CRM – Customer Relationship Management as it is called, though I prefer calling it Customer Retention Management.
It is the core component of effective brand visibility as well as resultant sales. Whilst, everyone jumps on the band wagon of CRM, they forget that concept needs to be tailored to their industry, brand, people which involves a fair amount of Personalization, Training and some Trend forecasting which should add some unique value to the brand.
The customer with variety of options has become quite fickle & loyalty is now at a premium.
It is quite interesting to see what companies have done in the recent past and how CRM is actually evolving rather than the same vanilla offering of card, points etc.
Shoppers Stop arguably has one of the best programs which they have invested a lot over the 10+ years.
Personally, I like the Future Group – Green Card – which offers instant gratification – 5 – 15% off on immediate purchase, no worries about collation of points etc. And mind you they offer this discount during their Sale time also.
Tata, Westside, Landmark et all offer the vanilla card calling it CRM but which is of no real use. You collect points and encash at their outlets, which is fine, but 1 point for Rs. 50/100 means spending a Lakh or more to get something worthwhile, but yes there are people who keep collecting these cards and then of course need a bigger wallet to carry all of them & then get a back ache because it digs into their rump.
However, there are some good samples of how some brands are changing rules of engagement; some of them
Brioni believes in intensive direct marketing & ensuring sale conversion in a consumer’s own space.
Ferragamo/Kenzo/Cavalli/Paul Smith/Canali all hold Trunk shows in different cities where they don’t have a retail presence. This enables luxury brands to increase not only their sales, but also customer brand awareness, before they finally take the plunge to enter the location.
Emporio Mall in Delhi introduced the concept of Personal Shoppers probably the first time in India where an experienced stylist finds clothes & accessories that fit your tastes, size & budget thereby increasing probability of a sale at relatively low cost and it worked well, but I do not know if it still continues.
Some brands inc liquor brands began referral programs, which were a bit different than the Pyramid scheme or member get member scheme, but these eventually die out, having finished its cycle.
Then of course there are those extended distress sales; SMS marketing; New Brand Ambassadors but is this really aggressive marketing or retailers fear a spillover effect of brand equity dilution.
But in this broad spectrum of generation, catchment, geography that one needs to address in India the only ones that shall succeed would be those who would be able to communicate across multiple channels, quickly, crisply and answer the consumer’s basic question “What is in it for me”?