Retailers and their suppliers now have a new place to discover and display products. Global product information network 1WorldSync and Hubba, which provides a web portal where retailers and brands share product information, joined forces to offer what they call the world’s largest product discovery network. The companies did not disclose terms of their collaboration.
Both networks have suppliers and retailers as clients. Hubba has more than 20,000 companies that share information on hundreds of thousands of their products, and linking these two networks provides increased visibility into product data for 1WorldSync’s 21,000 brand customers and retailers, the two companies say. Their networks will continue as individual web portals, but are now integrated, so each network has access to twice as many suppliers and retailers.
The joint effort aims to provide growth opportunities for 1WorldSync clients to showcase their suppliers’ products and product information to retailers, distributors and other trading partners worldwide. The combined network offers retailers access to more than 10 million products and a platform for sharing information about those products with suppliers.
Here’s how it works: Brands list their products on Hubba with the potential to reach retailers, distributors and others, says Ben Zifkin, Hubba CEO. “Retailers would log in to see thousands of interesting brands that they likely have never heard of. They make the connection on Hubba, just like they would on LinkedIn, to learn more about the product, request samples or list the product,” Zifkin says. “When the decision is made to list, there is a seamless way for the brands to get their product information to the retailers via 1WorldSync to make it as simple as possible for these companies.”
Retailers can’t buy directly from suppliers on the network. The network serves as a communication channel to get product information or begin a dialog between retailer and supplier regarding specific products. 1WorldSync’s specialty is product details, such as country of origin and what materials products are made from, as well as offering product images and videos and updates, which are provided by suppliers.
The combined networks can speed up the product discovery and acquisition process and give retailers immediate electronic access to a supplier’s product information once an agreement is reached between supplier and seller. The retailer can list a product on its website by linking directly to product information via 1WorldSync, Zifkin says.
Hubba, which launched in 2014, works with such large suppliers as Unilever and Anheuser-Busch InBev as well as smaller retailers, and all can join Hubba for free. Suppliers, or brands, have their own “page” on Hubba’s network to post product information for free.
Enhanced, or premium, listings offer suppliers more information on retailers, for $49 per user per month, Zifkin says. For example, in the free listing scenario a supplier can see that five retailers had viewed its products. Upgrading to a premium fee would give the supplier the names of those five retailers.
1WorldSync offers a range of services available by subscription.
The collaboration between Hubba and 1WorldSync makes sense for several reasons, says Nasry Angel, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc. “From a product information perspective, this partnership is important because it helps retailers and brands meet the customers’ demands for better content, faster,” he says. “They are facing tremendous pressure from digitally empowered customers who will reward only those firms who provide an increasingly differentiated digital experience.”
Consumers are increasingly doing research online, Angel says, and not just on retailers’ websites. “They also are visiting brand websites to get product information, so no one is safe from having to produce high-quality product information,” he says. “This partnership helps meet that need.”
The collaboration gives 1WorldSync clients greater product exposure, says Daniel Wilkinson, 1WorldSync’s chief commercial officer. “Our customers are consistently challenging us to make it as simple as possible to manage their digital product information and their digital commerce content for all market channels,” which helps them grow their businesses, he says.
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