Retail industry

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In order to win customers, you need a number of things. On the one hand, you need products and services developed on the basis of quantitative and qualitative insights with the customer in mind. In addition, you need an organisation that is fast and reliable, both in execution and communication. And, without digital technology, you won’t get there.

Customer focus is paramount in an industry that’s constantly evolving

The only thing retailers are more passionate about than their products are their customers. Everyone knows the motto: ‘the customer is king’. This still inspires many entrepreneurs and companies to become more customer oriented. Online and offline B2C retail has set the standard for how we expect companies to treat customers, which is also true for B2B. However, that doesn’t mean that optimal customer focus has already been achieved. For example, many retailers still don’t have a strong CRM platform and, even those who do, have difficulty using it as efficiently and optimally as possible.

In the competitive retail sector, the average customer doesn’t exist. Behaviour and values are constantly changing, and new and old competitors certainly do not stand still. As a retailer, you have to constantly adapt and improve to remain relevant – no matter what subsector you’re in. You have to be relevant to customers, attract their attention, and keep your promises time after time – and all of this with a viable balance between price, quality, and value.

Relevant trends in the retail industry

Of course, each sub-sector within the retail industry, such as fashion, sports, or electronics, has its own challenges and dynamics. However, they also have a number of trends in common. Below, we explain a few trends that we see in the market.

Trend 1: omni-channel engagement 

You want to get your message to where your client is. This proves to be quite a challenge these days, as new channels, applications, and platforms appear almost daily, while others become irrelevant and disappear. Users want to get in touch with brands through these channels, even outside of office hours and national borders. They expect brands and companies to convey a consistent message and have insight into previous interactions. This not only applies to communication channels such as CTI, WhatsApp, chat, and social media, but also in stores and in your web shop.

In addition, customers often communicate with more than one person in your departments. A customer doesn’t care if they talk to the supply chain or sales department, to customer service or external partners. They talk to you and your brand. This means that your internal departments and your value chain need to work together seamlessly. This requires deep integrations and a clear strategy for a single platform, so that your employees can effectively engage customers through a single-user interface and act from a customer 360-view.

Trend 2: digitisation, data-driven working, and automation

Seamless collaboration requires business processes that are organised as well as flexible and agile enough to cope with trends and changes. Often, business processes have been around for a long time and have grown by adapting to problems, systems, and organisations that may not even be relevant anymore. In order to be and remain scalable, efficient, and relevant for the customer, digital transformation is necessary.

This transformation starts with redesigning your business processes to make them future-proof – this can mean standardised, harmonised, reliable, flexible, or scalable for your company. Design these processes and supporting systems based on the customer 360-view, KPIs, SLAs, and other data you want to maintain (while complying with privacy policies). By digitising the process, you collect data and contextual information about the interaction between you and the customer, from which you can learn. On the one hand, this data helps your analysts look for insights, patterns, and relationships. Based on these insights, you can easily adapt to improve your business. On the other hand, this data offers possibilities for automation. Even a simple chatbot or flow helps customers with basic questions within seconds, regardless of your opening hours and queue. Marketing automation enables you to speak to your customers in a more personal and relevant way, and you know when to keep leads warm or when it’s time to convert them. Depending on market position and ambitions, some retailers transform into tech companies, while others make sure that they are at least up to date with platforms with standard capabilities.

Trend 3: customer-focused services and subscriptions

In recent years, the focus has shifted more and more from order- and product-oriented to service- and customer-oriented. We go from selling a bulb to selling light, and from selling a car to selling the journey from A to B. In addition, customer service and the customer experience are increasingly used as USP. The influences of things like entertainment, health, and hospitality can no longer be ignored. Concepts such as meal boxes, subscriptions for personal care, and offering additional services for maintenance and advice are increasingly a standard part of the assortment. As a result, customer relations and interaction in all departments are changing from a mere transaction to a frequent and verifiable check-in that encourages improvements in product or service quality. Suddenly, turnover is just as relevant as conversion and loyalty, and memberships and rewards become more important in your marketing strategy. It turns out to be cheaper to retain an existing customer than to win a new one, so it’s important to manage customer lifetime value.


Placing the customer at the centre of the onboarding process, ensuring that a professional effortlessly becomes a Hornbach Profile and is able to use Hornbach’s services quickly.


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Nextview is a very good partner with high flexibility and very broad knowledge of Salesforce technology. Nextview combines the quality of a large consultancy firm with the personal touch of a smaller one.

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