Retailers Plan to Invest in CRM in 2002

Only a small majority of retailers are gathering data on individual customers, with 41 percent able to identify their most profitable customers and use that data for personalized promotions, a survey by Blue Martini Software found.

The survey, which was conducted among 1,300 attendees at the National Retail Federation Show, focused on the retailing community’s ability to identify customers at the point of sale, access information about those customers in real-time and act on that information to drive additional sales.

Forty-five percent of the retailers surveyed did not have a data warehouse and could not identify their most valuable customers. However, 60 percent of those without a data repository responded that they would like to have this capability.

Forty-one percent of those surveyed have adopted technology to enable them to collect, aggregate and analyze transaction data in a data warehouse, enabling them to identify their most valuable customers. That information is being leveraged through CRM activities, such as direct mail, email campaigns, clienteling (collecting individual purchase data and using it to market to a particular segment of customers), in-store promotions, online promotions and loyalty programs.

Even though the majority of retailers do not have retail CRM solutions, the poll found that 71 percent of data-savvy retailers leverage customer data to engage in retail CRM activities that are designed to increase sales in the store. Fifty percent engage in direct mail campaigns and loyalty programs; 40 percent have implemented email campaigns and 30 percent of retailers engage in clienteling.

While most retailers have Web sites, the poll found that only 10 percent engage in online promotions based on individual customer data.

One hundred percent of respondents plan to invest in retail CRM activities in 2002. Priorities are: direct mail (68 percent); email campaigns (55 percent); loyalty programs (50 percent); online promotions (32 percent); and clienteling and in-store promotions (23 percent).

“Over the past decade, most retailers have spent the bulk of their IT budgets on supply-chain optimization and merchandizing systems — basically, SKU and inventory management solutions designed to support the buy-side processes,” said Monte Zweben, chairman and CEO of Blue Martini Software. “As we move into 2002, retailers are shifting their focus to providing the sales associates at the point of sale with greater knowledge about their customers.”

Reprinted from’s

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