The State of Retail by Ralph Haffenden

The State of Retail by Ralph Haffenden featured image

The retail industry is at the early stages of a revolutionary period of customer-retailer interaction.  Retailers are relying less on broadcasting standard offers to a broad customer base to drive traffic.  Instead, they are increasingly leveraging technology such as SAP Customer Relationship Management (CRM).  Using these systems, they create multiple, highly targeted approaches to small groups of customers.  These offers are transmitted via the method the customer prefers whether that is the post office, e-mail, text message or a mobile application.  The customer redemption rates on these targeted offers are much higher than historic levels, making them a more productive use of tightened marketing budgets.

For the first time ever, customers have a large voice in the process.  Retailers take online reviews of their service, products and marketing campaigns very seriously.  To do this, they leverage SAP’s CRM capabilities to analyze incredible amounts of data from diverse sources such as Twitter, Facebook and their own website in real time.  This insight provides a much quicker and more accurate feedback loop than ever before.

The new customer-retailer interaction tools provide speed of response, efficiency of resources and a vehicle for direct customer interaction.  This business model is continuously evolving.  Innovative companies continue to develop new ways of employing the rapidly improving technology.  As more consumers become savvy in how to employ their increasing power, retailers must continue to find ways to actively engage them.

How are you learning about your customers?  What tools and methods do you find useful?  How is your relationship with your customer changing?

Written by Ralph Haffenden, Principal, /N SPRO  Retail