Free Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Program: Retail Marketing Analysis Research Paper Sample

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Trade, Marketing, Airline, Customers, Chastity, United States, America, Business

Pages: 9

Words: 2475

Published: 2020/10/21

When I was growing up, buying a new dress meant my mother would escort us on a trip to a local retail clothing store downtown like Sears. Planning a family or romantic vacation getaway back then, was as simple as jumping into your car and taking ‘The Road Trip’ to grandma’s – unless you could afford the thrill of an airplane flight. But the times have radically transformed since grandmother’s day, and just as the digital realities of the speedy-paced Internet marketing activities have made business more complex and competitive, so has the world of merchandise marketing. In terms of the Customer Relationship Management programs, that companies have employed to keep tabs on their revenue successes in their collective quest to outperform the competition, the theory and practice of CRM was born. A brief description of what CRM is in the first place shapes a cogent understanding of the fundamentals of our topic.
Saving money, investing it smartly in advertising/marketing venues, and retaining close relationships with customers correlates to what Customer Management Relationship is all about. But according to Ian Gordon, it provides a mode of measuring customer relationships that distinguishes it from the process of gathering ‘customer-satisfaction’ data. Gordon properly narrows the definition to as way of examining “relationships between customers and organizations” by examining the “mutuality” of “how each party sees the other in their respective future” (“Measuring Customer Relationships, Really Does Get Managed”). This research paper is partly ‘case-study’ providing a commentary about three retailers: Virgin America Airlines, Bloomingdale’s, and The Four Seasons Resorts. These three types of retail formats represent different environments, and elicit research demands based on the kinds of CRM applications that would be appropriate to each. The task herein is to determine or establish which retailers of the three are most effectively utilizing CRM. As the discussion progresses, we will compare and contrast the three formats to allow a better understanding of the power and importance of maximizing existing customers, as well as developing an expanded comprehension of how (and if) the results are being measured.
Obviously Virgin America Airlines, Bloomingdale’s, and The Four Seasons Resorts represent the air travel, high-end vacation, and name-brand store shopping – respectively. First, an analysis of how Virgin America Airlines engages how they advance CRM applications and practices illustrates a point of view. In further characterizing the customer-business relationship Gordon expresses it as an “interplay of values, attitudes,” and behaviors resulting in bringing happiness to both “collaboratively, preferentially, and continually in the pursuit of new and mutual value” (“Measuring Customer Relationships, Really Does Get Managed”). Aviation marketing is a special cup of tea. Expert Bailey Burk recognizes, particularly, how Virgin America displays its own unique quirks and brand. Just by looking at a photographed group of Virgin America celebrants, one can see they cater towards, and capitalize on, a young hip up-beat crowd of coolness and plenty of ‘chill-factor’ while relying on a people-to-people approach.
Jet manufacturers realize the airline industry depends upon cost-saving benefits and driving profitable outcomes from merchandise marketing in CRM methods. It is critical to match the style of customers to a brand of character association, because “emotional branding compliments product branding by providing the human factor, bringing vision and connection with the financial, manufacturing, and marketing objectives of the company” (“Aviation Marketing, Your Brand’s Personality”). Bailey agrees that Virgin America Airlines has added very cool touches of branding identity by enhancing their “lifestyle imagery” with “nightclub lighting when entering the plane,” and providing a “digital entertainment menu in the seat back” (“Aviation Marketing, Your Brand’s Personality”). But how exactly does the airline measure the success or lagging in its CRM program? One answer predicts how in evaluating its SWOT analysis.
