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THE PICKUP LINE OF 2018: “WE TOO RESPECT YOUR PRIVACY”

THE PICKUP LINE OF 2018: “WE TOO RESPECT YOUR PRIVACY”

It cannot have escaped your notice: starting from May the 25th, you have to comply with the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Never before, so many e-mails were sent to ask for your permission to keep e-mailing in the future. While on the 18th of May the message still was ‘can we have your permission’, it became around the 25the of may “if you don’t want to receive any more e-mails, then unsubscribe by using the button below’. So much for active consent. Many companies also change their general conditions or their privacy policy in the final hour. Nobody disputes that it is important to protect personal data, while we all, in the meantime, share our data rather easily with a (free) service such as Facebook. EMAKERS has also collected (your) contact details in the past. In doing so, we can share our knowledge and contribute to a better (e-commerce) world. However, many companies are wide of the mark when they approach GDPR as a necessity. Regulation. GDPR is about a fundamental right which touches the very heart of each company. At EMAKERS, we’re not holier-than-thou. Mea culpa: while we worked very hard behind the scenes to protect the personal data, we often had something better on our hands: a call for tender, urgent business for a client, or writing a news article about GDPR.

The most important improvements we have carried out are:

  • identification of which personal data are saved where, including a policy on the management of these data;
  • creation of a standard processing agreement;
  • creation of an agreement with our staff; for the protection of their personal data and how they handle your data or the data of your clients;
  • creation of a stricter privacy policy regarding who has access to your data or the data of your clients;
  • internal communication around the importance of caution when an employee processes your data or the data of your clients.

GDPR IN PRACTICE

Although many companies are pretty decent, it is in practice often difficult to proof for each individual record whether or not there has been active consent in the past. The e-mails that were sent out en masse the week before the 25th of May have a lamentable conversion. We wonder whether all these senders will really stop e-mailing you when you haven’t reacted actively. EMAKERS itself has hardly carried out any e-mail bombardment (for clients) to ask for permission to keep on e-mailing. For us, it’s always been logical that everyone should be able to unsubscribe for further (commercial) communication on any moment. We sure still have some work to do. Next weeks, we’ll be working hard on:
  • further simplifying our general conditions and privacy policy; we have fully rewritten our general conditions last year, to formulate them more clearly; simplifying a legal text is rather difficult and our own privacy policy is not fully ready yet;
  • the creation of an extensive manual about how we will ask for permission in the future as best practice - this was already on our schedule before GDPR became a hot topic;
  • improving the full protection of our systems, because continuity is of utmost importance to us; this too was already on our schedule; we work with leading suppliers who already have one and another sorted out standardly, but nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to make an extra effort in the field of security.
The right to be forgotten and other additional rules have a lot of impact on a SME like EMAKERS. Therefore, we have decided for now to manually treat these applications 1-by-1, equipped with a simplified step-by-step plan. In this respect, we think it’s necessary to apply a pragmatic way of working, while we observe significant differences concerning the interpretation of the new regulation. It goes without saying that we will closely follow the developments, including possible legal proceedings of the data protection authority. We hope to keep on processing a lot of data in the future and we thank you for your confidence in EMAKERS.

ADOBE BUYS MAGENTO: ALL GOOD, OR NOT?

ADOBE BUYS MAGENTO: ALL GOOD, OR NOT?

Adobe announced on May 21 that it acquired e-commerce platform Magento for 1,68 billion dollar. It’s Adobe’s intention to add Magento Commerce Cloud to Adobe Experience Cloud, thereby offering a single platform for both B2B and B2C use.

The acquisition of Magento by Adobe is in line with the overall trend that content (Adobe) and commerce (Magento) are integrating. Customers nowadays expect a seamless user experience and every experience to be ‘shoppable’. In fact, Magento might have been lacking a bit of functionality on that side compared to its major competitors Woocommerce and Shopware.

COMMERCE MAKES SENSE FOR ADOBE’S EXPERIENCE CLOUD

At EMAKERS, we believe a consolidation in e-commerce platform technology will (need to) take place. With this move, the combination Adobe/Magento will have an almost immediate stronger enterprise offer to its joint customers like Coca-Cola or Nestle. And: Adobe is paying 1,7 billion dollar for Magento; you can expect that they are able to invest a similar amount for Magento’s further development.

