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Brian Ng, IBM Consultant

Brian Ng, IBM Consultant

By Brian Ng

As businesses mature and scale, cohesive digital and social integration becomes ever more critical to maintaining a competitive advantage, especially in today’s customer-centric world. Every customer and, increasingly, every interaction matters even more. The pressure is tremendous to deliver consistent, high quality customer experiences tailored to everyone, in whatever context imaginable.

Just as we build relationships with new friends or interested partners, we similarly become invested in the products or services that work well and delight us. We grow connected to the things we use and interact with on a daily basis. But unlike friendships, often one misstep with a product or service could mean the end of the relationship.

One company that prioritizes superior customer service in all of its channels is Bonobos, a leading online apparel company. They started off selling one pair of perfectly fitting khakis and have since grown their product line to include dress shirts, suits, and outerwear. The differentiator for them is the customer experience team, which it calls the Bonobos Ninjas. Continue Reading »

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Josh Rochlin, CEO, Xtify

Josh Rochlin, CEO, Xtify

By Josh Rochlin

As consumers around the globe increasingly turn to mobile devices to buy products, connect with their favorite brands, and discover new ones, they are fundamentally altering the role of the CMO. Today it is crucial for CMOs to arm their organizations with tools to capture mobile consumers’ attention, influence their intent, and engage them with relevant content. 

The key to mobile commerce success is delivering relevant, actionable content at the right time to improve mobile sales, drive in-store traffic, and engage customers.

With today’s announcement of IBM’s acquisition of Xtify, a leading provider of cloud-based mobile messaging tools, IBM is expanding its mobile capabilities to include mobile campaign creation, content targeting, dynamic real-time segmentation, and analytics for all mobile devices and browsers. Continue Reading »

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David Rogers, Faculty Director of Digital Marketing Strategy, Columbia University

David Rogers, Faculty Director, Digital Marketing Strategy, Columbia Business School

By David Rogers

Ever since the rise of online shopping sites like, brick-and-mortar-retail stores haved struggled with the threat of “showrooming” consumers – those who visit a store to see a product in person, but then opt to purchase it later online.

With the rapid adoption of smartphones, this phenomenon has grown even stronger. Today retailers operate in a world in which in-store shoppers have every competing offer in the palm of her hands.

Though retailers are not powerless, to survive, it is critical that they understand the true impact of mobile devices on shopper behavior. Doing so will enable them to shape a retail experience that gives consumers a compelling reason to buy directly from the brick-and-mortar store. Continue Reading »

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August 27th, 2013

Martin Fleming, , Vice President, Business Performance Services, Chief Economist, IBM

Martin Fleming, Vice President, Business Performance Services, Chief Economist, IBM

By Martin Fleming

In a recent New York Times article, reporter James Glanz asks: “Is Big Data an Economic Dud?” Mr. Glanz seems to answer his own question skeptically. The “data era,” he suggests, will not match the earlier revolutions in manufacturing, domestic life and transportation.

In addition, the Wall Street Journal posted a blog discussing that Big Data is at, or near the peak of the Gartner “hype cycle” and “big data technologies are now soon to be due for a fall into the ‘trough of disillusionment.’” Continue Reading »

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Billy Yuan, Consultant, IBM Global Business Services

Billy Yuan, Consultant, IBM Global Business Services

By Billy Yuan

As smart phones become an indispensable part of our daily lives, companies in every industry are trying to develop ways to make this “second screen” enhance their marketing efforts, extend their reach, and most importantly, better serve their customers.

The purpose of the second screen is to augment the primary experience, whether that’s watching the game, grocery shopping, or buying a cup of coffee, and help connect the user to the brand.

A growing number of leading brands understand this and have embraced the second screen into their marketing strategies. ESPN has done a stellar job of serving its customers through multiple channels with their “Sportscenter” and “Watch ESPN” apps. No matter where the ESPN viewer is, he or she can follow the game by either streaming it or following the scores. If the user is watching the game on TV, the smart phone becomes a social tool and an encyclopedia all in one – tweet about a game-winning basket and look up that player’s stats in a matter of swipes and taps. Continue Reading »

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Michael Haydock, IBM Data Scientist, Global Business Services

Michael Haydock, IBM Data Scientist, Global Business Services

By Michael Haydock

It’s early August, but back-to-school shopping is already in full swing. In fact, in some cases, it has been for a while. Retailers like Walmart began advertising before summer vacation even began in hopes of capturing consumer dollars in the face of economic uncertainty.

