Traditional Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are designed to define a customer journey and track activity along the path to purchase. They work well when customers engage with brands within a single channel; particularly online.
But when it comes to in-store activity, traditional CRMs collect largely historic data. This offers a limited understanding of in-store customer behavior, and almost no way of delivering content to customers when they are most likely to actually make a purchase - when on the premises.
It’s not just the in-store environment where CRM systems are struggling to keep up. The entire buying process is becoming more fragmented, blurring the line between transactions made in stores, via mobile or e-commerce. This fragmented journey is a difficult prospect for systems that haven’t been designed to collect connected or contextual data.
If a customer researches online before visiting, that information can help improve their experience in store. If a customer plans a visit for months, should they have the same experience as someone who dropped in on impulse? Each customer will behave differently, yet marketers are still forced into creating inflexible customer journeys because of the way their CRMs are structured.
Today the reality is that the buying process is a series of engagements that take place in and out of the store with sales staff and via a range of connected devices. It’s now very rare that a customer will only engage with brands via one touch point. Every different touch point and device used to interact with the brand is an opportunity to gain valuable information about what the customer is looking for, when they’re going to buy, and the best manner in which to engage them. This is where an IoT Driven CRM solution, like Plexure, comes in.
IoT Driven CRM means eliminating predefined customer journeys and removing the restrictions of individual channels. By unifying all these disparate channels and devices into one platform, brands can start to focus on the overall customer experience from their entire ecosystem rather than the individual technology pieces. This then makes it easy to create and personalize a set of real-time interactions, reacting immediately to what that particular customer is likely to need at that particular point in time.
By knowing where you can engage the customer, choosing key interactions and building experiences around them, you don’t need to anticipate how the customer will move from one engagement to another. Each interaction is handled by the platform in real time, based on how you’ve previously engaged with that customer.
For example, entering the store can trigger very different interactions for different customers. One has just been looking at specific products in their mobile app so the store assistant gets an alert when they walk in letting them know which products the customer is interested in. For another customer who has not recently been engaged, entering the store may trigger a push message with a special offer on a product they looked at online but never purchased. The same event, but the customer experience can be tailored to each based on the context of the events.
Consider the possibilities with just two engagements with two customers, then think about all the different touch points that you have with customers across every channel. Then add in other real-time data that can affect the customer’s interests or mood at the time - data such as weather and nearby events.
It’s easy to understand why building truly unique experiences using a CRM solely based on historical purchase data is difficult – and why connecting the IoT to augment historical data makes much more sense.
This is why we’ve adopted the term IoT Driven CRM – it’s not a separate piece of software, it’s not a new category, it’s a new approach to how brands need to build their CRM strategy.
For many brands, this is a task that appears to be easier said than done – legacy systems and rigid data requirements mean that it’s very difficult to integrate new technology, let alone do it seamlessly across different channels. This is why we’ve developed the Plexure system into an IoT Driven CRM platform – it’s the missing link between your existing historic data and all the live, contextual data that you need to truly personalize in-store experience.