Advanced CRM for retail

retail shopping bags

This blog was originally posted by UXC Eclipse. Since then, UXC Eclipse has become the DXC Eclipse practice within DXC Technology.

Are you getting the most out of your CRM solution? Most retailers only use CRM systems to track client purchases and conduct email marketing campaigns. But advanced CRM concepts offer so much more – the potential for deeper customer insights and to deliver the personalized, consistent service customers have come to expect across all channels.

Here are three ways advanced CRM can help drive better customer engagement:

  1. Getting a 360-degree view of customers

Customers continue to enjoy shopping in a brick-and-mortar store, but their expectations have evolved based on their online shopping experiences. Retailers need to embrace a more holistic view of their customers to be able to respond to those changing expectations.

In many cases, when shoppers walk into a store, they have already extensively researched the product they intend to buy. In order for store associates to be effective in selling to an educated buyer, they need to have the latest product information, pricing and market trends at their fingertips. They must be able to offer a level of personalization that can’t be delivered online. This means delivering timely, personalized and accurate information about products and about each customer to the store assistant when and where they need it.

An advanced CRM solution, integrated with the ERP and POS systems, creates a 360-degree view of the customer, offering the ability to provide personalized information and therefore, personalized service whether the customer is shopping online or in the store.

  1. Empowering in-store sales team with mobile capabilities

Today for many retailers, clienteling (the concept of connecting to the customer’s wants and needs on a deeper, more personal level) is the ultimate level of customer interaction. It empowers store assistants with mobile capabilities that enable retailers to mimic the online shopping experience, but in a very personal way. When sales assistants are equipped with CRM, ERP and POS capabilities on a smartphone or tablet, they can engage the customer in new ways, for example:

  • Unique, just-in-time discounts and offers for customers ready to buy in-store.
  • Referencing purchasing history and buying preferences to suggest complementary items or alternatives based on in-store product availability.
  • Completing the sale, on-the-spot without the limitations of a checkout terminal.

Besides improving the customer experience, advanced mobile technology empowers sales associates to provide information that is more likely to close the sale or increase its value.

  1. Monitoring and tracking customer sentiments

One of the greatest advantages of advanced CRM technology is its social listening and engagement capabilities to monitor customer perspectives, respond to customer feedback, spot trends across all social media platforms including blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and more. These powerful tools monitor comments, provide dashboards to track trends and send notifications when action is required. The system will create reports to track comments on specific topics which can then be analyzed in more detail.

Tracking social buzz will provide insight in a number of ways and can be used to provide an outstanding customer experience. Social media is a two-way communication process and integrated social engagement functionality can be leveraged to not only listening to social sentiments, but to respond to them more quickly.

In addition to tracking customer sentiment, advanced CRM can also help track competitors by setting news alerts including new store openings or closings, sales or coupon offers. This information can then feed back to the sales and marketing departments to help them respond to a competitor’s actions.

There is a wide range of CRM technology available to retailers, and careful evaluation is required to choose the best mix for each organization. The most important step is to understand customers’ expectations – regardless of where those customers shop.

Retailers who integrate advanced CRM, ERP and POS systems will be the most successful. Ultimately, those retailers will improve customer loyalty in all channels providing the opportunity to increase sales and profit margins.

Randy Davidson is the Senior Solutions Architect for Microsoft Dynamics at DXC Eclipse.

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