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Paul Papas, Global Leader, Smarter Commerce, IBM Global Business Services

Paul Papas, Global Leader, Smarter Commerce, IBM Global Business Services

By Paul Papas

The swipe of a finger is all that it takes – to lose a customer to a competitor – forever.

In today’s digitally-driven economy, the reality is that consumers hold unprecedented levels of power to make or a break a business. Social technologies have amplified the voice of the customer to broadcast every positive or negative experience to everyone, everywhere.

As such, it is critical for businesses today to focus on engaging customers with exceptional experiences each and every time they interact. And businesses must do this seamlessly and consistently across all digital and physical touch points.

While many know that customer experience has become a powerful differentiator for organizations, the majority of businesses are only at the brink of shifting their strategies in order to keep up. The majority of CEOs (63 percent) polled in IBM’s recent C-suite Study said that their organizations still do not have an integrated physical and mobile strategy for customer engagement. Continue Reading »

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Shashi Bellamkonda, Adjunct Professor Georgetown University

Shashi Bellamkonda, Adjunct Professor Georgetown University

By Shashi Bellamkonda

The mobile revolution isn’t only having a profound influence on the lives of consumers, it’s also changing the way business owners—especially small business owners—are marketing their business.

Research has found that 42 percent of small business owners say it would be a huge challenge to operate their businesses without mobile services. An additional one-in-three business owners say their businesses could not survive without some type of mobile service.

So how can small businesses stay ahead of the mobile curve?

Think about how you, as a consumer, go through your day with your smartphone or tablet. You may scan comments, compare prices, and shop on the go. As you work, sit in the doctor’s office, ride the train, and even stand in line at the grocery store, it’s never been more important for the businesses you frequent to have your information up-to-date and accurate across all online channels. Gleaning analytic insight on all this mobile Web activity and seeing what kind of content, feedback and posts are driving the most engagement will be key. Continue Reading »

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Jay Henderson, Strategy Director, IBM Smarter Commerce

Jay Henderson, Strategy Director, IBM Smarter Commerce

By Jay Henderson

With another peak holiday shopping season upon us, retailers and marketers across the country have high hopes for another record-breaking weekend of online sales.

They may very well get their wish.

Based on early data from the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, Thanksgiving Day online sales grew 19.7 percent over 2012, led by department stores, which increased 60 percent using the same comparison.   As expected, mobile was once again a key driver of that overall growth, increasing 49 percent year over year as a component of all online sales.

As holiday shoppers become more diverse, connected and digitally savvy, retailers are looking to cloud, mobile and big data analytics to deliver personalized experiences for millions of consumers.  The winners this year will be those that rely on real-time insight to adapt their mix of in-store, online and mobile promotions to make the sale whenever and wherever their customers choose. For retailers like Moosejaw, that means building a connected physical and digital shopping experience that is integrated, from the ground up, across the entire commerce cycle. Continue Reading »

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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 Amazon.com, 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
11:00
 

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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