Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘social commerce

Online Retailer LabelSneak Leverages IBM Smarter Commerce Technologies To Glean Mobile/Social Insights, Bolster Sales

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LabelSneak teamed with IBM and IBM Business Partner CSI Solution to connect with the growing marketplace of consumers who prefer to buy across online, mobile and social channels. IBM Smarter Commerce precision marketing is allowing consumers to choose which sales promotions they want to be alerted to or when their favorite clothing item goes on sale via text, tweet, Facebook post or email. This can be a more effective sales method as smaller retailers can deliver a level of personalization and a more tailored marketing campaign to the individual consumer.

LabelSneak teamed with IBM and IBM Business Partner CSI Solution to connect with the growing marketplace of consumers who prefer to buy across online, mobile and social channels. IBM Smarter Commerce precision marketing is allowing consumers to choose which sales promotions they want to be alerted to or when their favorite clothing item goes on sale via text, tweet, Facebook post or email. This can be a more effective sales method as smaller retailers can deliver a level of personalization and a more tailored marketing campaign to the individual consumer.

There’s some new news on the Smarter Commerce front from IBM.

Earlier today, IBM announced a collaboration with LabelSneak, a small online retailer of discounted designer men’s wear, which is using IBM Smarter Commerce technologies to create a unique shopping experience aimed at the millennial consumer.

As a result, LabelSneak has seen 148 percent growth in revenues, tripling sales in less than a year.

For The Fashion Conscious Male

LabelSneak is an outlet store aimed at brand aware males, and offers discounts of up to 75 percent on fashion and sportswear, alerting its consumers via social channels to personalized, limited-time sales offers.

With new deals updated regularly, the site generates tremendous amounts of data, including Tweets, Instagram photos, Facebook comments on popular sales items and conversations between consumers on favorite brands through social channels, mobile and tablet devices.

LabelSneak’s challenge was this: To capture and glean insights from all this big data to better understand what consumers were saying about the latest promotions, which items were the most popular and at what time and in what circumstances sales were most effective.

They also needed analytics to better target and mold online sales campaigns and to decide which social channels effectively communicated its message to attract new customers.

LabelSneak teamed with IBM and IBM Business Partner CSI Solution to connect with the growing marketplace of consumers who prefer to buy across online, mobile and social channels.

With access to IBM Global Financing within minutes, the small retailer is now using IBM Smarter Commerce technology to handle high volumes of transactions as well as the large volumes and variety of data, CSI’s RapidCommerce Cloud Managed Service Solution has helped LabelSneak create a site to more effectively target the digitally savvy millennial consumer with an integrated brand experience across all devices.

To date, the platform is supporting a rapid pace of growth, enabling the client to focus its time and resources on growing the business such as conducting sales promotions, gleaning insights from Facebook comments or tweets.

The Competitive Challenge

Fashion companies of every size and style are vying for a slice of the men’s wear market. To compete with more established retailer brands, LabelSneak needed to better understand men’s online consumer behavior, create a more tailored marketing campaign and deliver the right merchandising mix.

Not only is LabelSneak gleaning insights from data analyzing which brands to carry, but they also are seeing how consumer preferences for certain brands in men’s wear are connected to a favorite sports teams or music.

Background On IBM Smarter Commerce

IBM Smarter Commerce precision marketing is allowing consumers to choose which sales promotions they want to be alerted to or when their favorite clothing item goes on sale via text, tweet, Facebook post or email.

This can be a more effective sales method as smaller retailers can deliver a level of personalization and a more tailored marketing campaign to the individual consumer.

IBM Smarter Commerce provides intelligent automation of marketing, sales, customer service and procurement to help chief marketing officers, chief procurement officers, sales, e-commerce, supply chain and customer service executives do their jobs more productively and efficiently.

Go here if you’d like to do some shopping on LabelSneak.

Back To School Goes In For Analysis

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Jay Henderson told us in his recent interview that IBM would soon be building upon its Holiday Benchmark e-commerce trend analysis for the holiday shopping period with the addition of a “back-to-school” analysis.

