Tag Archives: CPG

The Struggle to Overcome Cross-Channel Commerce Challenges is Real

1WorldSync Omni-Channel Data Study: Charting Course for Global Commerce

A new data study commissioned by 1WorldSync highlighted some of the key challenges suppliers and retailers face when trying to achieve true cross-commerce capabilities.  The study surveyed 400 merchants and suppliers from Europe and the U.S. with more than $500 million in annual revenue, and uncovered key insights into the struggles that are faced in today’s omni-channel world.

As the global $1.9 trillion e-commerce landscape continues to expand, companies are facing difficulties successfully managing cross-channel commerce across continents, supply chains, and software systems, and are losing revenue as a result. Some even doubt the value of investing in these capabilities. In a key finding nearly half of global merchants and suppliers report having lost at least a million dollars in revenue to cross-channel commerce challenges.

The study sheds light on the apparent struggles both ends of the supply chain face in a fast paced market places where Artificial Intelligence, and online/mobile commerce emerge as top trends for consumers.

Merchants and Suppliers Face Significant Roadblocks in Navigating Cross-Channel Commerce

Key findings suggest that a majority of merchants and suppliers are not fully prepared to meet the varied demands of modern customers. Channel readiness is a significant struggle throughout the supply chain as e-commerce continues to evolve. Other data highlights include:

  • Future investment plans don’t address current e-commerce weakness: Forty-five percent of merchants and suppliers have lost more than $1 million in revenue due to cross-channel commerce challenges, and more than one in ten (13 percent) have lost more than $3 million.
  • Lack of content solutions hamper success: Half of merchants and suppliers do not use a third-party content provider, which hinders their ability to syndicate product content across channels and platforms.
  • Merchants lag when it comes to cross-channel commerce: Fifty-one percent of merchants cannot support mobile commerce, and 80 percent don’t integrate product information management across web, mobile, applications, and physical stores.

Market Leaders Show the Path Forward

While many merchants and suppliers surveyed struggle with different aspects of the retail experience, there are clear lessons to be learned from market leaders (defined as companies that complete 51 percent or more of sales online). For companies looking to learn from these market leaders and upgrade their e-commerce capabilities, top action items include:

  • Invest now in cross-channel capabilities: Sixty-five percent of market leaders have dedicated more than 30 percent of their commerce budget to digital and mobile commerce expansion in the last year. Today, 73 percent of merchant market leaders can fully execute mobile commerce, nearly 20 percent more than market laggards. Investments here help in the short and long term.
  • Engage with a third-party content provider: Eighty percent of market leaders use a third-party content provider, which is undoubtedly one reason this group reports greater visibility between trading partners.
  • Migrate to the cloud: Ninety-five percent of supplier market leaders use a cloud-based product information system, which simplifies the online sales process and enhances supply chain efficiency.

Blurred Lines & Blended Commerce – The Changing Face of Retail

“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).

Download a copy of our full data study here.

The Evolution of Online Shopping Through a Millennial’s Eyes

It’s no secret that over the last decade, online shopping has evolved in ways we (millennials) could not have imagined. Growing up in what may now be classified as the “Digital Age”, technology has allowed e-commerce to virtually customize the way we shop.

We millennials have not only conformed the way all generations have learned to shop online but we’ve also forced industries to adapt this new transformation. For example, if I wanted to go to the mall and buy makeup I would have to physically try it on, see if I like it, and then buy it at the store. Now that millennials have eclipsed all generations from the way we communicate, access information, and live our lives on a daily basis, cosmetic etailers and app providers have even gone as far as offering facial scanning programs; allowing consumers to fill out a form based on their skin type and face shape. They even offer certain brands and products based on the user’s characteristics. If this is the new face of online shopping, it makes me wonder…what did online shopping look like before the connected consumer era? So, I decided to investigate.

E-commerce sites continue to improve in user experience and lifestyle. Current e-commerce statistics state that 40 percent of worldwide internet users have bought products or goods online via desktop, mobile, tablet or other online devices (Statista, 2016). This amounts to more than 1 billion online buyers and is projected to continuously grow. Let’s be honest… “ain’t nobody got time to go to the mall and shop!” It becomes time consuming and you are never guaranteed to find exactly what you are looking for. Been there, done that. What did people do before online shopping existed?!

Through a Millennial’s eyes, here are “5 ways millennials have helped change the way we shop”.

1. “We Know Everything” – Shoppers know as much as Salespeople
I can’t tell you how many times I hear… “Millennials think they know everything”. Well, maybe we do!

Then: When going to the mall to shop was the only option people had, they relied heavily on the salesperson’s expertise to advise them on what they needed to buy and all the features of items offered in that store.

