Getting closer to the customer
Organised retailers are employing IT to know their customers
better. This was the case when CRM was implemented at Raymond. By Kushal
of Indias oldest textile manufacturers and retailers, Raymond India operates
across cities and deals with different cultures and people. Knowing all these
customers and doing business accordingly is not a cakewalk. To deal with this
scenario Raymond India decided to implement CRM (customer relationship management)
across most of its retail outlets.
Know thy customer
Retail is all about knowing your customers thoroughly in order
to serve them better. It is an age old philosophy of Indian businessmen that
if you know your customers better, you can enjoy a better competitive position
in the market. Before making extensive use of IT at its outlets, Raymonds
business used to run on a manual basis. In order to know its customers better,
a team was formed to survey prospective buyers as well as existing customers.
After surveying them they would know the pattern of their purchases, their likes
and dislikes etc.
This process was cumbersome for the surveying team and at
times people were apprehensive about replying to questions related to their
personal choices. With the growing use of IT in the retail segment, Raymond
decided to implement CRM to know its customers better and in a more sophisticated
way. The need was to understand the customers and provide services suitable
to them, says Anil Arora, Sr. Manager Information Technology, Raymond
Customer Relationship Management was implemented by Raymond to solve the problems
of knowing the customers better. CRM helps the company understand the colour
and design preferred by a particular age group or why a particular group or
individual did not buy or did buy a particular product. As a result of the implementation,
regular customers get a premium card which has all the details of a particular
customer and the purchase patterns of that person can be studied efficiently.
The CRM implementation is named Premium Circle.
Customers using it are known as premium users and are given a premium card.
This is offered to Raymond customers at 265 out of 365 Raymond Shops in India.
With the help of this solution, a central repository of information is created
about premium customers whose details are accessible at any retail outlet where
this system has been implemented.
||Customer Relationship Management
||To understand customers better
and provide services suitable to them.
||About three months
||Implemented across 265 retail shops
The technology part of the CRM implementation was outsourced to Proximity which
owns the infrastructure that provides touch points to the customer through the
Raymonds in-house team was responsible for devising the schemes and plans.
Since only the technology part was given to a third party to manage, cost and
quality of service provided by the vendor were considered while short listing
The Retail head from the business side was the champion of
the project and he was assisted by the IT department to provide the technological
expertise that was required.
|Raymond India's retail face is The Raymond Shop,
a chain of retail stores offering wardrobe solutions for men. This includes
brands like Raymond, Park Avenue, Parx, Manzoni and now ColourPlus. Started
about five decades ago, Raymond has been one of the pioneers of Indian retail.
The Raymond Shop network started with a small corner shop in Ballard Estate,
Mumbai. It has grown multi-fold with a dedicated team making it the largest
retail store chain in the country with over 300 stores in prime locations
in 150 Indian cities. They have also extended their network overseas with
around 25 shops in 15 plus cities of the Middle East, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh
and Nepal. The Raymond Shop retail chain occupies a space of 1 million square
feet built-up area. The Raymond Shop offers over 3,000 qualities, shades
and designs of Raymond fabric.
The aim of this implementation was to ensure three
principlesavailability, reliability and scalability of the solution,
says Arora. Concentrating on availability meant that the solution had to be
available at all times and that downtime had to be negligible. Failsafe software
would ensure the reliability aspect of the solution. Lastly scalability ensured
that the system would work efficiently irrespective of the number of locations
at which it was rolled out. With organised retail in the midst of a boom, it
is natural that the number of outlets will grow rapidly putting more pressure
on ensuring scalability acrossthe chain.
The time line for the entire project was close to three months and it was completed
in three phases. The first phase consisted of the Proof of concept. In this
phase the project was cleared through internal research to prove that the core
ideas were workable before going any further. This use of proof of concept helps
establish viability, technical issues are uncovered, and overall direction is
set. It also helps in providing feedback for budgeting and other forms of commercial
discussion and control.
The second phase involved running a pilot model created by the project team.
This was to ensure that the core solution has been developed satisfactorily
and was running as per the requirements.
In the final phase, the entire Web based project went live
across 265 shops. Initially only 10 shops went live but soon 265 shops were
on the network.
The entire solution runs on HP servers on Windows Server with the SQL Server
database. The database for the CRM is located on a web database server hosted
by the vendor at an ISP IDC.
The servers are in high availability mode with redundancy at the server link
level. In case of a breakdown of the link, the recovery time is approximately
Since this project was Web based, many customers are using
it across India. This project helped evaluate customer choices to a large extent.
With the use of this software, the product lines kept changing according to
the customer needs and patterns and the end result has been satisfied customers.
The repeat visits made by each customer increased with the help of CRM solution.
The only time customers were left a bit dissatisfied was when the database of
that customer was not updated properly during the initial days after going live.
The overall happiness of the customer has boosted business by a substantial
Looking at the success of this CRM implementation Raymond decided to extend
the similar exercise to its other product lines and brands such as kids wear.
This implementation is going to be implemented across 1,000 shops whenever Raymond
decides to reach that figure.