How CRM helps retailers reduce risks and strategize business/product development accurately!

ETP blog CRM for retail

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) may be perceived as an enhanced customer retention and loyalty strategy. Modern day CRM systems can help retailers achieve much beyond that. Using an efficient CRM system, retailers can now strategize the demand increment while optimally planning the supply or resources required at every process stage.  The key methods here are:

CRM KPIs: Retailers can deem a retail operation successful on the basis of profitability (short-term or long-term). Through CRM, retailers can redefine the rationale behind his retail activities and ascertain how they should affect the end consumer. This entails defining the purpose of the activity and attributing the right resources to the right opportunities by studying the past, present and future business positioning. Armed with this knowledge, retailers can better understand the viability of his CRM definitions with respect to the market dynamism.

Customer Segmentation: This refers to the segmentation basis the demographical/geographical and physiographical/behavioral parameters pertaining to the customers. The former presents the ‘visible’ characteristics which can be derived through registrations; while the latter constitutes characteristics which can be derived through deeper analysis. This helps retailers administer the right amount of engagement through the right channels and even define the business rules which allow different customers to be treated differently.

RFM Analysis: Although this forms a part of the customer segmentation process, the exceptional value derived through this analysis validates its special mention. RFM stands for Recency, Frequency, Monetary Analysis; Recency denotes how long ago the customer last made a purchase, Frequency specifies how many purchases the customer has made (within a specified time period), Monetary is total monies spent by the customer (within a specified time period). This analysis helps retailers to optimize their marketing and promotion spending, ensuring accurate targeting of key customers, basis the activity strategy.

Good customer relationships are the result of ‘the right product, for the right customer, in the right place, at the right time, in the right quantity, in the right condition, and at the right cost’. CRM is a way to identify each of these ‘rights’ and to segment customers accordingly.

Do Not Discount The Power Of Promotions

Failing to plan is planning to fail – Alan Lakein

The retail industry is a competitive arena where mature players try to maintain steady growth and new players attempt to gain a stronger foothold. It’s no surprise that the customer regularly finds himself surrounded by promotions of all shapes and sizes! Also, gone are the days when these campaigns were linear and narrowly thought. Daily, scores of brands contest for the attention of the customer – who is getting increasingly demanding.

ETP blog promotions

Retailers need to delve deeper into customer behavior and understand the three Ts – Temptation, Triggers and Turn-offs. The temptation route can be utilized for a promotion strategy with considering and evaluating the past purchase history of a customer. They are attuned to a more personalized offering style, as the products and services being promoted cover the ‘comfortable’ and ‘familiar’ ground. The trigger strategy contains a more philosophical approach – from basic human nature to specific target demographic group. As the term suggests, turn-offs are the promotion-product/service mix that have been, through a set elimination and deduction appraisal, deemed unsuccessful. In an overcrowded market place, where mismatched or irrelevant promotions may result into opportunity loss or customer defection, it is equally crucial to determine what is NOT working.

At this juncture, it is safe to say that analytics – both descriptive and predictive, form a big part of promotion strategy and management. Technology in various forms is the biggest carrying force to gain insights on customer preferences and expectations. At the retailer’s side, there are multidimensional tools like Business Intelligence modules, feedback programs, etc. and customers are quickly adopting smartphone technology and social media platforms. The latter feeds the former in this case, with customers sharing, visiting, buying on mobile phones and discussing, reviewing, connecting through social media. Data is collected across all these channels to collate and convert into logical patterns and advantageous acumen.

Post implementing the promotional campaign, retailers should create set processes to track the productivity and effectiveness of the campaign. Setting KPIs to key people, processes and products involved is a proven practice that ensures the different promotions running simultaneously are meeting their respective objectives. Adaptive contingency plans help support, sustain and streamline any changes required to deal with expected and unexpected situations. This saves time, operational costs and possible damage to the overall customer experience. It also creates necessary fail-safes to avoid hemorrhaging campaign expenditure, add to the bottom line and deliver value that boosts sales.

Market leaders in retail have been effectively using ETP Accelerator, across all their stores. They agree to have acquired better insight into customer demand and a covetable promotions trajectory. ETP Accelerator is a powerful marketing and promotions engine. It manages marketing campaigns in sync with customer/market trends – reducing implementation time drastically. It supports promotional strategies and business rules to be set and rolled out across operations instantly. This proactive solution allows multiple promotions and business rules to run concurrently without affecting process efficiencies. More importantly, the retailer can monitor the performance of each promotion strategy and redefine them as required.