CRM solutions for retail are becoming increasingly sophisticated. And rightly so. With fierce competition on the high street and online, all retailers are under pressure.
Consumers have immense power – in just a few clicks they can compare hundreds of products and services. Even the most loyal customer can be lost to a fleet-of-foot competitor who is prepared to lose margin with a special offer, free delivery or marketing gimmick.
Your CRM system has a significant role to play in combating this problem. Customer relationships are important to all organisations, but especially those in the retail sector. While it may not be possible to create significant differentiation in your product, you can differentiate on service. Customers who feel valued are less likely to leave and more likely to recommend to their friends.
What to look for in CRM solutions for retail – factor #1
Put your customer first.
CRM in retail has come a long way since the 1990s, when we started to see initiatives such as customer loyalty cards rise to the fore, but the philosophy remains the same. Use data to get to know your customers, tailor your products and services to them, and make your customers feel truly valued.
Easy to say, of course, less easy to do. That’s why we emphasise that when looking for the right CRM solution, you keep your customers front-of-mind. That way you don’t get side-tracked by technological capability. Rather, you focus on what information and interaction points will help you to shape an exceptional customer relationship which will serve both your organisation and your consumer for the long-term.
What to look for in CRM solutions for retail – factor #2
Think about how you will gather data
Good quality, up-to-date data is vital if your CRM is to be a success. That’s why the second factor we would recommend you consider when looking at CRM solutions for retail focuses on how you will gather the data you need.
There are several ways to collect information to build a successful CRM database. Many retailers ask customers for an email address at the point of purchase while others offer access to the latest news and discounts by signing up to their newsletter online. Some offer a reward, such as 10% off the next purchase, in return for an email sign-up. Your CRM solution needs to help you encourage customers to give their permission for ongoing marketing.
What to look for in CRM solutions for retail – factor #3
Find out what type of engagement will build loyalty among your customers
Nowadays, most high street stores offer some sort of reward or loyalty programme where member customers get access to special promotions. You will get the most from your CRM solution if you think in advance about the type of initiatives which will tempt your customers back to your bricks and mortar store or your online equivalent.
You may want to reward your highest spending customers with a thank you note and a window of opportunity for free delivery. Or you may wish to tempt back customers who haven’t bought from you in a while by emailing them with an offer code. You may want to create a promotion which increases the sale value by emailing customers who have just placed an online order, giving them free delivery on any additional items they might like to order within the next 7 days.
This sort of forward planning is not to say you need everything mapped out from the outset, but it will help to give direction to your CRM programme.
Introducing Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Retail
Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Retail is a specially-designed solution which supports every aspect of a retailing operation. It helps to drive unified commerce, allowing customers to earn and redeem points and use gift cards and promotional coupons across all of your channels. Beyond promotional programmes, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Retail makes it simpler to create exceptional customer service by giving your people access to real-time product, customer, stock and order information. Plus, you can glean highly granular operational insights to improve your workflows for better operational efficiency.
As specialists in CRM solutions for retail, we have seen the truly transformational impact of properly integrated Microsoft Dynamics 365 technology.
Please get in touch to find out more or to arrange a demonstration of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Retail.