Posts Tagged ‘e-commerce’
We’re finally getting some rain in central Texas. We’ll see how long it lasts!
And on the topic of rainmaking, this just in from our friends at Nucleus Research.
Nucleus conducted an analysis of 21 of IBM Smarter Commerce case studies and their ROI, and discovered that for every dollar spent, companies realized an average of U.S. $12.05 in returns.
According to the research, this payback occurred in an average of 9 months (with a high of 23 months, and a low of two).
The cases Nucleus analyzed included U.S. and European companies and government agencies which had deployed IBM Smarter Commerce technologies.
All the case studies were developed independently by Nucleus, following their standard ROI methodology, and IBM was privy to the results only after the research was completed.
In their analysis, Nucleus also observed some summary conclusions, finding that Smarter Commerce projects delivered both top-line and bottom-line benefits, with roughly 60 percent of returns coming from indirect benefits such as productivity, and the rest from direct savings such as reduced operational costs or hires avoided.
Specific key benefits included the following:
- Increased productivity. In many cases companies were able to accomplish more work with fewer staff or avoid additional hires as they grew by automating previously manual processes and increasing employee productivity.
- Reduced costs. Smarter Commerce customers experienced cost reductions in areas such as customer call handling costs, technology costs, and other costs associated with supply chain transactions.
- Improved inventory management. Greater visibility into customer demand and inventory levels enabled Smarter Commerce customers to gain better control over their inventory, reducing inventory carrying costs and increasing inventory turns.
- Improved decision making. Greater agility and rapid insight into data for decision making enabled companies using Smarter Commerce to more quickly make decisions and act on them with confidence.
- Reduced customer churn and increased customer satisfaction. Companies using IBM Business Analytics were able to more rapidly understand customer satisfaction and retain more profitable customers by proactively addressing customers’ propensity to churn. For example, one telecommunications customer was able to reduce customer churn by 8 percent in the first year and 18 percent in the second year by further refining its churn analysis.
Customers Leverage Prepackaged Functionality
Nucleus indicated that the $12.05 average return from Smarter Commerce was at the high end of the range of returns Nucleus had seen from other assessments of deployments such as analytics and CRM, and many IBM Smarter Commerce clients indicated they had achieved high returns by taking advantage of the investments IBM has made in providing integrated solutions, more intuitive user interfaces, and prepackaged industry functionality.
By way of example:
- Integrated solutions and prepackaged industry functionality accelerate time to deployment and time to value while reducing overall project risk.
- Usability improvements drive more rapid adoption and make it easier for companies to drive adoption of technologies such as business analytics to casual and business users beyond the data expert specialists that have historically been the primary users of analytics.
Industry-specific functionality and expertise were particularly important in the success of customers adopting Smarter Commerce technologies in the government sector, such as social services agencies and police departments, where IT often has limited resources.
You can go here to download the full report.
IBM recently announced a big win in its “smarter commerce” initiative. SHOP.CA, Canada’s largest online e-commerce marketplace, is using analytics software from IBM’s smarter commerce initiative to help engage increasingly empowered online consumers in a unique shopping experience, and build loyalty and sense of community.
A recent IBM survey of more than 2,000 Canadians showed friends and family are by far the most trusted influencers on purchasing decisions, but retailers are also gaining trust among shoppers here.
The same research also identified a growing movement among consumers to use social media to build communities with others who share their interests and tastes, and who consume the same. These strangers then help the consumer make more relevant discoveries and satisfying purchases.
SHOP.CA: One Stop Online Shopping
SHOP.CA’s online marketplace features millions of products across 26 categories and billions in multi-merchant inventory. Its website offers Canadians one-stop access to national and international brands, free shipping, free returns and no cross-border fees.
Also hosting a powerful loyalty program, SHOP.CA Rewards Dollars are offered for both purchases and online activities that generate a purchase, such as sharing a link to a favorite product with a friend, or posting written or video reviews to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
“With SHOP.CA, shopping will be forever changed in Canada,” says Don Tapscott, author and world leading business strategist. “It’s going to make shopping ‘social.’ People will become deeply engaged in the community. They’ll learn from each other. They’ll be able to collaborate, and because of the loyalty programs, they’re going to want to come back.”
