Sixty percent of retail companies in the US expect to significantly increase their spend on customer relationship management (CRM) over the next two years, according to the CRMretail survey conducted for the National Retail Federation (NRF) by Gartner in conjunction with Ogden Associates.
The survey found that 54% of retail companies have already implemented one or more CRM applications, and the majority of the remaining companies say they are likely to do so within the next two years. Through CRM solutions, retailers cultivate ongoing relationships that cater to the unique preferences of individual customers, building loyalty and increasing sales.
When the survey probed retailers' views of CRM in the current economic climate, 72% indicated that they see CRM as an initiative that can extend their business and generate revenues. Jeff Roster, a senior analyst at Gartner, said "The results give a clear picture of broad-based interest and increasing involvement in CRM across many retail segments."
When asked to rank CRM systems for their revenue generating potential, retailers gave high marks to individual applications that help retailers analyse and understand their customers, track results of marketing efforts, and keep track of customer contacts. Retailers also showed growing interest in a new range of applications and services, including personalised communications, customer-focused marketing at store level, and personalised merchandise offerings.
"The economic uncertainty of the past year has caused many retailers to view with caution any initiative that lacks clear prospects for improving bottom line performance," said Tracy Mullin, president of NRF. The survey indicates that retailers are now devoting resources to building loyalty and boosting sales through relationships with particular customers over time, paying particular attention to their 'best' customers.