Business challenge

Versandhaus Walz aimed to nurture customer loyalty and boost share of wallet, starting with its baby-walz brand. To do so, the company needed to gain deeper insight into unique customer preferences.


Versandhaus Walz is building a new online store and gathering detailed data on consumer behavior, enabling it to optimize its customer interactions across all channels.



a unique, personalized shopping experience across all channels


time to market for new data-driven one-to-one marketing initiatives


a deeper understanding of customer needs and preferences

Business challenge

Narrow window of opportunity

Competition in the retail industry is more intense than ever. As companies constantly refine their offerings in an effort to win market share, it is essential to react fast to new developments.

For Versandhaus Walz, that pressure is even greater, as Johannes Bernhardt, CEO, explains: “Our flagship brand baby-walz accounts for a major proportion of our sales. Some of the baby-walz product segments cater to customers’ needs during the pregnancy and the first part of the baby’s life. With such a tight window to acquire customers, nurture their loyalty and maximize our share of wallet, it is critical that we get every customer interaction right.

“Nowadays, e-commerce accounts for 70 percent of our revenue from the baby-walz brand, so alongside traditional retail it’s a very important sales channel. We wanted to make it even easier for customers to browse and buy from our website. But we hit an obstacle: our previous approach to e-commerce made it difficult to capture data on the way customers were interacting with the digital channel, and use that insight to shape seamless individual customer journeys.”

IBM is helping us to completely transform the customer journey, provide a better shopping experience and win greater market share.

Johannes Bernhardt, CEO, Versandhaus Walz

Transformation story

Building a top-notch retail experience

Joining forces with IBM and IBM Business Partner piazza blu2, Versandhaus Walz built a sophisticated new online store for the baby-walz brand. Integration with the company’s inventory management system enables customers to see in real time whether their desired items are in stock, and advanced search functionalities make it quick and easy for customers to shop the extensive baby-walz catalog. Crucially, the new e-commerce platform enables more granular insight into the way customers move through the site—helping the company deepen its understanding of individual customer preferences.

“Currently 70 percent of our online shoppers browse our products on their mobile devices—so delivering seamless experiences on the mobile channel was a key priority,” explains Johannes Bernhardt. “We have now launched a new mobile version of the baby-walz site, which makes it easier than ever for our customers to find the products they are looking for. We are also building a new look for our desktop site, which will offer customers an inspiring journey from browsing through to the checkout.”

Johannes Bernhardt adds: “Today’s customers expect to shop anytime, anywhere and on any device they choose, so offering them a hassle-free retail experience 24 hours a day, seven days a week is vital to nurture their loyalty. We are confident that our new e-commerce store will offer the rock-solid reliability we need to meet that promise to our customers.”

Results story

Sharpening competitive edge

Once the solution implementation is complete, Versandhaus Walz will be able to identify and react much faster to individual customer preferences, and boost share of wallet.

“Once our new e-commerce store is fully implemented, we will be able to look more closely at the reasons our customers abandon their carts, and take steps to determine that they do complete their transactions in future,” says Johannes Bernhardt. “We predict that deeper insight into customer behavior on the digital channel will enable us to identify and eliminate ‘sticking points’ along the customer journey, and shape a seamless experience for every visitor.

“What’s more, we will personalize our messages according to the items that each customer has recently browsed on the website. By tailoring our communications so accurately to suit customer preferences, we are confident that we will be able to boost our share of wallet in a competitive industry.”

Building on its early success, Versandhaus Walz has set out to fine-tune many aspects of its marketing activities to take greater advantage of data-driven marketing.

“For a number of years, we have been using analytics to estimate when each customer’s baby is due, and predict which of our products will be most relevant to their individual needs,” adds Johannes Bernhardt. “Our integrated approach to e-commerce will make it even easier to capture new data and refine our predictive models—opening the door for us to develop new data-driven marketing services for the business.”

Versandhaus Walz now plans to join up its online and offline worlds to gain a 360-degree view of each customer across all channels.

“By examining how customers interact with us across bricks-and-mortar stores, mobile, web and more, we can better understand their needs and preferences,” comments Johannes Bernhardt. “We can also determine the optimal channel to reach out to each customer, and send future offers to them via the best contact method. What’s more, because we will have a clear view of the ROI of each marketing channel, we’ll be able to make better decisions about our future marketing strategy.”

Ultimately, Versandhaus Walz will be able to develop new marketing capabilities quicker and at lower cost than ever before, sharpening its competitive edge.

Johannes Bernhardt concludes: “We are transforming our approach to customer journeys on the digital channel—and we are confident that our work today will help us to enhance the shopping experience and win greater market share in the future.”

Versandhaus Walz logo

Versandhaus Walz

Versandhaus Walz is a leading retail group headquartered in Bad Waldsee, Germany, managing a portfolio of highly successful online and mail-order brands. The company employs 1,400 people and generates annual revenues of approximately EUR300 million (USD336 million). Versandhaus Walz operates 39 high-street stores in the German-speaking region for its flagship brand baby-walz, which provides Europe’s largest selection of clothes and accessories for babies and mothers, stocking more than 30,000 items.

Solution components

  • Consumer Centric Retailing
  • IBM Digital Analytics
  • IBM Watson Campaign Automation
  • IBM Watson Customer Experience Analytics
  • Marketing Platforms: Campaign Management
  • Retail: Digital Experience
  • Retail: Digital Operations
  • SPSS Modeler
  • Watson Studio & Modeler
  • Websphere Commerce Managed Hosted Legacy

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