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The Importance of Customer Relationship Management in Retail

Customer Experience

A retailer’s relationship with their customer is key to repeat store visits, brand loyalty and ultimately sales conversions.

But how do you go about creating a winning formula? How can you engage consumers in today’s multi-channel environment, be it through a website, social media channels or in store, to keep them coming back?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in retail isn’t a new concept, but it’s one that could help retailers win the battle for sales in these competitive times. Tesco introduced their loyalty Clubcard in 1995, collecting data on shoppers and using the information to personalise discounts and rewards. Fast forward 21 years and the majority of retailers offer some kind of reward or loyalty program with Marks & Spencer being the latest to launch their Sparks card, a new ‘Members Club’ which includes bespoke offers and priority access to sales for those that sign up.

How to improve your customer relationship management

It’s no longer enough to have a bricks and mortar store and hope that people will visit and spend their hard earned cash on impulse buys. Customers need to be enticed in to the store, given a reason to visit and a reason to stay and shop. Retailers need to create a welcoming environment as well as an experience for their customers.

Having an accurate retail CRM database that is focused on the customer is an integral part of the jigsaw for any retailer. Consumers are savvy, demanding and often in a hurry, so a successful retail CRM system will pay dividends when it comes to building loyal customers. Retailers need to think smarter to engage shoppers and create loyalty towards their brand, and to do this they need to know as much as possible about them.

Birthdays? Send a voucher offering a discount once a year. Not seen a customer for a while? Send an email with the latest news and products available. Regular customers? Invite them to an exclusive event.

How to develop retail CRM

A good retail CRM system can help build loyalty, creating brand ambassadors who will happily spread the word about their positive customer experience. Get it wrong and they’ll be even more vocal about a bad customer experience.

There are several ways to collect information to build a successful CRM database. Many retailers ask for an email address when you purchase in-store, others offer the latest news and discounts by signing up to their newsletter online or by developing customer chat rooms and communities. Whatever the means of data capture, if the right questions are asked, retail marketing campaigns can be targeted to the individual, not just personalised but also targeted to the right gender, location and even specific products of interest.

Using a database to personalise products, discounts and events for consumers is crucial to creating repeat customers who are keen to engage with a brand and shout about the benefits of signing up.

And it’s not just stores that offer personal, targeted marketing and customer relationship management. The leisure industry offers a host of benefits when you stay loyal to their brand, think Avios miles, Hilton Honours rewards, credit card points and even Starbucks rewards cards – they all want repeat customers who they know better, and they’re willing to go the extra mile to get them.

To find out more about the importance of customer relationship management, as well as improving customer relations and footfall, please visit our queue management and customer experience pages.

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