SHOP.CA selected IBM’s technology as the e-commerce engine to power its consumer storefront, multi-merchant product catalog and SHOP.CA rewards program. IBM will also provide analytics on how site visitors behave and interact, as well as track their searching and buying histories. This data will get SHOP.CA insight on how, when and where to reach shoppers with content and offers personalized to their taste and preferences via mobile or social vehicles.
Smarter Commerce: A $20 Billion Software Market
Estimated at $20 billion for software alone, IBM has defined smarter commerce, a new, unfolding market driven by Web, social and mobile technologies which put more power in the hands of customers.
Today, 70 percent of the consumer’s first interaction with a product or service takes place online, and 64 percent of consumers make a first purchase because of a digital experience. Under the terms of the agreement, IBM is providing SHOP.CA with Coremetrics web analytics delivered through the cloud and IBM WebSphere Commerce Professional.
Go here to learn more about IBM “smarter commerce” solutions.
In the video below, Scott Laningham and I interview Don Tapscott at this year’s SXSW Interactive Festival about how digital technology is changing our world, detailing for us mere mortals its impact on business, education, children, and beyond.
Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas!
And apparently, it was.
I didn’t try to track Santa via Santa Norad, but apparently Santa didn’t need nearly the help he might have.
According to some more IBM Benchmark e-commerce tracking numbers from the holiday shopping season, lots of folks were ready for more virtual commerce even on Christmas Day.
I count myself among the guilty.
The IBM data discovered that online shopping jumped 16.4 percent on Christmas Day, compared to last year, and the dollar amount of those purchases that were made using mobile devices leaped 172.9 percent.
IBM tracks shopping at more than 500 websites (other than Amazon.com, which is where *I* was shopping!).
It also found a huge increase in the number of shoppers making their purchases via iPhones, iPads and Android-powered mobile devices. In fact, nearly 7 percent of all online purchases were made using iPads, just 18 months after the tablet computers were released by Apple Inc..
The online shopping increase continued on Monday. As of 3 p.m. Eastern time, shopping was up 10 percent over Dec. 26, 2010, and the expectation was that the pace of buying would increase as the day wore on and consumers clicked on sales at various retailers.
The data did not show what portion of purchases was made using gift cards, which typically see a big bump just after holidays as folks start cashing those gift cards in and make purchases (online and off).
Speaking of online gifts, IBM has been making some pretty heavy duty investments in Santa’s e-commerce play, what we’re calling “smarter commerce.” Between the numerous acquisitions and continued organic investment, IBM’s smarter commerce effort recognizes that the final sale is just one aspect of the overall commerce experience.
Last year, IBM researchers surveyed more than 500 economists worldwide and estimated that our planet’s system of systems carries inefficiencies totaling nearly $15 trillion, or 28 percent of worldwide GDP.
Much of this waste is found in our systems of commerce — in inventory backlogs, failed product launches, wasted materials and ineffective marketing campaigns.
Today’s customers have no patience for this kind of waste. They will not remain loyal to products or brands while the cost of inefficiency is passed along to the buyer. And it will not take them long to find the same product or service from a competitor.
These customers are empowered by technology, transparency, and an abundance of information. They expect to engage with companies when and how they want, through physical, digital and mobile means.
They want a consistent experience across all channels. They compare notes. And they can champion a brand or sully a reputation with the click of a mouse.
Nowhere is this shift more visible than in the retail industry, where companies are rapidly adapting to this new reality, integrating their marketing efforts and using analytics to better understand their new, more fickle customers.
But retail is only the beginning. It is merely the front line of a customer revolution that will eventually reshape the entire value chain, from the way raw materials are sourced to the way they are manufactured, distributed and serviced.
Keeping up with today’s customer will take more than an email marketing campaign and a Facebook page.
It’s going to take a better system of doing business. It’s going to take smarter commerce.
Just as with traditional commerce, the customer is at the center of all operations, and smarter commerce turns customer insight into action, enabling new business processes that help companies buy, market, sell and service their products and services and, in the process, make for happier customers.
Smarter commerce reaches deep within the businessto-business supply chain, integrating business partners, suppliers, and vendors, enabling the entire value chain to anticipate customer needs, not react to them.
And it identifies and addresses the unsustainable inefficiencies of our global systems of commerce.
Visit here if you’d like to learn more about IBM’s smarter commerce strategy.
