• March 14, 2011
  • By Koa Beck, Editorial Assistant, CRM magazine

IBM Makes Commerce Smarter

IBM today announced a new software and the development of a new consulting practice called Smarter Commerce, which is focused on helping companies adapt to increasing customer demands in the digital marketplace.  

The Smarter Commerce set will address a variety of enterprise commerce activities, specifically new ways to buy, sell, and secure greater customer loyalty in the context of mobile and social networks.

IBM estimates the Smarter Commerce market opportunity at $70 billion, driven by demand from clients that must bring new levels of automation to marketing, customer engagement, and sales, as well as core processes for production, fulfillment, and service for much more instantaneous responses to shifts in markets and buying trends.

IBM's Smarter Commerce is based on the WebSphere Commerce platform and came to fruition after a $2.5 billion investment in on-premises and cloud-based software from IBM's acquisitions of Sterling Commerce, Unica, and Coremetrics.

“The practice is really going to focus service offerings in three key areas: helping our clients define their customer value strategies, driving deep customer insights, and enabling their customer and partner engagement,” says Paul Papas, global Smarter Commerce practice leader in IBM Global Business Services

The entire Smart Commerce practice will include:

  • A new global business services consulting practice offering deep insights into Smarter Commerce.
  • New cloud analytics software that enables companies to monitor their brands' presence in real-time through social media channels to better asses the effectiveness of new services and product offerings, fine tune marketing campaigns, and create sales initiatives in real-time.
  • Software that automates a company's ability to design and deliver a personalized shopping experience, campaigns, and promotions on new services and products online, or through mobile devices.
  • An "IBM University" that will provide educational resources for sellers and partners to build the job skills required for the Smarter Commerce marketplace.

Craig Hayman, general manager at IBM Industry Solutions, says the IBM University will consist of white papers, video, virtual content, and guided and self-guided content to “increase the skills of those who wish to gain some level of certification around smarter commerce.”

The new cloud analytics software will have access to the Twitter firehose. Hayman says the software will measure referrals back from Twitter, Facebook, or Yahoo, and give companies insight into sessions and the makeup of who is coming in through those sessions.

“You can compare that [information] based on what you intended and put some placement around Twitter and Facebook,” explains Hayman. “You have an intent of the mix, of what you’d like to achieve. We give you the insight to show you [whether you are] achieving what you wanted to do.”

Hayman says  specific output can then be wired into an effective marketing campaign of the company’s choosing: a completely social campaign, print campaign, or email campaign.

Smarter Commerce will also provide strategies for creating personalized online shopping experiences. Smart commerce will create targeted landing experiences, placing the customer on a page based on what channel he entered from. Future offers and metrics will be generated depending on how the customer navigates the site.

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