Creating Moments That Matter to Customers

Truth is, in life moments matter. Granted there are different moments for everyone, but IBM made sure that everyone at its IBM SmarterCommerce Summit last week in Tampa went home with an ah-ha moment…or several. Despite the business conference, there was an upbeat energy from everyone in the crowd, from attendees to speakers, and even IBM executives, there was a positive vibe looking at the year ahead in retail.
It's an exciting time in retail, full of change (and data to drive the change). The conference kicked off on Tuesday morning with an appearance from filmmaker Ron Howard to help explain to retailers, that much like movies, retail must create an experience – whether in-store or online –  to leverage each moment to engage with customers and make a difference. "Content today isn't king, context is king and relevancy is the killer app," said event host Jay Baer, president of Convince and Convert.
The infusion of intelligence and context into each step of the customer journey helps retailers become essential to customers and suppliers. From marketing and e-commerce, to supply chain management, and IT, retailers are leveraging Smarter Commerce capabilities to deliver relevant experiences to customers – all powered by cloud, mobile, social, big data and analytics.
The Summit made sure attendees knew there was no shortage of data, with statistics from the crowd scrolling on screens throughout general sessions and keynote presentations, helping to bring to life that everything is data and today, this data is trending toward visuals for interpretation. The use of data analytics helps retailers to predict with confidence and execute on these insights in near real-time. Extending systems of engagement – anywhere, any time – without compromising customers is key to collecting this data, while understanding and optimizing the moments that matter most to customers will help to maximize the retailer's lifetime value.
The key to maintaining customer value is to provide a consistent experience and product, no matter the location, says Billy May, Abercrombie global vice president. Mobile currently represents 30% of all digital traffic for Abercrombie, that's double last year's traffic. Today, 90% of Millennials sleep with their phones and customer expectations of mobile change every 18 months, making mobile not only an essential channel for retailers to focus on, but a difficult channel to keep pace with in order to catch a moment with the always connected consumer.
Two major announcements were made at the event – IBM ExperienceOne, which is a new integrated portfolio of cloud-based and on premise offerings that is leveraging most, if not all, of their recent customer engagement based software acquisitions (i.e. Sterling Commerce, Tealeaf, Coremetrics, Unica, DemandTec, Xtify and Silverpop).  The solution combines IBM consulting services, WebSphere Commerce, Customer Digital Experience and Enterprise Marketing Management software to offer the industry a way to drive greater customer collaboration, a key trend throughout the industry. IBM added that the Experience One offering supports three distinct engagement solution sets, including a new digital, behavioral, social media and predictive customer analytics offering to better understand customer behavior; an enhanced omnichannel pricing solution that maximize sales, profit and loyalty; and new customer digital experience software that enables real-time offers to be embedded into mobile, social and rich media applications. 
In addition, IBM launched a new partner and supplier B2B engagement software that is designed to bring some of the B2C experiences to B2B.  The solution is designed not only to provide better collaboration capabilities, it offers enhanced analytics, better risk assessment and compliance tools, and faster data sharing capabilities. To enhance decision making o give today announced new cloud-based and on premise B2B software to help organizations deepen engagement with their partners and suppliers to ensure goods and services are delivered precisely when and where they are needed.
Overall, the event flowed consistently across multiple themes and coverage areas to drive home the Moments Matter message and in retail, nothing could be truer.
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