Now: With the magical power of Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other wonderful search engines, we have the option of doing our own research and have become “smart shoppers”.  We have the potential and capability to know when we are getting a good deal. After all, every moment in a consumer’s purchasing decision journey matters.

2. Retailers now know everything too!

Then: Apparently, the introduction of retail began with retailers and shopkeepers getting to know their customer’s preferences and needs based on face-to-face interactions. Sounds a bit horse and buggy to me.

Now: In the world of connected commerce, a phone, tablet, or computer can do just that.  E-commerce sites, such as Amazon, integrate customization features that recommend products based on your interests and your online behavior paths. Ultimately, these features allow companies to appropriately offer suggestions and get to know their customers more personally based on their interests.

3. Mobile devices drive foot traffic to stores

Then: Finding the right stores with the right products you needed was either based on familiarity or luck.

Now: It’s much easier nowadays to find a product in a specific store you’re near, right at the touch of your fingertips. Most retail websites such as Target, have features that allow customers to find a store near them that carries the product they’re looking for, pay for it online, and pick it up in-store. Mobile makes it much quicker and more efficient to find exactly what you need while also providing store location information and a product finder all in one.

4. Nothing wrong with a little bit of gossip!

Then: Word of mouth influenced purchase decisions and most retailers relied upon these in order to boost sales. Personal references help, but the retailer could not directly influence.

Now: Word of mouth is a very influential factor. We share our thoughts, opinions and reviews on products within our YouTube, Instagram and Twitter community. This has affected the beauty industry tremendously with the boom of famous beauty gurus uploading “Hit or Miss” tutorials, giving their honest opinions on products and whether they are worth the price or quality. This could affect the reputations of cosmetic brands, if they have bad reviews. It can also provide them with major opportunities to position their brand towards specific targets. I’ve seen products literally fly off the shelves because of these YouTuber’s influence and the “must-have” opinions they give.

5. Products jump off the screen at you!

Then: Paper advertisements and the internet gave an image of what the product looked like but nothing can replace the actual physical feeling of a product and seeing it right in front of you.

Now: Personally, I believe there is still truth to this. Even today, a lot of sites have really stepped up their game when it comes to displaying what a product looks like before you purchase it. Products now have live 360° videos and imagery and zoom capabilities giving the shopper a better sense of what the item really looks like (Think with Google, 2014).

As you can see, we’ve come a long way since the introduction of the internet. As a result, retailers have undergone a digital transformation to meet the needs of today’s online shopping. Living through the differences in what it “used to be” compared to “now” makes us think about how much we rely on technology when it comes to shopping. E-commerce has revolutionized the way we buy and provides shoppers with a more convenient and personalized way to access what they need. At the end of the day, great shopping sites exist because of advances in technology and companies who have conformed to provide accessible, reliable product information to consumers as and when they need it.

A Virtual Trip Down the Grocery Aisle – How Consumer Shopping Trends are Shifting

Got the list?  Check.  Got the coupons?  Check.  Grab the kids and off you go for a thrilling ride to the local grocery store.  Up and down the aisles, comparing labels, mentally calculating totals and if you’re lucky, you’ll be unloading those groceries about 2 hours later.  Sounds like a fun Saturday.  Fortunately, for many, there’s some relief in the form of online groceries and it’s revolutionizing the way people shop.

And while technology has brought the supermarket to consumers’ fingertips online, there is also a digital wave happening within the aisles of the store, as we see mobile become part of that same shopping experience.

Really, you ask?  Take a look at some recent stats.

  • Nearly one-third of shoppers say they would use various forms of digital technology if it were offered at their grocery store. The most desired offering shoppers would like to see is an app that provides the ability to order items not available in store and the ability to scan items as they shop in order to bypass checkout.
  • Thirty-six percent of shoppers are interested in using an app or web portal to preorder prepared foods they can pick up at the store.
  • More than 40% of shoppers report buying grocery purchases online at least once a month.

Since most shoppers are never far from their smartphones, online ordering is easier. Plus, there simply are more ways to shop online for food and other household products. Certainly, digital changes are disrupting the way consumers shop and eat. Healthy living products, including dietary supplements such as vitamins, minerals, herbs and other botanicals, amino acids and metabolites, as well as cosmetics, organic body and personal care products, pet products, sports nutrition and health foods are more readily available.  And just by virtue of the wide availability means that comparison shopping (prices, ingredients, etc.) is far easier.  That’s great news for consumers who are busier, pickier and far more demanding than ever.

The CPG and Foodservice industry landscapes continue to transform and grow and the demand for transparency of product information is more important than ever before. 1WorldSync solutions for transparency and compliance, such as the SmartLabel solution, can help those businesses meet these demands, regulations and ultimately, free up those crowded grocery store aisles.

