Truly Know Thy Customers (and their Pets) To Achieve Stronger Customer Relationships

Posted by Steve Lippman, Senior Sales Engineer at NetSuite

Great customer relationships are developed through consistent positive interactions with retailers. Retailers that understand what their customers need and want create a longer customer lifetime value and are able to provide a much more personalized and engaging brand experience. Capturing every interaction and transaction will increase the depth of the relationships with your customers. For example, my local pet store makes every effort to increase loyalty and attract new customers. To do this, they use tried and true methods of Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

My loyal cats, Lena and Jane, are known to this pet store. They each have individual “customer” records that are associated with my master record – after all, I have to pay the bills. I am also reassured since their individual dietary restrictions are also stored and verified when I make a purchase.

The pet store knows which toys and treats each of the cats like and they send me targeted promotions for those specific items. I know for a fact that my lifetime value has increased considerably as a result of this program.

According to the American Medical Veterinary Association (AMVA), 36 percent of households in the US own dogs and 30 percent own cats. It is worth taking a look at how lifetime value for this market can be expanded.

The goal of traditional CRM is to build brand loyalty, increase lifetime value and retain customers. There are no fewer than five pet food stores within a 15 minute walk of my home in Brooklyn, N.Y. This includes a mix of big box and small “mom and pop” stores.

So, why do I only shop at this one store? The answer is simple. They know me and my girls. Of course, this required set up and training on their side. First off, they needed to have an omnichannel platform that would allow them to extend the customer record to include pet records. In my case, two—one for Lena and one for Jane. The store needed to plan out what data they would collect, how they would collect it and then what they would do with it. At my store, I had two opportunities to enroll Lena and Jane into the program. At the Point of Sale (POS) the clerk was able to ask me questions about the girls’ age, likes, dislikes and restrictions. On the store’s website, I was able to enhance this data by adding funny photographs and entering several contests. I can also see that some other customers have also created Facebook profiles for their pets. I am happy to report that I have not done this…yet.

With the data in the system, my pet store now has the ability to personalize my shopping experience, be it at the POS, on the website or in my inbox with offers targeting one or both of my cats.

Every retailer can develop a personalized experience for its customers. It does not matter if you are selling pet supplies, hair bows or office supplies, a CRM system that can capture all transactions and interactions of a customer across any channel and touchpoint will enable businesses to get their know their customers on a much deeper level to keep them coming back for years to come.


The author’s girls, Lena and Jane 

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