Tag Archives: retailers

It’s Just Commerce!

Since I was a toddler, I have been exposed to multiple paradigm shifts within the marketplace that in one way or another are an attempt to reinvent how we as consumers buy things.

For me, it started with going to stores, or shopping in a catalog and then blossomed into the world of connected commerce today. Recently when I stepped back from the daily act of using my phone or computer to research and buy products I came to a realization, the revolutionary experience I have been leveraging was not all that different from when commerce started.

Commerce took a turn for increased accessibility to products and a centralized way to purchase multiple goods/services from one location. Trust, reviews, availability and price were still the cornerstones of commerce.

Customers trusted the store to offer friendly advice (owners & employees), have products on the shelves and if the prices weren’t right, the customer went to a different store. The main thing that changed was how the products were brought to the customer.

First Came The Big Box Retailers

You no longer needed to be concerned with selection, because the big box had “everything’ you could want. Stores got bigger allowing for greater availability, lower prices, and product insights from media outlets (newspapers, TV, Radio).

E-commerce has shaped our relationship with how we buy and sell products, but at it’s core e-commerce is just next evolution of catalog shopping The innovation is not the method or even commerce itself, but an expansion on the idea of getting any item even from the comfort of your couch.  

Bridging the gap between digital and physical does present a challenge for the retailers/e-tailers etc. as they are looking to make the trust, availability, price and review experience seamless across all avenues of purchase.

From Brick To Click

1WorldSync recently completed a data study that highlighted some of the key challenges suppliers and retailers face when trying to achieve true cross-commerce capabilities.  and uncovered key insights into the struggles that are faced in today’s omni-channel world.

Key findings suggest that a majority of merchants and suppliers are not fully prepared to meet the varied demands of modern customers. 45% of merchants and suppliers have lost more than $1 million in revenue due to challenges faced when integrating cross-channel capabilities into their commerce strategy (Source: 1WorldSync Data Study).

You can read more here about how 1WorldSync can you make your products stand out in a very crowded Omni-Channel world.

Shoptalk 2017 Recap

It was a great week at Shoptalk 2017.  Connected Commerce is the name of the game…companies are mobilizing behind mobile and beyond!  From sessions on how online is going offline to rising mobile commerce in China;  with major retail and brand speakers like eBay, Nordstrom, Walmart, Kimberly-Clark, Mondelez, Samsung, HSN, Apple, Lowe’s and on and on and on….the discussions were insightful and engaging.  Not to mention the appearance of the Bumby’s for fair and honest appraisals of attendee appearances.

So for our loyal 1WorldSync followers, let’s boil it down on a few key insights relative to product content.

  • Shoppers will start and end their purchase journey in different places.  It’s a fact.  Brands and retailers alike must make their cross-channel commerce capabilities and content in those channels consistent, authentic and engaging.
  • Omni = Om-need…one speaker coined a phrased that omni really means om-need.  As a brand, you need to have your product content available when the shopper wants it, needs it, and when they ask for it.  Is it a Dash button?  Store Display? Alexa? Challenges abound!
  • Content is global, distribution is local.  Content is not “one-size-fits-all;” yet, brand reputation, recognition and market position has to be consistent globally.  However, consumers around the world consume that information differently – it must be tailored for local markets.  Product content strategies are following global commerce strategies and no longer siloed within channels.
  • The “connectivity of things” means product content is traveling and traversing mediums in exponential fashion.  Voice search to physical outcome is not easy.  Natural processing language and search context are just the start of challenges (or opportunities) facing retailers and brands on the consumer path to purchase.

All this points to the fact that connected commerce is growing, changing, evolving, iterating, exploding and imploding…all at once. Product content in this environment must be trustworthy, authentic, consistent, relevant and timely.  Brands and retailers need partners to help them in this quest for delivering frictionless commerce.  The eco-system is growing, these global power houses are choosing trusted, experienced experts to help them on their journey!

 

Thank you Shoptalk for another great year of rewriting the commerce blueprint!

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>

“Are You Ready for a Micro Moment?”

Picture this.  You’re in line at the airport, waiting to board that 6am flight to Atlanta.  You look to your left and notice the perfect smart carry-on luggage.  You try to look more closely to capture the brand.  As you board the plane, you take out your smartphone and Google the item name.  You scroll for the product specs – the size, the color.  A moment later, as you buckle your seatbelt, you hit ‘Add Item to Cart.’  The passenger sitting next to you pulls out the latest headphones du jour.  Is it compatible with your laptop? You take out your smartphone again.  What’s the show he’s streaming?  Who’s that actor?  Take out your smartphone and find out.  They’re serving breakfast now and you wonder what’s healthier – the bagel & cream cheese or the poppy seed scone?  No need to wonder, just check your smartphone one more time.  

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“Retailers & “Summer-itis” – 3 Tips on How Online Retailers Can Avoid the Summer Blues”

“Summeritis”

“A rapidly spreading condition occurring every year when the weather begins to warm up and summer approaches. Symptoms include: extreme laziness, distraction and sudden lack of effort.”

Yes, indeed it’s a real disease (according to the Urban Dictionary). So here we are, with Memorial Day in our rear view mirror and summer literally days away.  And of course, with summer comes…. vacation and people wishing they were on vacation… and full blown cases of what we call “shopping summeritis.”  While this may be a joyous time of the year for many, online retailers may not exactly share the same excitement. Don’t believe us?  Well, there’s research to confirm that. When temperatures rise, online sales go down – way down.

