Guest column: Abhijeet Vijayvergiya, VP, Asia Pacific, with Capillary Technologies shares five omnichannel tips for Southeast Asian retailers.
Today, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has moved from being another sales support tactic to a potential game-changer. It is interesting to note that acquiring new customers costs seven times more than to retain existing ones.
With customers across Southeast Asia expecting increasingly personalised and readily available goods and services, according to Deloitte, what truly defines CRM in today’s digital retail economy? Here are five ways retail brands can consider adopting and embracing CRM in their business operations to drive customer loyalty and in turn, improve sales revenue.
- Smarter Campaigns
Do you have an automated campaign engine in place that identifies when to send out the right promotional content to the right customer using SMS or e-mail – whichever the customer prefers? Great let’s take it a notch higher. Each customer is uniquely motivated, has different needs, and will derive his or her own value experience from your product. They will need different messages to spur them to take action. As such, no singular series of messages is going to be the right fit for every single customer.
Bata, for example, is leveraging its captured data to identify the customers they want to target in Malaysia and then using Facebook to reach out to them. With a high social media penetration rate (75 per cent) in Malaysia, Bata could effectively reach its target customers on where they most commonly frequent in their spare time by enhancing the campaign mechanics using Facebook filters. Additionally, and most rewardingly, it costs significantly less compared to sending out a plethora of SMSes.
By setting the right frequency, retailers can now strategically promote their brand’s message such that it stays at the top of customers’ minds longer and resonates with their spending behaviour.
- Smarter Stores
Today, shopper expectations have been set, and smart technologies are readily available. Thus, a new retailing era has begun, and smarter retail is ready for its smart store.
Stores have always had the limitation of shelf size. What goes up on the shelf, how long it stays, and when you should replace it – all these are expensive questions that store managers struggle with daily. Many leading retail brands today are extending their stores by providing self-serve kiosks or mobile devices to the store staff with which customers can explore and purchase variants of the inventory that is not present in the store.
- Smarter Conversions
Having a store with high walk-ins is one thing. However, checking how many you are converting into sales is a whole different ball game. The internet and smartphone proliferation have enabled customers to easily compare prices across dozens of retail brands in mere seconds — even while in the store. While it’s true that prices will inevitably be compared, you don’t always have to have the lowest price to win. You just have to have the smartest price.
With the advent of machines based on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning technologies, getting accurate results on how a store is performing is less of a challenge for retailers. What retailers now need to focus on is how they can differentiate themselves to make the most of the walk-ins at their store.
- Smarter analytics
Experts have been evangelising the rise of data centricity and smarter analytics – it’s no surprise if you may already have a business intelligence tool in place that helps make sense of the data you have collected.
Aside from smart campaigns, Bata is also using smarter business tools that sit on a layer of an AI-based algorithm that makes proactive suggestions based on its data and the general trend seen in the industry. This ensures Bata is one step ahead of the competition and is giving the customers exactly what they want, when they want, and where they want it.
Other potential uses for real-time analytics in the retail sector include, adjusting prices according to market conditions, promoting related products, and generating highly personalised offers for goods and services. The most in-depth systems can follow an online trail to determine what products customers are more likely to buy and when they are getting ready to make a purchase.
- Smarter loyalty
Smarter loyalty helps retail brands increase retention, customer lifetime value, and profitability. TungLok Group in Singapore, for example, won an award for its customer-centric loyalty programme. The food and beverage giant retained the practice of keeping a card to cater to its legacy customers but has also gone completely digital with a mobile number-based identification and online microsite for registration, feedback and loyalty status check. It provided a smarter way of providing by giving its customers the best of both worlds and is continuously fine-tuning its strategies to better cater to their needs.
Customer empowerment is on the rise and retail brands will need to consider how they can engage with consumers across different stages of the path to purchase. It’s a new reality where retailers can’t make do with just the bare minimum of having an omnichannel and e-commerce system in place – constant innovation is vital to success and not just survival.
So, that’s how successful retail brands around the world are raising the bar when it comes to customer experience. How far are you from them?