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IBM Software Targets the 'Omni-Channel' Customer Experience

As part of its Smarter Commerce initiative, IBM is releasing several solutions aimed at delivering a consistent experience across multiple retail touchpoints to what it terms “omni-channel” shoppers — or consumers who expect a consistent sales and marketing experience across all channels they use.

Improving Personalization, Analytics

In partnership with Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions, IBM is helping release Toshiba TCxGravity. This POS application links to IBM order management technology to provide a multichannel view of a customer’s purchase history at checkout. Retailers can thus perform personalized activities at the POS such as making targeted offers based on previous purchases, allow payment for orders taken via other channels, make alternate suggestions for out-of-stock items and allow in-store pickup of goods purchased online.

IBM also released a couple of analytics tools designed to provide better insight into omni-channel shoppers. New e-commerce software includes analytical capabilities based on integrated merchandising and search, designed to deliver more relevant search results and product innovations.

In addition, IBM has introduced new real-time decision-making capabilities to its cross-channel marketing and digital marketing optimization solutions. As a result, retailers will obtain a view of cross-channel customer behavior including products viewed and purchased and amount of money spent. This historical data can also be combined with real-time customer interactions to provide targeted product recommendations.

Other new tools and features designed to allow better targeting of omni-channel shoppers include the IBM Attribution Modeler, which offers a complete view of cross-channel campaign performance by individual customers.

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Filling the Omni-channel Basket

IBM’s new offerings seem posed to help retailers fill what IDC Retail Insights recently classified as the “omni-channel basket of goods.” IDC says the “basket” is something that “persists over long periods of time and across devices to support” the needs of the “Stop Start Shopper,” or a modern shopper who may begin their retail experience by scanning a product barcode with a mobile phone in a store and then order it online later at home, with expectations of a consistent experience.

IDC says providing this basket provides benefits including larger purchases (omni-channel shoppers reportedly spend 3.5 times as much as other shoppers), increased conversion rates and improved behavior tracking.

IBM Tries to Get Smart

Smarter Commerce is IBM’s attempt to assist companies with the growing trend of “customer-centric” sales and marketing, or the molding of the full value chain from source through sales and service around customer wants and needs. The ultimate goal is to create an optimized, omnichannel customer experience where the consumer receives targeted messaging, product assortments, fulfillment, and follow-up services that are consistent across all touchpoints.

As part of IBM’s current Smarter Commerce omni-channel initiative, the company says it will further integrate technology from its May 2012 purchase of Tealeaf Technology Inc., a specialty provider of customer experience analytics software. Tealeaf’s software suite is designed to analyze online and mobile consumer interactions to detect patterns and issues.

Through the Tealeaf purchase, IBM hopes to add real-time qualitative analytics to its Smarter Commerce offering, which would allow marketers to quickly respond to problems and refine their efforts at creating an optimized customer experience. Today’s announcement gives insight into how IBM expects to leverage its purchase of Tealeaf and other niche customer experience vendors to create a stronger overall customer experience offering.

 
 
 
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