Alas, Rodney Daingerfield is no longer with us, but the IBM Benchmark can be your roommate this go ’round, the only analytics-based, peer-level benchmarking solution that measures online marketing results from the web sites of more than 500 leading U.S. retailers.

Here’s a snapshot of the back-to-school trends:

  • July and August Online Sales: Overall sales for July increased more than 11 percent over July 2011 while August slowed with sales up 3.9 percent compared to last year.
  • Social commerce: In July, shopper referrals to retailer sites from social networks generated 1.6 percent of all sales, an increase of 25.1 percent over last year. This trend continued in August reaching 1.8 percent, an increase of 69.7 percent over the previous year.
  • Mobile commerce: Mobile commerce remains strong with sales from mobile devices reaching 15.7 percent in July and 15.4 percent over the month of August.

As for vertical industries the following categories experienced success over this timeframe:

  • Home goods: In July online sales grew by just over 30 percent and 25.5 percent in August with consumers shifting some back to school purchases toward the home. Over this period mobile sales also thrived, reaching 19.1 percent in July and topping out at 20.1 percent in August.
  • Department stores: Online sales grew 22.1 percent in July and 28.7 percent in August. Over this period mobile sales were strong, hitting 19.2 percent in July and 18.9 percent in August
  • Apparel stores: Online sales were up 9.2 percent in July and 9.8 percent in August. Over this period mobile sales reached 15.1 percent and 16.4 percent in August. Apparel stores also experienced strong social commerce with shoppers referred to their sites from social networks generating 1.4 percent of all sales in July and 2.2 percent in August, up more than 113 percent over 2011, more than any other industry.
  • Office Supplies/Electronics: Online sales grew by 6.3 percent in July while dropping by .92 percent in August. Mobile sales reached 5.7 percent in July remained steady in August a 5.9 percent.

Part of IBM’s Smarter Commerce initiative, the IBM Benchmark provides intelligence on how consumers are responding to the products and services being offered to them.

With these insights CMOs and teams gain deeper insight into each customer which they can use to present personalized recommendations, promotions and other sales incentives across the wide variety of channels—including social networks and mobile devices.

What’s It All Mean?

While U.S. consumers shopped this July and August, they were not buying clothes and notebooks for their children but rather items for the home.

According to findings, the biggest retail gains this back to school shopping season came from home goods purchases which increased 30 percent in July and more than 25 percent in August over their respective months in 2012.

While experts speculate that consumers were holding off on back to school purchases to eye the choices of their peers, social networks appeared to drive purchases with social sales increasing 69.7 percent. 

The social influence was especially apparent when it came to apparel, where shoppers referred to online stores through social networks generated a 2.2 percent of all sales in August, an increase of more than 113 percent over 2011.

Mobile commerce also continued to grow with sales increasing 15.7 percent in July and 15.4 percent in August. For home goods mobile sales reached a high of 20.1 percent.

The growing influence of both mobile and social media further validates the need for a Smarter Commerce approach that helps retailers attain, understand, and act — in real-time — on deep insights about their customers in order to meet the unique needs of each.

“When I speak to executives at the leading companies, one of the discussions that continues to come up most frequently is around harnessing big data and their efforts to try and understand how to take all the noise and word of mouth that is being generated and make sense of it,” explained W. “RP” Raghupathi, Professor of Information Systems, School of Business, at Fordham University.

“Today, with so many consumers shopping and sharing their opinions online, we are seeing more and more retailers tap into the power of sophisticated analytics technology to help them react faster to evolving trends and customer needs.”

Read this blog post from IBM’s Mike Rhodin (or better yet, watch the video interview we conducted with him in Madrid this past May) to learn more about “insight-driven” computing and IBM’s Smarter Commerce initiative.

IBM’s Smarter Commerce In The Cloud

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I’m still shaking my head over the Netflix debacle.  Apparently so are a lot of the rest of you!

But, I’ll be honest: I’m not giving up on them.  Not yet.  I still like the streaming offering too much and enjoy their deeper catalogue of foreign flicks (but ask me again in the New Year after their Starz deal is set to expire!).

Meantime, IBM is bringing to market a new solution featuring cloud and on-premise offerings that will help organizations respond automatically to shifting consumer and business trends.

