6 Real-World CRM Tools for Merchants

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Woman handing over shopping bag at cash registerRetailers with brick-and-mortar stores are struggling to compete with e-commerce giants like Amazon, but the fight will never be fair as long as online-only outposts have access to superior tools for managing their customer relationships and offering personalized product recommendations. As physical retailers search for ways to keep up, real world CRM solutions are popping up as a potential solution.

“Retailers, small businesses, and the people around you know surprisingly little about you. If Macy’s only knew what Amazon knows about you every time you go shopping at Amazon, imagine how much better they could serve you. Imagine how many more things they could recommend to you,” said Jared Fliesler, a general partner at Matrix Partners, during a panel discussion at Street Fight Summit West back in June. “As information is more available to the places and the businesses around us, that is going to change our interactions with all of them.”

That change is already happening, and brick-and-mortar retailers are already beginning to adopt real world CRM solutions in a bid to learn more about their customers. Here are six real world CRM tools that retailers are using.

1. Retail Anywhere: Segment customers for personalized marketing at the POS.
Acquired by NetSuite in 2013, Retail Anywhere offers retail POS software to go along with a CRM and marketing solution for merchants. Using Retail Anywhere’s CRM, businesses are able to recognize and reward frequent customers across multiple stores and channels. They can also make cross-selling and up-selling suggestions based on customer histories. Meanwhile, targeted email lists are developed based on demographics and other user profile information. Retailers can also take advantage of Retail Anywhere’s CRM system to manage search engine and affiliate marketing campaigns.

2. Salesforce: Find ways to bring online customers in-store.
The 800-lb. gorilla of real world CRM, Salesforce has tweaked its platform to provide solutions aimed directly at retailers with physical stores. Working with companies like Design Within Reach, Westfield, and TOMS, Salesforce offers ways for retailers to build marketing campaigns, engage customers, create unique in-store experiences, measure store performance in real-time, and deliver multi-channel customer service. For example, in-store sales associates can use Salesforce’s “clienteling” application to see complete online and offline purchasing histories for each customer they serve. Customer profiles include automated recommendations for items that a salesperson should recommend the next time the customer shows up in-store.

3. Perx: Use mobile tools to build better customer relationships.
A mobile CRM application built for businesses of all sizes, Perx aims to help merchants “acquire, engage and grow their customer base” through mobile. Businesses use Perx’s suite of marketing tools, which includes promotions, customer surveys, scratch cards, and loyalty programs, to harvest customer data like email addresses and Facebook accounts, along with birthdays, gender, and NPS. This information is then funneled into the mobile CRM system and used to power follow-up promotions and social campaigns. Perx differentiates itself from competitors with its focus on mobile and its emphasis on working with businesses of all sizes, including smaller merchants.

4. Wavespot: Use free WiFi to enhance customer relationships.
Wavespot is a social CRM platform that businesses can use to connect free WiFi hotspots to their customer loyalty programs. Using Wavespot, local merchants can require that customers who want to login to their in-store WiFi do so through their social media accounts. This, in turn, provides the business with all the information necessary to enroll customers in their loyalty programs and access important data used to run email marketing campaigns and digital promotions. Merchants can deliver scheduled coupons and social messages to customers based on their in-store and online interactions, and they can customize the offers they send out in real-time.

5. Main Street Hub: A networked CRM solution for local.
Main Street Hub is a networked CRM solution for local businesses. The company provides clients with integrated web, social, and email marketing solutions with plans customized based on the industry a business is in. Promotional features can be targeted toward current customers or new customers, with tools that enable businesses to create engaging content and start conversations with existing customers in real-time. A dashboard provides businesses with information on metrics like fan growth, traffic growth, and check-ins. For example, a retailer can see how many customer interactions it has had on Yelp in the past 14 days.

6. SugarCRM: Understand customer behavior across any channel.
SugarCRM is built for sales, marketing, and support teams. The company’s retail solution provides businesses with ways to gather insight into their customers’ decision making processes, while building loyalty and delivering better in-store shopping experiences at the same time. The system integrates with in-store POS systems, which means retailers are able to combine customer purchasing data with the information gathered through social networks to track selling opportunities and manage customer interactions. SugarCRM works with national retail chains like Men’s Wearhouse.

Know of other real world CRM solutions? Leave a description in the comments.

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.