Looking back at 2019, something we typically do before the year end, we selected these highlights as most memorable.
Last November, Alibaba decided to scale up the co-operation with Icecat globally. Only a year after the first project with Ali Express started in Spain. Alibaba is increasingly competing with Amazon over global ecommerce hegemony.
Not only Alibaba expanded its co-operation with Icecat, also Google Scaled Up its Partnership with Icecat to help LEGO, Intel, VTech and L’Oréal by Enriching Product Search. Google has the strategy to become increasingly relevant for the ecommerce shopper. The Iceshop team is technically managing this ever expanding interface connection.
The “Toys data model is fully embraced by the toy industry”, according to participants of the Benelux toys event. All major retailers and most toys brand already jumped on the bandwagon to benefit from the efficiency of a shared taxonomy in the industry. The standard is being adopted in more countries through Icecat’s global brand and retailer network. The aim is – of course – to have the toys data model evolve into a global standard.
DELL’s Product Stories are defining a New Digital Asset Type in the open catalog interface. Of course, DELL is not the only brand that has Stories to tell about its products, product families or brand itself.
Amazon is globally making use of Icecat’s Open Catalog Interface, for a decade or so, but also has other interfaces: A+ for manually enriching product data-sheets, and an interface for new product templates. The latter is now being slowly replaced by the so-called AFS interface, and Icecat is an Amazon content partner interfacing to AFS as well, and concluded the first brand pilots. At the same time, Syndy is assisting in the automated creation of Amazon templates. This year, is the year in which Amazon is making steps to ease up its AFS interface and cover more countries.
The Free Vendor Central gains traction among leading retailers and distributors, that want their brand suppliers to directly commit product content updates to their ecommerce sites. Why pay for developing and going through the hazzle of setting up a PIM for your suppliers if it’s made available for free, and comes with a pre-defined taxonomy? It started in Europe, but thanks to the partnership with Alibaba, it already has a global dimension.
The last quarter of 2019 was a moment of truth for the ICURY crypto of Icecat as ICURY (ICY) got listed on crypto exchanges Txbit and Nocks, and is now a liquid digital asset. Which means that there’s trade every day. The listings were triggered by airdrops, in which loyalty tokens can be earned by users. At the beginning of the crypto bust of 2018, Icecat decided to stave away from ICOs (initial coin offerings) or IEOs (initial exchange offerings), as most of these were done by teams without any substance, or were outright fraudulent. Not something we wanted to be associated with. The focus on the ICURY as a loyalty token for existing or new users, worked out well. It’s like the e-commerce hype of 2000: it’s a marathon, not a sprint! The ICURY is here to stay. It is quickly accepted by a number of popular crypto trackers, and the team is open for further experimentation with partners that fully comply with the relevant, old or new, legal frameworks.
Mercado Libre – an ecommerce leader with 307 million users in Latin America – chose Icecat as its content partner. The e-commerce platform claims to be the 7th largest of its kind in the world. Although Icecat is already active in the region for a while, it’s nevertheless a landmark partnership.
GS1 Presented Fashion Base with Euretco at Emerce Fashion 2019. Icecat didn’t only help by creating the PIM, but also supported GS1 to define the fashion data model, or taxonomy. And not just for fashion, also for the DIY vertical. We discovered that creating great standardized data models, is a core-competence of our taxonomy team that fulfils a market need.
2019 started with the news that Icecat acquired Swedish reviews aggregator Testseek. Testseek offers both professional product reviews as consumer reviews. During the year, the Testseek team was embedded in Icecat’s. In coming periods we expect to do further steps to combine both databases.
Founder and CEO of Icecat NV. Investor through iMerge. PhD Multimedia at Delft University of Technology. Former Professor Multimedia/E-commerce at Open University Netherlands.
Read further: ICURY, Invest, News, 2019, alibaba, amazon, DIY, fashionbase, Google Manufacturer Centre, ICY, productstory, reviews, toys, Vendor Central
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