Tag Archives: Omni-Channel

2016 Readers’ Choice: Mobility

Originally posted in Readers Choice of CGT – A Short List of the Best Technology & Services Providers to the Industry

According to Peter Drucker, “Business has only two functions — marketing and innovation.” But with the pace of innovation and technology quickening we might want to think on using a new portmanteau; TECHNOVATION.

Technovation suggests that marketers must recognize the accelerating pace of evolving technology, now inextricably linked to adapting consumers, while adjusting our comprehension and organizational structures to embrace not just the obvious, e.g., big data and analytics, but also how consumers, themselves, view their online and offline lives as part of a seamless whole. Marketers must understand that technovation is not only about understanding what consumers are doing with technology, but also what technology is doing to them.

Mary Meeker of KPCB notes that since 2008, the time an adult spends on digital media has gone from 2.7 to 5.6 hours per day, and that mobile has increased from 12 percent of that time spent to 51 percent. In June 2015, Pew Research noted that a fifth of Americans are ‘almost constantly’ online, with 36 percent of 18 to 29 year olds reporting they are ‘almost constantly’ online. Nielsen recently reported, in the desirable 18 to 34 year old demographic, that 8.5 million people per minute now use smartphones and other TV connected devices, surpassing 8.1 million per minute that use traditional TV screens.
In his book “Decoding the New Consumer Mind: How and Why We Shop and Buy” Kit Yarrow opines, “our use of technology has changed our psychology” including for innovation optimism, consumer empowerment, faster thinking, symbol power, and new ways of connecting.

The Ericson Institute, in a just released study representing 1.1 billion people across 24 countries found that constantly having a screen in the palm of your hand is not always a practical solution, however. Prognosticators now believe this technology will be a thing of the past, perhaps in fewer than five years.

What might make this forecast a reality? The Internet-of-Things has already taken hold, and Virtual Reality now has a purchase on popular imagination. Watch for a plethora of new form factors, from flexible screens, to wearables, to implantables. The computing power driving this technology is readily available and rapidly evolving. IBM has Watson, and Google claims its “D-Wave Quantum Computer” will be 100 million times faster than any of today’s machines. If true, D-Wave could theoretically solve a mathematical problem within seconds that would take today’s digital computer 10,000 years to calculate.

This kind of computing power, linked to Artificial Intelligence, coupled with new user form factors, will drive innovation for the next era of digital communication making possible – quite literally – commerce-at-the-speed-of-thought.

A brave new world is upon us, taking shape around us and with all of us as participants and innovators in our own right.
Hail the consumer!

What Makes a Trend… a Trend?

Rubik’s Cube.  Leg Warmers.  Juicers.  Boom Boxes.  Atari, Tivo, Game Boys. Chances are good that you bought in to one of the many product trends from the last couple of decades.  After all, whether its fashion, toys, gaming or foods (think “artisanal” cheese), who can resist jumping on a trendy bandwagon?  Admittedly, some trends are best left to the pop culture history books, but today – in 2016 – we’re seeing a definite trend towards trends becoming more than trends (did you get that?).

Consider eCommerce.  It was only 15 years or so ago that online sales were left to Amazon or eBay. For others in retail, online shopping was a nice add-on.   The theory was that the consumer wouldn’t abandon the brick and mortars.  Consumers wanted to see, touch and hold their purchases. So what was considered a trend in the year 2000 (15 ½ million households shopped online in September 2000), has evolved into a full-fledged way of life (spending a total of $4.2 billion online – an average of $272 per person).  Today, consumers are spending an average of $2,466 per person on online purchases.  Even traditional grocery items are added to the list, with online grocery growing at nearly twice the rate of any other industry.

Convenience, value and the proliferation of mobile devices have been key drivers in changing consumer shopping behaviors.  So what’s a growing retailer to do?  How can retailers capitalize on current eCommerce buying trends, while building for the future?

  1. Invest in digital technologies that enhance the Omni-Channel experience whether in-store, online or anytime. For example, consider tools that enable online chats and video merchandising to help describe and demonstrate how an item looks or works.  Curated content, suggested buys & upsell, on-line shelves and eCarts are varied components of an engaging on-line shopping experience. Walmart recently announced making a move to marry the retailer’s online and mobile assets with its 11,500 stores worldwide..  According to Fortune Magazine, “Walmart said it was merging to the two divisions to create a new unit called ‘Walmart Technology.’ Walmart pointed to the recent launch of its Walmart Pay mobile payment service as an example of the kind of collaboration between the teams that it hopes the merger will spur.”
  1. Offer a convenient shopping experience that responds to the consumer path to purchase. One-stop-shopping convenience is no longer about selling everything from a single supercenter or website. It’s more profitably targeted at giving a seamless Omni-Channel experience to shoppers who are budgeting for both time and money. Consider retailers that are offering services that combine their in-store and digital capabilities, for example ‘click-to-curb’ for groceries, ‘site to store’ at mass retailers or virtual dressing rooms for apparel.
  1. Content, content, content…did we mention Content?

