Digital Product Content is now as strategically important for any company as the product itself. It’s become key for brands and retailers to seamlessly connect all of their online and offline sales channels creating an “cross- commerce” shopping experience, requires clearing multiple hurdles before brands will find success. A cross-commerce shopping experience is about the virtual world coming together with the physical world seamlessly so that the consumer or contractor’s experience is frictionless. Continue reading
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.
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.
- “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
- “Amazon Set to Dominate 2016 Holiday Shopping”. Consumer Goods Technology. 27 September 2016. https://consumergoods.com/amazon-set-dominate-2016-holiday-shopping
- “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
- “Omnichannel 2017: Amazon and Walmart Make Moves”. EMarketer. 9 Jan 2017. https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Omnichannel-2017-Amazon-Walmart-Make-Moves/1015000
Roses are red, violets are blue, we love trusted product content, and so should you! It’s that time of the year again to share the love, and this year, our love goes to connecting trusted product content everywhere!
Who Says Love Don’t Cost A Thing?
Whether you’re in the store, on your phone, or even in your home, product content is everywhere. With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching and flowers, sweets, and cards to distribute to that “special someone”, make sure your products bring convenience and accurate product content to your consumers.
In the 21st century, a consumer’s journey begins at the favorable option of a digital interface. In preparation for Valentine’s Day, people are relying on eCommerce sites to find all the items they need and how quickly they can get it.
Not only are they looking for accessibility, but more importantly they are expecting dependability. The National Retail Federation reports that U.S. consumer spending on gifts this year will drop approximately 8% from last year’s record-high of $19.7 billion (NRF, 2017).
How Retailers Show Consumers A Little Love
That being said, your products need to stand out in order to meet your sales expectations this year. Here are 3 ways to ensure that your site’s products outrank your competitors.
- Offer bundle deals to maximize sales – According to Bing research, over 50 percent of Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day; though, the average money spent amongst most couples is $146 with expected declines to $136 this year (Goodwin, 2017). Bundle options that include flowers, cards, chocolate, and even those cute little bears will prove to be more successful in sales. When strategizing the types of offers on your sites, be sure to keep in mind these consumer standards.
- Ensure your products show up as good as they look on screen – Chances are, people aren’t going to be spending too much time bouncing from site to site to get what they need. That doesn’t mean that your products should disappoint. For many online flower companies, Valentine’s Day is one of the highest revenue earning days of the year. However, year after year, people are frequently disappointed in the presentation they receive. What they thought was portrayed online, often shows up dead or wilted. Talk about killing the mood… To avoid consumer dissatisfaction and the risk of future consumer neglect, be sure to offer accurate representation and information about your products. After all, ratings and reviews mean everything! 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation (BrightLocal, 2014).
- Invest in search engine optimization strategies – Of the 50% of Americans that celebrate Valentine’s Day, 28% of their shopping happens online (Goodwin, 2017). Some of the top searched keywords from 2016 accessed through mobile and desktop included jewelry, Valentine’s day, Etsy, and flowers. Optimize search campaigns that include some of these typical searched terms but also invest in others such as last-minute gifts or handmade presents for those searching for specific items to buy for their significant others.
Marrying Brand Loyalty with Trusted, Authentic Product Content
Whether or not your company is planning on utilizing Valentine’s Day to boost sales this year, adapting these 3 techniques are essential to consumer satisfaction and experience. Brands must ensure that they’re distributing trusted and accurate product content if they want brand loyalty.
Word to the wise, dependability on product content is not going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, suppliers, retailers, and even consumers are demanding more detailed and accurate content on eCommerce sites than ever before.
At 1WorldSync, we strive to offer brands our services to share authentic, trusted content with customers and consumers, empowering them to make the right choices, purchases, health and lifestyle decisions. Seize this unique opportunity, play cupid with your consumers and stay ahead of the curve!
Happy Valentine’s Day from 1WorldSync!
- “Valentine’s Day.” National Retail Federation. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.
- Goodwin, Danny. “14 Irresistible Valentine’s Day Search Stats From Bing.” Search Engine Journal. Search Engine Journal, 13 Jan. 2017. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.
- “Local Consumer Review Survey 2014.” BrightLocal. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.
Walmart has just issued its strongest response to the growing Amazon threat, since its acquisition of e-commerce newcomer Jet.com last summer.
Last week, Walmart announced an unlimited free delivery program offering free, two-day shipping on over 2 million items, with no need for a membership fee.
- Walmart has done away with it’s “ShippingPass” program that charged customers $49 a year, just about half the cost of an Amazon Prime membership.
- Walmart said that ShippingPass customers will receive a refund on their membership, since the program is no longer required in order to take advantage of free shipping.
- Last week, Wal-Mart announced free two-day shipping program to compete with Amazon Prime program. Wal-Mart also decreased its minimum order amount to $35 from $50, but experts think that Arkansas-headquartered retailer giant is far from denting Amazon’s business.
