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C&A to promote internet business with IBM Smarter Commerce
May '12
IBM announced it will build a powerful, new multi-channel, eCommerce engine for C&A. In the future, C&A wants to make even better use of the upward trend in online apparel sales with double digit growth rates during the last years.

A newly designed Webshop, based on state-of-the-art technology to meet the latest requirements, and a new order management system—all based on IBM software—are being developed with IBM software, consulting and services. The new platform will be operated by IBM until 2017 and then handed over to C&A.

C&A operates in 20 European countries, with more than 37,500 employees working in over 1,500 fashion stores. Back in September 2008 the textiles company set up its first online shop in its home market Germany, followed in 2011 by online shops in Austria, France, and Poland.

In view of the growing importance of online business, which according to the market research company GfK grew by 18.4 percent in Germany last year alone, and of its own online business expansion plans, C&A decided to collaborate with IBM. It opted for IBM because of its integrated, one-stop shop approach to setting up and running a new platform for Smarter Commerce.

Organizations and their Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) today are struggling to meet the demands of rapidly shifting buying patterns as customers increasingly turn to online, social, and mobile channels to gather information, make purchases, and receive services. This new digital marketplace requires companies to be highly responsive to their customers' behaviors in order to both compete and grow.

IBM's Smarter Commerce initiative features software and services that help companies transform their business processes to more quickly respond to shifting customer demands in today's digitally transformed marketplace. The initiative is driven by organizations that are increasingly looking for ways to bring new levels of automation to marketing, sales and fulfillment to secure greater customer loyalty.

“With the new eCommerce platform C&A will be able to shape its online business the way it wants and to extend it across borders at any time,” said Bernhard Orth, partner in IBM's business consulting organization Global Business Services. “IBM is taking over the operation of the platform and ensuring a swift and reliable implementation of our client's entrepreneurial decisions.”

The new platform is based on IBM software: IBM WebSphere Commerce and IBM Sterling Order Management, which manages order processes intelligently across different distributed systems. IBM Global Business Services and IBM Business Partner NovoMind AG will jointly implement the new eCommerce platform in the weeks ahead. Furthermore, IBM will maintain the applications and host the infrastructure for the next five years.

This new, end-to-end, integrated solution will also lay the groundwork for a cross channel approach aimed at improved dovetailing of C&A's physical stores and its digital Webshop. “The concept and technical opportunities provided by the new platform will make us faster, more agile and more efficient,” said Andreas G. Seitz, Spokesperson of the European Executive Board at C&A. “That will take us a decisive step closer to achieving our objective of implementing a modern multichannel strategy with end-to-end processes in physical and digital commerce.”

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