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IBM Helps Retailers Deliver Consistent Brand Experience Across Expanding Consumer Buying Channels

Smarter Commerce Transforms Marketing, Sales into a Service

NEW YORK, Jan. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- National Retail Federation Convention -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced new marketing and sales innovations that will allow retailers to deliver a consistent shopping experience for consumers across multiple touch points -- from the store, mobile and online. IBM's global survey of 26,000 consumers announced today revealed that 35 percent of consumers are considering diversifying the way they buy goods and services in the future.

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To meet these rising demands, IBM is introducing new software that serves the rise of the so-called "omni-channel shopper," those consumers who shop multiple channels and expect a consistent sales and marketing experience.  

As part of the Smarter Commerce Initiative, IBM is helping retailers serve these consumers so they can shop where, when and how they want, quickly finding and purchasing the products they want, all the time viewing the retailer's interactions with them as a service.

CMOs, CIO's and e-commerce leaders are striving to better understand their most effective sales and marketing strategies. Their goal is to increase sales by growing average order values, conversion rates and cart sizes.  IBM's new marketing and sales technologies help achieve these goals by gaining insights into all customer interactions, buying patterns and purchases across mobile, social, online, call center, email and offline.

They include: 

  • New eCommerce software that helps retailers provide consumers with a more efficient, streamlined and personalized shopping experience.
  • New software made in IBM Labs that incorporates social media data into campaign metrics to tell sellers which channels are the most effective.
  • New cloud computing software that helps marketers analyze real-time and historic data on buying patterns and purchases and across all buying preferences.

"As evidenced in IBM's Digital Analytics Benchmark, the retail industry and consumer habits are changing faster than anyone could predict," said Craig Hayman, General Manager, Industry Solutions, IBM.  "The digital experience is influencing changes in the store and online and the winners are those that are making omni-channel retailing a reality today from pre-sale to post-sales service." 

IBM is working with leading retailers around the globe, helping them deliver Smarter Commerce experiences to their customers, including Cabelas, Cavender's, Family Dollar, Office Depot, and SHOP.CA.

"To be Canada's number one online shopping destination, SHOP.CA must make online shopping fun and engaging. Using IBM's new merchandising features, we can present personalized offers and promotions as well as influence search results dynamically, driven by customer activity on the site," said Gary Black, Chief Technology Officer, SHOP.CA. "By helping customers find popular items faster and enabling them to discover new products easily, which they can immediately share with their social network, SHOP.CA hopes to create customer loyalty as well as drive online sales growth."

IBM market research shows that what happens after the sale is as critical to a retailer's brand relationship with a customer as the sale itself.  Most customers believe that a retailer's ability to deliver a strong post-purchase experience -- services that span product shipment, delivery installation, customer support, problem resolution and returns -- is a key factor in influencing them to recommend the merchant to others. IBM believes insightful services based on buyer preferences are crucial to sustaining and improving brand loyalty.

IBM Omni-Channel Innovations Elevate Store Experience

At NRF this week, Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions, the world leader in point of sale (POS) systems, is introducing Toshiba TCxGravity, the first retail store application that gives consumers a true omni-channel experience, in and out of the store.  TCxGravity works in conjunction with IBM's order management technology to deliver the industry's first comprehensive view of data from all channels at the point of checkout for better customer service.  Details can be found here.

Together, Toshiba and IBM are overcoming a key challenge retailers face in providing consumers and store employees with access to information from all channels and across the entire order lifecycle. IBM's order management solution enables retailers using Toshiba TCxGravity to deliver innovative services, such as offering products and services based on a customer's order history, manage an order taken from another channel, and offer alternatives to out-of-stock items and store merchandise pick-up.

The new eCommerce software introduced today from IBM includes new analytics tools for merchandisers that improves the customer experience by integrating merchandising and search together to deliver more relevant search results and product recommendations.  In addition, IBM continues to extend its eCommerce offerings by integrating key technologies from its recent acquisitions, such as Worklight and TeaLeaf, to deliver a richer mobile experience and a more streamlined customer experience through better customer insight. Together, these capabilities are designed to improve conversion rates and reduce cart abandonment, leading to revenue growth and stronger profits.

New Real-time Marketing Analytics Help CMOs Personalize the Buying Experience

Today, IBM introduced new real-time decision-making capabilities to its cross channel marketing and digital marketing optimization offerings. These new capabilities give marketers a holistic view of customer buying patterns and purchases over time -- what they viewed, purchased and how much they spent -- across channels.

Retailers can then combine this historical data with real-time activity to present product recommendations at prices that are in-line with the budget of each customer, which now supports an expanded network of partners.  Through the Digital Data Exchange, retailers can easily collect and share real-time behavioral data with a growing network of third-party services to create richer customer profiles that result in more personalized experiences.

This new version also makes it easier for marketers and merchandisers to understand their most effective channels and campaigns by gauging the influence that each has on the buying decisions.  For example, IBM is introducing IBM Attribution Modeler.  Made in IBM labs, Attribution Modeler is the first technology offering of its kind, helping clients measure their most effective sales channels.   It provides a complete view of all campaign activities and responses by each customer – across mobile, social, online, call center, email and offline.

For more information, visit IBM Smarter Commerce at: www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/smarter_commerce/overview/index.html

IBM Contact:

Julie Redard


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