Tag Archives: online shopping

Upcoming Webinar: Tap into new market potential with Alibaba!

With China’s GDP being $11 trillion, the Asian giant is now comfortably the second-largest consumer market in the world boasting of a massive population of consumers who have a lot of cash to spend.

Are you ready to get your products in front of the Chinese consumer?

Enter Alibaba, a popular destination for online shopping with more than 450 million utilizing their platform delivering upwards of 57 million packages per day! Alibaba has empowered everyone from entrepreneurs to established brands to grow their business in China and around the globe. 

Alibaba is excited to announce it will begin sourcing product information via the GDSN with their content strategy partner, 1WorldSync making it easier for US suppliers to get their products listed on their marketplace.

Alibaba is now able to receive enriched, standardized product content from your company through the data synchronization process. Alibaba is striving to improve the accuracy and trustworthiness of product content protecting brands against counterfeiters.

Join us for an upcoming webinar on Thursday, November 16th at 9 am ET/ 6 am PT to learn more about how you can get your products on the Alibaba platform and ensure the completeness and quality of the product content supplied via the GDSN.

In this webinar, you will learn how:

  • Alibaba’s platform works and why you should be doing business on this platform
  • 1WorldSync can help provide an automated process to manage and distribute your product content to Alibaba
  • To increase sales on the Alibaba platform
  • To leverage your GDSN product content and get your products published and selling in China

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.

How The Consumer Experience is Driven by “I Need to Know Moments”

According to Forrester’s 2015 Customer Experience Index (Forrester, 2015), 86% of companies want to excel at customer experience. But only 27% of brands even qualify as “good” in the eyes of their customers.

Today’s omni-channel consumers expect brands to address their needs in real-time and turn to their mobile devices when contemplating making a purchase.  A wealth of information is a mere tap away via our smartphone apps and a poor experience can be easily replaced with another viable option a click away.

These intent-driven moments of decision-making and preference-shaping have fractured the consumer journey into hundreds of real-time “I want to buy” micro-moments of decision-making and preference-shaping, as termed by Google.  

Today’s Shoppers Demand Information Right Here & Right Now

Welcome to the new world order of 24/7 great expectations shaped by customers who expect to be able to make more intent driven decisions with a seamless experience.

Today’s shoppers demand product information in real-time. Whether it be trusted and authentic reviews, product photos or nutritional information, as consumers we’ve come to want exceptional experiences exactly when and where we want it.  And nowhere is it more apparent than in retail.  

  • Fully stocked shelves bursting with variety? Done.  
  • Loyalty program? Goes without saying.  
  • Free overnight delivery? Naturally.  

But these great expectations go beyond the “what” and are firmly rooted in the “how.”  And that’s all about “Omni-channel” being touted as shopping’s new norm.  The bar has been raised and the expectations are clear.  Consumers expect that retailers will/better deliver a seamless and consistent experience across channels and devices.

Omni-Channel Shoppers: An Emerging Reality for Retailers

For the retailer, omni-channel requires overlapping to ensure that the customer remains delighted and perceives a seamless experience from end to end. Helping a customer through their entire buyer’s journey means knocking down internal barriers to hold their hand at each stage, making sure that each hand-off is perfect. (BigCommerce, 2016)

An Aberdeen survey (Internet Retailer, 2013) cites that companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to customer retention rate of 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement.

Fortunately, many online retailers and suppliers have already enabled omni-channel functions and are clearly seeing the benefits. They’ve made the required investments in understanding their consumers’ needs and then tailored the rest of the organization to meeting those needs.

It’s An Omni-Channel World After All: Engaging Consumers and Connecting Trusted Product Data Everywhere

By enabling products to stand out in a crowded omni-channel world, 1WorldSync delivers rich and trusted product content, including digital assets and insights – to engage customers and consumers – regardless of location or medium. 1WorldSync’s Omni-Channel solutions helps leading retailers capitalize on product information to drive conversion.  

Walmart is one such retailer that views the omni-channel shopper as its sweet spot. At its annual shareholders meeting last year, Walmart’s CEO, Doug McMillon addressed the importance of an omni-channel strategy (Marketing Land, 2015). He said that Walmart will keep making technology top of mind when it comes to internal and external customer facing initiatives.

“I want us to stop talking about digital and physical retail as if they’re two separate things. The customer doesn’t think of it that way, and we can’t either. One customer can shop with us in so many different ways – in stores, on their phones, at homes, a pick-up point. But they just think they’re shopping at Walmart, at ASDA, at Sam’s Club.”

Exceeding Expectations and Creating Stellar Experiences For Omni-Channel Customers

Conversely, there are countless other retailers that are lagging behind – whether they’ve taken a few wrong turns or are just late to the game.  The consumer’s great expectation remains regardless.

A survey by Synthetix (Synthetix, 2016) indicates that 9 out of 10 customers expect to receive a consistent experience over multiple channels. They expect a valuable, memorable and story-worthy experience.  They expect detailed and consistent product content to aid in decision making.  They expect to see this same level of detail when shopping for another product in another department. They expect a single view with a wide array of efficient and convenient options. And they expect to shop at any time from any number of devices – such as their PCs, smartphones and tablets.

Clearly, given the consumer’s mighty requirements for an integrated omni-channel shopping experience, retailers and suppliers must move quickly to deliver on those soaring expectations or risk the curse of any industry irrelevance.

