IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced an expanded set of solutions and features including cognitive technologies that allow brands to help deliver relevant customer experiences. With these offerings marketers, merchandisers and e-commerce professionals can learn, predict and guide customer engagement at each step in their brand journey.
According to a new report from Nucleus Research, IBM delivers $15.82 return on investment (ROI) for every dollar spent on its marketing, sales, merchandising and analytics offerings1 which today are being used by leading brands such as ING Direct, The Home Shopping Network (HSN) and Standard Life to meet the personalized, real-time needs of their customers.
The importance of these experiences was highlighted in a recent IBM Study, “Redefining Markets,” where 66 percent of CxOs stated they are interested in creating more digital, individualized experiences. However, these moments cannot be isolated at different times in the consumer/brand relationship.
IBM is infusing cognitive technologies into the tools that practitioners work with today to help companies deliver these complete end-to-end customer experiences. These new offerings will leverage cognitive’s ability to understand, reason and learn over time and in the end provide teams with the expert in-the-moment advice, insights and recommendations to help them make better, more informed decisions at each step in the brand journey.
“Every customer is unique and has little tolerance for businesses that fail to recognize their specific interests, wants and needs,” said Harriet Green, General Manager, Watson IoT, Commerce and Education, IBM. “Today we continue to invest in building our portfolio which includes new cognitive solutions that will help completely transform how companies serve each customer. Businesses will be able to quickly understand, reason and learn from every customer interaction – and put that knowledge to use to uncover new opportunities from insights.”
With IBM Real-Time Personalization, marketers will be able to deliver the right message and offer to customers. Part of the IBM Marketing Cloud, Real-Time Personalization understands that a person’s preferences change over time and addresses this through its Cognitive Rule Adviser, which learns, advises and suggests the offer and message should be shared with each visitor. It then discovers which segments are responding best to each variation (broken down by factors such as age, geography, etc..) and through self-learning algorithms and analytics fine-tunes the experiences over time.
For example, a sporting goods retailer identifies a customer whose site profile indicates they are interested in taking up cycling. Recognizing she’s a novice, the site responds with deals on bikes and everything she needs to get started, all presented with visual images that help her make the right purchase. Through its cognitive technologies, the site later learns that her needs have shifted based on activity focused on nutrition for long-distance rides, automatically adapts and shares content on local races and nutrition recommendations as well as offers on foods items in the store.
IBM also announced new cognitive technologies in Commerce Insights, which provides merchandizers with a real-time view of their business, specifically focused on how products and categories are performing. Now with new cognitive-powered category sequencing capabilities, the site automatically places products on a web page based on current demand and inventory and adapts the sequencing as sales and inventory levels change.
Commerce Insights is also infusing cognitive into its anomaly detection capabilities so teams are automatically alerted to significant spikes and dips in sales and presented contributing factors such as inventory, promotional event, channel activities and soon input from social sentiment and competitive pricing.
For example, Commerce Insights alerts the merchandiser that inventory on the new 4K TVs is running low. Through its cognitive category sequencing capabilities, it automatically re-order products on the site’s page so the items with low inventory levels are dropped down until new shipments are received. Another alert identifies a top video game consoles that’s not selling as projected and automatically discovers that the issue is caused by a shift in competitor pricing. With this insight, it recommends the retailer lower their offering price and shows what the resulting margin will be so they are prepared for a sudden surge in sales.
“At Performance Bicycle, we are committed to creating experiences that are relevant for all of our customers, whether it’s a recreational rider or an avid cyclist,” said Carol Wentworth, SVP Marketing, Performance Bicycle. “By collaborating with IBM we will be seeing firsthand the capabilities of cognitive technology to serve as a critical advisor, recommending content for customers that is in-line with their interests, expertise level as well as their intent at a particular point in time.”
Driving Continued Client Innovation
IBM helps the marketing, e-commerce practitioners and merchandising professionals achieve their unique goals through a comprehensive product portfolio that includes WebSphere Commerce. Today WebSphere Commerce, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, powers over 12,000 storefronts across the globe for retailers such as 1-800-Flowers and Carhartt. In addition to WebSphere Commerce IBM continues to innovate other components of its portfolio including:
- Performance Insights: Part of the IBM Marketing Cloud, Performance Insights automatically monitors, measures and predicts a campaign’s performance in near real-time, alerts teams when an offer or campaign message is not resonating then provides insights into the causes all in context.
- IBM Customer Experience Analytics: Integrates Tealeaf with Journey Analytics, Digital Analytics, and customer behavior analytics capabilities, giving brands a new layer of contextual insights into the customer’s entire journey.
- Universal Behavior Exchange (UBX): UBX differentiates IBM Marketing and Customer Analytics solutions through an open ecosystem where clients can easily leverage customer data to enhance multi-channel experiences. Ensighten, the newest IBM Business Partner to join UBX, brings integration with over 1,000 marketing technology vendors which will add additional new insights that can help drive successful campaign performance.
Please join us for a Livestream press conference on this news today, May 17 at 1:00pm EST. You can access the Livestream here. The press conference will be hosted by Harriet Green, General Manager, Watson IoT, Commerce and Education.
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