S&S Worldwide Boosts Sales By 75 Percent With IBM Software In The Cloud

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ARMONK, N.Y. - 11 Aug 2011: IBM (NYSE:IBM) today announced that S&S Worldwide grew recommendation sales 75 percent in just three months with IBM software in the cloud. S&S Worldwide is a national distributor of sporting goods products for recreation, health care, and education professionals and is using IBM software to drive personalized product recommendation sales via its Web sites.

 S&S Worldwide had been using a native application to serve up generic product recommendations on its Web site that accounted for only 5 percent of all online sales. But consumers today expect clear relevance to their interests at every step of the online shopping experience. Personalized product recommendations help meet that demand and generate a substantial revenue lift for the company.

S&S product recommendations sales for its art supplies and sporting goods offerings surged to 9.8 percent of all Web sales in just three months, a dramatic improvement using IBM's Coremetrics Marketing Optimization software that delivers cloud-based analytics and marketing personalization. http://coremetrics.com/solutions/digital-marketing-optimization.php. At the same time, product views shot up 24 percent and viewing sessions increased 30 percent.

Through its Smarter Commerce initiative, IBM is taking the lead in helping organizations like S&S Worldwide respond to market shifts in real-time by automating marketing, selling and fulfillment, and creating a consistent global brand experience. By tracking consumer trends and sentiment and interacting with customers in new ways, companies can strengthen their connections to their customers and improve their business processes.

IBM’s cloud-based IBM Coremetrics Web Analytics and Digital Marketing Optimization Suite help organizations worldwide automate online marketing campaigns across all online channels, such as web sites, social media networks, and mobile phones. Customers across industries will share their success stories at IBM’s annual Smarter Commerce Global Summit, which takes place this year September 19-21 in San Diego.

The IBM Coremetrics solution at S&S Worldwide integrates data and predictive analytics to generate site merchandising. It analyzes key information at each point in the online shopping process, such as tracking all visitor preferences. The system is then able to analyze that data to automate product offers to other customers with similar behavior on the site. This gives returning customers the ability to view products they previously showed an interest in, and it also allows S&S Worldwide to cross-sell and up-sell related products.

“The results have been quite impressive with the IBM Smarter Commerce cloud service. The recommendations have led directly to a much more tailored and compelling customer experience,” said Will Bender, web merchandising manager at S&S Worldwide. “We’re now able to make decisions and track results very thoroughly based on data—not what we think should be on the site, but what the data tells us.”

For example, the IBM service is able to deliver strong recommendations to first-time browsers, even based on relatively little data on their interests. It’s also proving powerful in delivering compelling recommendations related to products that are seldom browsed or purchased, such as certain furniture items.

S&S Worldwide has also started to tie IBM to its personalized email marketing initiatives, as well. Using IBM Coremetrics, S&S Worldwide was able to identify and target people who browsed items on the site but did not put any items in the shopping cart. These visitors received an email message that included content regarding products browsed along with suggestions for other items within the same product category.

This initial campaign yielded instant results. The click-to-order conversion rate was 33 percent, which is approximately three times higher than the average rate for similar S&S Worldwide email marketing campaigns. In addition, the open rate was 60 percent, approximately 50 percent higher than that of previous campaigns. S&S pays a fraction of a penny per email message, yet the campaign earned $1.32 per message sent, an extremely high return-on-investment.

S&S Worldwide’s use of IBM software is another in a string of successes for the company, which has used personalized emails, product reviews, live chat and other interactive Web analytics and marketing techniques to steadily grow its Web sales to about 35 percent of its overall business, with approximately 11,000 products.

About IBM Cloud Computing

IBM has helped thousands of clients adopt cloud models and manages millions of cloud based transactions every day. IBM assists clients in areas as diverse as banking, communications, healthcare and government to build their own clouds or securely tap into IBM cloud-based business and infrastructure services. IBM is unique in bringing together key cloud technologies, deep process knowledge, a broad portfolio of cloud solutions, and a network of global delivery centers. For more information about IBM cloud solutions, visit www.ibm.com/smartcloud

About S&S Worldwide

S&S Worldwide is a national distributor of arts and crafts and sporting goods products for recreation, health care, and education professionals. S&S is headquartered in Colchester, Connecticut, and has been in business for 104 years. Currently the company employs approximately 300 employees.

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