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Improving the customer experience is key to surviving the downturn

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A new survey conducted by ERP specialist SAP in conjunction with the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has found that the majority of retailers are continuing to invest in their future development, despite the recession.

More than half (51%) of respondents are looking at different channels as a way to increase revenue and 54% of respondents to the survey believe that focusing on improving the customer experience will be the key to surviving the downturn.

"Retailers understand that they must respond to the fall in consumer spending now, and get closer to their customers," say the authors. "Retailers now have the systems and technology in place to be able to understand what data they own on their customers, where and how they are spending and understand their needs. Almost a quarter of people surveyed believe that marketing correctly to existing customers will enable them to ride the storm."

"Retailers want to understand their customers better and don't think loyalty cards are the answer," the authors continue. "They believe technology will however play a critical role in reaching these goals, particularly in the areas of inventory management, customer analytics, labour and task management, online shopping, merchandising and helping to improve the customer experience."

"Retailers are also looking at staff as a way to improve customer service," says Richard Mills, retail industry principal at SAP UK. "The survey showed that 35% of retailers are using technology to automate processes, not to reduce the number of staff, but to allocate their time to serving customers."

"The recession will drive some players out of the market, but those that capitalise on their investments and opportunities have a chance of coming out of the recession stronger than they ever were," he added.
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