We encourage retailers to focus on enhanced content and content distribution strategies to provide differentiated levels of product information for customers and consumers.  As research indicates, rich content, more content and trusted content will make a consumer click BUY NOW and continue as a repeat customer online and in-store.  Conversely, if a consumer cannot see a picture of the product they want to buy…they go elsewhere, and likely never return.

What sets a seller of goods apart from competition is their ability to give the buyer what they want, how they want, where they want it, when they want it.  Omni-Channel is not a trend – it is a full-fledged way of commerce and consumerism: yesterday, today and tomorrow.

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.

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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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5 Tips for Moving Business Online After the Era of “Black Friday”

It’s December 2015 and Black Friday is behind us.  I mean that in a literal sense (2 weeks have now passed) but also in the sense of The End of an Era.

Per retail analysis firm Shopper Track, Black Friday 2015 showed a 10.4% drop year-over-year in physical store sales since 2014.  This drop is unprecedented, and is attributed to consumers shopping over a longer span of time and taking advantage of the convenience (and safety!) of the online marketplace.

Meanwhile, Cyber Monday was reported by Adobe Digital Index to be the largest online sales day ever in the US, up 16% from 2014 to top $3 Billion.

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Hardlines Unlimited – Prepared for Online Commerce

Online commerce is booming!  All this acceleration with online commerce presents a whole new IFH projection. According to calculations, the online trade in Germany, for example, will implement approximately 46 billion euros in 2015.

Furthermore, traders who use multiple sales channels (multi-channel), are perceived as more innovative, customer friendly and sympathetic as an authentic internet service provider. This demonstrates a cross channel study of Trading Consulting ECC Cologne and Hybris Software. Continue reading

Walmart.com is getting ready for Cyber Week…Are you?

Where did summer go? Fall decorations, Halloween costumes and cold weather gear surrounds us and yet summer still lingers. It’s crazy how retail brings the seasons to us before mother-nature does. I have now succumbed to pumpkin lattes, Oktoberfest beers and started to decorate in browns and gold.

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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 – The New Consumer and Corporate Social Mandate

For some time now we have been living in an era of Transparency. Transparency in our policies and procedures, transparency in the business practices we operate, and transparency in the products and services we buy in business and in our daily lives. The transparent manner in which consumers expect to discover, buy and express opinions about products or services is the new norm for any business that expects to flourish in the mobile social economy.

Product information is in demand throughout the entire discover-to-review lifecycle, and at virtually every touch point of the consumer experience. Understanding the importance and value of product information transparency and its accessibility is simple, however, delivering it efficiently and seamlessly is anything but simple. Businesses must revisit the manner in which product information is created, exploded, standardized, quality assured and syndicated to all parties that enable the consumer experience.

Consumer demand for transparency and accountability is forcing businesses and entire industries to revisit the way product information is sourced, aggregated, distributed and labeled. Years ago, the seller was in control as purchase decisions were based on the availability, convenience and brand. The paradigm has shifted, and with an abundance of choice in front of them, consumers are making selections not simply on brand or availability, but on the attributes about the product. 

Compounding this even further, a plethora of global legal and regulatory mandates have been put into place, requiring Brand Owners and Sellers to comply with product information centric regulations. For example, EU Food Regulation 1169 or FDA’s Unique Device Identification. Such regulations are another compelling force for companies all around the globe to take a closer look at the digital information chain that accompanies their products as they pass along transitional and new Omni-channels to market.

For 1WorldSync, product information transparency gets to the heart of everything we do. Our mission is to empower global businesses and consumers with trusted product information that enables improved decision making, efficiency, health and well-being.

Our Product Information Cloud platform purpose was built to deliver syndicated product information solutions and services to customers around the globe that rely on product information to power their businesses. For many of our 16,000 customers, the ability to mobilize a product information transparency program is a logical next step on top of the solid product information management foundations they have built with us over the last decade or more.

Every industry we operate in is actively investing in software and processes transformation that enables transparency. From the product development, to aggregation and management of product data at the manufacturer to setting up an item for sale at a retail or online store, to presenting that information to the consumer.

It is such a hot topic this year that we have made it the focus of our annual customer user conferences in both the USA at GS1 Connect, and in our EMEA customer event alongside ECR Europe this year. 

Consumers are head over heels for product information

Consumers worldwide are in love with product information. They’re using it to research and guide their purchasing decisions and they’re accessing it in various ways from multiple locations before committing to check out. The consumer electronics industry is an ever evolving industry with a constant introduction of the latest and greatest products.  The digital age is driving the way these products are introduced to retailers and, ultimately, presented to consumers.

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