A recent study conducted by IBM’s Institute for Business Value on CRM’s viability in the retail sector offers food for thought for both the left-and-right-sides of the brain: the former represents our “rational” sphere, while the latter serves up our emotional side.

Granted, the prospects of improving customer service, and generating more revenue, are core attributes of CRM and ERP software. But the key to deriving such benefits begins not with learning how to use the retail ERP software, but focusing on establishing a customer-centric business; the latter represents the ’emotional’ elements (right-hand side of the brain) within the customer base.

Before any retailer—large or small, highly successful or marginally so—expects immediate miracles from their newly deployed software, they must drill-down on how they are treating their customers; how clean their stores are; how they market to their customer base.

The study emphasizes the importance of this approach, even though “as difficult as it  may be in practice” every effort should be made to perfect this side of the business and to…

“… continue to enhance the aesthetic attractiveness of your stores – such efforts …prove to be a key differentiating point between top financial performers and lesser performers. Second(ly), market and merchandise your stores based on specific customer insights…Finally, listen to your most avid and profitable customers and deliver the store experience that delights that customer base.”

Only then, can retailers effectively begin using a top-line ERP platform, like Dynamics GP for analyzing sales, marketing and social-media data. What’s more, users will rely on critical features such as Business Intelligence to help make more intuitive decisions, and identify those critical “profit-and-loss centers.”

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