IBM Helps U.K. Retailer Marks & Spencer In Digital Multi-Channel Evolution
If you’ve ever gone shopping in the U.K. (And perhaps even if you haven’t), then you’re well aware of U.K. Retailer Marks & Spencer.
M&S has recently partnered with IBM to improve its online shopping experience. Specifically, M&S is now using IBM software for Smarter Commerce to transform its Web site into a global marketplace where customers can seamlessly shop from any country, device or channel regardless of whether they are calling, viewing, surfing, or walking in from the street.
Now that, my friends, is a true multichannel retail experience.
Here’s how it works: The IBM software provides integrated purchasing, order management and customer service capabilities across all of M&S’ sales channels. This helps them capitalize on the growth of mobile, social, and multi-channel purchasing by customers in the digital age.
They hope to appeal to these increasingly online audiences domestically and establish a global customer base for its online store.
With 64 percent of consumers making a first purchase because of a digital experience, it’s critical that retailers understand this online behavior and refine their marketing and ecommerce activities appropriately.
M&S aims to become the U.K.’s leading multi-channel retailer, growing sales to between 800 million pounds Sterling – 1 billion pounds by 2013/2014, up from 543 million pounds in 2010/2011.
But M&S needed to capture its customers’ behavior accurately in order to be able to personalize its communications with them and to provide the same level of service to shoppers, regardless of their mode or channel of interaction.
M&S selected IBM Sterling Order Management for its ability to provide inventory visibility across all channels and for its transaction scalability needed to meet seasonal requirements.
M&S also chose IBM WebSphere Commerce, for its comprehensive personalization capabilities and because it can be deployed worldwide in different ways across all sites to serve different brands, regions or targeted groups of customers.
“The explosion of personalized data now accessible to consumers through social media, online and mobile interactions is causing fundamental changes in the way retailers operate,” said David Hogg, commerce solutions lead, IBM.
“It requires a new approach — which IBM calls Smarter Commerce – that puts the customer at the center of its business. With the new software now in place, M&S can take action based on a consistent view of a customer’s order across any of the sales channels they have chosen. In this way, customers can continue to enjoy the high levels of service they have come to expect from this major U.K. retailer, while M&S can expand its business by increasing sales worldwide.”
IBM’s Smarter Commerce initiatives draw on its market-leading WebSphere Commerce platform and a $2.5 billion investment in on-premise and cloud-based software from IBM’s acquisitions of Sterling Commerce, Unica and Coremetrics.
And IBM Global Business Services is expanding its consulting and solutions capabilities with 1,200 dedicated practitioners for Smarter Commerce. Over 2,000 of the world’s top brands rely on IBM to help improve their brand and marketing execution.
Go here to get more information on IBM Smarter Commerce solutions.