IBM, Salesforce Join Forces for AI & Connected Commerce

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It’s no secret the retail industry—fueled by rapid digitization and evolving consumer expectations—has changed dramatically over the past dozen years or so.

In fact, retail is a good example of an industry operating within what IBM refers to as “Chapter 2” of the digital revolution. Unlike Chapter 1, which was characterized by customer-facing innovation and experimentation, Chapter 2 focuses on modernizing core employee-facing systems and processes. It’s about architecting the business for change to enable true and lasting transformation. In this next phase, brands must operationalize customer centricity from the inside to efficiently and profitably deliver connected experiences.

Never has this been more evident than when we consider omnichannel retailing and the new operational challenges it has created, particularly in regard to inventory management, order management, and fulfillment.

Beyond designing seamless and personalized commerce experiences, retailers are challenged to deliver flexible, yet affordable, fulfillment options (e.g. 2-day free shipping; buy online, pick up in store) while preserving margin. A smarter retailer must therefore take both an outside-in and inside-out approach—designing and delivering connected experiences that win business and loyalty while operationalizing the business for maximum efficiency, effectiveness and return.

The AI Partnership for Connected Commerce

It’s the reason that IBM is once again teaming up with Salesforce, this time for an exciting new retail program, AI Now™ for Connected Commerce. Delivered by Bluewolf, an IBM company, AI Now for Connected Commerce is a Salesforce certified Fullforce solution that provides retailers and consumer products companies with a connected and omnichannel commerce, marketing, and customer service experience – all of which is supported by intelligent order management and supply chain optimization.

Key to AI Now are IBM’s Watson Supply Chain and Order Management solutions that streamline omnichannel inventory management and complex fulfillment operations to help create smarter, more agile supply chains. Coupled with these services are Salesforce’s innovative platforms that span digital commerce, marketing automation, customer service, and CRM, all of which are made smarter by Salesforce Einstein, Salesforce’s AI for CRM.

The alignment and integration of these leading AI-powered platforms is designed to help brands create unified and personalized commerce, marketing, and customer service experiences while also meeting omnichannel demand and fulfillment expectations with scale, speed, and return.

Connected commerce is possible when systems of engagement are aligned to systems of operation and insight, and the right data can be activated to design and execute meaningful human experiences. This alignment not only helps a brand to personalize the customer experience—offering the right product at the right time, and on the right channel—but to optimize inventory allocation, assortment planning, and fulfillment across all selling channels, ultimately creating a more agile and customer-centered organization.

We are excited to offer a new, industry-specific, and AI-driven approach that integrates the best of IBM’s cognitive supply chain solutions with Salesforce’s market-leading digital commerce platform to transform the way our retail and consumer products clients engage with their customers through personalized cross-channel retailing and operational agility.

Visit us at Salesforce Connections this week in Chicago. I’ll be with the Bluewolf team in Booth #3.

And for more information, check out the news details: here.

Vice President & US Retail Industry Leader, IBM Global Business Services

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