Today, especially with the ability for myriad individuals to access digital information, companies are hesitant to publicly post all the details of their organizational finances. Virgin America Airlines is no different. However, the Centre for Aviation (CAPA) specializing in the air travel industry, has posted several indications. According to the report “Virgin America recorded one of its best financial performances in its history” during the second quarter earnings in 2014 acquiring $37 million in profits (“Virgin America SWOT, Announcing its IPO”). Apparently, its Customer Relationship Management program is working so far. Despite the success, potential investors remain fickle in terms of pouring all confidence into the company. Airlines have been known to plummet in balance-sheet improvements just as quickly as they make gains. In comparing Virgin America Airlines to the other two industries evaluated here, popular clothing retailer Bloomingdale’s and high-end vacation resort Four Seasons, Virgin has a couple of things going for itself which the others cannot compete with.
For one thing, Virgin America Airlines offers fun! Plain and simple, everybody loves to experience the adrenaline excitement of going somewhere to meet friends, family, or loved ones. Even in the case of business travel, why not have fun flying through the air until you arrive? The proof is in the financial ‘pudding’ so to speak. And Virgin America’s strength reflects the airline as a preferred choice among passenger favorites, casting customer loyalty ever since its “first flight in 2007” steadily building up “a loyal following among tech-savvy travelers looking for a more upscale experience,” while having been named the “Best Low Cost Airline in the USA” five consecutive years (“Virgin America SWOT, Announcing its IPO”). Another advantage this industry holds over the other two retailers is that once the product is delivered, there virtually are no returns in terms of merchandise. Purchase a destination ticket by air is unlike a retail product of buying a shirt, or shoes, in which the retailer sometimes must contend with an unhappy customer and managing return processes. Part of Virgin America’s track record includes the accumulation of 53 aircraft in its fleet. Extremely important is the factor that the airline’s fleet is young. In other words, they are not operating a bunch of outdated and older models of aircraft. In the airlines industry outmoded, aging aircraft has been responsible for a number of fatal crashes. The chart below compares hard numerical figures that exhibit the younger age of Virgin America Airlines fleet. *{Chart courtesy of CAPA Centre for Aviation}. At this point, one can clearly begin to understand that comparing different retail formats is much like a comparison of apples to oranges. One is not necessarily better than the other, yet statistical analytics help to deem which of the three may be deemed the best retailer utilizing CRM most effectively.
CRM practices within the commercial airlines retail industry establish a bonding situation with customers, spanning a cycle of: Identify, Differentiate, Interact, and Customize. Market analysis in the air travel industry can be measured by dynamics of client loyalty, consolidation and bankruptcy, competitive increase (price wars), and more. So, according to expert consultant Mandar Ghanekar, CRM programs in airline retailers must focus upon aspects that include: (a) strategic business priorities, (b) winning and retaining, “high-value customers,” (c) “maximizing customer knowledge” and needs, (d) development of customized services, and finding opportunities to build efficiency (“CRM Practices in Airline Industry,” 2012). Finally, a highly relevant significance is attached to CRM and the airline retailer, which involves data to be reviewed later in this report when making the end analysis.
Moving forward, it is important to reiterate how crucial social media is in all three retail segments for marketing. In fact, social networking media in terms of marketing scholarship and CRM has rather become a science. According to Shane Wang, in addition to providing a close sense of connected collaboration between clients and retailers, CRM and social networking can move beyond the typical use in communications (like Twitter and Facebook) – into an area that can “gauge the potential effectiveness of implementing” provisions for marketing and sales (245). After you have arrived at your destination, on Virgin, you may opt to visit a luxury vacation village. This is where the Four Seasons Resorts comes in. In any case fierce marketing in digital-information platforms drive CRM programs in the Four Seasons Resorts. One observer insists that “Most of Four Seasons’ marketing campaign will be communicated through digital platforms to help the company deal with customer complaints,  respond to customers’ needs, and requirements” (“The Four Seasons Integrated Marketing Strategy,” 2013). Therefore, Twitter integration, social media, transparency, and localization comprise key aspects to Four Seasons’ CRM campaign programs.
