Tag Archives: E-Commerce

Still Struggling with the Complexities of Omni-Channel Retailing?

Blame it on the growing millennial generation’s one click mentality but instant gratification is shaping the future of retail.  Whether a baby boomer, generation Xer or millennial, in today’s world, consumers generally rely on e-commerce sites or apps to search for products, access information about those products and make purchases – when they want and how they want.  And retailers and manufacturers have listened to the omni-channel call and have acknowledged that in this multichannel age, consumers expect that the way they shop in store and online be the same.  In fact, with tech-savvy consumers demanding seamless shopping experiences across all channels, some 62% of retailers have responded by introducing Omni-Channel services, according to a survey by JDA Software Group.

Yet why are so few retailers doing it well?  Certainly, the benefits are extraordinary – companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement. (Aberdeen Group).  Some experts argue retailers are making strategic errors across phases of their omnichannel initiatives. Why is this so challenging? It’s not for lack of trying, as we see many companies are making the investment.   But the “how-to” on developing that seamless experience between brick-and-mortar, mobile and e-com – is the big knowledge gap.

Embrace the Consumer

Omnichannel efforts must be designed around the user, allowing them to move easily from one channel to the next.  Consumers of course, don’t consider them different channels, and frankly they don’t care.

Embrace a Unified Experience:

Provide customers with personalized recommendations across all your channels. Give your consumers a seamless experience and feelings on every channel. Take for example apparel/lifestyle brand, Vineyard Vines.  At last month’s Salesforce DreamForce event, they spoke about the importance of integrating dynamic ecommerce capabilities across all channels and devices.  Encompassing the catalog, website and store, they are connecting their brand to their customer in one seamless experience.

Embrace Predictive Commerce:

Predictive models and analytics can help businesses determine the intent of their customers and are valuable to track user behavior.  Done well, they enable online retailers to target consumers on the basis of their behaviors. Then retailers are in a great position to offer complementary and/or alternative products, search options, and brands, send targeted product promotions even when a shopper is offline.  The added bonus for retailers is that they’re able to keep visitors on their site longer to help prompt purchases.

Embrace Technology

Several technology trends — the proliferation of cloud services, easier integration through application programming interfaces (APIs) and big data and real-time analytics, among others — are enabling big retailers to converge the business, employee and customer processes of those physical and virtual stores in increasingly sophisticated and comprehensive ways.

This is where the 1WorldSync Omni-Channel solutions helps brands achieve success by providing access to authentic and trusted information helping businesses organize for cross channel sales growth by making their products digital, discoverable and highly shoppable. Request a consultation today and take the first step in overcoming the complexities of Omni-Channel retailing.

It’s The Holiday Season for Omni-Channel Retail

We know it’s only October, but believe it or not, a survey by CreditCard.com says that 1 percent of Americans, or 34 million Santas, say they are done with their shopping. Already. Before the first week of October.  Whether these folks are looking for bargains or are just hyper-organized, experts say those who had their Christmas shopping wrapped up before fall officially arrived likely made their purchases online.  

What about the remaining 99%?  They’ll be shopping, too. On Tuesday, Oct. 4, the National Retail Federation announced that it anticipates holiday sales to increase 3.6% to $655.8 billion.  While in-store purchases will continue to dominate, with 91% of holiday shoppers planning to spend at physical stores, that leaves about 8% or so shopping online (though about 85% of holiday shoppers will likely research online before making in-store purchases). Clearly, holiday shoppers are expecting an omni-channel experience this season with physical and digital retail converging, trying to get consumers to spend.

According to The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), “shoppers intend to take advantage of the diverse options for shopping, spending across channels. Most prominently, consumers are reliant upon omni-channel retailers versus pure play online or solely physical retailers.”

Brands and retailers will have lots to do in order to drive higher conversion rates, so here’s a quick hit list of reminders:

  • Go Digital: Centralize and digitize product content for omni-channel.
  • Get Discovered: Connect with new buyers and category managers to create new opportunities.
  • Sell Everywhere: Showcase and promote products on any channel.
  • Deliver Content Efficiently: Engage and integrate product information with Omni-channel customers.

It’s a crowded omni-channel world especially during the holidays! Can all of this happen in time to take advantage of the anticipated big boost in holiday spending? Absolutely. 1WorldSync omni-channel solutions can help your products stand out and engage the elevated expectations of seasonal shoppers.

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.

The Supplier Side – Must Do: Leveraging Walmart’s Store Assortment Online Initiative

Consumers continually demand a seamless shopping experience across all platforms. So, the flip side of course is that if a customer can’t find the right product online, it becomes a source of frustration and likely a loss sale. The quest for omni-channel supremacy continues for retailers across the board. Mega retailers, such as Walmart, are investing heavily in e-commerce (think Jet.com acquisition).

Continue reading

“Great News for Suppliers: Walmart’s Acquisition of Jet.com”

Consolidation: To bring together (separate parts) into a single or unified whole; unite; combine.

Generally speaking, market consolidation – be it health insurance, airlines or phone carriers – has not necessarily been good thing for consumers. Rather, it’s traditionally meant the potential for future price increases as a result of less competition. But faster than you can click BUY NOW on your shopping app, that’s all about to change. Enter in the biggest news in business and retail – Walmart’s deal to purchase Jet.com, one of the hottest new names in e-commerce. The world’s largest retailer has been getting a lot more aggressive in e-commerce over the past year in the quest to expand its online inventory and set aside $2 billion over the next two years to grow on the web.

The deal could help Walmart become the No. 2 online retailer and position the company for even faster e-commerce growth in the future by expanding customer reach and adding new capabilities. And that’s GOOD NEWS for consumers because according to the folks at Walmart, they plan to win by staying laser-focused on one thing: the customer.

