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Retail — Customer Is King (RFID And CRM Based Customer Loyalty Programs) By Homi Limbuwala, SkandSoft Technologies

Retail — Customer Is King (RFID And CRM Based Customer Loyalty Programs) <I>By Homi Limbuwala, SkandSoft Technologies</I>

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Article: Retail — Customer Is King

This article is based to a large extent on some of our findings & solutions that came up during our RFID enabled Customer Loyalty Program (CLP) Proof of Concept (POC) that we developed for a Major Retail Chain in India and are now in the process of deploying the solution across the entire chain.

The only way to survive in the retail world is to – "Ask not only what needs to be done to get new customer, but also what you need to do to retain your existing customers."

Retailers are doing more to attract new customers that keeping their current customers happy. Retailers spend over $100 billion annually on advertising and other promotions to drive traffic into the store. "Retailers come up with many schemes to bring new customers in but what about ME the loyal shopper?"

The Loyal Shopper – is an untapped source of immediate revenue that can give the maximum ROI if planned properly. Unfortunately, many retailers do very little to keep their customers happy, taking them for granted. According to a recent research study by Verde Group, this was confirmed by the Baker Retailing Initiative at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. More than 50 percent of Americans say they have had a poor shopping experience recently and each of people reported that experience to an average of four friends, most of who will go out of their way to avoid that retailer.

"They did not realize how valuable I was to them, till I took my business to their competitor," Take my experience with AOL (still applicable in retail scenario). I was a faithful subscriber to AOL for years, but AOL never gave me any incentives to stay with them. They just forgot I existed. They would offer new customers, 1 free month service if they signed up, but nothing to me their faithful customer. Finally after 4 – 5 years when I cancelled my subscription they started calling me to come back & join then, saying that they would give me one month's free service if you came back. That made me mad, why wasn't I given one free month for every year that I stayed with them, they were more interested in making new customers, taking their existing customers for granted, well they lost a loyal customer for good. Compared to the time, effort & money spent in attracting new customers, it takes very little to maintain an existing customer relationship, but that little is so crucial for survival – "Know thy competitors, but know your customer even Better"

Everything depends on how well you know your customer and how well you use the real-time information generated to keep them satisfied. You need to understand them and their relative value to the enterprise, not just immediate but in the future and provide them with the appropriate level of service. Don't take your existing customers for granted.

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Article: Retail — Customer Is King

Homi Limbuwala is the VP of Business Development (International) at SkandSoft Technologies, leading the strategic initiative for RFID solutions & product marketing for Europe & the Americas.

Homi has over 15 years work experience, starting his career in engineering, retail & moving to IT with CIS & then as Director at Radix Software, with a brief stint at Solectron Global Services eventually joining SkandSoft Technologies.

Mr. Limbuwala is a pilot with an engineering background & holds a Masters degree in Management from MK University, he is currently pursuing his Ph.D. You can reach him at homi@skandsoft.com