NEW YORK -- Customer relationship management, or CRM, is going to play an increasingly important role in retailers' efforts to build sales, according to a study scheduled to be presented at the National Retail Federation's 2003 Convention & Expo here this week.
The "Retail Horizons" report is the first segment of a three-year study being conducted by the NRF Foundation and BearingPoint (formerly KPMG Consulting), McLean, Va. The report presents data and analysis on a range of operational and management issues using information obtained from a broad cross-section of about 2,100 different retailers.
Among the report's findings is that CRM will be the second-most important method of building sales in 2003, up 17% over the third-place position it held in 2002. The No. 1 strategy for growth in both 2002 and 2003, domestic expansion using existing storefronts, will be down 17% this year as retailers recognize that the landscape is over-stored, BearingPoint executives said in an interview with SN last week.
"They are still going to be building new stores, but it's almost like that is the '90s battleground," said Jerry Blaesing, senior vice president, retail group, BearingPoint. "The emerging battleground is really around the customer."
Ann Raives, senior manager, retail group, said retailer responses to many areas of the survey indicate an increasing focus on building personalized relationships with customers.
"This whole blurring of the lines between the different retail segments is part of the reason that retailers have become more customer-centric," she said. "They need to turn all their massive amounts of data into actionable insights and integrate within and without their companies."
Other findings from the study of interest to supermarket operators include the prevalence of loyalty cards, with 71% of retailers reporting that they offer them and 80% of those reporting that they are profitable.
Self-checkout was cited by very few retailers as being offered in 2002, but 100% of respondents said they expected to offer that option to their customers within the next few years.