NEW YORK, Jan. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- National Retail Federation Convention: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that leading retailers Wakefern and El Corte Ingles have adopted IBM Smarter Commerce on cloud to quickly respond to changing consumer trends, compete more effectively in local markets and extend their brand into new regions. The news comes at this year's National Retail Federation convention (#NRF14), where IBM also unveiled a new solution that helps retailers and marketers update their online storefronts in minutes with fresh, relevant and targeted content.
According to a survey released yesterday by the IBM Institute for Business Value, retailers face growing expectations from consumers that want to use technology in all aspects of their shopping experience - from online to mobile to in-store. Based on input from more than 30,000 respondents, the IBM study found that shoppers place the highest value on receiving consistent prices, product availability and shipping options regardless of which channel they use to buy.
"Mobile traffic and sales grew more than 40 percent in the past quarter, which tells us shoppers are using their devices in new ways to enhance and extend both the online and in-store experience," said Craig Hayman, general manager, IBM Industry Solutions. "With this new generation of consumers combining mobile, social and cloud technologies to stay connected and informed, retailers must be able to quickly analyze, understand and act on each new trend before the moment passes them by."
El Corte Ingles Selects IBM Cloud to Expand Into New Markets
Well known in its home country, El Corte Ingles (ECI) is the largest operator of department stores in Spain with 84 locations across the country. While the company enjoys an established and loyal customer base for its physical stores, it wanted to expand its online presence across Europe to reach a new generation of digital consumers in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Netherlands and beyond.
ECI turned to IBM Smarter Commerce on Cloud to quickly extend its online presence while addressing the distinct customer needs of each market. By deploying IBM Smarter Commerce through a hybrid cloud and on premise solution, ECI can deliver customized in-country offers, promotions and pricing optimization in real-time. The solution manages their customer orders across the entire region while supporting the many translation, payment and regulatory requirements unique to each country.
"We've been cultivating our historic brand in Spain for over 70 years, but when it came time to extend into Europe, time was of the essence," said Alvaro Fernandez, Internacional Internet & e-commerce, El Corte Ingles. "By deploying IBM Smarter Commerce and cloud technologies, we quickly ramped up our online presence in these new markets while delivering personalized shopping experiences that resonate and evolve with local consumers."
Wakefern Taps IBM for Dynamic Retail Solution
Leading grocers like Wakefern Food Corp. - one of the largest U.S. retail cooperatives and operator of more than 300 stores under the ShopRite, PriceRite and The Fresh Grocer brands - are also leveraging IBM's cloud analytics to build sophisticated, real-time analytics to help its store owners make better business decisions on a regional basis.
IBM today announced that Wakefern has adopted IBM DemandTec, delivered as a cloud-based service, to deliver dynamic promotions to their customers. The new solution allows Wakefern to respond to changes in real-time demand by using predictive analytics to build and execute promotions, while maintaining the proper product mix in stores.
"In a highly competitive market, we need to quickly respond to changing consumer demand and preferences, be it promoting the latest new product or a trending flavor profile," said Joseph Colalillo, Chairman and CEO, Wakefern Food Corp. "IBM gives us the power, speed and flexibility to be in touch with our customer's needs and provide the exceptional brand experience that they expect from us every day."
The early pilot phase has shown favorable results and Wakefern looks forward to continuing to utilize this IBM technology to better serve its customers.
New IBM Commerce Composer Helps Retailers Deliver Fresh, Relevant Content in Minutes
To help retailers dynamically adapt their online presence to meet changing consumer demands, IBM also announced a new storefront curator as part of its leading WebSphere Commerce platform.
IBM Commerce Composer cuts time to market by giving line of business leaders control over the look, feel and functionality of their online store fronts with no technical coding skills required. Using intuitive click-to-install templates, marketers and e-commerce leaders can quickly customize page layouts, optimize navigation and add new site functionality in minutes.
"Today's savvy, dynamic customers expect a relevant shopping experience. In order to meet this need and create an immersive online experience, it's crucial for the Men's Wearhouse to be able to react and capture new opportunities at a moment's notice," said Vlad Kuznetsov, Chief Technology Officer, The Men's Wearhouse. "IBM Commerce Composer will give us the control and flexibility we need to dynamically change our online storefront and satisfy our discerning customer's demands."
IBM Commerce Composer features an array of new store front applications from validated IBM partners delivered through cloud-enabled solutions. This gives developers plug-and-play functionality to build apps for retailers to quickly deploy as a service.
With 18 companies already participating in the partner ecosystem, the first wave of new apps supporting Commerce Composer include:
-- Content Management & Rich Media: Dynamically create and deliver fresh, targeted content for shoppers and increase sales with apps from Amplience, CoreMedia, Fluid and Invodo. -- Community, Social & Customer Engagement: Tap into the power of social media and engage customers in new ways to gain insight and drive brand loyalty with apps from Bazaarvoice, Genesys, OpinionLab and Pluck. -- Product Management & Configuration: Automate sales with seamless business processes that support the way customers want to purchase products with apps from Fluid. -- Search Optimization: Maximizes organic search visibility and makes it easy for shoppers to find products, drive traffic and increase sales with apps from BloomReach.
Delivered on premise or in the cloud, IBM Commerce Composer will be available in February 2014 as part of the release of WebSphere Commerce Feature Pack 7.
IBM's Smarter Commerce initiative features software and services that help companies transform their business processes to more quickly respond to shifting customer demands in today's digitally-transformed marketplace. The initiative is driven by leading organizations that want to deepen their relationships with their customers and secure greater brand loyalty and advocacy.
More information on Smarter Commerce can be found at www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/smarter_commerce/overview/. Stay up to date on the latest IBM news from NRF 2014 by following the hashtags #smartercommerce and #smarterretail.
IBM Global Communications