Merchandising & Supply Chain

The Customer is the Channel

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As consumers, we use our devices for everything from finding restaurants, dates, rides, entertainment, to travel, browsing and shopping. In fact, in some parts of the world, we spend 10 hours a day on devices and 50% of us check our devices 50 times a day.

This creates enormous opportunities as well as challenges for every industry providing products and services to consumers. Competition as well as cross-industry partnerships are happening everywhere. In fact, 65% of all global CXOs believe industry convergence is the biggest competitive factor.

Given this environment, retailers must re-evaluate their current business model and recognize that there is only one channel that matters: the Customer Channel.

Retail

In an era where the Customer is the Channel, retailers have to dynamically personalize engagement, assortment and services to distinguish themselves. New advances in computing, specifically cognitive systems, generate not just answers to numerical questions, but hypotheses and recommendations, based on diverse and complex data. They make sense of the 80% of the world’s data that is unstructured.

Cognitive systems can help merchants and marketers identify trends, new offerings, and customer segments so they can design compelling promotional campaigns. Insights from cognitive systems can be used to develop and maintain a pertinent dialogue via digital devices, store associates and in-store technology, making shopping relevant, fun and interactive.

A consistent, personal and analytics driven shopping experience will become a mandate to retailers as customers become more insistent that they be known and understood – no matter how, when or where they engage.

Want to experience retail in the cognitive era for yourself? Come visit IBM at NRF 2016 and see the Art of the Possible in booth #1720 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York City between January 17th and 20th, 2016.

To stay in touch, follow @IBMRetail on Twitter and use our official hashtag #IBMRetail with #nrf16 to join the conversation!

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