CRM in Retail

What does it mean and how should we do it?

For online only businesses, Data management is often split between analytic engines whose insights and recommendations are mostly obvious and call centres based in other countries. Even worse, is the dreaded chatbox that aims to give customers the answers to their questions, but can leave them craving real human interaction.

These tools may be related to the customer but they don’t come close to relationship management.

Relationship Management enables us to provide the human touch to our interactions.

If you have VIP customers who account for 40% of your revenue and 60% of your profit, then it's ridiculous to think that data driven analytics comes close to the idea of Relationship Management.

OMNI-CHANNEL retailers have a unique advantage over their online only competitors.

They have stores staffed with colleagues, who are based 15 mins from most of their customers.

Is that not a unique opportunity to create a competitive advantage?

Sadly we are failing to do so. Mainly because of central merchandising, retailers have for many years been paying store staff less and less, on the principle that if they ‘Merchandise Well’, the customer will come, and they will typically self-serve themselves.

In fact by 2000, the service in most retail stores was so appalling that customers voted with their feet and went online. ‘Why go to a store where there is no service – I might as well self-serve myself online’.

For OMNI-CHANNEL retailing to succeed, we need to start reversing the service decline in Stores.

That means we need to re-introduce CRM back in stores. We need to start making HUMAN CONTACT COUNT.

Many years ago in Retailing, store staff use to be excellent sales people. They all had little black books of their regular customers who they would call and engage with.

With mobile Apps, social media and internet communications, we are re-creating that world, but digitally

to be a real driver of sales growth.


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