The ‘R’ in Customer Relationship Management is where the magic of lies: the customer relationship. In today’s world of over-crowdedness and overstimulation, relationships are the key to connecting with retail customers in a meaningful way. Research reveals —as does intuition—that retail customers now desire more personalized care in the marketplace, from the sales floor to social media platforms. Everyone wants to be treated as uniquely individual, not merely as a statistic or a consumer with money to spend.
Once a company focuses on building client relationships, they can expand their trust and loyalty factor. CRM software allows retail companies to be all the more attentive to their customers’ needs from the moment they first walk in the door.
CRM software makes personalization simple, thus providing customers with a good feeling about the brand. The integration of online and offline services creates a whole brand experience that makes customers feel welcome.
CRM software also increases productivity on the sales floor, getting employees to train faster, respond smarter, and sell easier. CRM retail software allows employees to collect valuable client information and integrate a company’s marketing efforts into the checkout process. Social media and mobile platforms can be drawn into the system as well to target potential customers right where they’re at—through their phones and computers.
How CRM Software Increases Productivity
CRM software makes the process of selling easier from the sales floor all the way up to the corporate offices and out to the supplier warehouses. Recording all client and merchandise data in one system makes everyone better at their jobs and saves time; it helps automate processes from email marketing to checkout to text message marketing, and everything in between.
Retail CRM software:
- Personalizes customer care: by keeping track of their regular customers’ tastes and contact information, retail sales teams can respond to their customers’ particular needs in a much more personalized way. In fact, 73% of consumers say they’d rather purchase from companies that use their personal information to make their shopping experience more relevant. For bigger-ticket sales, when greater care and more touch points are required, CRM allows one salesperson to take over where another left off, so no one has to start the sales process from scratch again—a potential nuisance and buying deterrent.
- Facilitates list segmentation: CRM software allows retail companies to filter customers through their email list by interest, life stage, demographics, or other factors right inside their system. By segmenting their email list this way, they can target relevant populations in specific areas with their marketing efforts. For example, retail stores might find it useful to target clients in the northern US with outerwear promotions as the seasons grow colder, whereas sending the same promotion to clients in tropical locations would be a waste of resources.
- Streamlines the sales process: CRM software can be used to track customers’ original intents for coming into a store as well as all their purchases. This allows employees to pick up the conversation where they left off and equips them with the information they need to offer complementary items or upsells. If a customer recently purchased a washing machine, employees can suggest a matching dryer or ironing board based on the information available to them in the system.
- Reduces employee training time: CRM retail software makes it easier to train new employees. By having all processes integrated into a single software system makes workers feel far more efficient at their jobs, increasing confidence on both sides of the transaction. Less time spent at the checkout counter creates more time for engaging with customers and learning more about the product.
- Simplifies stock management: Integrated CRM software that allows employees to check stock levels improves the customer experience. When an employee has access to stock levels at other stores or warehouses, they can do everything possible to obtain what their customers want. This also makes it easier for managers and corporate employees to manage stock from afar.
- Syncs with other programs: CRM for retail often syncs with other programs such as payment processing systems, email providers, and accounting software. These integrations make all employees more productive by giving them immediate access to the information they need.
- Integrates mobile and social platforms: Integrating mobile and social platforms into the sales process with CRM software increases the productivity of salespeople by an estimated 11-14%. By expanding the reach of their marketing beyond the walls of the store, retail businesses can boost their marketing productivity and increase their returns.
How CRM Software Increases Profits
Retail stores that utilize CRM software correctly will:
- Increase leads: CRM software allows retail sales teams to capture contact information and email addresses as a normal part of the checkout process. Consumers are typically receptive to giving out their email addresses in exchange for deals sent straight to their inboxes and expedited shopping experiences. When salespeople collect contact information, they increase their customer databases and increase their marketing reach.
- Enhance loyalty: Customers return to stores where they’re known and offers are customized to their needs. CRM software helps retail stores enhance this loyalty factor by getting to know their customers. For example, collecting birth dates allows companies to send their customers incentives on their birthdays, bringing customers back into their stores by showing their human side. Recruiting customers into loyalty programs through retail CRM platforms also creates repeat customers. VIP options further enhance relationships once a high level of loyalty has been reached. CRM for retail can help companies identify and engage with their most valuable customers.
- Automate marketing: Automation applies particularly to digital marketing. Segmented email lists, for one, allow companies to send the right promotions to the right audiences at the right time. Say a company collects due dates from all expectant moms that purchase items or set up a registry in their store. With their CRM software, they can automatically send promotions for baby items at a defined stage in their development. This automated marketing system increases sales by reaching people at the right time without any extra work needing to be done.
- Increase ROI: Using the data collected from their CRM, retail stores can figure out which marketing strategies were the most profitable and which were undesirable, so they can tweak and reconfigure those strategies and make them more effective. As they hone their strategies, retail stores can gauge their effectiveness and secure a greater return on investment.
- Online/offline integration: Integrating online and offline sales strategies streamlines the entire selling process. It enables companies to reach customers while they’re not in their stores—and to do so in a direct way. Retail owners have a choice; they can either hope their customers will come into their store during a particularly exciting sale, or they can reach directly into their customers’ inboxes—even those belonging to customers who weren’t considering shopping—to make them aware of the sale and entice them in.
- Increase referral rates: Happy customers are the best brand ambassadors. They will often refer their friends and sing a brand’s praises on social media. Implementing a customer referral program into your CRM sales program is a great way to take advantage of that tell-a-friend factor and increase profits. Rewarding customers through a referral program gives them an incentive to send their family and friends to the store.
The End Game
Increasing productivity and profits are two of the major objectives of retail companies. Integrating CRM software into their sales processes is one effective way retail stores can boost those two big P’s and build lasting customer relationships in the process. CRM software equips sales and marketing teams to do their jobs with greater efficiency and serve their customers better. It streamlines employees’ jobs so they can spend their work hours on more important tasks, such as attentive customer care.