Retail CRM: key capabilities &
implementation best practices

Retail CRM: key capabilities & implementation best practices

January 23, 2024

The state of the retail CRM market

Scheme title: How sales reps spend their time during an average week
Data source: salesforce.com — The State of Sales report, fifth edition

88%

of customers agree CX is as important as products or services

Salesforce

$157.53 bn

the projected global CRM market value by 2030

Fortune Business Insights

Build stronger customer relationships with a retail CRM

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Key retail CRM capabilities

Many customer relationship management solutions are equipped with features designed specifically for the retail industry. An effective CRM usually offers the following capabilities:

Key CRM features for sales reps
Process/workflow automation
Data entry automation
Intelligent customer insights
Integration with internal systems
Ability to replace other sales tools

Sales-oriented features

Contact management

Retail CRMs can automatically create new contacts and capture their details, organize them into groups, and track their interactions with a business.
You can automate time-consuming routine tasks like customer communications logging, gain real-time visibility into orders, and employ intelligent upselling and cross-selling.

Lead management

With a CRM, merchants can capture data on opportunities from various sources, prioritize and score leads, route them to relevant sales reps, and track leads’ statuses.

Appointment scheduling

Sales teams can monitor all interactions with leads and customers and accurately schedule meetings with them.

Custom vs platform-based retail CRMs

Opting for a custom-made or out-of-the-box CRM will define the capabilities, customization potential, and TCO of your CRM solution. We recommend our clients carefully consider both variants to find the best option for their needs.

Custom CRM

Off-the-shelf

Availability for use

Custom CRM

Off-the-shelf

Developing a custom CRM is time-consuming, so it can take months till retailers can start using their CRM.

Off-the-shelf solutions are almost immediately available for installation and require minimum customization, resulting in faster implementation.

Features

Custom CRM

Off-the-shelf

Tailored to your requirements, business specifics, and existing technology tools. Can be easily tweaked to fit your current retail strategy better.

Most CRMs offer plenty of essential ready-to-use features. Doesn’t always perfectly align with unique requirements. Some out-of-the-box functionality can be excessive, but you still pay for it. Free trial often available.

Security

Custom CRM

Off-the-shelf

Custom-made solutions can have unique code or configurations, so no malicious agent can know in advance about the security mechanisms used in your CRM, which minimizes the risk of cyber attacks and increases the security level.

Retailers rely on CRM providers to implement effective security measures. Since out-of-the-box platforms have more visibility and malicious agents can analyze them for code vulnerabilities, the likelihood of a successful attack increases.

Costs

Custom CRM

Off-the-shelf

Higher upfront costs. Maintenance and support costs. Update or upgrade costs.

Monthly or annual software license fees. Additional costs for third-party app integrations. Long-term TCO can be higher due to per-user costs increasing as your business grows.

Integration

Custom CRM

Off-the-shelf

Software developers can tailor a CRM to your specific business needs and seamlessly integrate your new solution into the retail environment.

Usually, prebuilt integrations with the most popular apps are available to cover major business needs. Some providers offer APIs and connectors for integration. Compatibility issues can emerge when connecting your legacy solutions with an off-the-shelf CRM.

Updates

Custom CRM

Off-the-shelf

On-demand updates and upgrades.

CRM providers update the platforms and add new functionality following their own schedules. Providers can stop updating their CRM or even discontinue the product.

Scalability

Custom CRM

Off-the-shelf

When building a CRM system from scratch, software developers can design an architecture that will allow for further growth and changes in your business.

Limited scalability beyond the predefined scope.

Support & maintenance

Custom CRM

Off-the-shelf

The CRM owner is responsible for keeping the software working correctly.

Providers take care of maintenance and typically provide support via multiple channels.

Top retail CRM platforms on the market

A cloud-based low-code CRM platform, Salesforce Customer 360 is a suite of integrated modules that provides a unified view of the customer across different apps and teams. Salesforce’s AI-powered insights help retailers personalize customer experiences, boost workforce productivity, and make better business decisions.
  • Real-time customer profile updates
  • Advanced customer segmentation
  • Lead, opportunity, and pipeline management
  • Customer journey analytics
  • Loyalty management
  • AI-powered automation
  • Next best action suggestions
  • Customer and Partner portals
  • AppExchange store with extensions and integration packages
  • Mobile interface

Need a reliable tech partner to implement a retail CRM?

