 150 stores   

The ‘Amazon’ Effect Takes a Bite Out of Brick & Mortar

The root of their problems may lie with a company that isn’t even competing with them for customers at the mall: Amazon.com. Amazon has been poised for success in its pursuit of relentless innovation and a seamless blend of the warehouse processing efficiencies with the e-commerce shopping experience.  

It is estimated that Amazon makes up about 7% of the U.S. apparel market, and that figure is predicted to increase to 19% by 2020 (Barrons 2016). Moreover, the 2016 “State of Amazon” study revealed that Amazon is often involved in almost all online shopping activities (Consumer Goods Technology 2016). Approximately 9 in 10 consumers will check Amazon even if they find a product they want on another retailer’s website.

Blurred Lines & Blended Commerce – The Changing Face of Retail

Today’s consumers float freely from physical shopping to virtual experiences as traditional and modern shopping models unify  into blended commerce. Pure e-commerce retailers are evaluating retail store fronts, while traditional brick and mortar retailers are rapidly pursuing online and mobile commerce channels.

“The shift in retail to the Internet is a huge change… every retail company is trying to manage the transition. It’s not well defined or understood and there’s no road map” said Simeon Gutman, a retailing analyst for Morgan Stanley (New York Times 2015).

Given the consumer’s lofty expectations for an integrated cross-channel shopping experience, there is a steady race to remain relevant in a hyper-competitive retail environment.

While Amazon is expanding its physical presence, Walmart is strengthening its ecommerce strides (eMarketer 2017).

At the beginning of 2017, Amazon announced that it will open its newest brick-and-mortar bookstore in New York City. At the same time, Jet.com – a Walmart subsidiary – announced that they purchased online footwear retailer ShoeBuy.

Achieving Operational Excellence Between Brick And Click

Clearly, today’s world of commerce requires a multi-pronged approach. Trying to match the convenience of Amazon with an integrated supply chain with personalized and trusted product content is no easy feat.

A connected commerce approach supports a harmonious model in which transactional and product data work together to optimize the supply chain process.

1WorldSync and DiCentral have set out to explore how brick & mortar retailers can develop the operational backbone that supports e-commerce investments.

Download their joint whitepaper now  and discover how to:

  • Equip your organizations with strategies that set leading digital commerce business apart
  • Connect cloud-based B2B integration with product content aggregation and syndication;
  • Achieve streamlined end-to-end digital commerce in a cost-effective and scalable manner.

References

  1. “Amazon Could Be Largest U.S. Company by 2020.” Barrons. 2 June 2016, http://www.barrons.com/articles/amazon-could-be-largest-u-s-company-by-2020-1464866783
  2. “Amazon Set to Dominate 2016 Holiday Shopping”. Consumer Goods Technology. 27 September 2016. https://consumergoods.com/amazon-set-dominate-2016-holiday-shopping
  3. “Walmart Plays Catch-Up with Amazon.” New York Times, October 22, 2015. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/23/business/walmart-plays-catch-up-with-amazon.html?_r=0
  4. “Omnichannel 2017: Amazon and Walmart Make Moves”. EMarketer. 9 Jan 2017. https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Omnichannel-2017-Amazon-Walmart-Make-Moves/1015000