“When consumers start reaching for sun block and ice cream rather than their credit cards and tablets, that shows up on e-retailers’ bottom lines. An analysis of online shopping habits in the summer by SumAll shows gross sales for online merchants in July decline 30% from December highs, and average order value falls nearly 5% below the annual average in August.”[1]

Well, have no fear.  We have a few great suggestions that will help keep your shoppers engaged and avoid the dreaded ‘summer-itis.’

  1. Leverage Monday Madness

Online shoppers spend the most per item on summer Mondays ($41.13) and the least on summer Fridays ($34.74). So it’s a great opportunity to incorporate sales incentives, such as free shipping for orders of $100 or more on Mondays. This will help push consumers to purchase higher priced items.

  1. Increase your Social Media Engagement

Remember those millennial shoppers we’ve talked about?  Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, no matter what the season, you can always count on millennial’s heavy usage of social media.  This means that their phones and tablets are still within reach. Take advantage of this opportunity to constantly update your social media channels to engage with your customers. Whether you are showing off a new product or providing a discount code. One day to focus your energy towards is Wednesday. During the summer, Wednesday accounts for a very high number of sales throughout June to August, according to Internet Retailer.

  1. Information, Information, Information!

While people may not be reaching for their keyboard or laptop, their mobile device is always within reach. Take this opportunity to create a summer focused communication sharing information pertaining to discounts, new products and special promotions. Provide links to product specifications, photos & videos and customer comments.  Don’t underestimate the power of relevant, complete and trusted product information to boost your online sales this summer.  It might just be the antidote you need to combat the dreaded summer blues.

[1] Internet Retailer

4 Reasons Why Consumers Heart Online Shopping

Welcome to the leveled playing field of eCommerce.  A field paved with opportunity, growing market shares and reduced barriers of entry.  Forget traditional store fronts and other demands of maintaining a physical presence.  Who needs costly advertising in Yellow Pages, newspapers, or magazines when there are free search engines, email campaigns, low cost banner ads, or other online promotional tools like Google AdWords.  And as a consumer, why brave the snow, sleet and rain to purchase the latest “toy” when your heart’s desire is merely a click away?

Because, along with banana slicers, live lady bugs and canned unicorn meat (yes, you read that correctly), you can officially buy just about anything online.  Even craft beer is getting into the act, such as AB InBev, hoping to engage fans of craft beer by embracing e-commerce.  Overall, 70% of Americans (and 85% of the world’s population) are regularly shopping online and the reason isn’t just for the beer.  So why the online shopping explosion?  Here’s what we think.

It’s so easy.

Yes it is easy.  Certainly the proliferation of mobile devices has been the driving factor (4 out of 5 shoppers are mobile shoppers).But whether by phone, laptop or tablet, you can shop anywhere and at any time.  You don’t have to drive, park and battle with long lines.  You shop at your own pace – whether laser focused for one item – or leisurely scrolling for next year’s Christmas gifts.

More to choose.

If you’re an online business, you have an advantage over traditional retailers in that you aren’t limited to the amount of shelf space available when considering which items to stock. Adding selection, therefore, may help you appeal to online buyers, as can keeping your prices below traditional competitors and streamlining your purchase process to create a convenient experience for shoppers.

Comparison shop.

Try spending a Saturday afternoon comparison shopping for a new flat screen TV.  How many brick and mortar stores will you hit on your quest for the best value and the best product for you?  Sound exhausting?   Ironically, you’ll likely spend more money on gas than you are planning to save.

Conversely, online shopping is ideal for comparison shopping.  Product details, specifications, photos, customer reviews and pricing are easily searched and weighted according to a customer’s needs.  As consumers spend more time researching product purchases online (71% of in-store shoppers use smartphones for online research), the importance of high-quality product content becomes paramount for retailers, manufacturers, CPG firms and distributors alike.

Find More.

One of the best benefits of ecommerce for customers is they can get robust information that is not possible in a physical store.  As talented as instore salespeople can be, they’ll likely have challenges responding to customers who are looking for information on different product lines. But ecommerce websites offer additional information to their customers in a much more direct and thorough manner.  All the given information is provided by vendors so that their customers find it easy to purchase products with information.

This is where 1WorldSync’s Omni-channel solutions help.  We put authentic, trusted content in the hands of your customers and consumers; empowering them to make the right choices, purchases or health and lifestyle decisions.

Global Reach, Local Connection- How 1WorldSync is bridging the Gap

International trading has always played an important role in Asian countries. In a practical business, it takes a lot of effort to get customers’ orders shipped out; however, it is even more challenging on the back-end of production. There’s potential risk which can cause continuous logistical errors. Product information errors cause a domino effect of errors resulting in invoicing and sizing errors…just to name a few. All of which result in a decrease of profits.

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Point of Sale – The Change Agent for Retail Evolution

We’ve talked a lot about how the retail industry is going through a transformation in this blog. The consumer, and their desire to make informed purchase decisions are driving most of this change.  As retailers begin to adapt to the connected consumer, many of their systems will begin to change in order to support the experience the consumer is demanding. The one system change that will likely take the lead in this change is the Point of Sale (POS).

Retail stores are doing everything they can to entice consumers to visit their location, and forego shopping online. The theory is that a superb in-store experience, combined with instant fulfillment, will make even the savviest connected consumer spend more time and money in the store.  For this to happen however, there is a bar for convenience that has been set by the e-commerce industry that must be matched – checkout.

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The Mobile Product Information Gap

The Mobile Product Information Gap

Online sales in the U.S. totaled $263 billion dollars in 2013, an increase of almost 17% from 2012 according to the US Census. According to research firm Javelin, mobile commerce accounted for almost $60 billion, representing 188% growth from 2012. While this impressive growth in mobile commerce represents a tremendous opportunity for the retail industry, it also represents a huge challenge.

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