Customer Analytics

Uncovering the Optimal Path to Purchase Through Predictive and Cognitive Analytics

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This post is part of The Future Project 2025 series. Follow along as IBM thought leaders and futurists envision the impact of big data and analytics on commerce.

The rise of big data and analytics is enabling organizations to gain a much deeper understanding of the customer journey. We can ask questions that are critical to elevating the customer experience, such as: What channel do you prefer? Where are you entering the marketing funnel? What is your optimal path to purchase?

But successfully uncovering these answers requires us to understand that it’s about more than big data. It’s about insights.

Useful data and the customer experience

Massive amounts of data are being collected today; however, the companies that will thrive in the future are the ones that understand that it’s about more than big data. It’s about useful data. We need to pull valuable insights from the vast sea of information available, and utilize that data to create more meaningful customer interactions.

Predictive and cognitive analytics make this shift possible, because the technology moves us from a reactive to a proactive state. We gain a greater understanding of the customer and move into a state of “readiness.” The customer’s “wants” are easily predicted, and as we gain insights from their prior behavior, we can cater to their needs in greater depth. But in addition to recognizing their needs, we also understand the path they are traveling to purchase, so we can make the process easier and more effortless.

Path to purchase: gaining greater understanding

Today there is no longer a single path to purchase. There are many. This creates a challenge for organizations as they attempt to gain greater understanding of where customers are starting the buying process. Refining and making the omni-channel experience stronger allows us to meet customers where they are—and achieve greater visibility. We can understand not only a customer’s optimal path to purchase, but can also customize that experience moving forward, which is very powerful.

Moving from a purely reactive to a proactive state allows us to venture beyond big data and work to uncover valuable insights. Moreover, each customer’s experience becomes personalized and authentic as they begin to develop a deeper connection with the brand.

For more from Stan Phelps about uncovering the optimal path to purchase through predictive and cognitive analytics read the eBook here:

The future of commerce isn’t B2B or B2C, it’s C2B: customer-to-business. Your customers are talking to you, telling you who they are, how they feel and what they need. With the right approach, you can make it a conversation, but it takes an integrated business to build lasting relationships and inspire advocacy. Your front office and back office must become the office: marketing, customer analytics, eCommerce and merchandising, procurement, B2B integration and payments all working seamlessly to put customers at the center. Learn how to become a C2B business today at

You can also join Stan and other futurists at IBM Amplify 2016. Can’t make it in person? Watch the livestream and join the conversation on Twitter by using #IBMAmplify.

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