Is brick-and-mortar dead?

Retail business is in the middle of a major shift with established players in the online marketplace disrupting the traditional brick-and-mortar stores. A comparison of e-commerce sales vs. retail sales from 2007-2016 reveals that e-commerce accounts for only 13% of retail sales, but grown from 5% a decade ago (Source: Internet Retailer, U.S. Commerce Dept.). Although it appears that e-commerce players like Amazon and Alibaba are dominating the way people shop, physical retail is far from dead. But it is in profound need for a digital transformation.

How not to disappear

As a retail business, what do you want more than anything? Customers to return to your store. But is creating a winning formula for building relationships with customers easy for retail businesses in the present era?

2017 witnessed the closing down of 6,400 stores in the US (Source: Business Insider). The apparent cause is the dramatic effect of e-commerce brands. Still, according to Entrepreneur, people spend 64% of their shopping budget in-stores compared to 36% online. Like we said earlier, retail is far from dead. But to live, it must transform. Why? Because consumer buying habits have changed. 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, or knows their purchase history (Source: Accenture). But, retailers refuse to admit they have a business model problem. Many still defer the adoption of new age technology to service their customers.

For retailers to survive and thrive with customer trends amidst the intense competition, they need to adapt. Retail businesses must build direct relationships with customers, get to know their shopping preferences and engage with them.

Take advantage of CRM software to put customers at the heart of your business.

Retailers face serious competition, every day. And if your store is in a mall, your direct competition could even be next door to you, triggering a bidding war every time a shopper passes by your store. Not all products sell themselves, and it’s not enough to just want shoppers to walk into your store—they need to leave with your product and the satisfaction of a stellar shopping experience.

So how do you win? Implement CRM software.

At first, CRM software may sound like just another contact management system; except, it’s not. There’s far more value a good CRM can offer for your retail business. By implementing a CRM, you can increase your average purchase value by 40% or more (Source: Cloudswave). But, beware, it will depend on the CRM you choose. There’s no dearth of CRM options, but not all CRMs can fit your retail business needs and solve the four main challenges in the industry today:

Choose the best Retail CRM to improve your customer shopping experience.

It’s never easy to choose the right CRM software, just as how it’s never easy to pick out the perfect outfit for your customer. But we’re here to make that choice easier. The CRM, of course.

Meet Freshsales—a retail CRM system that empowers your sales reps who are on the front lines of your business to help them sell better, and allow your business to harness the power of customer data and sell more.

Unifying customer data in a central hub for sales, service, and marketing

Here’s a piece of advice from RetailDive, “Some traditional aspects of brick-and-mortar stores may be going out of style, but the people who staff those stores can adapt — if they are given the right tools and training.”

We can’t disagree. To address this challenge your CRM software must have the capability to tie your sales, marketing, and service data together so all teams can collaborate to deliver top-notch service. Freshsales CRM falls under the umbrella of Freshworks who’s also the maker of Freshdesk, the customer support platform.

The two products seamlessly integrate enabling sales and support teams to work alongside and offer a holistic customer experience. Support teams can also manage customer info and purchase details, and sales teams can manage inquiries and tickets, allowing both sides to better align in business. Freshsales has a robust email marketing feature, Sales Campaigns to send bulk emails and drip campaigns. The CRM also natively integrates with MailChimp. You can sync marketing lists and contacts across both platforms and keep your data continuously updated.

By choosing a retail CRM solution like Freshsales, you solve the complexity of bringing three different software together in one place to build a successful CRM database.

Learn more about integrations in Freshsales

Knowing the customer

Happy customers always spend more. Too many folks in retail businesses fail to get a real understanding of their customers—who they are and what they want. The biggest disadvantage to this is, if you don’t know who your customers are, you probably don’t know your most valuable customers. And if you think that’s not a necessity in the retail business, you’re wrong; customers will walk out of your store. Did you know that 65% of consumers have cut ties with a brand over a single poor customer service experience (Source: Parature)?

 

Retail CRM solutions like Freshsales help you create connections with customers through the data you collect. Most retail stores request the customer’s email address at checkout. Once you add their email address in Freshsales, you can have their profile auto-enriched with social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter, connect with them instantly, and improve your knowledge of each customer.

Freshsales offers customizations in form fields to help you maintain comprehensive, relevant customer profiles. Add in their birthday, anniversary, favorite color, apparel, product, etc. You can also add personal anecdotes with them during their visit to your stores as notes to their profile in Freshsales. So the next time, you can easily recollect their last visit and purchase by looking them up on the Freshsales mobile app.

Improving customer engagement by personalizing their shopping experience

Having a retail store has its perks. Unlike online shopping, it allows customers to see and feel your product, get personal assistance, and enjoy the instant gratification of taking their purchase home. But we do live in an increasingly large online community where shoppers like to browse your website before they come to your store to make their purchase. 72% of young shoppers research online before purchasing in-store and two-thirds of in-store shoppers will check prices on their phone before making a purchase (Source: RetailNext). There’s the need for retail businesses to know what customers do online.

Freshsales addresses these challenges and provides crucial and deeper insights into customer behavior. Using Event Tracking or by integrating with Segment, you can track their activity and page visits to understand their interests in your business. Next, you can put this knowledge into action by segmenting customers into types and create personalized retail marketing campaigns using Sales Campaigns in Freshsales. Sales and marketing teams can intelligently target customers based on their specific products of interest, and have them come back for more.

Identifying loyal customers

Loyal customers spend 67% more than new customers (Source: Inc). Almost every retailer has a loyalty or rewards program to encourage brand loyalty and improve brand awareness. Then again, retailers struggle to differentiate loyal customers from the rest because they don’t maintain a history or have the necessary tools.

Freshsales makes it easy to identify your most valuable customers so you can improve the way you sell to them, and even reward them. The CRM enables you to focus your sales efforts on customers who are more likely to purchase so you can provide them access to exclusive offers and improve their experience with your brand.

Leverage Lead Scoring in Freshsales to identify loyal customers, the ones who purchase from you repeatedly, engage with your promotional emails, visit your website, etc. You can configure lead scores by lead property, email, application activity, and web activity. What this means is—if your repeat customer Jane who lives nearby your retail store receives your holiday sale email, clicks on the link and visits your website, she now gets a high lead score because of her interest in your sale. Now compare it to Jack who purchased from your store one-time and never opened your email, and receives a low lead score. Simply filter your customers by a lead score to find out who your most valuable customers are, and send them discounts and offers to drive repeat purchases.

Boost foot traffic to your store with the best Retail CRM

Use Freshsales to tackle the challenges of running a retail business, from knowing who your customers are to personalizing their experience and have them come back for more. Most importantly, Freshsales enables you with features and capabilities that help you keep your customers happy, improve your relationships, and build your brand.