Consumers have come to expect brands to be more attentive and accommodating as digital shopping became ubiquitous. IBM responds to this trend with Smarter Commerce, a one-stop solution for brands to embrace Commerce 2.0.

Commerce 2.0 or the blurring of lines between online and digital storefronts

IBM has created an e-commerce ecosystem and infrastructure that it calls Smarter Commerce. The initiative enables the tech firm to provide software and hardware developments to clients that incorporate traditional and e-commerce components: “mobile, social, analytics, and cloud computing with brick and mortar.” This combination of services could help to mature e-commerce into “Commerce 2.0,” which would blur the line between what consumers have been accustomed to seeing as the storefront and the digital shopping experience. IBM has created new efforts such as Global Business Services and the Software Solutions Group.

The consumer-centric and platform-independent Commerce 2.0

Smarter Commerce is optimized for Commerce 2.0, which refers to the new ways in which commerce is being conducted - less dependent on platform and more responsive to customers. New practices like scanning QR codes while in a store creates a response by the brand - in this case, by providing the codes and building a mobile site. The primary focus for the consumer is an efficient shopping experience that lets her make a purchase in the way that best serves her needs, whether that is on a mobile device or at a store, and available to pick up or delivered home.

Smarter Commerce prioritizes metrics and responsiveness to help brands

With these consumer expectations in mind, Smarter Commerce spans the commerce life cycle and places “the customer at the center of decisions and actions, leading to greater customer loyalty, revenue and margin growth, and agility," according to Industry Solutions general manager Craig Hayman. Cloud analytics measure social media presence, software solutions deliver messages across sales and marketing channels, and the initiative includes resources for brands to learn how to use these tools. While many startups or other firms have offered these products before, IBM is creating an end-to-end service for businesses that covers buying, marketing, selling, order fulfillment and distribution capabilities. This strategy could be appealing for brands that want an integrated approach from a single provider.

By Ivory King