 

  1. “The US Customer Experience Index, Q1 2015 – Forrester.” 6 Oct. 2016<https://www.forrester.com/report/The+US+Customer+Experience+Index+Q1+2015/-/E-RES117482>
  2.  “Omni-Channel Retail and The Future of Commerce – BigCommerce.” 2016. 6 Oct. 2016 <https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/omni-channel-retail/>
  3. “Why an omnichannel strategy matters – Internet Retailer.” 2013. 6 Oct. 2016 <https://www.internetretailer.com/2013/12/31/why-omnichannel-strategy-matters>
  4. “Walmart positioned to drive omni-channel marketing in global retailing.” 2015. 5 Aug. 2015 <http://marketingland.com/walmart-positioned-drive-omni-channel-marketing-global-retailing-137007>
  5. “The rise of demand for multi-channel online customer service – Synthetix.” 2016. 6 Oct. 2016 <http://www.synthetix.com/website_documents/Synthetix_Online_Customer_Service_Survey_2012.pdf>

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.

The Dream of a Product Shelf. How to Get Your Products Online and Selling.

Every business person starts their journey with an idea.  An idea they hope will be life-changing.  For many, these entrepreneurial dreams hark back to summer lemonade stands, paper routes or garage made inventions.

Dessert queen, Debbie Fields[1] famously took to the streets, passing out freshly baked chocolate chip cookies to any passerby.  (Her Mrs. Field’s Cookie products are now sold in her namesake retail stores, grocery chains and an online bakery.) ScrubDaddy[2] (an ergonomically designed kitchen sponge) plied its wares on TVs Sharked Tank.  (Since the pitch, they’ve moved 10 million units for total sales of more than $50 million.)  Let’s not forget Joy Mangano, the entrepreneur known for inventions such as the self-wringing Miracle Mop.  Her first appearance on QVC helped the Miracle Mop sell out—more than 18,000 mops in less than a half an hour.

Of course, not every product has the benefit of a TV launch.  Far faster and far easier, it’s about selling your products online.  And yes, selling your product (s) on your own company online store is great and has its own benefits.  But far better is getting placement on one or more of the larger online retailers.  So how will you get your company ready for the selling with the big guys (think Amazon, Google, Walmart, etc.) so that you’re discoverable and comparable across all digital properties?

Correct Product Content

The first step is providing robust and accurate product data for your customers.  Every product online has a large amount of data associated with it, but it can be difficult for mobile applications or web pages to distinguish between two comparable products if the product data is inaccurate or incomplete.

Inaccurate or incomplete product data is extremely problematic for your customers.  Today’s consumers demand rich product information.

Is there enough detail?  Are there photos?  Is there enough detail for them to make a decision?  If not, the likely result is a lost customer and sale.

Consistent Product Content

Ensuring that the product displayed online is the exact same product sent from the fulfillment center can be a challenge.  It’s important to consider solutions that will ensure that product and package variations are managed properly in the fulfillment process so that consumer expectations are met.

Streamline Product Content Management

As consumers, we know the types of content we expect on retail websites and apps. But as a product supplier you know creating, compiling, managing, hosting, updating and publishing this content across all shopper touch points is complex and time-consuming.

For this reason, many retailers and manufacturers are working with 1WorldSync to streamline product information and content management. 1WorldSync’s Omni-channel solutions ensure product information is complete, accurate and consistent. Further, these solutions improve the consumer experience by delivering high-quality and complete data about the product in stores fortifying consumer loyalty and growing sales.

Learn how Dot Foods Increased Sales Using 1WorldSync: View the Case Study

References:

[1] http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2012/11/20/how-to-build-a-multimillion-dollar-company-the-story-of-mrs-fields-cookies/2/#4df04bfc78d3

[2] http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/082415/10-most-successful-products-shark-tank.asp

Game, Set, Match. Online Shopping Takes the Lead.

We confess.  We do love online shopping.  There’s nothing quite like the thud of a big brown box (or red/white/blue box) hitting your front door.  For a moment or two, it’s almost a mini Christmas morning.

Here’s confession number two – it’s happening more and more (insert festive emoji here).  So frankly we’re relieved to hear that we’re not alone.

In fact, for the first time, consumers say they bought more of their purchases on the web than in stores, according to an annual survey of more than 5,000 online shoppers by United Parcel Service Inc.  The shoppers now made 51% of their purchases on the web compared with 48% in 2015 and 47% in 2014, according to the June 2016 survey by UPS.[1] (“Although the findings are skewed toward consumers who already gravitate toward the web, and exclude the $602 billion bricks-and-mortar dominated grocery store industry, they nonetheless represent the latest in a steady climb over the past few years, as consumers become more comfortable buying items on the web.” [2])

The latest results of the survey—now in its fifth year—illustrate the degree to which the adoption of online shopping is accelerating. This year, 44% of smartphone users said they made a purchase from their device, up from 41% a year ago. It also helps explain why retailers are having so much trouble adjusting to the new cybershopping era.

There’s definitely been a dramatic shift as over time, people are getting more and more comfortable shopping online.  And unfortunately, that has hit retailers hard (conversely, Amazon accounted for 60% of total U.S. online sales growth last year alone).

Though millennials make 54% of their purchases online, the rate of adoption by older people is growing at a faster rate. Non-millennials made 49% of their purchases online, according to the survey, compared with 44% in 2014. And as for shopping by smartphone users: the survey found that 63% of millennials use their phones to shop, while 19% of baby boomers and 8% of seniors use their phones to make purchases.

Fortunately, 1WorldSync customers are well positioned to continue building on this trend.  Our customers are able to provide better quality product images and information, while reducing the cost data acquisition.  Ultimately, their customers (online shoppers) will experience fewer errors when searching for products, resulting in more time to concentrate on growing their business.

[1] https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/

[2] http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/08/digital-buyers-becoming-even-more-loyal.html

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.

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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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. 

A Better Way to Find Stuff Online

Finding and comparing products online is far more frustrating than it needs to be.  Especially if you’re trying to find the online version of a product you found in the store. There is almost no correlation between the offline product world and the online product world. I can say this confidently, because I found out from personal experience recently. Continue reading