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IBM Debuts Service to Help Brands Prepare for Spikes in Demand

Event Readiness Program Is Aimed at Retailers, Banks and Manufacturers

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IBM Corp. on Tuesday introduced a new service called Event Readiness, which is designed to help brands prepare for unexpected -- as well as expected -- surges in online traffic due to holidays, special sales and sudden spikes in demand.

Trey Seck
Trey Seck

The product is being offered as part of the IBM Commerce suite of services, and includes software, consulting and analytics. It's aimed at marketing and IT executives in retail, banking, consumer products and manufacturing industries.

IBM has not yet launched any advertising around the new service, but it is planning an integrated marketing campaign that will likely include online ads, email, social media and website content, said Trey Seck, VP-support and client success at IBM Commerce. The marketing budget was undisclosed.

"In today's age, with the advent of social media and social sentiment, many times there are unexpected spikes in demand," Mr. Seck said. "Brands want to capture the unexpected sentiment -- it could be a fashion item from the red carpet that generates demand in an unexpected way. The organization's infrastructure has to have elasticity built in so they can handle it and deliver against it."

With the new service, IBM will provide technology services such as performance testing and stress testing; consulting services such as educating clients on best practices; and software and analytics services that can send customers alerts when a sold-out item is back in stock, for example.

"With the speed of business today -- as well as the fierce competition in the market -- there is almost a zero margin for error in terms of delivering the customer experience," Mr. Seck said. "If a brand doesn't capitalize on a potential opportunity, the probability is the customer will go elsewhere."

In addition to helping brands prepare for unexpected spikes in demand, IBM also wants to help them prepare for expected traffic surges, such as those experienced on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and around Father's Day.

"It's the job of marketing and sales to create demand," Mr. Seck said. "It's imperative that the business is actually able to deliver on that demand."

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