Discover the Future Trends of Retail Business in the New Era of CRM & Loyalty Marketing

In a study entitled “In-depth: Luxury Goods 2021” (Statista 2021), the global luxury goods market is projected to increase from US$309.6 billion in 2021 to US$382.6 billion in 2025. The pent-up consumer demand from Covid-19 lockdown is set to fuel post-pandemic spending spree from Gen Z and millennial shoppers. However, marketers know having the best products and services cannot guarantee business profitability. Hence, building customer relationships will increasingly become an important strategy to ensure brand loyalty and retention that can significantly influence your bottom line.

From ecommerce to brick-and-mortar retail, many brands are already adopting different loyalty strategies to enhance customer experience and grow new revenue streams. In this report, we examine the future of CRM & loyalty from the perspectives of technologies, evolving retail strategies and overall customer loyalty thinking – the sweet spots for improving customer experience in the new norm.


1. Adoption of One Platform For Multichannel Marketing

We see an increasing movement this year towards using a multichannel approach to CRM marketing. Today, companies are using different software to execute their communication plans. On top of that, there are different social media and ad serving platforms to manage. Consequently, we believe the trend is for marketers to use a single platform to manage those campaigns with personalisation and marketing automation. That way, you put more focus on making meaningful connections with customers and using different touchpoints to design the customer journey.

At XGATE, we’ve integrated different channels (SMS, email, call, WhatsApp, WeChat etc.) with marketing automation and analytics tool that will allow CRM platforms to comprehensively track interactions with customers at various touchpoints. Hence, marketers can build a unified view of the customer lifecycle programs, measure performances and use the data insights to develop innovative loyalty marketing strategies – identify smart segments, test A/B offers, target more relevant communication channels and create more personalised experience.

2. Use of Clienteling in Retail CRM

The lack of personalisation is one of the biggest challenges faced by many retail brands when they attempt to engage with their high value members to give them a taste of exclusivity. The adoption of clienteling aims to fill this gap by allowing sales associates to establish meaningful relationships with the customers. This is achieved by empowering retail sales with access to real-time data, based on the customer profile which include not only birthdays and anniversaries, but also style preference, size, transaction history, expiring loyalty points, spend gap to next tier upgrade, wish lists and sometimes may be even names of their children, spouse and pets.

Experience sales associates holding on to such data will recognise opportunities to recommend purchases based on key events – spouse’s birthday or wedding anniversaries – to introduce new outfits for that special occasions. This one-on-one customer interaction is a fantastic way to retain a brand’s communication beyond the usual buying cycle. Clienteling can offer a truly personalised experience when the engagement reference colour, style, size etc. that fit the customer’s preferences.

Retail sales are driven by both the quality of products and customer emotions in the buying experience. Clienteling is the technology to deliver this unique memorable customer experience. So the time for mobile clienteling is right now.

3. Integrating Online and Offline Retail Experience

The pace of ecommerce sales is set to accelerate ever since the pandemic drastically shifted consumer behaviour into the digital shopping space to buy household goods, groceries and more. A recent forecast has projected retail eCommerce sales worldwide to reach US$7.4Bn by 2025 from US$4.2Bn in 2020 (eMarketer Jul 2021). Retail brands planning to launch a new online sales channel should consider the choice of ecommerce technology, integration of online and offline customer experience and transformation of retail operations.

Traditional ecommerce platforms are less flexible and offer little room for customisation or personalisation. Hence, it is imperative for brands to choose or make a switch to headless commerce in order to future-proof online store architecture. Basically, every piece of commerce systems such as store-front design, CMS, OMS, CRM & loyalty can all be connected using APIs. With a headless system, marketers can deploy rapid updates without impacting back-end systems, faster time to market for ecommerce launch and seamless experience across touchpoints.

No matter how far ecommerce technology advances, the human connection that customers received from in-store shopping experience is something that cannot be replicated. Therefore, bringing the same retail customer experience into ecommerce space is a valuable means of innovating loyalty marketing. Imagine the endless possibilities of headless commerce integrated with loyalty solution and clienteling. Essentially, it empowers brands to offer personalised online shopping experience where different member tiers can enjoy different product offers, level of service care and assisted shopping. On the other hand, retail staffs are no longer limited to generating sales at the store; they can use their clienteling tool to enrich their customer engagement and convert more opportunities to sales.

4. Personalised One-on-One Shopping Experience

There has been a significant increase in online influencers offering livestream shopping across social media platforms. However, the high cost of influencer marketing strategy and lack of brand control over many other livestreaming in marketplaces will eventually lead to brands considering one-on-one video assisted shopping.

Given the knowledge and experience in their own retail community workforce, sales associates can offer real-time product presentation and curating the shopping cart as a personalised in-video customer check out service. Ultimately, video technology in this instance is a personal touch to make the customer feel comfortable and build trust for his/her purchase decision.


The retail experience for consumers have undergone a fundamental mindset shift since Covid-19 pandemic. Brands need to examine their CRM & loyalty strategy to regain customers’ trust and build brand relationship for long term value. Having a single platform to orchestrate multichannel marketing will become increasingly more important to improve marketing efficiency and ROI. Similarly, choosing the right ecommerce technology such as headless commerce architecture will not only increase the brand’s flexibility to launch online store promotions rapidly, but also create personalised experience that will enhance customer loyalty.

Indeed, Dough Stephen has predicted in his article, The Future of Retail Is The End Of Wholesale, that “a new breed of experiential retailers will use their physical stores to perfect the consumer experience across categories of products. They will define the ideal experiential journey, employ expert ‘product ambassadors’ and technology to deliver something truly unique, remarkable and memorable.”

At XGATE, we believe as the merging of online and offline digital space progresses, it becomes clear for marketers to acknowledge this new era of CRM & loyalty being the next phase of development. Brands taking the lead to embrace the new trends in loyalty will benefit from the head start to deliver the next level of innovations for customer experience.


Marketing Magazine Master Report, September 2021