Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent
November, 29th 2011

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by Craig Hayman
General Manager, Industry Solutions, IBM Software Group

I’m spending today with a group of industry analysts at our annual Analyst Connect event. At the top of our agenda is a discussion about Smarter Commerce, our approach to finding better business processes related to the buying of goods and services, the selling of those goods and services, the marketing that occurs before they are sold, and the servicing of the customers after they’ve purchased them – the “buy, market, sell, service” cycle of commerce.

So I thought I’d talk about a current, real-world example of Smarter Commerce in action. If you’re like most Americans, the odds are good that you spent some time shopping over the last few days. In fact, based on the 2011 IBM Coremetrics Cyber Monday Benchmark Report, record numbers of people shopped online on Cyber Monday.

But a deeper dive into the data reveals that the ways that people are shopping have changed dramatically. It used to be that when we talked about online shopping, we naturally concluded that the PC was the consumer’s tool of choice. IBM data shows that in fact, nearly 11 percent of consumers are using their mobile devices to visit a retailer’s site; even more importantly, nearly 7 percent of all online sales are coming from mobile devices.

These are compelling numbers—the kinds of numbers that you ignore at your peril. Consider that just two years ago, mobile traffic to online retail sites amounted to less than 1 percent. If you weren’t using analytics to not just track how your customers were coming to your site, but how those trends were likely to evolve, I’m betting that the mobile explosion caught you unawares.

Here’s where a hockey analogy might come in handy. Wayne Gretsky, arguably the greatest hockey player ever, famously summed up the game in a way that is as applicable to business as it is to sports: “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”

You need to anticipate customer behavior and center yourself and your business on what they—not you—think is important. The end of the PC era is upon us and we need to take deliberate, measured steps to prepare our business for a new, mobile-driven era.

Your customers are getting smarter—they’re in charge of the conversation about products that are already in your inventory. And they’re using social media to broadcast their opinions. At scale. Instantaneously.

IBM data shows that people pay attention to these opinions. For example, people who visit a retailer’s site from a social site are nearly twice as likely to buy something than people who arrive from other channels. This suggests that people are heavily influenced by the opinions of those in their social networks. Even on the Internet, human relationships matter and require careful nurturing.

But the complexity that the empowered consumer is introducing into your once-orderly marketing world cannot be ignored. Your customers are using technology to change the very nature of supply and demand, and ultimately, of commerce. To serve them better, you must know them better, regardless of when, where and how they choose to interact with your brand.

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January 23, 2016
1:14 pm

This is my first time i visit here and I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially it’s discussion, thank you.

Posted by: venus factor
May 28, 2012
11:39 am

Why the third person perspective then?

Posted by: シアリス
March 22, 2012
9:00 am

Global internet. Nice!

Posted by: siltnamiai
March 22, 2012
8:59 am

Online trading is getting bigger all over the world that is true.

Posted by: rubai
March 7, 2012
5:43 am

POPULAR MYTH: Green buildings cost more. (Hint – they don’t.) If you’re about to stop reading and skip to another article, stick with us – this is a crucial point: green buildings don’t cost more.

Posted by: forex trading strategies and systems
March 6, 2012
6:37 am

DId not know Gretsky said that, great quoate

Posted by: kaip numesti svorio
November 30, 2011
9:48 pm

Excellent points Craig on Mobile Commerce, and was the first online retailer I believe to reach a 1B in online sales revenue through their mobile application.

Forester estimated that Mobile Commerce will reach 10B next year. Source:

Also, I wanted to share a supporting data point that reinforces the value of engaging a customer through their prefered medium (IoS, Android, Tablet) or channel.

Excerpt from an article in the “Mobile Commerce Daily”


Mobile shopping
According to the new PayPal data, there was a 552 percent increase in global mobile payment volume on Cyber Monday 2011 compared to 2010.

Additionally, there was a 397 percent increase in the number of consumers shopping via PayPal Mobile on Cyber Monday 2011 compared to 2010.

PayPal also saw that on Cyber Monday 2011, global mobile payment volume more than double 154 percent compared to an average Monday.

The study also found that Cyber Monday 2011 resulted in a 17 percent increase in global mobile payment volume compared to Black Friday 2011.

Source for both articles: Mobile Commerce Daily

Felton E. Lewis IIII (FEL)
IBM Smarter Commerce Industry Development Executive

Posted by: FEL
November 30, 2011
2:35 am

Like your hockey analogy. Companies that innovate sooner than later are in a position to capitalize on these new social layers that are emerging.

Posted by: Anjul Bhambhri
1 Trackback
December 13, 2012
6:13 pm

[...] record. In 2011, 10 individual shopping days surpassed $1 billion in spending. This was led by Cyber Monday, which ranked first for the second consecutive year. We can expect the same kinds of results for [...]

Posted by: Cyber Monday to be a Record Setter « A Smarter Planet Blog
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