We all know people, and therefore customers, can be fickle when it comes to brands, but the real challenge lies within retail technology.
The real reason loyalty is difficult for retailers typically comes down to the technology their store and online systems are running.
Technology, but not technical, issues
This in turn sometimes comes down to vendor protectionism as opposed to just technical limitations, an outdated method of retaining their customers which should no longer be relevant in today’s connected, flexible world. If we were feeling less than generous we could suggest it’s a form of hostage-holding as opposed to customer retention.
For example, we have been working with a large retailer with stores across the globe, who’s CRM platform is a very well-known Enterprise application.
Combining in store purchase records with online purchase records should just be a case of creating an API web call, this particular retailer is installing our POS and setting up this call should really be a trivial matter.
However, because this enterprise platform will not allow API calls from any technology that’s not a certified application developer for their software, it became hideously complex.
We were able to do it, largely down to the flexibility of our microservices capability, but not without some frustration from the retailer, which is ultimately causing them to re-evaluate the role of that enterprise application in their business overall. Particularly in how that system can support their future (and unknown) plans.
Why? Because that restriction is directly limiting growth by restricting the retailer’s ability to provide flexible services to their customers and limiting their choice around best of breed applications.
Time to move forward:
This control is outdated, retailers need flexible solutions that can interact with multiple systems. Platforms that restrict this will naturally outdate themselves much like the mainframes of the 70’s and 80’s eventually did.
Promotions and Loyalty rely on having a complete view of the customer, regardless of how and where they transact, systems that restrict this either directly or indirectly will be seen as blockers to innovation and previously favourable new technologies run the risk of being seen as dinosaurs.