These new solutions, Commerce-as-a-Service and Social Media Marketing, combined technology from key acquisitions such as Unica, Coremetrics, and Sterling Commerce with IBM research and development.

These new software solutions are designed to help companies intelligently automate supplier and trading partner interactions, automatically turn marketplace insights into marketing and sales actions and connect online, mobile and social channels to physical stores.

With its Smarter Commerce initiative, IBM is defining and leading a new market that it estimates to be worth $20 billion in software alone.  Smarter Commerce transforms how companies manage and adapt to customer and industry trends such as online, social and mobile shopping and purchasing.

The new offerings introduced today include:

The Commerce-as-a-Service, which accelerates and extends the delivery of Smarter Commerce capabilities with:

  • A Cloud-based Configure, Price, Quote offering that simplifies the “quote-to-cash” process by allowing clients to quickly drive new revenue streams by bundling offers automatically.
  • A Cross-Channel Selling offering which connects Web store fronts to mobile devices, social networks and other channels. This enables companies to generate new revenue streams by connecting products offered online to in-store purchasing and delivery.  This software is optimized for IBM POWER7 Systems, allowing high-volume retailers to personalize customers’ online shopping experiences, and handle online sales surges during peak shopping seasons without loss of performance. In addition, the systems integrate customer buying information across all sales channels, including online, mobile, in-store, POS and kiosks.
  • A Payments & Settlement solution that delivers a highly flexible and secure PCI compliant payment capability at customer checkout.
  • A Supplier Integration & Management offering that connects and automates supplier interactions, providing clients with a dashboard view of activity as it happens.
  • A Cloud-based File Transfer capability for moving large customer and partner data within and across businesses to support critical commerce needs faster and more efficiently.

Social Media Marketing, which delivers deep analysis of natural language processing of consumer sentiment in social media. This allows customers to receive tailored, one-to-one marketing offers automatically in real time.

IBM has enhanced its cloud-based Digital Marketing Optimization offering by adding a digital data exchange for the tagging, collection and syndication of customer data. IBM is also adding capabilities to more simply analyze multiple enterprise Web sites and speed the ability to optimize email communications and reporting from creation, to deployment, to social sharing.

New Smarter Commerce Consulting Services

IBM today also announced the launch of a new Global Center of Competence for Smarter Commerce.  The new Center of Competence will be part of IBM Global Business Services and is comprised of highly skilled Smarter Commerce consulting experts who will help clients worldwide solve their most complex buying, marketing, selling and servicing business problems.

For more information on IBM Smarter Commerce go here.

Black Friday: Social And Upwardly Mobile

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It’s Cyber Monday.

Bosses everywhere, go ahead and hang it up.  Simply consider Cyber Monday an extension of the long holiday weekend.

Your employees are going to be plenty busy today, but not for work: There are deals to be had, submit buttons to be struck, credit card security codes to be discovered, shopping carts to be filled!!

And if early results in for Black Friday are any indication, a glorious Cyber Monday it could be.

IBM Coremetrics’ Third Annual Black Friday Benchmark Report was issued over the weekend, an analysis of the online retail sector during this important holiday shopping period.

Here’s what was witnessed from Friday’s e-shopping tidings:

  • Consumer Spending Increases: Online sales were up a healthy 15.9 percent, with consumers pushing the average order value up from $170.19 to $190.80 (an increase of 12 percent)
  • Luxury Goods Make a Comeback: Jewelry retailers reported a 17.6 percent increase in sales. These affluent shoppers appear very willing to open their wallets.
  • Surgical Shopping: Consumers know what they want and where to get it. People are viewing 18.0 percent fewer products on sites than they did last year, suggesting that they are shopping with a specific item in mind and quickly moving on.
  • Social Shopping: Consumers appear increasingly savvy about their favorite brands’ social presence, and are turning to their networks on social sites for information about deals and inventory levels. While the percentage of visitors arriving from social network sites is fairly small relative to all online visitors — nearly 1 percent — it is gaining momentum, with Facebook dominating the space.
  • Mobile Shopping: On Black Friday, 5.6 percent of people logged onto a retailer’s site using a mobile device, a jump of 26.7 percent compared to the prior Friday.