That plan includes adding 1 million products per month, primarily through third-party vendors selling via Walmart.com. And that right there is GREAT NEWS for suppliers. Suppliers that were smart to get into Jet.com now are a part of Walmart’s community and their products will be shopped even more than ever. Not already on board? Then your company could have the potential to be one of those one million products added.

Make it easy and partner with 1WorldSync. Our Catalog1 solution allows suppliers to organize and centralize all of their product information in one place in the cloud. When ready to extend Catalog1 for sales, distribution and compliance, there are a number of value added applications that can be added. Your company’s products can get to Jet.com, Amazon, Google and beyond.

Want to find out more? Download our new eBook, “How Suppliers Can Conquer the Product Information Challenge To Grab the First Mover Advantage,” and gain the competitive edge you need in this every changing, ever growing eCommerce world.

How Shoppable Are Your Products?

According to the National Retail Federation, 73% of back-to-school consumers plan to shop approximately a month or two before school starts. Armed with school supply lists and cranky kids, parents are beginning the annual pilgrimage for folders and number two pencils. But lists have become longer and more specific.  And certainly college-bound students have precise notions about dorm room furnishings and decorations.  A simple comforter will not do.  Enter matching sheets, pillow cases, silverware and fancy lighting.  These shoppers know what they want.

As any growing manufacturer and supplier, your products are your business.  Pure and simple, your success is predicated on getting your products onto as many shelves – and screens – as possible.  And as we’ve seen, customers determine when, where, and how they will interact with YOUR brand.   Consumers search and shop in-store and online, they expect access to richer product information to make informed decisions. To remain truly “shoppable” and competitive, suppliers must deliver on that expectation.  If not – customers will move on to someone who can.   Not convinced?  Take a look at these recent stats.

  1. 81% of consumers scour through product information online to find or verify the data about a product they are considering.
  2. Four in 10 (42%) shoppers say they’ve given up on an online purchase because they didn’t have enough information on the purchase.
  3. 88% of them say that detailed product content is extremely or very important to their purchasing decision.

Yes, product information matters – the quality, the completeness and the accuracy matters.  And as suppliers connect and partner with multiple retailers, the need for accurate, complete product information is even greater.  For example, consider Google’s 2016 mandate for GTINS (Global Trade Item Numbers which help classify and display products on Google Shopping) now needed for all products.   As of May 16, 2016, Google will disapprove relevant products that don’t meet the GTIN requirements, so it’s critical that suppliers double check that product data is correct and up to date. And according to Google, the financial implications can be significant:  “Merchants who’ve added correct GTINs to their product data have seen conversion rates increase up to 20%.”

The Google GTINS mandate demonstrates that they understand that product content (descriptions, feature bullets, images, videos, reviews) is a critical factor in driving conversion.  Consumers demand to know exactly what they are buying – and the right content makes for a great consumer experience.

At 1WorldSync, we’ve been helping thousands (21,000+ globally) of suppliers and brands to align on the product information governance strategy to apply GTIN standardization, AND implement for Google and beyond.  We work with our customers to build scalable processes to capture their product information and scale globally across the portfolio of brands in an effort to ensure the highest impact, consistency, and levels of quality.

1WorldSync’s Omni-channel solutions helps suppliers and brand owners get their products to Google, Amazon, Walmart and beyond: mobile, desktop, storefront.

How shoppable are your products? Download are latest eBook “5 ways to grow your top line by making your products #SHOPPABLE everywhere?!

Download our free eBook on Shopability today!

Attend 1WorldSync 2016 Annual User Group, Europe!

1WorldSync 2016 Annual User Group, Europe associated with GS1 Germany ECR Tag  is right around the corner!

1WorldSync Annual User Group season kicked off with great success at the 1WorldSync 2016 Annual User Group, Americas in Washington D.C. As we build off the momentum, we are excited to see the community at the 1WorldSync 2016 Annual User Group, Europe on September 19 – 20 at the Titanic Chaussee Hotel in the beautiful city of Berlin!

Every year more than 200 community members, decision makers and industry experts from CPG, Retail, FMCG & Foodservice, Healthcare and DIY industries discuss strategies on Data Quality, Transparency & Compliance, Supply Chain Enablement and Omni-Channel Commerce and more!

This event brings together community members from around the world for networking, collaborative industry workshops, plenary sessions, keynote speakers discussing insights and best practices.

Key Topics include:

  • How to increase supply chain efficiency
  • Comply with regulatory demands
  • Make products digital, discoverable and shop-able across all channels

CONNECT. TRUST. EMPOWER.

These three important words represent this year’s Annual User Group theme and demonstrate that product information and content is key for a sustainable growth and competitive advantage in an Omni-Channel world.

Don’t miss this exclusive and exciting event, held on September 19 – 20, at the Titanic Chaussee Hotel in Berlin, Germany.

We look forward to welcoming you there!

To register, please visit the event website.

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.

The Omni Channel Challenge – 3 Tips on How your Organization can transition to a full customer shopping experience

“Here is a simple but powerful rule: always give people more than what they expect to get.” ~ Nelson Boswell

“The customer experience is the next competitive battleground.” ~ Jerry Gregoire

“Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will find your customers buying from them, not you.” ~ Mark Cuban

We love a good quote.  But three stellar quotes about the customer experience?  Absolutely irresistible.  Because as it relates the world of retail, we know that businesses are knee-deep in adopting new standards and technologies to improve and enhance the customer’s shopping experience.  After all, it’s the customer that now defines retailing, transcending channels to shop exactly the way they want to shop, whether online or in-store.  And their expectations are significant.  With a shopping basket in one hand and a smartphone in the other, shoppers also turning to mobile to do research, compare prices and even make their final purchase.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading