Compete in the cognitive era with insight-driven retail analytics solutions

WW Customer-centric Analytics Solutions Marketing Manager, Distribution Sector, IBM Analytics

The volume, variety and veracity of data are creating unprecedented opportunities for industries and professions—2.5 billion gigabytes of data are being generated every day, 80 percent of which is unstructured. This proliferation of data is driving demand for real-time insights and evidence-based decision-making: 1 in 2 CEOs report not having the information they need when making critical decisions. In fact, 80 percent of the data is not analyzed by organizations. But this is only one side of the story. Customers are more connected and instrumented than ever before, so they turn to families and friends before buying instead of investigating their favorite retail brand. This means retailers’ influence on their customers’ paths’ to the purchasing decision cycle is declining. Thus, the only way retailers can retain their customers is to personalize their engagement with customers and make the shopping experience seamless and fun—which is easier said than done. Retailers now know they need a different level of technology that can handle the volume, variety and veracity of data.

This explosion of digital conversation is not the destination but the foundation for new ways of doing business in the digital age, which IBM calls cognitive business, based on the IBM Watson platform. Accordingly, IBM recently announced “The Cognitive Era,” centered on the idea that a cognitive business is one that thinks. The same IBM Watson natural language processing capabilities will change how consumers engage with their preferred retailers. Here are some use cases and scenarios that demonstrate how retailers can compete in this cognitive era.

Watson Personality Insights

Watson Personality Insights analyzes transactional and social media data to identify psychological traits that determine purchase decisions, intent and behavioral traits, which organizations can use to improve conversion rates. Retailers can market to the most receptive target audience, they can acquire and retain more customers, and they can develop services that connect individuals and groups more effectively. For example, imagine an in-store retail experience that involves an interactive kiosk. Customers log into the kiosk with a social media handle such as a Twitter ID. The kiosk quickly presents a set of personalized product and service offerings based on the customer’s personality characteristics, needs and values. The products and services include marketing campaigns, coupons, trial offers and recommendations that are suited to each individual customer. The results match the right offerings to the most receptive customers, improving both the effectiveness of the offers and customer satisfaction. Test your personality today.

IBM Social Merchandising for Retail

IBM Social Merchandising Solution for Retail leverages a combination of enterprise and social media data, enabling businesses to apply analytics to develop deeper portraits of individual customers. It’s important to learn how a product is perceived by customers to predict whether it will sell or not. Just because a product receives a large number of reviews or is searched frequently does not mean it will be a hit among your customers. They could be writing negative reviews or may be searching without intending to buy. However, analyzing this data—along with the data that exists in the organization such as e-commerce, call center transcripts and so on—can help address some of the biggest issues retailers face, such as:

  • Ability to understand market and consumer trends and sentiments much deeper than at brand level—that is, at product category and item level
  • Identify influential shoppers who are brand promoters or detractors and engage with them effectively
  • Ability to use these insights to improve inventory turnover and sales
  • Improve your price, promotion and assortment decisions across channels

The IBM Social Merchandising Solution for Retail helps merchants, marketers and planners gain a better understanding of the “why” and not just the “what” of customer behavior—which improves price, promotion and merchandising decisions. Learn more about the solution today.