We recently partnered with Remodista – a social think tank examining global retail disruption – to write a report on customer relationship management in the retail space. Through our research and collaboration, the report identified key trends and strategies that we believe are going to be critical to drive value from CRM in 2016.
When developing the report, we realized that while CRM had been in use by all retail for some time, most retailers were still not seeing the optimized experience they expected. While a majority of companies view their CRM platform only as a back-office repository for client information, successful organizations are using their CRM tool as the centerpiece for creating customer experience and brand engagement strategies.
As noted in the report:
Broadly conceived, CRM is where all your customer data is combined to give you a complete view of the customer. However people choose to define it, its potential role is fast evolving beyond a glorified digital Rolodex. Retailers can elect to attach all kinds of information to customers’ profiles, including their behaviors online, office, in the brand and outside of the brand as well.
CRM Based Commerce
Avionos has also seen CRM become a vital component of successful retail eCommerce strategies. This is exemplified by the 2.8 billion dollar acquisition of Demandware by Salesforce earlier this month. Retailers are now using CRM to interpret data in ways that will enable them to better engage with their customers through initial outreach, transaction, and post point of sale. Retailers need to think of the entire commerce history within the context of the broad customer journey.
Shift to the Cloud
Cloud-based technologies for CRM investments have become an integral part of the strategy. We are seeing more legacy systems being replaced by cloud-based platforms. This allows retailers to move from an infrastructure management model to a customer centric service model.
With the utilization of the cloud, the customer digital experience is moving beyond traditional digital experiences like desktop and mobile. We are now seeing internet-based technologies that leverage in-store and online to further manage the customer experience.
Customer communities also play an essential role in retailer customer relationship management. Sephora is a great example:
Sephora uses club loyalty information to drive event marketing activities, as well as product awareness and product discovery. They engineer true loyalty by providing a rich and relevant experience that advances the conversation.
The customer community touchpoints can all be managed within a CRM platform. Through a single threaded view, CRM users are able to pinpoint how the customer interacts with the brand within the community and what influenced their buying decision, thus gaining further insights in how to drive future engagements.
The report is entitled “Sophisticated CRM Strategies: Creating a strategy of brand engagement with the customer at its core” and is available here.