WebSphere Commerce Marketing Tools

Gian Genovesi

websphere-commerceIn a brick and mortar store, it can be easy to connect with a potential customer. Someone enters the store and begins to browse. Your customer is a man is his early 30s, which is easy to tell when interacting with him in person. By observing his browsing, you notice he is interested in button down dress shirts. You strike up a conversation and he tells you that he has already visited two of your competitors’ stores today looking for some new shirts to wear to work. This conversation allows you to recommend some shirts that you think he will like and that are a better value than your competitors’ shirts. Satisfied with what you have presented him with, your customer happily makes a purchase. This interaction and level of customer service can be found in just about any physical store, but what about online stores?

For those business owners whose sites run on WebSphere Commerce, the platform provides the necessary tools to gain all of that information and provide each customer with the best possible marketing. As stated in the IBM Knowledge Center, the marketing tool in the WebSphere Commerce Management Center can “create and manage marketing campaigns and store content…to deliver targeted marketing messages to customers.” These marketing capabilities are out of the box and allow for dialogue and web activities through triggers, targets and actions.


Every marketing activity starts with a trigger. For web activities, that trigger is an E-Marketing Spot trigger, which means that the activity is triggered when the customer views a page that contains the E-Marketing Spot.

Dialogue activities have a number of different triggers available. If the marketing activity is an email campaign, for example, then the trigger may be an abandoned cart or an elapsed amount of time. Other examples of triggers in dialogue activities are customer actions, such as registering with your site or placing an order. 


Targets are used to specify which customers will experience the marketing activity. Although optional, targets are a powerful step in building a marketing activity because multiple targets can be used in one activity. This provides the opportunity to be extremely specific with the marketing activity, as only those customers who meet the requirements of the target can experience the action.

For example, let’s say you have a deal running for shoppers in certain geographic locations. In that instance, the target would be cookie contents that provide a specific zip code for the customer. Perhaps the promotion is a bit more detailed, however, and applies to those in a specific geographic location who have purchased from your site before. The targets in that marketing activity would be cookie contents and purchase history.

By using multiple targets, you can hone in on exactly whom you are targeting with your marketing activity.


Actions are the final step of a marketing activity; the “what” to triggers and actions “why and when.” For web activities, the action is usually to display a specific E-Marketing Spot. For dialogue activities, the action can be anything from sending an email to recommending a catalog entry to adding the shopper to a customer segment. 

So what would an online shopping experience look like for our early-30s customer looking for work shirts?

  • Trigger: He views a page with an E-Marketing Spot highlighting men’s button down shirts.
  • Target: His cookie values indicate he has visited a competitor’s site in the last 24 hours.
  • Action: Recommend a catalog entry: your bestselling men’s button down that also happens to be on sale.

No other product provides this nuanced of marketing capabilities out of the box. Using the WebSphere Commerce marketing tools is incredibly empowering for business users and can help to boost your business.

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