IBM helps retailers fight back with Watson Commerce
NRF Booth #1922
There are two broadly accepted truths in the retail universe today; digital influences nearly every sale, regardless of channel, and providing exceptional customer experiences is no longer optional. The majority of in-store sales today are already influenced by a mobile device1 and every positive experience a customer encounters raises the expectations for all those that follow. Large, online merchants have created an expectation of high availability, high personalization and fast, free delivery. And now those merchants are building and acquiring stores.
Traditional brick-and-mortar merchants that have moved online agree — getting omnichannel commerce right is critical to meeting customer expectations. Omnichannel commerce aspires to take the advantages of online retail like large selections, lower prices and free delivery and fold in the physical store network to offer the instant gratification of in-store pickup, in-person shopping support and try-before-you-buy tactile experiences.
On the ropes, but not knocked out
Unprecedented store closings and the integration of remaining stores into the fulfillment network have significantly increased the number of data points to consider and simultaneously reduced the time available to decide how best to service a customer. Historical experiences and inventory planning are now unreliable at best. Margins for many retailers are in a free fall because the systems and tools being used were never designed for omnichannel engagement and the workarounds in place to deliver on customer expectations are exorbitant in cost. And retailers deploying buy online, pickup in-store are losing nine percent of their profit margins trying to fulfill the promise2.
Worse yet, a recent IBM customer experience study3 found that only three percent of over 500 brands across 25 countries could be considered ‘leading edge’ when it comes to customer buying experiences. Thirty-nine percent were categorized as ‘falling behind,’ which means instead of improving they are losing ground. That’s a sobering statistic given the tremendous amount of focus the term ‘customer experience’ has received in the industry over the past five years. Why is it so hard to get this right?
The reality is many retailers spend most of their time managing their digital commerce platform, keeping the lights on instead of innovating to deliver the omnichannel services and experiences shoppers want. E-commerce professionals are unable to respond quickly to customers, markets and competitive situations, as platform changes have to go through IT. And IT organizations are unable to support the business because making changes to their commerce platform is time consuming, expensive and risky; often requiring weeks or months of development and testing. But what if this wasn’t the case? What if there was an omnichannel commerce platform that empowered commerce and IT professionals alike instead of handcuffing them?
It’s time to fight back. Right now.
Through all of the digital disruption the retail industry continues to experience one thing remains constant, retailers are a resilient bunch and are ready to fight and take back market share. The problem is they don’t have the tools they need, but IBM Watson Commerce has changed that.
Watson Commerce powers more innovation, with less time spent managing the commerce platform. And only IBM combines the scale, security and performance you expect, with the speed and flexibility of a modern cloud-ready, extensible commerce architecture. With 20 years of unmatched, omnichannel innovation, IBM can help you manage its complexities to execute profitably and gain maximum impact from every customer interaction.
With Watson artificial intelligence embedded in the platform, your decision making will be enhanced through insights and recommendations, so you can respond to everything thrown at you with speed and precision. You can’t afford for this to be a science project, and only IBM has trained its AI to identify high-propensity audiences, personalize content, sequence products, detect struggle, optimize fulfillment, and infused it all into its commerce platform.
IBM gives control back to the retailer and levels the playing field in the fight for market share. Get back in the ring and fight back — IBM is in your corner.
1 Navigating The New Digital Divide, Deloitte Digital, 2015.
2 Petersen, Chris. “Which Is More Expensive – Omnichannel or Retail Stores?” Retailing is in desperate need of new metrics – “Cost to sell through”. Alix Partners, 2017. Web. 04 May 2017.
3 “IBM 2017 Customer Experience Index (CEI) Study.” IBM 2017 Customer Experience Index (CEI) Study - United States. IBM Institute for Business Value, 07 Apr. 2017. Web. 04 May 2017