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Performance Bicycle using IBM Watson cognitive technology to personalize marketing

Published March 20, 2017

LAS VEGAS (BRAIN) — Performance Bicycle is making increased use of IBM's Watson Customer Engagement services, which allows the retail chain to use consumer data, including browsing history on the Performance website, to tailor its sales and marketing approaches, online and offline.

IBM says the system is ideal for omni-channel operations like Performance, the ASE-owned business that operates e-commerce sites and over 100 brick-and-mortar stores. 

Performance "wanted to understand the content customers invested time looking at online and then get this into the hands of associates to meet their unique needs once setting foot in the store," IBM said in a press announcement Monday. "It's this pervasive personalization that can help drive loyalty among customers who are spending as much as $5,800 on a new bicycle."

Harriet Green, the general manager of IBM Watson Customer Engagement, said it's increasingly important for retailers to bridge the online and offline world of their customers. 

"Companies with omni-channel customer engagement strategies retain on average 89 percent of their customers," Green said. 

Performance also is beginning to incorporate new IBM cognitive capabilities, including IBM's Watson Content Hub. IBM said the content hub digs into the company's content management system and trains itself to better understand what has been stored and recognizes and automatically tags content including images, videos and documents based on millions of previous examples.

For example, IBM said, Watson discovered that customers who bought mountain bikes were watching specific videos that the team had not tapped into previously, including one featuring desert riding. By seeing these connections, the retailer will be able to present this content to others in the future to help drive sales.

Mike Starkey,  Performance's senior vice president of information systems, said many customers do extensive research online before visiting a store. "We needed a single view of the journeys our customers took with us to best meet their needs," he said. "We are excited to expand on our relationship with IBM, which is allowing us to better understand what inspires our customers to purchase now while at the same time paving the way for our cognitive journey which will allow us to continue meeting their needs through the power of Watson."

ASE — which bought Performance last year, and which also owns ASI, the parent company of Fuji Bicycle and other brands — also is using IBM Cloud technology to further integrate the two businesses, including helping Performance connect with ASI's international customers.

IBM is using similar technology with other retailers including Amadori Group, American Eagle Outfitters, Boots, Ermes, Luxottica, Moosejaw Mountaineering, Office Brands, REI and Sherwin Williams.

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