January 13, 2023 By Baan Slavens
Uday Kotla
4 min read

How can companies differentiate their customer experience with compelling and comprehensive digital commerce and order management capabilities?

Companies wishing to build up a loyal clientele invest significantly in personalized experiences, merchandising strategies, and optimized fulfillment and execution. By leveraging digital technology, companies can develop unique products and services that differentiate them from competitors and meet the changing needs of their customers. This leads to increased loyalty as engaged customers return to their favorite shopping destinations with a larger share of their wallets. Enter Adobe and IBM, partnering to create transformative next-generation digital customer experiences that engage and delight customers.

The Adobe and IBM Partnership

Adobe and IBM are two of the major players in the field of digital customer experience. Both companies offer a range of solutions designed to enhance the customer journey, including modern experience-building tools with compelling content, AI-driven personalization, and rich visual merchandising (coupled with accurate real-time inventory visibility and robust order management and fulfillment capabilities).

Adobe Commerce enables companies to create rich, personalized shopping experiences supporting all channels and business models on a single platform that is flexible, extensible and scalable. The platform leverages Adobe Sensei AI to optimize marketing and merchandising while allowing businesses to manage orders, products and customer data in one place. Adobe Commerce is part of the Adobe Experience Cloud and natively integrates solutions like Adobe Experience Platform, enabling businesses to gain insights into customer behavior and use real-time context to tailor their marketing efforts accordingly.

Companies around the world use Adobe Commerce to power their digital transformation initiatives, delivering rapid and high impact results. Take Alshaya Group, for example; with the help of Adobe Commerce and Adobe Consulting Services, the organization was able to successfully launch (in the span of 12 months) 30 new ecommerce sites and 2 mobile apps, resulting in a 268% YoY growth in online transactions. “Working with Adobe is a key part of the equation, helping us innovate together and make this change happen at pace,” said Marc van der Heijden, CTO of Alshaya Group.

IBM, on the other hand, offers a range of order management solutions through its IBM Sustainability Software portfolio. These solutions include IBM Sterling Order Management, which helps businesses manage orders across multiple channels and devices, and IBM Sterling Intelligent Promising, which helps businesses balance their inventory levels and reduce costs through accurate real-time promise and order scheduling. The Order Management suite helps manage orders from the point of purchase to delivery. It involves tasks like tracking orders, updating inventory levels and processing returns and exchanges. These capabilities are critical in order to ensure that customers receive their orders in a timely and accurate manner. IBM Sterling Order Management also picks the best locations from which to source product (with the least number of order splits) and thereby helps sustainable fulfillment operations and helps companies in their ESG goals.

IBM’s leadership in the Order Management space can be seen through ground-breaking innovation, especially in applying artificial intelligence and machine learning to sourcing and fulfillment decisions and, more importantly, showing real-time quantifiable ROI benefits. IHL recognized this approach of using a “Transparent AI” while highlighting IBM as the #1 leader in the 2022 IHL Order Management Market study.

Trust and visibility through an integrated solution

Together, IBM and Adobe have developed an integrated solution that helps businesses streamline and optimize their supply chain and order management processes—integrating them into the digital commerce experience. This includes everything from accurate real-time inventory management to robust order orchestration and exemplary customer service, augmented with tools to track and analyze customer data to improve the overall customer experience. The joint solution is especially relevant in a world where there is a need for a tight inter-connectedness between digital commerce and supply chain.

Knowing customer behavior and aligning supply strategies with expected customer demand is a critical foundation for modern merchandising strategies that provide relevant and localized assortments. Customers then dictate where and how they will purchase product, and this dramatically alters the inventory availability landscape, prompting the need for a strong order-management solution to anchor the digital customer experience.

With this combined solution, companies are able to incorporate supply chain health metrics—including inventory positions, velocity and demand—into real-time marketing and merchandising to optimally engage customers. This improves experiences and satisfaction by fulfilling on inventory promises while enabling companies to more effectively allocate marketing budgets. In addition, real-time recommendations and insights can be used to improve shopper engagegment as they pick up their orders in store or engage customer service representatives.

One of the key features of this solution is the flexibility to integrate with a wide range of existing systems and diverse operating models, including ecosystem partners and multiple formats. This enables businesses to power their current operations and realize immediate benefits while providing a platform to accelerate digital transformation and innovation.   

This ability to rapidly transform at pace was seen in action when retailers rolled out innovative initiatives to adjust and thrive in the new ‘normal’ of the pandemic. With salons and barbershops temporarily shutdown down, Sally Beauty Inc. saw an unprecedented demand from daredevil work-from-home shoppers choosing DIY kits to dye their hair purple.

Thank goodness we have the IBM Sterling platform to help us keep ahead and respond quickly to marketplace demands.” – Sonoma Taylor, VP Solution Delivery, Sally Beauty Holdings, Inc.

A solution for today’s changing times

The partnership between Adobe and IBM has resulted in a powerful solution that integrates marketing and customer engagement with supply chain and order management processes, leading to increased efficiency and customer satisfaction. It is a prime example of how two companies with complementary skills have come together and created something greater than the sum of their parts.

Companies can choose from an extensive set of tools and journey maps available through IBM iX, the business design arm of IBM Consulting, to help plan out their transformation journey.

Both Adobe and IBM have also built a strong ecosystem of partners and system integrators with deep product and domain skills and focus on customer experience who can help businesses achieve rapid success and time to value. It’s time to talk to us and, together, make the change.

Learn more about how IBM is working with Adobe to enable enterprises to transform their digital commerce experience with the best digital experience tools, commerce components and order management tools.

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