According to IBM’s new Big Data-based forecast, such moves led to strong growth in July.  For example, children’s, juniors and other clothing segments were projected to be up over 12 percent, year over year, in July. Spending on this category is expected to dip down to just 1.4 percent in August before returning to a 12.3 percent growth rate in September. (That’s because students typically like to wait and see what their friends are wearing before completing their back-to-school wardrobes.) Continue Reading »

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Larry Bowden, Vice President, Portal and Digital Experience Software, IBM

Larry Bowden, Vice President, Portal and Digital Experience Software, IBM

By Larry Bowden 

There’s a new kind of consumer in town and they mean business – digital business.

The growth of mobile, social and online commerce has given rise to the digital consumer and that has, in turn, prompted more and more companies to reevaluate how they conduct business across their various touch points. For many, the new strategic priority is to attract and retain this new consumer by providing personalized customer experiences.

A digital experience strategy takes into account the emerging trends around the use of web and social analytics, more advanced rich media management and delivery, deeper social engagement and robust responsive design for mobile delivery. Continue Reading »

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Sangjun Hyun, Partner, IBM Business Services

Sangjun Hyun, Partner, IBM Global Business Services

By Sangjun Hyun

Home shopping has evolved greatly since the Home Shopping Network (HSN) pioneered the concept in the 1980′s. And these networks’ nimble response to the rise of online and mobile shopping has allowed them to continue to grow and thrive even as the entire retail industry experiences seismic shifts. Today, nearly half of HSN’s sales are reportedly made online. And mobile is rising quickly. HSN recently said its mobile commerce sales grew 78% in Q1 2013 and mobile sales now represent 10 percent of its total company sales.

Home shopping networks are therefore not only rising to the challenge of online and mobile commerce, but accelerating the phenomena.

In Korea, where I sit, this is especially true. Home shopping is extremely popular in Korea and is helping drive Korea to become one of the most advanced online retail markets in the world. The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service predicts online shopping will likely be the dominant retail channel in Korea within the next five years. A company seeking to take full advantage of this boom is NS Shopping, one of Korea’s leading home shopping networks, who is teaming with IBM to provide its customers a better shopping experience.

Continue Reading »

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July 3rd, 2013

Keith Mercier, Associate Partner, IBM Global Business Services, Retail Center of Competence

Keith Mercier, Associate Partner, IBM Global Business Services, Retail Center of Competence

By Keith Mercier

Retailers have traditionally pursued Big Data’s promise of understanding the shopping habits of customers by analyzing structured data from in-store transactions and other traditional sources. Now they have a new challenge – analyzing unstructured and often newly-sourced data from mobile devices, social networks, digital video and even sensors.

An ideal solution would combine external data from mobile devices and social networks with the information retailers already collect in-house, like purchase history and shopping channel preferences. But that’s easier said than done. The reality is that the sheer variety and forms of available information can be difficult to assemble, aggregate and analyze. Continue Reading »

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Patrick Childress, Program Manager, Real-Time Events, Global Business Services, IBM

Patrick G. Childress, Program Manager, Real-Time Events, Global Business Services, IBM

By Patrick G. Childress

One of my favorite parts of summer, much to my wife’s chagrin, is watching golf on Sunday afternoons. Sometimes it’s on in the background while I’m tending the grill, and other times I’m parked on the sofa seeing who can sink that 30-footer to win the tournament. I enjoy watching the pros hit shot after shot that I can’t ever seem to pull off myself.

Working at IBM, I am fortunate to be able to combine my love of golf with my day job of managing and designing new mobile applications as part of the IBM Interactive design team. Over the past 15 years, this team has been developing unique digital experiences for clients. Most recently, we were tasked with designing and building a new iPad app for the United States Golf Association (USGA), to launch in conjunction with the 2013 U.S. Open, the largest golf tournament in the U.S. Continue Reading »

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