In the meantime, we’ll be sure to keep an eye on Santa’s post Christmas holiday sales!
In the market for a car?
Well, IBM announced today that AutoTrader.com, one of the leaders in the online automotive marketplace, is now using IBM technology for smarter commerce as part of its electronic sales order system to simply and accelerate the ordering experience for its dealer and manufacturer customers.
IBM’s Smarter Commerce software makes it easier and faster for AutoTrader’s clients — auto dealers and manufacturers — to promote their vehicles to consumers.
It enables these clients to improve how they sell their cars through AutoTrader.com by simplifying the process to select promotions and configure, capture and complete orders for AutoTrader’s advertising programs.
“Providing access to leading-edge applications of information and technology are core to providing the best online automotive shopping experience,” said Gib Finley, director, Business Applications, at AutoTrader.com. “IBM delivered innovative ordering technology that make it as easy as possible for our clients to do business with us.”
AutoTrader.com is using IBM’s Sterling Commerce Configure, Price, Quote software to simplify the configuration and capture of orders for its advertising solutions.
The software integrates easily with AutoTrader.com home-grown applications to provide customers with easier, more efficient ways of ordering cars online.
It also guides a car dealership on how to quickly and easily put together an advertisement that best flaunts the dealerships’ new, used or pre-owned vehicles for sale — then helps that dealership select the best package to most effectively reach its prospective customers through context-sensitive capabilities.
AutoTrader.com IT delivered its Electronic Sales Order System (ESO) as a component of the company’s overall business strategy to dramatically improve the way people research, locate and advertise vehicles.
With Smarter Commerce, the company has been recognized for its use of service-oriented architecture (SOA), master data management, sales catalog, order configuration, information management and real-time business intelligence.
In fact, AutoTrader.com was named to the 2010 InformationWeek 500 (InformationWeek‘s annual listing of the nation’s most innovative users of business technology) for its work developing ESO.
The Wall Street Journal’s “All Things D” conference is taking place out in Rancho Palos Verdes, California this week.
A number of digital industry leaders and luminaries are speaking at the event. (Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings is being interviewed by Kara Swisher as I write this post.)
Former Google CEO and executive chairman Eric Schmidt was onstage there event yesterday, and the Washington Post coverage suggested Schmidt was melancholy about missing out on how to contend with all those hundreds of millions of Facebook friends in the world (read: “the social graph”) while at Google.
Danny Sullivan delivered his own top 10 takeaways from the interview, but the headline that stuck with me was “failing at social,” or in Schmidt’s words, “disambiguating identity” on the Internet. Schmidt mentioned he wrote memos on the subject four years ago and yet “did nothing.”
And hence chinks in the strategic Web armor are thusly created. Glad I caught a replay of “Robin Hood” last evening, to get in the spirit of close contact Internet platform battles.
Also makes me wonder to myself aloud, hmmm, what memos might Mark Zuckerberg currently be writing about holes in the Facebook platform strategy!?
Well, the FB seems to have a pretty good head start, so he’s probably got plenty of time to miss a key inflection point.
Meanwhile, IBM had its own announcement to make yesterday around its smarter commerce initiative, one expected to help IBM Business Partners seize the growing market opportunity created by shifting buying patterns in the mobile and computing space.
The headline: IBM will be providing sales, marketing, and technical guidance, and BPs can also qualify to earn incentives of up to 50 percent of the software sales transaction and receive zero percent financing.
IBM’s estimates the Smarter Commerce market opportunity for software at $20 billion, driven by the demands from organizations who are increasingly looking for ways to bring new levels of automation to marketing, sales and fulfillment to secure greater customer loyalty.
IBM is investing in its ecosystem of partners, delivering the right set of skills, technical support, development resources, and industry expertise that will allow them to expand their capabilities to more effectively fulfill client demands brought on by social networking and mobile computing.
Smarter Commerce for Business Partners offers two options designed to help partners build and deliver a broad range of offerings — from integrated supply chain management, collaborative B2B networks and business-to-consumer solutions.
- Software Value Plus Smarter Commerce Capability – business partners can now qualify to receive incentives as high as 50 percent of the sales transaction for Smarter Commerce software, including Unica, Coremetrics, Unica and Websphere Commerce offerings. To qualify, Business Partners must be authorized IBM software providers with certifications in sales and technical support.
