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Advance Auto Parts Revs Up Integrated Multichannel Shopping

October 21, 2009

Integrated multichannel shopping: actually enabling customers to use the method of their choice whether telesales, retail, or online, and delivering to them a consistently excellent experience, has been talked about for 15 years with the rise of the Web - but rarely effectively practiced. Systems often do not talk to each other, forcing customers to repeat themselves, branding, scripting, and messaging are frequently inconsistent and the notion of a single view of the customers is breached in fact. Too often one can’t pick up at a store what one purchased online.
 
In the past the need for such integrated shopping can be jawboned. Yet with the economy now challenging, with every purchaser golden, savvy companies want to supply that multichannel experience, and are working with cutting-edge vendors to implement solutions to make that happen.
 
Advance Auto Parts is one of those smart firms. It is a leading aftermarket auto parts retailer with more than 3,400 stores in 39 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. It has launched a new commerce solution from IBM and CrossView to connect online and contact center sales channels plus retail to deliver a more personalized shopping experience. The combined product does this based on individual consumer preferences while maintaining a consistent brand identity and uniform customer service standards across sales channels.
 
The IBM (News - Alert)/CrossView solution provides customers with real-time, easy access to its extensive line of automotive parts – an inventory of more than 100,000 parts -- resulting in faster, more efficient and consistent responses to customer inquiries. Powerful search capabilities integrated in its new web store enable customers, along with telesales representatives, to locate parts based on unique details such as a vehicle’s year, make model, and engine type.
 
For added convenience, customers can search for products within their Zip Code to identify the nearest store with the available products. Customers can schedule in-store pickups, offered at no charge, or choose direct shipping options. By providing the option to buy online and pick up in-store, Advance Auto Parts can increase order size as customers accessorize their original purchase.
 
In addition to integration, design, hosting and management of the solution, CrossView is delivering its recently launched CrossView Customer Care. This is a feature-rich contact center application designed to help the automotive parts retailer increase customer loyalty, and convert contact center inquires into sales and respond faster and more efficiently to customer inquiries. IBM WebSphere Commerce and Retail Integration Framework provide the foundation of CrossView’s solutions.

 “We sought a partner who could help us design and execute a commerce strategy across all of our sales channels and achieve very high customer service standards, and that partner was CrossView using IBM’s commerce solutions,” says Donna Justiss, vice president, Retail and Commercial Systems, Advance Auto Parts. “Serving our customers better than anyone else in our industry is a top priority along with providing superior support to our 43,000 team members who work with our those customers.”

IBM WebSphere Commerce offers a customer interaction platform for cross-channel and online commerce. It provides out-of-the-box capabilities for marketing, catalog management, and merchandising across all sales channels: online, phone, and in-store. Industry frameworks provide a configurable software platform to accelerate deployment of business solutions. They extend IBM’s SOA middleware with industry-specific capabilities and specifically designed process templates. IBM industry solutions and industry ISV solutions build on the value provided by these industry frameworks to deliver a unique, end-to-end solution for each client.

“CrossView’s cross-channel solution based on IBM WebSphere Commerce and Retail Industry Frameworks can help customers drive sales and uniform service seamlessly across retail channels  no matter what touch point their customers prefer,” says Mark Fodor, chief executive officer, CrossView.


Brendan B. Read is TMCnet’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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