David Jones is hoping that IBM will help pull it out of the doldrums gripping Australian retailers today announcing it had signed a multi-million dollar deal with the tech giant to become the first large local customer for its newly developed cross-channel retail platform.
The IBM Smarter Commerce portfolio is designed to help retailers improve the stickiness of their brand with customers by facilitating the automation of stock purchasing, marketing sale and fulfilment processes.
The aim of the initiative is to provide David Jones customers with more options in terms of how they shop at and engage with the retail stalwart. Customers will be able to window shop and make purchases while also being able to pick-up and return items through a variety of channels including mobile phones, online or at a bricks and mortar store.
“David Jones believes that its future lies in its ability to offer a fully integrated multi-channel retail experience to customers,” said David Jones chief executive Paul Zahra.
“IBM has a proven track record of enabling increased brand advocacy and profitable growth for major department stores so it was logical for us to appoint them to enable us to leverage their experience.
"We want our customers to be able to shop around the clock utilising whichever channel they choose be that in-store, on their PCs, tablets smartphones or a combination of two or more.”
IBM said Smarter Commerce products were used by department stores around the world. Phase one of the David Jones project is expected to be complete by the second half of this year with phase two due to go live some time in 2013.
“David Jones’ reputation as one of Australia’s iconic retailers makes this a momentous partnership for IBM’s Smarter Commerce business,” said IBM’s ANZ managing director Andrew Stevens.
“With online shopping changing the face of retail at an ever-increasing rate, we’re looking forward to developing a solution that is truly cross-channel and will transform the shopping experience for David Jones’ customers.”
Zahra said that retail had become “about more than a transaction .... it’s about how the customer interacts and communicates with us at all points of the shopping process”.
“We are no longer just a bricks and mortar store - with the continued evolution of e-commerce and social media, shopping has become even more personal than ever before," he said.
"By leveraging IBM’s expertise in rapid deployment of customer-centric online solutions, we intend to help shoppers meet their individual purchasing needs and emerge completely satisfied with their retail experience.”