Creating an ‘integrated’ experienceServing existing customers and prospects in the best possible wayWith the emergence of multi-channel customers, especially in metropolitan cities, modern day retailers are looking for much improved CRM policies to provide world-class customer experience across touch points. Now, the CRM solution providers have to understand the customer behavior and trends both at online and offline platforms.
CRM is not restricted to loyalty points and reminders of offers and discounts, but to constantly keep engaging the customer base to increase brand recall and affinity. There is an increasing demand for CRM solutions that can deliver a seamless and consistent cross-channel buying experience to increase customer share and improve customer retention. According to a recent research by Oracle, customers are demanding ‘good for me’ experience; a retail experience that is global, yet localized or even customized for their needs and expectations. Keeping with the pace, retailers are now beginning to develop singular customer experience platforms that can create connected internal and external interactions, and a single view of the customer so there should be no separation in online and offline customers. Satisfying customers at both platforms It is utmost important for a brand to provide online and offline communication to keep loyal customers engaged with the brand.
Retailers should remember that online customer is no different individual than the one who is shopping offline. They should ensure that customers will have a seamless experience at both the platforms. Taking this further, Ajit Joshi, MD & CEO, Infiniti Retail, shares, “Basic customer expectations on assisted buying, product quality and comparisons, transaction options and most importantly post purchase experience should remain same. Any difference in the experience on both platforms will either isolate the customer or lead to dissatisfaction.” Creating 360 degree experience It is very important for retailers to have a strong relationship strategy to keep their multi-channel customers intact.
Vikas Kapoor, CEO, Hidesign, says, “Our website and Facebook teams receive queries related to products, collect the answers from retail allocation, design, individual store managers and attempt to respond within 24 hours.” He further says that we are also in the process of integrating our gift and loyalty card solutions into the web portal.” An spokes person from yet annother multi-channel retailer Pizza Corner from Global Franchise Architects, shares, “For online largely we leverage through our website and social media, using quality contents and promotional offers. For offline customers, we use mediums like SMS, promotional fliers and in-store collaterals.
”Infiniti Retail, which is successfully operating multi-channel Croma retail chain, is building a robust platform to accurately harvest customer insights. Understanding customer consumption patterns over a period of time has helped the company evolving customer segmentation. The company has done this not only on the basis of traditional regency, frequency and monitory mode but also through customer’s life stage, affiliation for new technology and brand preferences. It has created single repository with unique customer tagging to ensure one view of customer across the platforms at any point of time.
“In the Indian context consumer durable purchase is a family event where everyone makes contribution in decision making. We are working on deriving single view of a family basis buying pattern of individual family members,” Joshi adds. Stressing that it is not necessary to merge the database for this task, Pizza Corner, shares, “Both database can be handled separately to ensure the reach is maximized, since what works for online might not do well with offline customers in some cases.”
Retailers can be leveraged from both the mediums if they use them smartly. Technology to help Retail Companies recognize that IT is an indispensable part in driving growth and impart superior experience to their customers. Speaking on technology in CRM, George Varghese, Senior Director - Applications, Oracle India, shares, “A powerful CRM provides a superior cross-channel experience to users. It further enables online sales so that customers can browse, compare, configure, and purchase a broader assortment of products and services.” Today, retailers are increasingly using CRM solutions tuned to their business objectives and attuned to their customers’ needs.