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Smarter supply chains

Consider what a smart supply chain looks like: It seamlessly connects at all points, distributes digital information in real time, and works in a sense-and-respond mode. We have the technology now. And IBM is helping visionary retailers make use of it.

Smarter supply chains help retailers develop customer loyalty and consumer advocacy.

Yansha, a regional Chinese retailer of upscale brands, deployed a first-of-its-kind SOA-based supply chain platform for its 1,800 suppliers, improving lead times from 2.5 days to 4.5 hours.

Smarter supply chains help retailers develop customer loyalty and consumer advocacy.

METRO Group (US) is using RFID and sensor technologies as the backbone of its new meat-tracking solution. Each meat tray is tagged so it is visible during its complete in-store lifecycle, from packaging to point of sale.




According to our survey of 30,000 U.S. consumers in September and November 2008, 92% are sacrificing in some areas of spending and 59% have less discretionary budget than last year. Yet uncertain times have caused advocacy or loyalty to nearly double from 2007, with consumers relying on retailers they trust.


Customer loyalty

The first stop for most shopping trips is the Internet: 92.5% of adults said they regularly or occasionally research products online before buying them in a store.1 Yet, more than 76% percent of online shoppers said the content is usually insufficient to complete their research and make an online purchase.2

Web 2.0 capabilities, with the opportunities for bottom-up information exchange and collaboration, offer a tremendous opportunity to strengthen customer loyalty. Retailers can offer in-depth product information, gain feedback from users, tap into customer thinking for future products, and strengthen relationships through community features such as reviews, blogs and bulletin boards. Smarter systems enable retailers to gather and act on customer data to create and sell products in ways that resonate with their markets.

Moosejaw Mountaineering, a fast-growing retailer, owes much of its success to a fiercely loyal customer base that it cultivated by making its site a hip, go-to destination with rich community features. Moosejaw delivers on the excitement and promise of its online brand with a seamless, positive customer experience that spans mobile devices and stores.

Gewandhaus Gruber, a merchant with a 350-year history of dressmaking and retailing, launched the first fingerprint-identification-based loyalty program that provides sales insights, reduces costs and rewards members.

Mitsokushi (US), one of Japan's leading retailers, is reaching out to the fast-growing over-65 market with enhanced accessability features on their Web site.





Consumers are instrumented... technology has made them smarter than ever

Smarter operations

Many retailers have grown through acquisitions, which can result in complex, siloed systems.

1-800-FLOWERS.COM, the world's largest florist and gift shop, needed better coordination among its 14 brands. IBM helped them build an e-commerce site that will eventually unite all of the brands, allow rapid rollout of new Web sites and features, and facilitate cross-brand selling and information sharing for better customer service. A service-oriented architecture (SOA) helps to bridge the legacy and new systems. In addition, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM has launched "Celebrations," a social networking site to connect people, which supports the brand values of a company created to market and transform events and occasions into celebrations.


1 BIG Research, Simultaneous Research Study, March 2007

2 e-Tailing group, Social Shopping Study, November 2007