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Why Your Retail Business Needs CRM Software The right technology will create a database that helps you personalize each customer interaction.

By Peter Daisyme Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Eva-Katalin | Getty Images

The concept of shopping has changed dramatically over the decades, with one survey revealing that customers now make 51 percent of their purchases online. For retailers, this has created a push toward a greater online presence, even among businesses specializing in local products.

However, as a business's customer base expands, personalizing each interaction becomes a challenge.

Related: 7 Science-Backed Strategies for Dealing With Angry Customers

One of the best ways, then, that you can provide tailored experiences and detailed management of your retail customer relationship is by employing customer relationship management software (CRM). The right solution will help you create a database that helps you achieve all of your goals. Here are a few ways businesses are putting CRM to use in their operations.

Personalized service

Online retailer TOMS sells shoes for a good cause. For each pair a customer purchases, the company donates a pair to someone in need. After launching in 2006, the company found that it was growing at such a pace that it was having difficulty keeping up. The company then chose Salesforce's Service Cloud.

This technology helped TOMS to manage its global call center workforce and allow workers to provide personalized customer service to everyone who calls. The software, in addition to offering customer histories, provides social media data for each customer, giving workers a better overall picture of the person at the other end of the line.

Social monitoring

Online wine sales have taken off in recent years as customers discover the convenience of home delivery. Bespoke Collection is a wine seller based in California that has long used CRM to manage its customer base.

In addition to tracking customer buying histories, Bespoke also uses the tool to monitor customer interactions on social media, although it acknowledges that ensuring employees stay on top of those interactions can be tricky.


The self-proclaimed "pillow goddess," Deborah Main, often takes her product sales on the road. But keeping up with the people she meets at trade shows can be challenging. She says she can capture contact information using her mobile device and put that information to work after the trade show, sending follow-up emails and special offers.

In addition to her customer base, Main also works with interior designers and retailers, so a CRM helps her keep everything in one place.

Related: See You at the Top: A Guide to Winning at Customer Service

Seamless integration

A viral video launched Dollar Shave Club's national brand recognition, but a CRM helps it achieve its goal of providing a top-quality customer experience. Best of all, the company was able to integrate its CRM into the other software it uses to power its operations, reducing the need to duplicate information from one solution to another.

Product information

Unlike most retailers, clothing retailer Zara famously built its business using very little advertising. This was a strategy that worked, but it also pushed the fashion retailer to rely heavily on customer relationships. The company provides copycat designer brands at affordable prices, making it necessary to track sales to determine which products are popular. Using a CRM gives Zara the basic information it needs to take quick action when a new design hits the runway.

Loyalty programs

Multinational retailer Landmark Group, based in India, tackled a big project when it sought to expand its loyalty program without losing any data. The company used a CRM to collect POS (point of sale) data from all of its locations, then combined that information to create a loyalty program that worked.

The biggest challenge for the company was that some locations didn't have an IT presence, but its CRM was set up to gather data from each POS to ensure no location was left out.

Creating community

Many businesses use CRM software to gather contact information, but Best Buy has seen social benefits, as well. Instead of merely using it to monitor for mentions, though, the company has found a way to create an online community, for winning results.

The company has its CRM integrated with its bulletin board to generate additional activity on its Twitter account. Employees can easily read and reply to comments, further boosting activity and leading to tens of thousands of messages each quarter.

Omnichannel management

Luggage retailer Samsonite relied on CRM software to manage its omnichannel presence, streamlining the company's dealings with its resellers, as well as its direct sales to customers. After implementing the new system, Samsonite saw double-digit revenue growth, and it has continued to see growth since. In addition to customer information, Samsonite uses its CRM for forecasting and keeping up with product sales to help determine which items are most popular within its various channels.

Related: Troubleshooting Your Ecommerce Store: What to Do When No One's Buying

Any business that serves a customer base can benefit from a CRM, whether that base be B2B or B2C. For retailers, a CRM can help scale upward, as new customers discover their products and provide information. It's important to choose a popular solution like Salesforce or Insightly that will integrate with a wide variety of business products. That will help your business overall ntegrate your CRM with other solutions as you add them to your administrative tools.

Peter Daisyme

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Co-founder of Hostt

Peter Daisyme is the co-founder of Hostt, specializing in helping businesses host their website for free for life. Previously, he was co-founder of Pixloo, a company that helped people sell their homes online, which was acquired in 2012.

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