Moreover, Adobe is a very strong partner and its Experience Cloud is performing very well with a 22% year-over year growth on subscription revenue. Its Q1 success was, according to Adobe, driven by its Analytics Cloud, Marketing Cloud and Advertising Cloud offerings, with emerging solutions such as Audience Manager, Campaign, Target and Media Optimizer solutions achieving strong results. We now can add Magento’s commerce capabilities to the mix.

IS THE ACQUISITION BY ADOBE MAGENTO’S LIFELINE?

Without any doubt, Magento will be able to benefit from Adobe’s advanced AI functionality (Adobe Sensei) too, starting from 2019. (The companies will operate independently until the acquisition is finalized, expected in fall 2018; an existing integration of Adobe / Magento however already exists within the Magento marketplace.)

However, in the long run existing Magento users might suffer from being part of the Adobe family. While Magento is clearly among the world’s strongest platforms, its users have been plagued by uncertainty in the past years. (First it was put aside by eBay, then it introduced Magento 2 which has experienced a much slower uptake than expected.) The acquisition will for sure have impact on Magento’s customers, although Adobe’s official FAQ on the acquisition states nothing will change until the acquisition is finalised.

Last, but not least: while Magento is open source in its core, Adobe is not. Contributors might re-evaluate if they want to be part of a new community, or rather move on to a next challenge (such as the Shopware platform). Content + Commerce sounds good, but might commercialize the community just a bit too much.

INS SAYS IT WILL REVOLUTIONIZE GROCERY SHOPPING – WILL IT?

INS SAYS IT WILL REVOLUTIONIZE GROCERY SHOPPING – WILL IT?

Although some consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers may be left in doubt, today, all forward-thinking B2C manufacturers are at least investigating how to build and maintain a solid brand in our digital age and how to develop a long-term direct-to-consumer (DtC) strategy. High-end shopping streets are, as a result, increasingly populated by flagship stores of your favourite brands. And online as well, most brands have had their first flirt with e-commerce.

Manufacturers have very little say in how their products are being marketed by retailers, while most traditional brick-and-mortar stores are performing worse every year. Some claim that today’s retail for consumer packaged goods is inefficient, too. And that a lot of food is wasted by trying to reduce empty shelves.

According to Consumers International, there are only four retailers in the UK that serve all together 25 million households with products from only 7,000 manufacturers. Other countries show similar numbers. Let’s welcome the new kid in town: INS. INS is a blockchain powered direct-to-consumer marketplace in the FMCG industry, claiming to cut out the middle man with respect to end consumer communication, loyalty rewards and order fulfilment of sales.

According to INS, some retail chains are abusing their buying power. Grocery retailers are conducting intense negotiations for better terms from their manufacturers and no one – not even giants like Procter & Gamble, Nestle, and Unilever – is in the right position to win those negotiations. In 2016, for example, Wal-Mart’s total sales were about five times bigger than those of its largest supplier, Procter & Gamble. Now imagine the position smaller manufacturers are in. Besides the obvious price and payment conditions, supermarkets are squeezing out their suppliers on terms and conditions like quantity, quality, delivery schedules, packaging and returns policy.

DIRECT SALES MAKE SENSE

When manufacturers communicate, reward or sell directly to their end customers, they are in full control of the brand experience: from the product’s packaging to its delivery. Also, everybody agrees: many digital natives head over to the internet for their shopping and are interested in a stronger relationship with their products, using tools such as instant messaging. Other reasons to sell directly are a growing importance of consumer feedback and data, pressure on profit margins, new possibilities in the supply chain, and so on. And consumers? According to INS, consumers more and more appreciate direct contacts with their brands and bypassing retailers may cut prices up to 30 percent.

So, when a start-up led by the founders of Instamart (a large venture-backed online grocery delivery service) claim they are building the world’s first global decentralized ecosystem directly connecting grocery manufacturers and consumers, it is almost natural they are getting a lot of attention. And when they publicly ask “What would grocery shopping be like without grocers?”, the room gets silent.

