CRM for Retail to Grow in 2010

shopper crossing

This year, the retail industry is one that is expected to adopt significant CRM implementations, as the rise in digital outreach is changing retailers’ marketing orientation in a big way.

Online shopping is fast becoming some customers’ preferred method, and with its omnipresence has come some very sophisticated purchasing portals. According to the folks at CRM Buyer, this past Cyber Monday (November 30, 2009), American shoppers sent $887 million over the internet, which was a 5% increase from the amount spent the year prior. And along with such internet expenditures comes a rise in internet marketing, which is fast becoming essential to retailers’ CRM programs.

E-commerce has certainly made its mark on the way retailers get their products out: years ago, they focused on merchandising, and now retailers are examining customer needs and becoming more customer-centric. Shopping online offers users a better means of bargain hunting, and reading and writing reviews, to help them make the most informed purchasing decisions. Customers expect every retailer to give them a personal experience, and retailers of all sizes are seeking platforms to help them reach even individual customers more effectively, and so are turning to full CRM implementations.

While most retailers acknowledge the benefits of CRM for retail implementations (according to the National Retail Federation), such deployments have had varied degrees of success. Part of the problem is there is no strict definition of CRM for retail; another issue is that many retailers prefer outreach methods that offer immediate results. CRM implementations take time to delivery ROI, but email marketing campaigns can offer an instant boost, thus many retailers are comfortable with what is, largely, a band aid solution.

But the National Retail Federation still found that of 400 retail executives surveyed at the beginning of last year, two-thirds of them had implemented CRM programs the year before, and the other third planned to in 2009. The interest is there even if the patience has not been, but that will likely change with the increase in specified customer focus. Retailers are looking to implement more multi-channel outreach, social networking, and brand advocacy/loyalty programs in the future, and CRM for retail will likely be a big part of that.

In addition to streamlining some of the aforementioned outreach processes, CRM will also help retailers recognize their best customers and spend their marketing funds more wisely. In the coming years, it is quite likely that retailers will change their marketing tacks to fit with their CRM programs. The other side of that coin is that retail CRM platforms will offer greater insight into consumer trends.

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