- The Smarter Commerce Solution Development Initiative — designed to deliver industry-specific sales and technical support, client focused workshops, access to IBM’s global innovation centers and sales assistance in client engagements. To qualify, regional integrators, ISVs, marketing service providers, must have IBM software and industry-specific certifications in retail, telecommunications, banking and consumer product industries.
Certified partners can also take advantage of the Smarter Commerce University to increase their skills.
Through virtual and face-to-face course materials, business partners can gain access to quick-start sales plays, role-based learning, competitive analysis and analyst review information as part of the training.
Visit here to learn more about IBM’s smarter commerce efforts.
It looks as though Twitter may finally have settled on a deal to buy renowned Twitter client, TweetDeck (my still all-time favorite Tweeting tool).
According to TechCrunch’s Mike Arrington, the deal is finally going down for between $40-50M (includes both cash and Twitter stock), but it’s mainly a defensive posture, working to prevent UberMedia from grabbing all the key Twitter-related startups.
Of course, after the Bin Laden episode, Twitter may need all the horsepower it can get.
TechCrunch also reported that the breaking Bin Laden news had the highest sustained Tweet rate in history, at 3,440 Tweets per second.
Guess you can’t really say Osama didn’t go out without a bang.
Meanwhile, the Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) network saga continues, with Joystiq reporting the company servers were offline across the board, and that the user data was stolen as part of the original intrusion.
Yesterday, Sony executives in Japan were seen taking their customary humbled bows of apology before a press conference.
Hopefully it was a deep bow, as this latest news indicated the attack resulted in roughly 24.6 million accounts possibly having been breached. Ouch.
This could be a good time to head back to school. If you’re in the business of providing access to information and services via the Web, the IBM Exceptional Web Experience Conference might just be the trick.
The event will be held May 16-19 in Orlando, Florida, and will feature some of IBM’s key thought leaders in this area, including Larry Bowden, our VP, Portals and Web Experience Software, and Sandy Carter, VP, Social Business and Collaboration Solutions.
This event sold out in Chicago last year, and is dedicated to helping organizations be more successful by highlighting proven business solutions and technical strategies designed to keep pace with rapidly evolving Web user demand and expectations.
You can learn more here.
The IBM e-commerce juggernaut continues.
Today, we announced that the Bon-Ton stores website experienced a double-digit increase in sales using IBM software to advance the company’s online and mobile commerce initiatives.
Bon-Ton Stores represents seven brands (including Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, among several others), all which sell leading brands in apparel, cosmetics, and home furnishings.
Each of these are now using IBM WebSphere Commerce software to enhance their customers’ online shopping experience by proposing relevant products and automatically providing coupons and discounts based on customer preferences.
By way of example, when a shopper puts a sweater in their online shopping cart, Bon-Ton’s new site is able to identify shoes, accessories, and pants to complete the order.
Here’s my question: Can I also identify somebody else’s credit card to pay for it all?!
Furthermore, loyal customers can receive coupons and discounts automagically during the checkout process.
This holiday season, online sales are outpacing all other retail sales channels. Within a few months of launching, Bon-Ton’s new online store became its top-selling location in several merchandise categories, a trend they expect to expand over the next twelve months.
“We see our new eCommerce capability as one of our most important growth initiatives. The growth in our customer’s use of the Internet for finding product information and making purchases is a key driver behind making significant improvements to our websites,” said Jimmy Mansker, Senior Vice President, Internet Marketing, The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. “We are experiencing very favorable results using mobile coupons and online social networks. This is one step of many that we are taking to develop a richer online shopping experience.”
By using IBM WebSphere Commerce software, Bon-Ton has also been able to streamline day-to-day back office functions such as managing inventory and shipping.
Bon-Ton is making more merchandise available to customers with faster delivery methods. Now 30,000 more SKUs are available to online shoppers easing the store’s burden of carrying excess inventory. Improvements in distribution methods allows Bon-Ton to reduce items on back order and quickly ship merchandise to customers directly from the manufacture, another Bon-Ton store or from distribution centers which serve their area.
Bon-Ton expects other marketing campaigns such as using email marketing, advancing its recently launched Facebook page, in-store events, mobile coupons and content-rich video demonstrations to drive store traffic and deliver customers with a more personalized shopping experience.