Within a few months, INS has signed an impressive list of (non-binding) MoU (memoranda of understanding) with manufacturers of all sizes. To name a few: Aviko, Bake Five, Borjomi, Donald Russel, Dubro, Gulden Krakeling, Henri, Reckit Benckiser, SoPure, Storteboom, Valio, Zijerveld and 2Sisters. Furthermore, hundreds of other (local and global) manufacturers from all around the world expressed their interest to join the INS ecosystem.

We agree with INS when they say that digital will disrupt grocery shopping, like digital has disrupted media. Amazon has acquired Whole Foods in the US and is close to offer online grocery in Europe. In many European markets, the close proximity of supermarkets makes sure that offline groceries are still the best choice – but fulfilment and delivery partners all over the continent are working hard to overcome that last mile to bring fresh apples and pears to your doorstep. Some consumers already have concluded subscription services like Marley Spoon, which are offering them a better combination of price, availability and convenience.

But will it be INS’ way? Keep reading to find out.

AND: DOES BLOCKCHAIN MAKE SENSE?

Blockchain is in essence a database technology controlled by a peer-to-peer network (‘nodes’).

A blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. Each block typically contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp and transaction data. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires collusion of the majority of the network.

Blockchain technology, known and notorious because of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, is one of the key technologies of our decade. Numerous parties are experimenting with blockchain technology, for different use cases.

One of the advantages of blockchain technology is its low price for transactions. In INS’ case, the proposed transaction fee amounts to only one to three percent of the order value.

One of the downsides of blockchains is the time it takes for a transaction to be validated by the network. For bitcoins, I have been told, that nowadays takes seconds to hours. Obviously, within the context of e-commerce, that is not acceptable. INS is therefore developing its own private blockchain network where trusted (and professional) nodes are invited. According to documentation of INS itself, they will implement a superfast algorithm from the BFT family, enabling up to thousands of transactions per second.

By using blockchain for supply chain management, INS claims it will streamline fulfillment processes and reduce human errors. Also, INS tokens can be used as loyalty points or other rewards. Manufacturers can for instance use them within a consumer’s saving program or the INS’ operators can use them to invite consumers to the network.

According to INS’ documentation, manufacturers will be required to hold a balance in INS tokens which is equal to some portion of previous month sales to guarantee the ability to pay all types of rewards. Manufacturers can either keep tokens after receiving them from consumers or buy tokens on exchanges to comply with the requirement.

Similar to an IPO (Initial Public Offering), INS held an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) in December 2017 as a way of raising funds for the development of its business. At that moment, the price of an INS token was set against that of Ethereum (an alternative to bitcoin). INS tokens now can be traded at several exchanges. One of the risks of cryptocurrency for participating manufacturers might be the volatility of the market. While we were talking with INS at the beginning of April 2018, the company said it has a hedging strategy to limit the effect of price volatility of the INS token on manufacturers and consumers. But will it be good enough?

We have understood that INS is not planning to use blockchain for payments by the consumer.

THE OPPORTUNITY

So, INS is on its way to become a decentralized marketplace that allows manufacturers to communicate, use marketing and sell directly to consumers. Additionally, it allows them to execute sales promotions, conduct loyalty campaigns, and get feedback from those very same consumers.

Besides being a marketplace, INS intends to offer a software development kit (SDK) to those manufacturers so that they (or companies like EMAKERS on their behalf) are able to build their own branded web shop built on the system.

According to Frank van der Tol, INS’ business development manager for the Dutch market, no decision has been made yet on where to (geographically) launch first. In a discussion we held in the beginning of April, it was confirmed that the INS promotional platform is scheduled for a soft launch at the end of the third quarter of 2018. The INS marketplace will be launched in the first quarter of 2019. The geographical region where INS will be launched first could be the Benelux, as recent press announcements might suggest. Expected is a rather opportunistic approach to launch in a significant market with sufficient participating manufacturers.