John Squite, chief strategy officer for IBM Coremetrics, had this to say about this year’s results:

“On Black Friday, consumers came, they clicked and they shopped their way across the Internet, and this time, they weren’t just looking for bargains. Consequently, we’re watching online retail, and increasingly social media and mobile, become the growth engines for retailers everywhere as consumers embrace online shopping not only for its ease and convenience, but as a primary means of researching goods and services.”

In related news, Comscore announced its own holiday e-commerce spending numbers: U.S. retail e-commerce spending for the first 26 days of the November – December 2010 holiday season: $11.64 billion has been spent online, a 13-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year.

Black Friday saw $648 million in online sales, making it the heaviest online spending day to date in 2010 and representing a 9-percent increase versus Black Friday 2009.

Thanksgiving Day (November 26), traditionally a lighter day for online holiday spending, achieved a strong 28-percent increase to $407 million.

Amazon continued its juggernaut performance, with a net positive 25 percent year-over-year increase in unique visitors on Black Friday (compared to 9 percent at Target, 1 percent at Best Buy, and a negative 1 percent at Wal-Mart).

My two cents on this year’s Black Friday: The digital mobile and social nexus is far from reaching its apogee — the mobilly-empowered shopper is a new species, one unafraid to walk into the store with information and resources at their fingertips, from the Web, and their friends and family, to inform their purchases: before, during, and even after their purchases.

Smart retailers, rather than discourage price-conscious mobile shoppers, should turn lemons into lemonade, offering more price-matching and e-couponing that draws such mobile shoppers into their stores in droves.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s early Monday morning and I’ve got some holiday shopping to do.

Written by turbotodd

November 29, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Crowdsourcing, Hold The Anchovies

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Since returning from gun camp, I’ve been holed up here inside the AT&T Executive Conference Center in Austin, Texas, these past couple of days attending the Third Annual BazaarVoice Social Commerce Summit.

There’ve been a lot of buzzwords about the continued evolution of the social media, how consumers (particularly in the retail space, but also in B2B) are leveraging the opportunity to exude peer influence in a big way using tools like Twitter, Facebook, et al.

Me, I drank this Kool-Aid long ago, having gotten on the Cluetrain in the late 1990s.

But judging from the audience size, which has clearly grown from last year’s Summit — as has the BazaarVoice customer set — others are getting on the train and fast.

Which is a good thing.

The more the merrier, I say.

The faster we evolve towards a transparent marketing orientation around the globe, the faster consumers and business people everywhere can enjoy better products and services, and more open communication between themselves and their producers.

Of course, as BazaarVoice CEO Brett Hurt explained in his opening comments, the age of social media isn’t something we should be surprised by.

Ever since our friends the cavemen (the real ones, not the ones from Geico) stood around swapping stories in front of the campfire, word of mouth has ruled as the most ubiquitous and influential form of marketing.

The difference today is, word of mouth is now an archived medium. Everything you say can and will be recorded in perpetuity on Google and can and will be held against — or, as the case may be — for you or your brand.

Sam Decker, survivor of Dell Hell and now BazaarVoice chief marketing officer, related a story during his opening comments that better tells the tale.

Dominos Pizza (Full disclosure: I was once employed as a Dominos pizza maker and driver) recently underwent a brand transformation, one in which their pizza recipe was completely overhauled after being informed by social media input from its customer base.

After the recipe was overhauled based on that crowdsourced input, Dominos then put up a Twitter feed requesting unvarnished input from the crowd, good and bad, about their new pizza.

Overwhelmingly, folks seemed to agree the new pizza was much improved from the old, and in turn Dominos realized a stock boost of some 75% after the new recipe launched.

A coincidence?  You decide, but make sure you also watch Domino’s new and very open and transparent TV commercials, in which my former employer admitted as much that their old pizza recipe sucked.

I’ve not ordered one of the new Dominos pizza yet, but based on this new information, and the fact that the crowd helped vet the new pizza makings for Dominos, I can assure you I will.

But please, hold the anchovies.

Written by turbotodd

April 21, 2010 at 4:06 pm

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