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Making retail smarter

Accelerate supply chains. Strengthen loyalty.
Improve margins.

Attention shoppers on a smarter planet

Global retail today sees lead times as long as 6 to 10 months, forcing vendors to make significant bets on inventory, consumer trends and distribution methods—bloating supply chains with a stockpile of $1.2 trillion in excess merchandise.

At the same time, retailers lose a staggering $93 billion in missed sales every year, simply because they don't have the right products in stock to meet customer demand. And that demand is more demanding and immediate than ever before: in the U.S., over 92% of adults conduct research online and seek the opinions of others before they ever purchase a product from a store.

To do business with shoppers on a smarter planet, retailers and manufacturers need a smarter system. One that bends retail's global supply chain to these new realities. It needs to be inter-connected, so the system can be fed by customer insight at every point in the process—all the way from design to distribution. It needs to be instrumented, so every item of inventory can be tracked and accounted for. And it needs to be intelligent, so vast amounts of customer data can be analysed and turned into real value in real time.


Consumer Advocacy

Trends point to smarter consumers driving the marketplace

The IBM Institute for Business Value surveyed more than 30,000 consumers in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Brazil, India and China to determine how they choose where to shop, what shopping methods they prefer and what they will demand from retailers in the future.

IBM's newest survey reveals that consumers want to use multiple technologies to shop and purchase, making price comparisons and instant brand critiques—or criticisms—available to a much wider audiences than ever before. The study also reveals three fundamental realities of the new marketplace.


Shoppers write and read millions of reviews a year, changing the way we buy—and how companies make products.  Watch the video.


The seven areas that matter most to consumers and where they also think retailers most need to improve. 1 - Offers me discounts specifically for that I buy. 2 - Has products available consistently. 3 - Offers me various options to provide me with greater value. 4 - Offers better quality products. 5 - Has everyday low prices. 6 - Has great sales. 7 - Offers a variety of products. Ibm Institute for Business Value analysis.

Get up close and personal

Consumers want personalised discounts and want to engage with retailers to develop products catered to their preferences and needs. In fact, 78% of consumers say they are likely to co-create—helping retailers develop new products and services that they prefer.

Generation Y will change the retail world

Gen Y'rs is eager to forge ahead with new channels—and they most likely use two or more technologies to shop. They feel that retailers can improve most by building technologies into the overall shopping experience. For example, this generation of consumers are interested in using their remote controls to buy items advertised on television.

It's not just about price

It's about the right offer at the right time. And that requires intelligence. Using analytics to spot trends early and proactively structure planning and inventory efforts will allow retailers to shape demand, rather than react to demand. Retailers have to narrow down the assortment to map tightly to consumer preferences and make sure the product is available.