In an era where retail is rapidly evolving, retailers rely on software to organize their operations and optimize how they manage relationships with customers, aiming to boost sales and deliver outstanding customer experiences.
CRM software has become mainstream, it’s often the first system companies use to get organized. It’s the largest software category, totaling more than $80b in worldwide spending.
However, CRM systems often fall short in addressing the unique needs of modern retailers, especially those dealing with high-value, custom, or complex sales.
Unless sales are primarily self-service, most CRMs won’t deliver significant value to support these sales journeys.
This article delves into the essence of CRM, examines the specific requirements of today’s retailers, and showcases how QuoteMachine’s Agile Commerce solution is redefining the retail CRM landscape.
What is a CRM?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are designed to help manage interactions between a company and its customers. Typical functionalities include:
- Managing customer profiles (contact information, billing details, etc.)
- Recording communications and touchpoints with customers and prospects across all the channels, including in-person conversations, website interaction, phone calls, emails, marketing material sent, social media interactions, purchase history.
- Organizing the sales pipeline in steps and distributing tasks across a sales team
- Providing business insights through reporting
Most of the time, these features are designed for use in industries and companies that are not exposed to the typical retail constraints.
Retailers want to provide the best experience to their customers, optimize conversion rates, and ensure their teams are efficiently organized. In their philosophy, CRM should address that. However, most of them were not designed with specific retail context in mind.
CRM can successfully deliver value in segmenting customer bases and automate marketing campaigns, especially involving digital channels.
If you’re dealing with a large volume of self-service sales, primarily placed online, CRM might be helpful.
However, if your focus is on personal sales involving human interactions, customer orders, and complex payment steps in either B2B or B2C settings, you should probably consider alternative options to grow your business.
The Shortcomings of Traditional CRM in Retail
Traditional CRMs are often not equipped to deal with some or all of the following challenges:
- Inventory management
- Custom order/Special order management in both B2B or B2C settings
- B2C self-service sales
- Transaction management (payments, refunds, financing)
- Managing a complex set of products or services, often linked to a set of vendors
Retailers dealing, for example, with items like custom furniture, high-end electronics, or bespoke clothing require a system that can manage not just a database of customer information but also intricate details of custom orders and individual customer preferences. They need a simple solution so their team can follow a structured sales process while also being equipped to deal with complex products and fulfillment constraints.
Retailers’ Actual Needs
Today’s retailers need more than just a system to manage customer data; they require a tool that can facilitate personalized engagement at every step of the customer journey. This includes capabilities like
- managing detailed customer specifications,
- handling negotiations across various communication channels, including in-person
- executing custom orders efficiently,
- processing payments, including multiple installments, sometimes with sophisticated terms
- coordinating vendors and service providers to ensure complex orders are fulfilled
- manage their sales staff efficiently, while keeping them engaged
Retailers often turn to standard industry-recommended software like Point of Sale Systems, or E-commerce platforms only to realize these tools fall short in delivering the best sales experience outside of low-value, self-service sales workflows.
In the dynamic world of retail, managing customer relationships is not just about data and transactions; it’s about creating an experience that resonates with customers on a human level.
Introducing Agile Commerce with QuoteMachine
QuoteMachine’s Agile Commerce solution fills the gap left by CRM software thanks to an industry-specific approach. At QuoteMachine, we understand the reality of retail and embrace the complexity of custom orders, diverse B2B or B2C customers, and sophisticated sales experiences built on human expertise. Our approach combines the convenience and efficiency of e-commerce platforms with the personalized touch of human interaction, catering specifically to the needs of SMB retailers.
Agile Commerce is about structuring flexible sales workflow, enabling retailers to adapt quickly to customer needs and market changes. It’s not about replacing humans with automation and self-service sales, but rather empowering them to offer the best sales experience by centralizing and structuring sales, automating manual processes, providing the right information to support customers.
Transactional Microsites: A Game-Changer
One of QuoteMachine’s standout features is the concept of transactional microsites. These microsites transform every in-store or online conversation into a potential sale, ensuring a seamless and personalized customer experience. With a proven conversion rate of 60%, these microsites exemplify how technology can enhance human-centric sales processes, leading to increased revenue and customer satisfaction.
Deepening Customer Relationships
Agile Commerce goes beyond mere transactions; it’s about building deeper relationships with customers. This approach enables retailers to understand and anticipate customer needs, offering tailored recommendations and services that resonate on a personal level. By fostering these relationships, retailers can ensure higher customer retention, repeat business, and enhanced brand loyalty.
Maximizing Impact Through Software Integrations
At QuoteMachine, we recognize the uniqueness of every commerce. We also understand the complexity of the retail ecosystem. Efficient teams and delightful sales experiences often rely on an ecosystem of software. For example, some businesses will benefit from an e-commerce website, and some will appreciate the speed of a Point-of-sale system.
That’s why, at QuoteMachine we offer integrations with software platforms like Lightspeed Commerce, Shopify, or Pipedrive. Our goal is to help you construct an ecosystem that perfectly aligns with your business needs and elevates the customer experience. We are committed to ensuring that each integration is thoroughly vetted for seamless compatibility and performance, aiming to truly enhance your retail operations.
If you’re looking to improve your sales and need help navigating the ecosystem of commerce solutions, have a chat with our team