I mentioned in my coverage of the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit last week in Nashville that the team had done a remarkable job in gathering and highlighting customer success stories in this burgeoning and important part of the IBM business.
Many of those clients were from North America and Europe, but there was another customer case study announced late last week as the summit was ending that I also wanted to highlight -- one in an area of the world where GDP actually continues to sit above 5 percent.
That place is China.
IBM announced that Xiu.com, one of China's leading online retailers of overseas luxury brands, grew its daily sales by 10 times using IBM software for Smarter Commerce to analyze big data, offering customers a personalized shopping experience and increased product selection.
IBM customized a solution for Xiu.com that provides the online retailer a centralized, real-time view of customer and product data from across the company. With the new platform, Xiu.com can analyze data to provide its customers with customized interactions based on their habits and preferences.
Xiu.com can now collect and analyze significant amounts of data that show how traffic is coming to Xiu.com, which referral sources bring the most profitable customers, as well as insights around customer behaviors while shopping.
These big data insights allow Xiu.com to customize the shopping experience for each of its customers, helping to drive increased customer loyalty, satisfaction, and spend. The company now uses this data as the basis for its ongoing marketing strategy, enabling much smarter and highly targeted customer outreach campaigns.
"IBM Smarter Commerce technology helped Xiu.com drive unprecedented growth in our customer base as well as the diversity of products we offer the millions of shoppers we are now able to serve," said Wei Wenqi, Vice President of Technology at Xiu.com. "Our growth is a direct result of improving the effectiveness of our supply chain while also transforming our customer experience with big data insights informing how we market to, attract, and retain our valued shoppers."
Working with IBM, Xiu.com improved its sales platforms to better handle its growing popularity. By fully integrating its front-end systems with the company's backend technology and operations, Xiu.com optimized its supply chain (another key theme at the Summit, better organization of front- and backend systems to help enable omni channel retail).
As a result, the company now has the capability to offer customers up to 5 million products to choose from at one time, and sales volume grew from 10,000 items sold in one day to 100,000.
The market opportunity for Xiu.com in China is significant. IBM's 2013 survey of some 26,000 consumers from 14 countries shows that 31 percent of Chinese respondents last bought online compared to 14 percent worldwide.
In fact, in nearly every response, the survey's Chinese respondents showed a much higher inclination to shop online than their global counterparts. Twenty-six percent of China's respondents are unsure whether they would next shop at a store or online, and 32 percent are ready to commit to online.
"Chinese consumers are very digitally connected and much more inclined than shoppers in other countries to go online for their next purchase, and that is a unique opportunity for Chinese retailers," says Craig Stevenson, Executive Director, Retail Industry, IBM Greater China Group.
The IBM study also documents the emergence of "showrooming," a growing trend in which consumers browse goods at a store but ultimately buy them online. While showroomers accounted for only 6 percent of all shoppers globally, China has the highest incidence of showrooming in the world at 24 percent.
You can learn more about IBM Smarter Commerce solutions here.