IBM at the National Retail Federation convention: Customer analytics for omni-channel success


This week is the National Retail Federation's annual convention, nicknamed "Retail's BIG Show," and for good reason. This is one of the largest gatherings of the biggest names in the retail industry, including service providers and experts from omni-channel, e-commerce, B2B commerce and other sectors.

IBM was just one of a slew of industry leaders at the show this week, sponsoring the keynote session, "Unique and Distinct: The New Customer Experience." However, the company had its hand in a range of discussions and sought to provide the most up-to-date information on industry trends and emerging strategies surrounding the use of data for customer insights.

One report released by IBM, titled "Learn from the best: How customer understanding and analytics grow revenue and deepen loyalty," illustrated just how information about consumers can lead to a better shopping experience, as well as prosperity on the part of the retailer. This report featured a number of success stories from IBM clients in the e-commerce industry. Let's take a look at some of these cases and how customer analytics helped lead the way toward success in omni-channel initiatives.


IBM is participating in this year's National Retail Federation convention, and is showing others how they can harness customer analytics to improve omni-channel strategies.

Netherlands' largest online retailer better engages customers

One company featured in IBM's report is, the biggest online retailer in the Netherlands. Although the firm was already successful - providing 16 million product options for its 100 million annual website visitors - it noticed a need for improved customer engagement across different channels to enhance and optimize its online platform.

Through the use of an IBM analytics solution, the company was able to gain deep insights about its online shoppers, and further customize and personalize their experience with the brand. This included the use of on-site recommendations, display ads targeting customers' preferences as well as custom emails with specialized deals. Even those who abandoned their sessions brought insights for the company, which leveraged this information to create dynamic messages to prevent rising abandonment rates.

With these efforts, saw a 68 percent increase in its click-through rate, a 67 percent decrease in its opt-out rate and a considerable 271 percent higher sales-per-send ratio.

Virgin Atlantic boosts e-commerce sales

Airline giant Virgin Atlantic also harnessed the power of customer data analytics to help improve its e-commerce sales. According to the report, the company provided services for five million customers each year, but wanted to enhance its online channel and raise its e-commerce revenues. Although the airline's 3,000-page website proved to be a main challenge in its optimization, it was able to see more valuable metrics about customer usage patterns through IBM's analytics software.

As a result of leveraging improved customer analytics, Virgin Atlantic was able to pinpoint the areas of its website that needed optimization and work toward making these enhancements.

"Because every customer interaction is tracked and aggregated … we get a crystal-clear view of how different types of customers use the website, and pages that some users are struggling with," Virgin Atlantic stated, according to IBM's report.

As a result, the company saw a considerable increase in the number of flights booked through its online channel as well as more use of its other online functions, which added to its omni-channel commerce approach.

These two cases illustrate the power that analytics can hold when it comes to gaining insights about customers and how to improve e-commerce and omni-channel strategies.

Can't attend the conference? Learn more about omni-channel commerce in a complimentary white paper below and follow the conversation on twitter with the hashtags #omnichannel and #NRF15.