What’s your platform of choice for your ecommerce business? Your selection is key to the successful functioning of your online storefront—it impacts your conversion rate, customer satisfaction, profit margin, and ultimately, your brand. How do customers view your products and services? Are they likely to keep shopping with you and recommend your business to others? The ecommerce platform technology you select makes a difference in all of this, so you want to get your choice right the first time!
Technology is amazing. As it continues to evolve, AI has been a hot trend—and IBM Watson Commerce harnesses AI to provide a unique and “smart” user experience. Did you know Watson technology was first tested on the TV show Jeopardy? The system was trained on Wikipedia to provide its knowledge base, and the real test was how well Watson could interpret questions to provide the right answers. It passed—and beat out two of the show’s returning champions. Way to go, Watson!
Today, in our IBM Watson Commerce review, we will discuss the pros and cons of the platform. We will also provide a pricing comparison to other leading ecommerce technologies for 2019.
IBM Watson Commerce: Advantages (Pros)
If you’re considering using this platform for your ecommerce site, consider all the following pros:
Increase conversions with AI. The IBM Watson platform employs the use of “cognitive commerce” and provides product recommendations to shoppers based on their online activity. For example, this platform makes use of data to recognize which products in your store are more popular and more likely to be sold, then recommends options to your customers. This can lead to more sales and upsells through your ecommerce site.
Natural language integration. Another method of AI, this platform provides tools that excel at natural language. By asking shoppers a few questions, it can recognize answers, and find and recommend products best suited to the person’s individual needs.
Useful for B2B or B2C. With IBM Watson, you’ll gain access to customizable storefront templates. These help to make implementation and maintenance easy with minimal knowledge of development or design. This platform also features flexible product and catalog management, which is helpful if you’re not a tech wiz.
Multi-site management. If you need to manage more than one ecommerce site, IBM Watson allows you to host multiple sites on one platform. It can handle large quantities of data (a feature that also enables its AI) with multi-site management through a shared back-end.
Multiple customer touchpoints. This platform allows shoppers to peruse your storefront by desktop or app and adds an additional caveat with its ability to have “conversations” with shoppers. This level of customer service provides an additional channel to help customers navigate your site and make purchases.
IBM Watson Commerce: Disadvantages (Cons)
It’s always wise to weigh the pros with the cons. As you narrow down your final choices, take into account the following cons:
Language limitations. The natural language and conversation features are not multi-lingual to date, which limits your target market.
Slow integration. It takes time to integrate Watson Commerce technology, which makes it slow to market if this is your first ecommerce platform. It’s also difficult and expensive to switch to Watson Commerce.
Steep learning curve. This applies more to the machine than to your staff. To utilize Watson technology to its fullest potential, it takes time for the platform to gather sufficient data. This also takes effort on behalf of your IT team.
Can be viewed as a disruptive technology. Not all shoppers are onboard with AI. Unless a shopper is OK with your platform making product suggestions, they may be turned off by your site and abandon their cart—creating the possibility of lost customers.
Site maintenance. As you can imagine, a platform that can handle the volume of data required for AI has an increased need for maintenance and upgrades. This will require an IT team intimately familiar with the IBM Watson technology, who can quickly identify and fix issues, as well as make platform enhancements.
Cost prohibitive. This platform is one of the pricier choices on the market and is more suitable for medium- to large-size businesses with bigger technology budgets.
Pricing Comparison 2019
IBM Watson Commerce is available for a subscription or per-user price. Users pay a monthly fee for the use of this platform. It is available over the internet, rather than installed on-premises. Because of this access, the up-front cost is less. However, this is still one of the more expensive platforms. Price quotes are available by contacting the vendor.
Final Thoughts on IBM Watson Commerce
To implement and maintain a highly effective platform, it helps to have the right staff in place. And Jarvis Cole can help. We’re industry leaders in IBM Watson recruitment. We’ll work with you to understand your ecommerce staffing needs and place highly qualified talent familiar with your platform technology. From developers to project managers, we’ll help you find and place the candidates you require. To learn more, contact us today to speak with one of our experienced recruiters.