The retail environment of a destination hotel-resort represents an entirely different kind of format. Attention, quality, and service must be maintained for longer periods of time, and sustained in a wide variety of areas. For example, when spending your hard-earned dollars on visiting a resort you want everything to be perfect: from clean, impeccable bed linens, to fresh delicious bar drinks, to daily towel service, to the ease of friendly check-in, etc. Traveling to a high-end luxury vacation hotel-resort is a retail environment like no other. One way to describe the retail format is like ‘renting’ citizenship in a new town, but you are treated like a VIP visitor in that place as you sample the foods, amenities like golf or swimming, while expecting near perfection 24/7. One measurement tool in evaluating CRM programs for the Four Seasons Resorts, is to compare other similar retail competitors (in its format) and analyze how much spending each is investing in marketing.
One of the key mission for the luxurious Four Seasons Resorts, is to fit into the local ambience, and surround customers with lavished attention within this ‘service-of-culture.’ Its pillars are: quality, service, culture, and brand. According to one report its main competitors are the Starwood Hotels group, who spends $153 million on marketing, “and the Wyndham Hotels Group” whose market spending hovers at $105 million, while serving 66 countries in over 7,000 properties (“The Four Seasons Integrated Marketing Strategy,” 2013). Astonishingly, the Four Seasons, in contrast to others in its retail format class serves 35 countries with a marketing budget of less than $10 million, managing a core group of only 88 properties. Their international brand recognition dramatizes a strong, and well-place niche in the luxury travel resort retail sector.
Since heavy emphasis upon a digital marketing strategy marks the Four Seasons Resorts’ CRM program development it was not entirely surprising to discover that the luxury-vacation retailer does not own their properties. To repeat that, the Four Seasons Resorts do not “own any of their own properties, and therefore, sacrifice control” (“The Four Seasons Integrated Marketing Strategy,” 2013). Perhaps this explains its almost legendary, meticulous, and nearly obsessive preoccupation with delivery of superb service within the confines of each of its locations. In terms of SWOT analysis implications, the Four Seasons Resorts’ weaknesses include a small market share among similar retailers in the same format, and having been severely hit with the global turndown in the economy. A great plus however, is the Four Seasons’ impeccable reputation for fine living and dining, lending a sense of belonging – rather than simply vacationing. One factor which distinguishes the luxury hotel/resort retail format experience, from buying clothing at Bloomingdale’s or flying on Virgin America Airlines, is that among the extended service offerings specialties like golfing highlights thrive at Four Seasons.
One key example of how the Four Seasons Resorts dramatizes and presents the unique qualities offered in their vacation-retail format, is special announcement advertising. These enticingly picturesque informational pieces remind loyal customers of what they are missing, and informs the uninitiated of what the places have in store. For example, recently in a golf magazine, the Scottsdale, Arizona location of the Four Seasons Resort announced its invitation with “If you want to experience Zen amid the wilderness, forget about a tent and camping equipmentMorrish designs, boulder-studded slopes and mountain panoramas” can all be found in a golfing package (“Four Seasons Scottsdale,” 2014). Weddings, fitness centers, and meeting convention event accomodations outline the kind of retail format that informs any CRM plan of application. The third retail format discussed, in emphasizing CRM effectiveness among differing business-retail models is New York City’s famous store, Bloomingdale’s.
At some point in a girl’s life, she has upturns her gentle chin towards the stars above, and with dreamy eyes wishes for – you guessed it – being able to shop at Bloomingdale’s. This friends, is the passionate secret desire of every woman on planet earth. Okay? The exaggeration makes a point. The retail format of Bloomingdale’s in its original space, sits in a fixed location of brick-and-mortar and has been characterized for superb quality in all kinds of fashions like clothing, cosmetic, and high-end fashion accessories of décor to excite the most discriminating of tastes. Well, you get the idea. The parent company is Macy’s and way back in the ‘olden’ days one had to travel to New York to be able to shop there. Of course the Internet has changed all that. Today shoppers can satisfy their feeding frenzy for fashion by exclusively purchasing online, and never leave their homes or take off their pajamas. Comparing the retail experience of shopping for items, greatly contrasts from the retail format of buying a trip, or luxury hotel vacation package. Material goods exchange hands. The complexity CRM program management must pay attention to is returns, shipping, and refunds enter into the business climate.
