As companies may not know exactly what will happen until they get started, facing tough challenges or even failing to accomplish goals is inevitable in the first stage. Therefore, although customer information management can drive retailers towards economic improvement, most managers still hold back on implementing this programme. Even once the decision is made, if retailers do not have a technical system or have an inefficient one, the following challenges are likely to crop up:
- Data quality and collection errors:
Retailers, especially those with multiple stores in different locations, will need to put in extra effort to manage data in real-time due to late data delivery from different stores. Furthermore, data collection is important for any management system. Manual data entry errors, such as incorrect data, duplicated data, and missing data, can negatively affect data’s accuracy as well as executives’ strategic decisions.
- Human-related issues:
For many businesses, the system that best matches their functional requirements can turn out to be too difficult to use. In an environment where employee turnover is high, poor usability can make it difficult to get new employees up to speed. They tend to need more time to accomplish tasks and get familiar with and use the system. Moreover, for inexperienced staff, it is easier to make mistakes, which can decrease the data’s accuracy or even frustrate customers.
- Promotion programme issues:
A promotion programme requires a solid infrastructure that allows retailers to forecast accurately and figure out the right mix of promoted and non-promoted items. Moreover, retailers need to control the supply chain carefully to ensure that the right amount of inventory is in place for the promotion. Achieving these objectives can be challenging without a centralised platform for collaboratively planning and tracking promotional activities. Many retailers also lack the analytics for accurate predicting promotional demand and its effect on sales and profits. This can result in lost sales, poor profitability, disappointing service levels, and excess inventory.
It should be recognised as well that promotion programmes are two-edged swords. On one hand, customers are satisfied with the benefits they receive. On the other hand, they begin to expect greater incentives to remain loyal and can start to switch from seller to seller if their incentives remain unchanged. The result is that programmes designed to retain customers can also provide the incentive to switch.
Deeply analysing top challenges that retailers have to face is vital. Retailers should also consider leveraging technology to aid their management process. Find out more in the white paper “Customer management and its incremental demands on retailers”.