A new Slice Intelligence report suggests that Amazon.com, Inc. captured over 53% of total online e-commerce growth in the US in 2016, up from 40% a year earlier. Other ecommerce and retail players were battling for the rest of the 47% of the market share.
However Walmart has become agile and is now operating like a start-up reacting quickly to test ideas to capture new customers that includes this free shipping strategy.
Walmart U.S. eCommerce Marc Lore stated in a media briefing “I couldn’t be more excited. We are moving at the speed of a startup. In today’s world of e-commerce, two-day free shipping is table stakes. It no longer makes sense to charge for it.”
Battle of the Brands: David vs. Goliath – Does Size Matter?
In a crowded commerce world, it’s critical to move quick to capture new customers and drive conversion. 1WorldSync has you covered with our new eBook, ‘Battle of the Brands: David vs. Goliath’ that includes strategies on how to move quick to capture new eCommerce market share. This eBook will demonstrate that bigger doesn’t always mean better and how David can compete with Goliath all year long!
Are You Ready to Get Your Products to Walmart.com and Jet.com? Learn more
1WorldSync Product Information Cloud solutions help 25,000 global customers engage the elevated expectations of today’s omni-channel shoppers.
Further, 1WorldSync is a strategic partner of Walmart and has been facilitating product content exchange for Walmart manufacturers and suppliers for more than a decade. As a certified Content Service Provider to Walmart, we can help you get your product content to Walmart.com and Jet.com.
Currently, there are 28 million American small businesses, which account for 54% of all U.S. sales (Patriot Software 2016).
In the Internet Retailer 2016 Second 500 Guide, the most successful e-commerce companies in the middle tier have outperformed their larger rivals by identifying and leveraging their sweet spots (Internet Retailer 2016). Second 500 web merchants, whose 2015 web sales fell between $1.7 million-$28.3 million, are solid proof that small can indeed be mighty. As a group, they grew their online sales last year by 14.9% to $6.99 billion, ahead of their larger Top 500 competitors, who grew at 13.5%.
Many smaller retailers rely on Small Business Saturday, an initiative launched by American Express (CNBC 2016). In its seventh year since the recession, Small Business Saturday events and entertainment encourage consumers to shop at small businesses versus big-box stores and malls that draw in Black Friday shoppers.
However, as a smaller retailer, competing for e-commerce dollars during the busiest shopping season of the year is no easy feat. With higher than ever stakes, how do you tackle the big retailer squeeze?
Avoid Getting ‘Amazoned’ This Holiday Season
Smaller retailers face the constant struggle of having to match the convenience that Amazon offers, while personalized and trusted product content, including digital assets and insights, to keep streams of loyal consumers returning.
The only way is to create a better end-to-end user experience that is driven by customer insights. Failure to deliver on this experience will mean leaving revenue at the door – revenue that Amazon will be happy to gobble gobble (pun intended!).
86% of companies want to excel at customer experience. But only 27% even qualify as “good” in the eyes of their customers (Forrester Customer Experience Index 2015). One thing is for certain regardless of your size as an organization:
Consumers expect a seamless path to purchase from discovery to delight across all channels and devices.
Agile Is The New Black
One of the greatest benefits a small business has is that they can react much more quickly than most larger corporations or big box stores. In other words, if you see an opportunity to introduce a new vendor, you can make this happen more quickly than the many steps necessary it would take at a big box store.
For example, if you see inventory sales have gone cold turkey (pun intended!), you can help move it through displays, employee engagement and even marking it down to help it sell faster.
Big retailers have the advantage of large scale systems that optimize processes. However giant companies suffer when they lose touch with the granularity of their businesses. As a smaller retailer, you can better understand how swiftly consumer needs change prior to larger competitors because of direct contact. You are better equipped to deal with changes in the environment and test new ideas quicker among customers without obstacles.
Retail Is Big On Small Business
Gaining a national footprint no longer relies solely on big brand partnerships – with the right attitude, resources and strategy, small business have the power to go it alone.
And if a little support is needed to survive holiday pressures, there may even be opportunities to partner collaboratively with industry giants. Smaller retailers may offer flexibility and a more intimate customer experience but when coupled with their larger, wealthier counterparts, the global market offers an array of quality goods and services. If you can’t beat them, join them!
1 “The State of Small Businesses in the U.S” Patriot Software. 2 May 2016. https://smallbusiness.patriotsoftware.com/small-businesses-in-the-us-infographic/?utm_source=FRB45&utm_medium=article&utm_term=smallbiz_sat&utm_content=GBL
2 “Keeping up with innovation keeps smaller retailers in the game” Internet Retailer. 13 June 2016. https://www.internetretailer.com/2016/06/13/keeping-innovation-keeps-smaller-retailers-game
3 “A secret weapon to help small retailers on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday”. CNBC. 23 November 2016. http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/23/ai-software-aids-retailers-on-black-friday-small-business-saturday.html
4 “The US Customer Experience Index, Q1 2015.” Forrester. 6 October 2016 https://www.forrester.com/report/The+US+Customer+Experience+Index+Q1+2015/-/E-RES117482
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.