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IBM Readies Brands to Capture New Sales Opportunities Driven By Unexpected Spikes in Traffic


IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a new Event Readiness services offering that will enable businesses in industries including retail, banking, telecommunications and manufacturing to prepare for unexpected surges in online traffic and sales.

 Many consumer purchases today are driven by emotions, which often occur in the spur of the moment. The ability to quickly respond to these events, no matter what channel -- online, smartphone, store -- has been a challenge. With this new services capability, brands can now turn unexpected spikes in demand into sales opportunities, better engaging with the consumer and building brand loyalty.

For example, a young celebrity makes a statement at a red carpet event by wearing an affordable dress. The item is an overnight sensation, and the retailers that sell it face a dramatic surge in traffic and orders. As fans turn to their smartphones, tablets and PCs to buy that dress, can retailers handle too much of a good thing?

To date, brands have prepared themselves for events that are already on their radar. With this new capability, for the first time, brands will be able to tap into the expertise from IBM consultants, designers and analytics experts to make the most of unexpected opportunities. IBM experts will work closely with clients through a series of questions that analyze the capacity of the current infrastructure in place and the potential impediments. Using these insights, teams will quickly identify specific areas of risk, concern and exposure, including potential security vulnerabilities, and then deliver the hands-on services and support needed to enable the client to tackle unexpected events.

According to the Ponemon Institute, online outages or site crashes can cost a business $5,600 per minute. With incident lengths averaging 90 minutes, a single event can drive away loyal customers, tarnish the brand’s reputation and threaten critical revenue streams.

“Today, the customer is in control, which means every experience that a brand delivers matters. Just one misstep can result in the loss of a loyal customer,” said Tom Blaisdell, senior marketing manager for eCommerce, Hanesbrands Inc., a clothing and apparel company. "Hanesbrands is committed to delivering customers the items they want, when they want. With this new offering, IBM is helping brands ensure their infrastructure can meet the higher expectations of today’s customers.”

Now, with these capabilities, brands can proactively identify areas of vulnerability and prevent a crisis caused by unexpected, high-volume traffic events. For example, a website crash caused by a surge in new mortgage applications due to a drop in interest rates or a spike in orders for the latest smartphone can now become an opportunity for a brand to transform what would have been an angry customer into a loyal one by delivering what they expect -- a flawless and personalized experience.

“No matter what industry, businesses need to be ready to fully engage their customers across all channels,”said Deepak Advani, General Manager, IBM Commerce. “Today, there are 5.2 billion mobile users who are connecting with brands 24/7 so even the shortest periods of disruption, whether on the site or in the supply chain, can become the weakest link for a brand. Regardless of the scenario, businesses must be able to handle the ’unexpected’ and have the ability to deliver the powerful, personalized experiences that drive enduring customer loyalty.”

IBM Event Readiness also gives brands additional assurances that they are prepared for the surges in activity that come around all key retail holidays, from Back to School, Cyber Monday and Father’s Day.

In regard to Father’s Day, IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark data as well as data from partner Northpage revealed some interested details on consumer shopping trends as well as tactics that brands used to ensure they were prepared to meet the needs of customers over the holiday.

  • Smartphones are becoming the mobile device of choice for consumers, driving 35.3 percent of all online traffic compared to tablets at 12.5 percent while nearly closing the gap when it comes to online sales.
  • 83 percent of Sports Apparel and Gear and 75 percent of Home Goods retailers presented customers with large, high-resolution images as they browsed for gifts which more effectively engaged shoppers, improved product identification and increased sales conversion rates.
  • 38 Percent of Home Goods and 31 percent of Sports Apparel and Gear Retailers increased conversion rates by highlighting savings details on the items in the customer’s buy box including the percentage discount off the original price and the dollar amount they will be saving.

The offering will be made available to clients to help alleviate concerns or risk on their initial deployment or peak period. For more information, please click here.  For more details on the online shopping trends around the Father’s Day holiday please click here.

About IBM Commerce
IBM Commerce helps clients understand customer behavior and use insights to help deliver highly personalized and relevant experiences at every touch point. For more information on IBM Commerce, please click here.

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