INS believes that, for the platform to succeed, there is a key role to be played by fulfilment partners. In February 2018 it therefore announced a strategic partnership with PostNL, the leading logistics provider for parcel delivery in the Netherlands that also holds a significant position in Belgium and Germany. INS is actively recruiting partners with great expertise in fulfilling consumer packaged goods. These could be ‘traditional’ e-commerce fulfilment parties, but possibly also supermarkets and wholesalers that take on a new role within the supply chain.

THE END OF RETAIL

The one-million-euros question obviously is: “Will INS mean the end of retail?”

The sale of CPGs through e-commerce is still relatively low, but expected to grow fast in the years to come. Recent research from GfK shows in particular that the close proximity of supermarkets in The Netherlands is preventing growth in the segment.

In the Dutch market (for example) all major supermarket chains already have their e-commerce operations (AH, Jumbo, ..) and also know a ‘pure’ e-commerce player named Picnic.

Currently, the traditional supermarkets still hold a dominant position in the Dutch e-commerce of consumer packaged goods. They provide a service in line with their retail and master delivery. We expect them to grow towards marketplaces too, like Tesco in the UK.

While the Dutch market is relatively efficient with low margins, one can also expect Amazon to step into the game. In the US, Amazon has acquired Whole Foods Market and Amazon has already confirmed to start a grocery service in France, too. Amazon is the world’s most powerful marketplace and might - from a consumer’s perspective - not be much different than INS. The reasons to choose against Amazon are as big as those in favour. Amazon is known for copying popular products, which will not turn out in your favour in the long-term. In the short term, however, Amazon can exponentially increase your sales.

In the end, the success of INS will be determined by its capability to compete on price, availability and convenience.

OUR RECOMMENDATION

EMAKERS is impressed by the talent INS has attracted in a fairly short time and the MoUs it has closed with major players in the market. We are a bit cautious though: INS is obviously receiving a lot of press coverage due to embracing blockchain as an enabler. But technology, as we know, is just one small part of internet success. Many startups rose to stardom overnight - but left the stage long before they managed to make any money.

INS’ biggest opportunity will be for those companies that have very little shelf space at retail chains. There is a rationale for brands that are well presented in supermarkets, too, but they are probably too dependent on such channels at this very moment.

In our experience with selling FMCG with a relatively low value (such as food and beverages) online, logistics will largely determine INS’ success. Supermarkets ship their orders from one place. The costs for delivery typically amounts only a small and acceptable portion of the total basket value. Now imagine a marketplace with decentralised logistics. It might well be that an order is dispatched to several parties resulting in multiple (and more expensive) deliveries. (This, obviously, is the case for all marketplaces.) To overcome this, INS is currently planning to consolidate orders in their smart fulfilment centres before sending them to the consumer. At first sight this sounds to us as selling through Amazon and being obliged to use FBA. This is a very interesting part in the INS business model to us and explains PostNL’s eagerness to collaborate with INS. On the other hand, this might make working with INS an even more strategic decision for direct to consumer brands and hurt the insertion of manufacturers within the network.

While direct sales is a strategy that no manufacturer can ignore in our opinion, selling through INS might also add an additional interface to your business operations - thus making your operations more difficult. While several services exist to automatically connect your own infrastructure to (for instance) Amazon, such a connector is not yet foreseen for INS. When manufacturers don’t have their own webshop yet, they might consider using INS’ software development kit.

One thing that INS understands perfectly well, is that customers are key. Talking with INS, we found out that they are currently - and possibly in close co-operation with supermarkets - developing a large system for customer loyalty programs and sales promotions using their INS tokens. This system is planned to go live in fall 2018, so by then we will find out in which market (and under which brand) INS will go live for its direct sales offer. You can trust that EMAKERS will be prepared and here to inform and advise you.

CO-OPERATION DISTRIMEDIA AND EMAKERS TO ARM WEB SHOPS AGAINST E-COMMERCE GIANTS

CO-OPERATION DISTRIMEDIA AND EMAKERS TO ARM WEB SHOPS AGAINST E-COMMERCE GIANTS

Fulfilment partner DISTRIMEDIA and e-commerce agency EMAKERS have made an agreement aiming to make the services that are usually only within reach for the well-known e-commerce giants, also accessible for medium-sized players. With a combined offer, they both have the necessary marketing and logistic expertise needed to make e-commerce activities profitable. To start their cooperation strongly, they organize an e-commerce event in Tielt on March 29.

