Customer relationship marketing (known as CRM) is a business process in which client relationships, customer loyalty and brand values are built through marketing strategies and activities. CRM enables businesses to develop relationships with established and new customers whilst streamlining performance. CRM uses targeted data analysis about customers' history with a brand or company to improve business relationships with those customers aiming to improve customer retention and ultimately driving sales.
Alexandra Simion, Head of Marketing UK at online fashion, home & lifestyle retailer, BrandAlley, stated in Marketing Week that “CRM is at the centre of the customer experience” because it holds “literally everything you need to know about your customers, from how they got to your site, to browsing and shopping behaviour”. Without a CRM strategy there “wouldn’t be any revenue or profit in any B2C business,” she claims. “You wouldn’t even be able to get your acquisition strategy without having the CRM to follow it through.” BrandAlley.co.uk has three million unique visitors a month and 4.5 million active members. It predominantly uses email to communicate with customers, sending around 90 million emails per month, which drives 80% of revenue.
Positive customer experience is vital for a brand’s success. According to the ‘CRM Barometer', 85% of UK consumers would leave a brand as a result of poor experience. When asked what they consider to be ‘outstanding’ customer experience, 52% of consumers say it is handling issues fast. 38% say receiving the best prices / deals for existing customers, 36% say having customer service available across different channels, 22% say receiving relevant communication at the right time and via the right channel.
Hayley Lidgett, Account Executive for marketing at QHQ explains why the well established technical fashion recruitment agency has recently branched out to include CRM: “It’s clear how how important CRM is to not only Global brands but also to smaller startups. I see that there is more movement in digital roles versus traditional buying and merchandising roles in the current job market. QHQ has now launched CRM desk, providing clients with digital marketeers and CRM specialists. We have a large database of CRM professionals and we are proud to be able to provide our clients the service we are known for and support growth within Digital, Social Media, PR, Marketing, CRM, Visual Merchandising, Area management and technical roles.”
In the current testing economic climate, brands are having to work harder and more efficiently in order to stay competitive. Hayley says: “It’s no secret that fashion retailers across the board are having to streamline and more and more are recognising that a robust CRM team is needed to future proof their business. Regardless of being bricks and mortar or online retailer, marketing teams need to invest into CRM to allow businesses to understand and target consumers effectively. Gone are the days when money was thrown at wide-net advertising campaigns. Marketing is sophisticated, bespoke and targeted these days and CRM is now a vital business process for any successful fashion brand.”