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5 Reasons a CRM Is Essential for Retailers 

Shital Shah | Jan 14, 2017 732 views 1 Comment

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As the New Year begins, using CRM software for your retail business should be your top resolution.

With retail sales expected to top $27 trillion by 2020, it’s more important than ever for retailers to deliver amazing experiences to customers and stay ahead of the competition.

Whether you’re setting up a distribution network, have a kiosk in a shopping mall, or operate a brick-and-mortar shop, CRM software is essential to your retail business. Here are 5 reasons why:

Your sales and marketing departments will be better aligned

A CRM gives marketers the tools to nurture and execute campaigns, automate processes, and manage content based on big data and predictive analytics.

At the same time, CRMs give salespeople access to sales goals, personalization data, pricing literature, personalized dashboards, automated and scored leads, and tight integration with e-mail and mobile devices.

With marketing and sales both using the same data in real-time from the CRM, it promotes synergy and encourages communication and accountability. You can collaboratively manage leads and campaigns and combine your sales and marketing funnel to better serve sales efforts and outreach. You can also manage projects, digital assets, workflows, and approval processes across your team and other departments and agencies from a single platform.

You will provide excellent customer service

An estimated $41 billion is lost every year due to poor customer service. One bad experience can eliminate brand loyalty. Instead of using your CRM solely as a transactional database, it should be used to form a genuine relationship with your customers. Your customer service team helps maintain this relationship through the customer lifecycle.

Customer service is your frontline for support and it’s vital to empower the team with metrics that matter. 82% of customers say they’ve stopped doing business with a company after an experience with poor customer service, according to a recent study in TechCrunch. You minimize that risk by improving the entire agent experience with a CRM.

Agents will be able to use: an interactive service hub that provides information they need for quick resolution of customer issues; real-time dashboards to offer a single-view of the entire workload to choose the order of case resolution depending on the severity and priority; and interactive charts to view visual representations of work items and get notifications on priority items that need faster resolutions.

You will have the opportunity to leverage what big data has to offer

Big data has the potential to increase net retailer margins by 60%, according to McKinsey. However, most retail business see big data as too costly. Effectively using analytics can increase the efficiency of managing several areas in retail, including: customer segmentation, customer acquisition, product recommendations, remarketing, pricing strategy, supply chain, and inventory management.

Additionally, big data opens the door for smarter, more contextually sensitive processes. The management capabilities of big data are able to digest behavioral and environmental data from IoT, online interactions, and interpersonal relationships. The capabilities should provide improvements in asset lifecycle management, product utilization patterns, new product introduction processes, branding, interactive offer management, and risk reduction business processes.

Your customers will be more loyal

Loyalty programs are a powerful tool for retailers, but they are often underused. In fact, one study by Colloquy indicates that only 42% of loyalty program memberships are actively participated in. CRM software is the leading method of implementing and managing customer loyalty programs.

By using a CRM’s loyalty program, you can enroll members and manage their profiles, define reward tiers, accrual, and redemption guidelines, analyze customer behavior, and more. You can also create portals for customers to access in order to view their current reward status, refer friends, redeem rewards, and view their transaction history.

You will keep your customers happy and coming back for more

If it’s cheaper to keep a customer than to gain a new one, then repeat business and happy customers are what you should strive for. Gartner predicts that 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers. With a CRM’s loyalty, rewards, social listening features, you will have the opportunity to retain more customers than ever before. By forming a close relationship with your customer, you can use predictive analytics to upsell or cross-sell the right product and the right time. Don’t forget, happy customers are more likely to refer your store to family and friends.

In the era of the empowered customer, your CRM helps to deliver superior customer service, keeps your customers happy and loyal, and delivers a highly-personalized experience during and post-buyer journey. On the backend, it allows marketing and sales teams to make more intelligent decisions when targeting and selling to prospects.

Above all else, CRM for retail allows you to form long-lasting, meaningful, and profitable relationships with your customers throughout the entire lifecycle.

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One Response to 5 Reasons a CRM Is Essential for Retailers

  1. Thomas Wieberneit January 15, 2017 at 3:50 pm (196 comments) #

    Hi Shital, you are right that a properly implemented CRM solution (as opposed to system) can help with the topics that you laid out, and some more – like more effective marketing, alignment between sales channels, insight into estimated demand for products or categories thereof, and many more.

    One main precondition, though, is that the solution is implemented supporting a strategy. Else you will face a bunch of systems that are just cost factors. Additionally, and that needs to be an integral part of the strategy, the implemented solution needs to be integrated, either natively – a suite – or by coupling of the various subsystems using one of many different available technologies, starting from web services and including more message based middleware systems. Don’t forget to get the PoS systems into the mix and be sure to have appropriate analytics.

    In any case, deep thought needs to be given to the underlying technology platform, which needs to be resilient, yet nimble.

    Then you also face the challenge of adoption – employees should want to use the systems. This is often not a given.

    Thanks for your article
    Thomas
    @twieberneit

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