TradeMag in Taiwan interviewed Icecat CEO Hoogeveen and APAC director JJ Jan in its August 17, 2016 issue (#449). TradeMag is a publication by TAITRA, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council, and most key manufacturers in Taiwan are subscribed to it. Here, I added an excerpt of this Chinese article in English.
After the Brexit referendum, the UK is expected to leave the EU within three years. In the past, the UK was one of the most popular cross-border entry points to the European market, especially for US companies. After the Brexit vote, The Netherlands may fully replace the UK as the most popular ecommerce port to the EU for US companies.
According to Mr. Cor Molenaar, Professor at Erasmus Rotterdam, the UK was often chosen by US companies as it is an English-speaking country as well, the US aircraft carrier for cross-border eCommerce activities. He predicts that many EDCs, European Distribution Centers, will be built up at Venlo, Dutch city nearby the German border, in order to cover the whole EU market.
Product information is highly structured in Europe. Icecat, based in The Netherlands, is a major player in this domain. Founded in 2001 by PhD Martijn Hoogeveen, later joined by Mr. JJ Jan, as APAC director, Icecat is actively expanding its market presence to the Asia-Pacific area.
Icecat currently offers all its ecommerce users, a product catalog with over 3.5 million data-sheets. More than ten thousand brands are supported, and key brands include Intel, Acer, Asus, Gigabyte and other well-known manufacturers. Icecat is also gradually expanding into Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) categories.
Manufacturers need to deliver product information to multiple ecommerce business platforms. Icecat has an open catalog to resolve this bottleneck: its product information, including text, image, video, spec sheets, PDF files, are digitally standardized and help manufacturers to syndicate them automatically to many ecommerce business platforms, eliminating the need for inefficient, manual communication.
Icecat APAC Director Mr. JJ Jan believes that online shopping has led to a high degree of price transparency. It’s not easy for channel partners to maintain a high margin, so they need to use highly automated systems to manage their eCommerce operations, especially for product data updating.
If retailers need to spend too much time in updating manually non-structured product data, their operational costs will be too high. We advise brands in Taiwan to prepare their product data in a way that is acceptable by European channel partners.
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