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.

Roses are red, violets are blue, I love chocolate but I’m allergic to glu (ten)

‘Tis the season. You romantics might know it as Valentine’s Day, but for us chocolate lovers, its chocolate month. It’s everywhere you look. Giant and small, in heart-shaped and square boxes, accompanied by various t-shirt wearing stuffed animals, and in weird and wonderful shapes (I’m looking at you chocolate heart-shaped key). For a chocolate lover like me, this has always been the most wonderful time of the year…until this year. When I found out that I have an intolerance to gluten, I was afraid it was going to put a bit of a damper on my ability to indulge in the libations of the season. Lucky for me, the U.S. FDA has a law requiring gluten-free products to be labeled, so I know exactly which chocolate heart-shaped keys I can happily enjoy, and those that I can’t. This got me thinking about my beloved chocolate, and labels, and what ingredients are in the products I know and love.

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1WorldSync Annual User Group Europe is just around the corner!

This year the 2015 Annual User Group Europe will be co-located with GS1 Germany’s ECR Tag at the World Conference Center in Bonn, Germany. Join us for an evening of networking and a full day (September  21 – 22) of engagement with your trading partners and industry peers. At AUG Europe, we will help you gain knowledge on critical implementation practices and intelligence on CPG/Grocery. Hardlines and Healthcare industry insights and trends. If your role involves a focus in Master Data Quality, Regulatory Compliance, Supply Chain Processes or E-commerce, then this conference is for you!

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Regulatory Compliance and Beyond

Globally, businesses are experiencing the same challenge: they need robust, trusted, accurate product information. Consumers are demanding it, trading partners are requiring it, and governments are mandating it. While meeting consumer and customer demands are certainly a driver for change, regulatory mandates with tangible repercussions for non-compliance push businesses into action.

Organizations all over the world are being driven by local, federal, and global regulations to streamline their product information distribution systems for accuracy and transparency. Its impacting multiple industries; EU1169 in the foodservice and FMCG/CPG industry, UDI in the Healthcare industry, GHS in the DIY/Hardlines industry. Organizations are being compelled to act and in the process of assessing the scope and impact, are seizing the opportunity to achieve additional benefits.

Global organizations are seeing that readying product information for regulatory compliance comes with valuable byproducts. As internal systems are evaluated and streamlined to achieve compliance, additional business benefits are being achieved; supply chains are becoming optimized for efficiency, processes for data quality and accuracy are being implemented, and e-comm initiatives are being powered and supported. Product information is becoming rich, robust, accurate and readily available to customers and consumers alike, and businesses are becoming more efficient, compliant, and transparent.

Mondelez International is a shining example of how readying product information for regulatory compliance can transform systems and enable trusted, transparent product information exchange. Their approach of implementing a single global solution across all markets not only prepared their data for EU1169 compliance, but empowered their business for critical omni-channel initiatives. Read more about how Mondelez International met their regulatory deadline and then some!

Transparency in the Era of Mobile and Social

Blog originally featured in Supply & Demand Chain Executive business magazine on July 7, 2015.

Information flows quicker and easier than it ever did before. Long gone are the days when we heard about yesterday’s news in the morning paper. Asking someone for directions seems like a quaint ritual of our parents. Asking a hotel concierge for dining recommendations feels like a chore.

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Transforming the Global Healthcare Landscape

Blog originally featured in Supply & Demand Chain Executive business magazine on July 20, 2015.

The effects of inaccurate product information across the supply chain are tremendous, particularly in the healthcare industry where its implications can mean the difference between wellness and illness, life and death. In recent years, the impact of flawed product information ricocheted through the healthcare supply chain, resulting in significant challenges to the industry, driving increases in operational costs and impacting the quality of patient care.

Healthcare reform, increased transparency and traceability requirements, and poor data quality are just a few of the elements that are contributing to greater costs of doing business for healthcare organizations. In the meantime, product recalls, market withdrawals and safety alerts weakened government and consumer trust in the industry, resulting in greater scrutiny and heavier governmental regulation. In an industry that is global by nature, the necessity for a standardized approach to supply chain management is imperative to keep costs down, and ensure the safety and well-being of end recipients.

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Annual Congress 2014 Cologne

1WorldSync Annual Congress – Stay Connected!

One of my favorite events at 1WorldSync is the Annual Congress in Cologne, Germany. Last year, I was impressed by the variety of topics and in-depth individual sessions. Annual Congress provides insights on how having accurate product information can open many doors for your company.

1WorldSync’s Annual Congress which will be held on September 30 – October 1, 2014 provides a platform to inform, share and listen to customers and partners and provide holistic answers to questions that arise from increasing industry challenges. It’s an exciting two days of collaboration, so get ready!
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