DISTRIMEDIA is a national player in the domain of web shop, retail and bulk fulfilment. The strong automatized company originates from the Uitgeverij Lannoo Groep. EMAKERS, with office in Gullegem and Mont-Saint-Guibert, helps SMBs from A to Z with the development and exploitation of their e-commerce activities.

Frank de Wulf, general director of DISTRIMEDIA: “People increasingly ask us for additional expertise in the domain of e-commerce. Companies knock on our door for our logistic expertise, but increasingly also ask for additional services such as special synchronizations with their e-commerce platform or more guidance in defining the unboxing experience. Now, together with EMAKERS, we will be able to meet their expectations.”

“SMBs often finds themselves pushed from pillar to post regarding their e-commerce activities. One supplier is responsible for digital marketing, another manages the web shop.”, according to Stefan Vermeulen, E-commerce Manager at EMAKERS. “With our full-service offer, EMAKERS is able to take full responsibility, on request of the client. Thanks to the cooperation with DISTRIMEDIA, we can do that for companies of all sizes.”

On 29 March, DISTRIMEDIA and EMAKERS organize an event with national and international speakers in the main office of Lannoo. You can obtain an invitation for the event via www.distrimedia.be or www.emakers.be.

IMPORTANT SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: 3 WORDPRESS.ORG PLUGINS “CLOSED DOWN”

In two weeks time, WordPress.org has closed three plugins because they contained content-injection backdoors. “Closing” a plugin means that it is no longer available for download from the repository, and will not show up in WordPress.org search results.

All of these three plugins have been subject to a shady purchase over the past months and was part of the same supply chain attack, with the goal of injecting SEO spam into the sites running the plugins.

The plugins involved are:

  • Duplicate Page and Post, 50,000+ active installs;
  • No Follow All External Links, 9,000+ active installs
  • WP No External Links, 30,000+ active installs

BE CAREFUL WHAT TO INSTALL

Selecting the right plugin for your sites, no matter on what (open source) technology it is built, is a task that should be executed with great care. We have proactively checked all our clients to ensure the mentioned plugins were not installed. If you are not an EMAKERS customer (yet) and you have any of these plugins installed, we recommend that you remove them immediately.

Customers of EMAKERS who use WordPress or WooCommerce technology and opt for a service contract are extra protected at EMAKERS with the Wordfence plugin that we install for them by default.

Framework EMAKERS for protecting personal data

THE PICKUP LINE OF 2018: “WE TOO RESPECT YOUR PRIVACY”

It cannot have escaped your notice: starting from May the 25th, you have to comply with the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Never before, so many e-mails were sent to ask for your permission to keep e-mailing in the future. While on the 18th of May the message still was ‘can we have your permission’, it became around the 25the of may “if you don’t want to receive any more e-mails, then unsubscribe by using the button below’. So much for active consent. Many companies also change their general conditions or their privacy policy in the final hour.

Adobe Magento Building Blocks

ADOBE BUYS MAGENTO: ALL GOOD, OR NOT?

Adobe announced on May 21 that it acquired e-commerce platform Magento for 1,68 billion dollar. It’s Adobe’s intention to add Magento Commerce Cloud to Adobe Experience Cloud, thereby offering a single platform for both B2B and B2C use.

INS SAYS IT WILL REVOLUTIONIZE GROCERY SHOPPING – WILL IT?

Although some consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers may be left in doubt, today, all forward-thinking B2C manufacturers are at least investigating how to build and maintain a solid brand in our digital age and how to develop a long-term direct-to-consumer (DtC) strategy. High-end shopping streets are, as a result, increasingly populated by flagship stores of your favourite brands. And online as well, most brands have had their first flirt with e-commerce.

EMAKERS helpt KMO's om met behulp van nieuwe technologieën en werkwijzen meer resultaat te behalen uit hun verkoop- en service activiteiten. Wij werken samen met verschillende sectororganisaties en zijn lid van VOKA (Vlaams netwerk van ondernemingen) en Feweb (Federatie van webbureaus). » Lees verder over EMAKERS

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