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Retailer personalizes its service with mobile CRM

Harry Rosen, a high-end clothing retailer, won a Gartner’s CRM award for the way it uses mobile CRM in its stores, running CRM on smartphones and tablets.

When Harry Rosen opened a small clothing store for men in Toronto with a $500 budget -- long before the days of mobile CRM -- he started the practice of writing customer information on small index cards.

Nearly 60 years later, the high-end retailer has expanded to a chain of 15 outlets across Canada, and Rosen’s 400 sales associates continue his habit of taking individualized notes on customers -- but instead of note cards, they use mobile electronic devices.

Rosen doesn’t really understand the technology his staff uses, but he likes how it enables his company to keep its focus on customers, according to Stephen Jackson, the clothing chain’s chief information officer.

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And the 80-year-old Rosen can take comfort that his company’s electronic connection to patrons this month received recognition by Gartner Inc. at the Stamford, Conn.-based research outfit’s annual CRM convention. Harry Rosen Inc. won Gartner’s gold Sales Effectiveness Award for its mobile customer service.

Mobile CRM brings extended visibility to sales floor
The company first launched Sage’s SalesLogix CRM software in 2004, but three years later extended the program to mobile devices for its employees, Jackson said.

Armed with the SalesLogix Mobile platform on phones or tablets, Harry Rosen sales associates can access information about customers as they roam the store together. (Associates are assigned clients and have CRM files on their patrons.)

An associate can see basic information such as a client’s size and clothing preference as well as a record of sales, Jackson said. The associate can also access tailoring information and help set the schedule for that work.

But the program allows for even greater detail, Jackson added.

“Say you’ve been promoted to VP and you have to make a lot of presentations. We’ll save that on file. Or you’re in a wedding, or going on a cruise. It’s something to record and do a follow-up on,” he said.

Building customer loyalty with mobile sales
An associate can also note a customer’s preferred clothing line, and that makes a difference when he has many designers to choose from: Armani, Burberry, Tom Ford and Versace, to name a few.

Before the store opens, associates use their mobile devices and tablets to call or send emails to customers about the latest clothing arrivals, often snapping photos with the devices, Jackson said. They’ll also inform customers about upcoming designer shows.

“It goes without saying that customers like personalized service,” Jackson said. “What it’s all about is building that relationship. What does the client need for that stage of life and how do we make them look the best the way they can look?”

Having personalized customer knowledge and complementing product information on a mobile CRM platform helps associates build loyalty, rather than just sell to them, Jackson said.

Harry Rosen Inc. allows associates to choose their mobile devices for work. It wouldn’t make sense for an Apple person to be forced to use an Android device, Jackson said. Associates can either purchase devices themselves or have the company buy them with the cost deducted incrementally from the employees’ paychecks.

The retailer credits the use of Sage SalesLogix Mobile with helping develop a level of customer service that it believes earned it a 40% market share.

“It’s definitely a high for us,” Jackson said. “The competition for us keeps getting hotter, and we’re seeing more U.S. retailers coming into Canada.”

The company didn’t make Harry Rosen available for comment, but Jackson said the chain’s founder appreciates how mobile CRM has moved his vision forward.

“He knows we’re moving with the times,” Jackson said. “They’re the tools he dreamed of having in the past.”

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