Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

Craig Hayman, General Manager, IBM Industry Solutions

By Craig Hayman

We’ve seen some interesting holiday shopping trends again this year. Consumers took serious advantage of early promotions, driving a 17.4 percent increase in online sales on Thanksgiving Day. This set the stage for 20.7 percent growth on Black Friday. And the biggest surge came from mobile consumers, with sales hitting 16.3 percent.

Impressive stats – which made for some happy retailers – to lead into the holidays. But where do these numbers come from? What are they based on? And who do they represent?

These and other shopping trends such as sales by category, by device and from social channels are analyzed by the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark. It’s a cloud-based digital analytics platform that uses, collects and analyzes digital information on how consumers are responding to the products and services being offered to them online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The benchmark tracks more than a million ecommerce transactions a day, analyzing terabytes of raw data from more than 500 retailers nationwide. 

Analysis of how shoppers feel about the retail environment and what they’re buying comes from the IBM Social Sentiment Index, an advanced analytics and natural language processing tool that analyzes large volumes of social media data to assess public opinions.

IBM’s goal with initiatives like the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark is to give retailers, CMO’s, the media, industry analysts and influencers, insights about consumer shopping trends across a wide variety of channels, including social media, mobile devices, and other online sources where consumers interact with their brands.

With this information in hand, for example, retailers can make more accurate, fact-based decisions on marketing expenditures and have the ability to meet the individual needs of customers. This can lead to improvements in sourcing, inventory management, marketing and sales along with more satisfied customers.

Today, the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark is considered by many to be the de facto source for online shopping trends. In fact, the benchmark results announced last week have been cited in more than 10,000 media articles to date, which is a pretty good indicator of its influence.

IBM is committed to helping retailers deliver highly personalized experiences for shopping customers that are consistent across all channels. This season, it makes for happier holidays and smarter commerce for all.

Additional coverage of the holiday shopping season

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