Customers are the lifeblood of any retailer. That means it’s important for businesses to respond to their customer needs quickly and accurately – or risk them going elsewhere.
But no one is a mind reader – so whether your customer base is 50 people or 50,000, you can’t possibly know what they all want. This is where a customer relationship management (CRM) solution could be helpful.
In this post, we’ll discuss how using a CRM solution can benefit retail businesses, its integrations with common accounting software, and some tips to choosing the right system for your needs.
What is CRM?
CRM, or customer relationship management, is a software system that brings all your customers and leads together so that you can track them, analyse them, and alter your practices accordingly.
Benefits of CRM Solutions in Retail
There are many reasons why a CRM solution can be a solid investment for a business in the retail industry.
1. Building Customer Loyalty
No matter how long you’ve been established for, every retailer wants loyal customers. A CRM system can help you keep them, by making it easy to track a customer’s preferences. For example, if you have a customer that buys the same brands during each visit, the CRM can flag this up, letting you target this individual with offers related to those brands.
2. Better Customer Service and Support
People want to feel like they matter. That’s what’s at the core of customer service – and why someone’s impression of it can make or break how they see the company as a whole.
According to a study from Forbes, a whopping 96% of customers would leave a business after a bad customer experience. To put it another way: there’s a lot at stake if you get this wrong.
So, how do you keep those people happy? Your CRM’s data can help you out yet again.
Staff can have specifics at their fingertips. From comprehensive customer profiles to previous enquiry records, they can access relevant information easily. This gives them the foundations to offer support that’s both quicker and more personalised – leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Furthermore, a CRM also lets you give a customer a more engaging experience across all your different platforms. Instead of your physical stores, online stores and social media seeming like three distant relations, they can all have access to the same data and analysis. This means you can present yourself to customers consistently, wherever they find you.
3. Enhanced Customer Data Management
In a similar way, a CRM solution can also help retailers streamline their communications. Instead of having details of customer chats strewn across paper records, Facebook accounts and emails, all of that data is in one place. As such, customers can get into conversations quicker, and staff can utilise relevant information to give them a further personalised experience.
Retailers can also use a CRM solution to automate the more physical aspects of their business. CRM systems can automate order processing, letting retailers manage and track customer orders from shop floor to front door. Unlike a human, it can also set several processes in motion automatically once specific conditions are met.
So for example, after a transaction is made, the CRM can be set up to automatically generate a shipping label, update tracking information, and manage any return requests that come in related to that transaction. It can do this in a matter of minutes, rather than hours – keeping your staff where you need them.
And speaking of keeping staff where you need them…
5. Store Operations
With a CRM, data is more than just data – it’s something you can take tangible action on. Let’s say you have data about your daily sales and your employee schedules. These two sets are good on their own, but taken together, you could discover that more sales take place on the weekends than at any other time – even though fewer employees work on those days. With this new insight, you’ve got a clear business case for changing employee schedules to ensure sufficient staffing during peak hours.
CRM Integrations with Accounting Software
If you’re new to the world of CRM, implementing one might seem like a big step. But it’s easier than you might think – especially as so many CRM solutions have built-in integrations with the accounting software that your business probably uses already.
Not only will this result in an easier setup for you, but integrating your accounting software with a CRM solution will mean you won’t have to pick up the data transfer slack. The insights and analysis you get will also improve.
How to Choose the Right CRM Solution for Your Retail Business
When looking into a CRM solution for retail, there are several factors to consider:
- How big is your business? Certain CRM solutions are geared up for larger organisations with multiple stores, and some for smaller businesses. Make sure you know which category you fall into.
- What do you need? Like the above; before making any decisions on new software, you should understand what it is you definitely want from a CRM. All the options can be bewildering, but knowing this from the start will help you narrow the field.
- How will you implement it? A company can make as many changes as it wants, but if those working with the software don’t accept it, it’s dead in the water. Managing how you’ll roll out the CRM system is as important as deciding which one you’ll use.
Hopefully, this article has shown you the wide range of benefits that retail businesses can get from a CRM system – from its customer service to its logistics processes and beyond. Choosing to move to one is a big decision, but one that will pay dividends in the longer term for retailers wanting to drive loyalty as well as sales.
PKF Smith Cooper Systems has the skills you need to successfully implement CRM in your retail business Contact us on 01332 959008 or use the enquiry form to learn more.
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