The Net and CRM
1. E-commerce (in B2C) should necessarily focus on value benefits. Value, in this context, could be the additional price discount, which is offered by the e-store. Retailing, the world over, is banking on the aspect of price (Wal-Mart, KMart
and other large retailers). Amazon.com‘s prices are 30 to 40 per cent lower than the prices offered in brick and mortar stores. Hence, there is a need to combine
information oriented non-transactional programmes with the low-price strategies.
2. Excitement in the form of exclusive launches may be required to keep online customers coming back to the
store. Fabmart recently had an exclusive launch on the Net.
3. Studies show that if customer retention is increased by five per cent, profits go up by 25-30 per cent. An allied finding in research studies is that new customers cost about 20-40 per cent more than that compared to traditional retail outlets but repeat consumers spend twice as much in the second and third year than what they spend in the first six months (in certain categories). Perhaps, thats why e-stores expand their product categories even at the cost of focus. (Amazon.com deals with categories such as books, music, grocery and gift items and has the infrastructure to deal with 16 million stock keeping units.) Repeat consumers are also known to spread the word of mouse through referrals. CRM, in this context, has to show great care in segmenting customers and offerings, which are customised to these micro-niches. Micro-niches could emerge as a result of diversity in preferences across categories. Yet again, the lifetime value of customers selected for relationships becomes critical, apart from the technological infrastructure required for tracking the preferences of these customers after winning their through interactive ways.
CRM could be a very useful marketing tool if marketers are able to integrate conceptual thinking and sophisticated technology.