Tag Archives: Product Information Management

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.

Enabling Trusted Content Everytime in Every Channel

The majority of consumers (88%) say that detailed product content is extremely or very important to their purchasing decision (Google Shopping Guide, 2016).

Accurate and timely product content is critical in the path to purchase from discovery to delight. As digital pre-shopping, such as product research and comparative reviews, increasingly influence the shopping journey, so too increases consumer reliance on consumable content.

EnterWorks & 1WorldSync Q&A

This week, 1WorldSync’s Director of Professional Services, Data Source Solutions, Vanessa Lin, and EnterWorks CEO Rick Chavie joined for a Q&A. Together, they discussed the drivers of cross channel commerce and how EnterWorks and 1WorldSync are joining forces to pave the path for trusted content.

Vanessa Lin:

How is EnterWorks seeing new regulations and data requirements changing the way businesses must manage/distribute data?

Rick Chavie:

We have entered a new era of data standards. Whether it is the Google GTIN update last year which mandated that all brand-name products include the manufacturer-assigned GTIN number or the FDA regulations on nutritional content effective in May 2017, the growing insistence on data quality means online sellers including retailers, brands, and distributors must invest more in time, resources, and digital competencies to update product feeds continuously.

But the imposition of a single view of standard content across channels, while being pushed by the industry and government, pales in comparison to the role that the consumer is playing in driving the expectations for content to a new level.  Fickle or not, loyal or opportunistic, the consumer is now accustomed to having content that they need regarding their preferred products at their fingertips.  Correspondingly, the cost of poor and inconsistent content mounts as sellers increasingly realize that they now compete on content for share of mind and wallet.

Vanessa Lin:

Agreed! Competing with trusted product content consumers can rely on is critical. Consumers expect rich and trusted product content on all channels: desktop to mobile. What areas has EnterWorks observed where consumers are driving change?

Rick Chavie:

This is the age of content enthusiasts. Forrester Analyst Carlton Doty recently described our post-digital world, saying “customers aren’t just empowered by digital technology – they’re actually entitled. They think they deserve something, they want it now, and if you can’t provide it, they will quickly find it somewhere else.”  

Retailers, manufacturers and distributors must consider not only the effectiveness of product data, but how their content tells a story and creates differentiated experiences. Compelling, trusted product information that is consistent across channels is key. That’s where Product Information Management (PIM) and Master Data Management (MDM) solutions can help, by enabling companies to acquire, manage and transform product information into persuasive content. This content then drives higher sales and new competitive strengths through e-commerce Web, mobile, print and in-store digital channels.

Vanessa Lin:

Indeed, today’s shopping experience is driven by ‘I need to know’ moments for consumers. 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.

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.  For example, over half (53 percent) of merchants and suppliers experience a knowledge gap internally when it comes to understanding the value of cross-channel capabilities.

Let’s talk about how 1WorldSync and EnterWorks are working together to provide an end-to-end solution.

Rick Chavie:

The successful partnership between EnterWorks and 1WorldSync continues to hit exciting milestones, ushering in new clients, opportunities, and a powerful go-to-market strategy.

This builds on our news last year that EnterWorks received certification on Major Release 3 from 1WorldSync. The MjR3 certification expands the functionality for EnterWorks customers already connected to GDSN, and offers new users of EnterWorks’ PIM and MDM solutions the most advanced bi-directional data publishing and synchronization tools available.

Vanessa Lin:

Thanks, Rick! Overall, the EnterWorks/1WorldSync partnership brings enhanced access to richer, trusted product content to clients around the globe. We invite readers to learn more about the benefits of our partnership here.

1WorldSync and EnterWorks will both be exhibiting at GS1Connect on June 20-22 in Las Vegas. Visit EnterWorks booth #5 or 1WorldSync booth #17 to learn how the joint PIM solution can help your business.

Learn more about EnterWorks Enable GDSN Solution utilizing the 1WorldSync connector.

