Retail CRM: How to Use Customer Relationship Management to Grow your Business

Learn how brands use Customer Relationship Management software to empower retail teams to build customer loyalty like never before.

The importance of a CRM for retail brands.

A CRM (customer relationship management system) is important for any brand looking to take their relationship with customers to the next level. This article will discuss exactly how a CRM can do this for you. If you don't quite understand what a CRM is, be sure to check out our article on what a retail CRM is first, which will give all the info you need to be here.

In short, with a high-quality retail CRM, your business can enjoy the benefits of unparalleled personalization in your customer outreach, accurate performance tracking of sales teams, better customer support, and most importantly, deeper customer loyalty.

How to Use a Retail CRM

A CRM should provide your sales teams with an all-in-one solution so that they are not relying on multiple resources to accomplish the most fundamental tasks. The purpose of a CRM system is to give the entire team a comprehensive view of a customer’s entire journey, including all customer interactions with your company, so that they can look broadly at what’s been going on but also dive into the nitty gritty when necessary. 

In order to achieve this 360º view, a retail CRM needs to provide a way for brands to both store and analyze their customer data by integrating data sources. Below is a breakdown of how a single user should be able to move through a CRM in order to accomplish their goals. 

Step 1 - Update Customer Data

The first step in a salesperson's process is to determine which customer to contact and why. The more data your retail teams have access to in order to make this decision, the better. A CRM should ideally get you started by helping your teams with contact management in a way that's automated, such as by integrating with your e-commerce or POS systems like Endear does. 

Having these sources populate your CRM in real-time will take unnecessary work off your team’s plate and also ensure that no opportunity falls through the cracks. Your team should also be able to enhance these records with their own intel that they may have gathered through an in-person meeting or a phone call. 

Your CRM should also take care of keeping all this data updated for you. Nothing is scarier than unreliable data, especially if you’re using it to decide what to say to a retail customer or what flow to enter them into. The more you can count on your CRM to manage your data for you, the more time you can dedicate to the tasks that require a truly human touch.  

customer CRM database

Step 2 - Message Your Customers

As we’ve learned, personalization has a very positive effect on conversion—but it can also require more time and effort. Your CRM should help you to reach customers without having to sacrifice this impactful personal touch. 

A CRM should also provide you with insights about your outreach that standard communication channels won’t, such as which recipients are opening and interacting with your messages. You can then use this data to better understand who you ought to follow up with, and ensure you’re not letting important customers get lost. Most CRMs will also provide you with various channels (such as email, text, or social media) from one centralized platform, which again reduces friction as you go about your day. 

conversation in the endear app

Step 3 - Manage Visual Assets

A big part of any sales organization is the visual materials you put together to support your sales process. For B2B businesses, that might be a deck or one-page overview of your product. For retail, that might be a digital invite to an event or a lookbook of recommendations to help customers determine what they want to buy next. 

It’s important that your entire sales team have easy access to these resources. It's equally important that these resources are easy to upload, share, and leverage as part of outreach. If your CRM can automate the import of key assets such as your product inventory, your team will be in even better shape. 

database of images

Step 4 - Collaborate with Your Team

Especially when it comes to outreach, it’s important that everyone on your sales teams is aware of what everyone is working on and no one is stepping on anyone else’s toes. The last thing you want is for a customer to receive the same message from multiple people at your company. 

That’s why it’s important for your CRM to keep track of everyone’s activity and enable users to communicate with one another. For example, in Endear’s retail CRM, any user can leave an internal comment on a customer’s profile or leave a task for the dedicated salesperson on the team related to that customer.

Step 5 - Optimize Your Strategy

The entire purpose of being able to track every detail in your CRM is to use that customer information to figure out how you and your team can improve. As the writer Terry Pratchett wrote, “If you do not know where you come from, then you don't know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, then you don't know where you're going.”  In this area in particular, your CRM should serve as an extra set of hands on your team, helping you to determine how you can continue to improve performance across the board. With your CRM features, you should be able to answer questions like, “Which kinds of customers respond best to my texts?” or “Which products is this audience most interested in?” While a CRM can help you answer those questions, it’s still on you to dedicate the time to asking them.

“If you do not know where you come from, then you don't know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, then you don't know where you're going.” - Terry Pratchett

The Best Retail CRMs to Consider for Your Business

CRM is still a relatively new concept for the retail industry, despite its popularity in other spaces. Here’s a list of CRMs worth considering.

1. Endear - Where a CRM builds robust Customer Data Profiles

As far as we’re aware, Endear is actually the only omnichannel CRM designed specifically for the retail space. The platform takes CRM data and gives back intuitive Customer Data Profiles where teams can build personalized campaigns all through the ease of an app. Most Google searches for such a product typically yields a list of POS (point-of-sale) platforms—not the same thing

Though retail teams have always cared deeply about their relationships with customers, few retail organizations have actually provided them with the tools to efficiently manage these relationships and expand them beyond a core few customers. This is why we built Endear. Especially with the growing popularity of e-commerce, it’s more important than ever that your salespeople be able to maintain relationships over remote channels rather than only through face-to-face interactions. 

Endear app homepage

2. Airtable

If you’re looking for something lightweight and customizable, Airtable is a great option if you're a smaller business and just getting started. You can build a variety of formats using their templates so that your CRM is uniquely built to fit your team’s needs. Airtable is a bit more sophisticated than a Google Sheet so it can serve as a good stepping stone if you’re trying to implement a CRM for free.

3. Copper

If your store associates are using Gmail to email with customers already, Copper might be a good direction to follow. While your messages will still be sent through Gmail, Copper covers other critical aspects of a good retail CRM such as tasks, reporting, and contact organization, and it can also help you send bulk email marketing messages through your connected address.

4. Keap

Keap is a great option if you’re trying to scale your outreach. Their automation and message triggers will help you stay on top of customers and make sure that your users are not responsible for remembering who to follow up with. They also support texting and calling, so if your customers are particularly fond of their mobile device, this option may be right for you.

5. Hubspot

Hubspot is one of the most robust CRM’s on the market—the platform can pretty much do anything you want it to when it comes to customer management and tracking. HubSpot even integrates with some e-commerce platforms so that you can view a customer’s purchase history within the mobile app. Keep in mind though that HubSpot has limited capabilities when it comes to attributing sales to users and reporting conversions.

Endear is by far the most robust retail CRM solution on the market. Not only does it help your retail team stay connected with your customers through thoughtfully-tracked data, but it also empowers your associates to own and improve their own sales efforts. Try Endear for free for 14 days.