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The Customer Relationship Management in retail (CRM) market as a whole is very complex, and the retail CRM market certainly is as well. Systems come in all flavors, with options designed specifically for various retail stores, sizes of companies, and marketing channels. We have written this buyer’s guide to help retailers get an understanding of their options.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
“The customer is king” is a fact that can be learned very quickly when doing more business with existing customers. Savvy retailers have found that selling to existing clients is far more profitable than spending to market to new potential customers. CRM in retail enables retailers to do just that. Programs help businesses track customer contact information, past purchases, items of future interest, key dates such as birthdays and anniversaries, and more. Putting this information to use empowers retailers to grow profits by doing more business with one of their biggest assets, their customer bases.
Best-of-breed CRM systems such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Sage ACT!, and Salesforce.com can be implemented as standalone systems to track customer information. However, many retailers will choose to implement CRM programs as part of an integrated suite of modules for point of sale (POS) and inventory control. The decision as to how to implement software will be based on the size of the company and the extensiveness of the buyer’s needs.
We have found that over 90% of buyers fall into one of the following categories:
The market becomes much less cluttered when buyers approach it with their respective category in mind.
|This type of buyer...||Should evaluate these systems|
|Small buyers||Retail STAR, Retail Pro, Microsoft RMS|
|Best-of-breed buyers||Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Sage ACT, Oracle CRM|
|Multi-channel retailers||NetSuite, Epicor, SAP, RunIt RealTime|
The primary trends impacting retail CRM purchases include the following:
A strong CRM system should benefit organizations in various ways. Most retailers should expect to note the following benefits when properly using a system.
Retailers should find that implementing a CRM system is fairly low-risk. Best-of-breed systems are typically priced monthly, so buyers can cancel if they are not getting a return on their investment (ROI). POS applications that include CRM in the suite typically offer inventory control and sales management functionality that retailers will require anyways. The costs of executing marketing campaigns (postage and mail supplies, bulk email software, and employee time) can be hidden costs that need to be factored in when considering the total cost of a retail CRM system.
Microsoft announced in June 2012 that it’s agreed to pay $1.2 billion dollars for the start-up Yammer, with the intention of the investment leading to a needed boost in “social media expertise.” Though Yammer will continue to exist as a standalone entity, reporting to the current Yammer CEO, David Sacks, the long-term integration for Microsoft-Yammer will begin with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Microsoft Dynamics CRM has an Activity Feed allowing users to update statuses and “like” posts; however, the company wishes to boost its usability to that of Salesforce.com’s Chatter.
Fifth Sun Apparel also announced in June 2012 its selection of Microsoft Dynamics AX for its private design and distribution company for major retailers like Target, Wal-Mart, Hot Topic, and Forever 21. Fifth Sun referred to their selection of the Microsoft solution as a “natural fit with the apparel industry” with robust functionality including finance management, supply chain planning, and distribution.
Another company recently announced the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM--Saia, Inc., being one of the first less-than-truckload (LTL) companies to invest in the product. Saia’s sales reps and account executives access the solution via mobile devices, hoping to manage customer relationships more efficiently.