References

Have What It Takes To Win In A Post-Digital World? Forrester 2016 http://blogs.forrester.com/carlton_doty/16-05-04-have_what_it_takes_to_win_in_a_post_digital_world

 

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

How to make a ridiculous, drool-worthy and perfectly dangerous online shopping experience

“I shop all the time – on my commute, at work, at home, during the weekend…..The ability to find exactly what I want at the moment I’m thinking about it can be dangerous.” Lisa Green, head of fashion & luxury brands at Google, NYC[1]

Consumers today have more places and ways to shop….and have increasingly shorter attention spans. So if you have an ecommerce business, and you want online shoppers to click BUY NOW , then you need to be able to grab their attention, keep their attention and convert the sale. Yes, I’m sure you already know this…but how?

Product Content is King.

Don’t underestimate the power of high quality images – with the ability to zoom in and see multiple angles and views.  Shoppers find images incredibly reassuring and helpful in identifying that this is in fact the actual product they will purchase.  Don’t assume the more commonly recognized or generic products (batteries, diapers, etc.) might not need that level of visual appeal.   Countless studies and surveys have made it abundantly clear that visuals are the most influential factor affecting purchase decisions (*92.6% of shoppers say visuals seal the deal[2]).

“The most important piece of information a manufacturer can provide to help sell their products is an image. Most sales people tell us this significantly increases their odds of closing a sale. In fact, the trend seems to be that they won’t even suggest an item without one.”

Chief Commercial Officer, Major Food Distributor

What did other customers say?

90% of consumers read online reviews and 88% of them trust the online reviews as much as personal recommendations. In other words, more people read reviews as part of their pre-purchase research before purchasing a product or service.  In fact, customer reviews are trusted 12 times more than a marketing piece from an organization and will specifically seek out websites with reviews[3].  By making ratings and reviews easily accessible across every touchpoint, brands can ensure a positive customer experience.  And there’s more!  Enabling customer reviews on your ecommerce site can have a positive effect on your company’s organic results. Each product review increases the amount of authentic and robust content offered… “meaning you’ll be seen as having higher authority, more relevance, and, as such, a higher chance of getting those pages ranked.” Forbes.

Trusted Product Information

Your shopper wants to know what they’re buying:  How big? What color?  Place of origin? Technical requirements? Add-ons Plug-ins.  Images, video clips, specifications, customer reviews and more are all part of the giant need of trusted and accurate product information.  The quality and completeness of product presentation in online retail has a quantifiable and direct impact on product sales.   On-line retailers that offer compelling, engaging, and complete content to shoppers will be rewarded by repeat purchases, lower levels of returns and long-term loyalty.

What’s a Retailer to Do?

A successful omni-channel shopping experience is dependent upon the depth and accuracy of trusted product content.   Working with 1WorldSync, etailers and retailers alike help to provide better quality product images and information, while reducing the cost of data acquisition. Your users will experience fewer errors when searching for products and you will have more time to concentrate on growing your business.

[1] Vogue, March 2016

[2] Invodo Marketers Summary, 2015

[3] Econsultancy, 2015

Go beyond the label with the 1WorldSync SmartLabel solution

Transparency and trust are critical in today’s shifting marketing place.  Consumers are making smarter purchasing decisions on the spot by using their smartphones to access information about the products they buy. *  Connect consumers with your products and deliver an empowering consumer experience.

Adopting SmartLabel for your products is an easy and efficient way to demonstrate your commitment to your consumers and stand out from your competitors.

SmartLabel goes beyond the label, bringing extended attributes right into the palm of your consumer’s hands. As transparency becomes more critical to your consumers, your ability to provide trusted product information to your consumers is a strategic differentiator.

At 1WorldSync we understand how important this initiative is to brands, that’s why we made an easy and efficient way for you to add a SmartLabel solution to your existing subscription. Learn more about the 1WorldSync SmartLabel solution or contact your account manager to get started today!

***************************
*Source: http://fortune.com/2015/10/13/food-revolution-millennials/

Streamlining the Global Healthcare Data Supply Chain to Comply with Safety and Traceability Mandates

Article originally featured in Pharmaceutical Compliance Monitor.

The demand for robust product information is pervasive. It touches every industry and comes from multiple facets – end consumers to global governments – and the healthcare industry is no exception. Patients are no longer simply recipients of care, but active participants requiring access to rich product information to make informed decisions about their health, care and wellness.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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