Turn to Itransition

Our CRM services

Itransition provides a suite of CRM services for retailers, from refining a CRM strategy to fine-tuning an existing CRM solution to match your current requirements.

We help retail companies of any size and niche develop a tailored CRM strategy, select optimal CRM software, design efficient workflows, and facilitate the solution’s adoption. We can detect gaps in your existing system, develop an actionable remedy plan, and outline growth opportunities.

Implementation

We implement retail CRMs with customer-centricity in mind, giving you the most relevant tools to better understand your target audience and craft engaging, personalized customer experiences. Our team connects the new solution with your digital channels and other business software to create a coherent retail ecosystem with secure and smooth data exchange.

Customization

Our specialists can optimize your CRM, configure necessary modules and features, and modify the user interface to adjust it to your needs. We can also customize business management settings to adapt them to your company’s structure and set up custom user roles and permissions to improve data security and compliance.

Why adopt a retail CRM

Retail CRM software improves various operations and brings multiple benefits to both businesses and customers.

For retailers

A comprehensive data source

Retail CRMs collect vast amounts of granular data on customers, sales, marketing, and performance, helping retailers understand customers better, enhance customer relationships, make informed decisions, and improve business outcomes.

Stronger customer relationships

Enabling merchants to provide relevant offers and streamline customer service, retail CRM software helps increase customer satisfaction, cultivate customer loyalty, and encourage repeat sales.

Increased productivity

CRMs automate retail workflows, centralize data, provide valuable insights, and facilitate cross-team communication, thus allowing sales and marketing teams to manage tasks more efficiently, make better decisions, and identify areas for improvement.

Reduced costs

With CRM-powered task automation and retail management optimization, businesses spend less time on non-selling activities. In addition, retail CRMs help identify and nurture high-value customers, helping companies retain existing customers and cut the cost of acquiring new ones.

Guidelines for successful retail CRM adoption

Retail businesses should take the following steps to make the most of their retail CRM solution and maximize the ROI from implementing it.

1

Pick out necessary features

Make a list of features you want in your retail CRM and share it with the CRM implementation team before they get to work. Select features that meet your immediate needs and align with your long-term business objectives; you can disregard functionalities that seem nice to have, but your teams are unlikely to use. This way, you can avoid unreasonable expenses and maximize the value of your CRM investment.

2

Set access permissions

In addition to breaking down your CRM system into dedicated modules for sales, marketing, and customer service departments, assign specific roles and permissions to separate teams or individual employees and restrict the access to specific information or features. This can prevent data breaches, improve accountability, and eliminate confusion in workflows.

3

Provide for scaling-up

As your retail business grows, your CRM will need additional capacity to accommodate more users, data, and connections. When planning an initial CRM solution, choose a platform with a high potential for vertical and horizontal scalability in line with your business's growth plans. The platform should demonstrate stable performance without detrimental system slowdowns.

4

Support the staff

A transition to new CRM software can arouse resistance in your employees. Therefore, clearly point out the benefits of retail CRM software to your staff before implementation, explain how it will improve day-to-day activities, and gather suggestions regarding functionality and processes from each team. After the implementation, provide in-depth CRM training to help employees get used to the solution, master all its features, and acquire new work habits. This will help employees to adopt the CRM faster and use it to its full potential.

Transform in-store customer experiences with a retail CRM

Ecommerce personalization practices have raised the bar high for brick-and-mortar stores as consumers now see tailored shopping experiences as the standard. Retailers should better understand their audience and craft relevant in-store experiences to meet these expectations and gain a competitive edge. For this, businesses can rely on retail CRM technology to take advantage of comprehensive customer data, create value for consumers, and build strong, trustful, and long-lasting relationships with the audience. If you plan to adopt a robust retail CRM system, Itransition’s experts can assist you in implementing your project.