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Press Release -- April 7th, 2014
Source: Verizon

Why CRM Still Matters in Retail

by Marie McGeheeIf customer relationship management (CRM) seems like old-fashioned marketing speak, here’s why it still matters for retailers.

Your favorite grocery store chain is now offering expedited check out which means that you can pay for your favorite meals directly at the store’s prepared foods section with your smartphone without having to stand in line at the cash register.
On a recent trip to your favorite department store, a simple tap of your phone on an in-store ad revealed that your favorite shoes were in stock in your size along with other styles in your price point that you might like.
The car dealer where you purchased your car last year sends you a text message alerting you that the “check engine” light in your car is likely to turn on soon, but that it’s not an emergency. Instead it’s time for your next vehicle inspection.

Connected mobile devices ranging from phones to cars combined with emerging technologies such as near field communications, mobile payments and telematics have not only ushered in a new wave of options for both marketers and consumers, they are literally transforming the consumer’s relationship with their favorite retail brands.

“Years ago when the smart phone and tablet emerged on to the scene, consumers had to become educated on how these devices would actually play out in their day-to-day lives,” said Jay Yanko, managing principal for retail at Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “Today’s consumers are not only more sophisticated, but have come to expect that their favorite retailers will deliver on the promise of what these devices were designed to do and in a way that not only helps with their purchasing decisions, but also fosters trust.”

Unfortunately, many retailers have stood on the sidelines as phones, tablets, refrigerators, cars, etc became even smarter and are now scrambling to catch up with consumer expectations for engagement, but many retailers still need to ensure that they’re getting the basics right says Yanko.

“When CIOs and CMOs visit us at our Innovation Centers they will often say, ‘we know that you’re going to show us the latest bells and whistles which promise to enhance how we engage with our customers.’”

Yanko acknowledges that before many retailers can even consider things like proximity-based technologies delivered to mobile devices to enhance the in-store experience for their customers, they need to ensure that they have the right infrastructure in place to handle things like real-time data and large call volumes from their customers on-demand.

“Many consumers assume that retailers already have reliable and resilient infrastructure in place, and while in roads have been made there is more work to do.”

Despite the current challenges, Yanko sees tremendous opportunity and upside for the industry.

“When we have reached the point where information flows seamlessly and at scale in the retail industry with reliability, the right level of bandwidth and low latency, the outlook for wide adoption of innovative consumer-facing solutions that meet and exceed consumer expectations will be extremely bright,” Yanko continued.

To learn more about Verizon’s work in the retail industry, click here.

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