The young sophisticated woman of today probably no longer cares about the history of Bloomingdale’s or that its slogan taunted of it being a store like no other, but rather cares whether she can get those designer shoes she’s been eyeballing – before any of her girlfriends do, naturally. In a review of Bloomingdale’s digital marketing strategy, readers are informed that their marketing budget ranges from $96,000 to $130,000 dollars each year, according to sources (“Bloomingdale’s Digital Marketing,” 2012). In comparison to the marketing budget of the luxury-retail vacation sector of the Four Seasons Resorts spending of several million, Bloomingdale’s may be winning the race to qualify it as the top choice as an established retailer using CRM most effectively. The reason why is because while gain profits and revenues are the name of the capitalism game in business, saving costs in marketing spending translates to smart earnings for any company. In terms of a CRM program, Bloomingdale’s seems to be implementing an all-around high-tech digital feel, identification, and access. For example, a new store location that recented opened in December of 2014, in California’s Silicon Valley location of Palo Alto, the retailer presents an overwhelmingly sophisticated look. Everything is based upon high-tech digitization. Described as a display of “industrial elegance,” the new store “combines classic rootswith interior walls outfitted in French gray green,” all “flooded with natural light” within a 125,000 square-foot expanse (“Bloomingdale’s Digital Marketing,” 2012). The concept of Bloomingdale’s game plan for effective mantling of a CRM program combines the high-technology ambience inside its physical retail outlet stores, as well as providing convenience to online shoppers.
The digital smarts in the newly sophisticated Silicon Valley location also delivers high-tech capabilities in actual function. For example, part of satisfying the customer in an effective CRM movement, people can enjoy “state-of-the-art ‘smart’ fitting rooms,”ordering from home to pick-up at store locations-feature, and opt for “same-day-delivery” within 5 hours if they live “within a 15-mile radius” from the Palo Alto store (“Bloomingdale’s Digital Marketing,” 2012). Mobile devices are utilized throughout the store, allowing better coordination between customer communications and merchandising responsibilities. Bloomingdale’s does not only take advantage of the older-traditional social media of Twitter, and Facebook. It seems to have engaged a full-blown serious, and all-out concentration on aggressive digital-media marketing including campaigns on Pinterest. Also, tablets are made available to customers as they browse in the store. One advantage of this, as a pleasant convenience for customers, is that men and women can browse without feeling like salespeople are breathing down their necks – yet retain the ability to beckon him or her with a simple email or text message.
In conclusion, we have learned that the three varying retail formats of Virgin America Airlines, Four Seasons Resorts, and Bloomingdale’s endeavor to measure success by effective use of CRM program considerations and campaigns. While it is true, and mentioned closer to the outset of this conversation, it is imperative to keep in mind that any comparisons and contrasts between these three is akin to evaluating apples and orangesor pears and lemons, if you prefer. Virgin America Airlines must contend with so many factors that affect CRM, like a rise in 2011 by 5 billion air-travel passengers, and maintaining 80% of preferences for ‘personalized’ service. Also, while not a pleasant thought, some people get nervous with air travel in terms of catching contagious diseases. However, in this case the established winner in the opinion of this writer is Bloomingdale’s. The reasoning reflects simple logic. People will be able to afford a tube of lipstick, men’s wallet, or lady’s pretty leather handbag, before spending money on air travel or a luxurious vacation. Given the factor that the global economy has morphed into something altogether new, many people do not have the disposable incomes to make larger-investment purchases. Although Virgin America is doing well, the airlines industry can be tricky and turn for the worse on a dime. At the end of the day, each retail format must contend with their particular style of market entry, customer demands, and choice of customizable plans for CRM programs. Also, since Bloomingdale’s’ target audience consists of middle to upper-class shoppers they will be able to withstand economic recessions better than most.

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