Internet-based tools are making the use of CRM programs more timely, said David Daniels, analyst, Jupiter Media Matrix, New York.
Lisa Piron, of Green Hills Farms, Syracuse, N.Y., and Marv Imus, of Paw Paw Shopping Center, Paw Paw, Mich., agreed that the real future for CRM lies in the prospect of using the Internet to reach their loyal customers.
However, while both retailers know the future is in the Web browser, they also said that there isn't enough "critical mass" right now to currently make it an efficient tool.
"The Internet has not changed CRM yet," Piron said. "It takes a lot of power. The database has to be integrated into the Web site. I have looked at a lot of different options and I think the right site must have all the pieces fit to add value."
Imus said that once broadband takes hold and the speed of the Internet is improved, then Web-based CRM will become effective. "There just isn't enough critical mass; we don't have enough e-mails."
Daniels believes that supermarkets can make more efficient use of Internet media, such as e-mail, just as some catalog merchants, like J. Crew and Lands End, have.
"With the direct marketing base of a supermarket with print advertising of circulars being sent directly into the home, there is probably some opportunity there for them to learn from some of these other retailing categories and look to more cost-effective marketing tools," Daniels said.