- retailing strategy; customer knowledge management; customer relationship managementmarketing
Trade liberalization policies and increased foreign direct investment have transformed the Indian retailing industry into thefifth largest in the world. This market, expolsive both in terms of size and growth rate, has caught the attention of the largest retailers world-wide. Our paper explores whether customer relationship management (CRM) and knowledge management (KM) initiatives can be used to design effective and efficient retailing strategies for this increasingly competitive marketplace. In this paper, we analyze the distinguishing characteristics of Indian retail customers and we review the recent trends in the Indian retailing sector. On the basis of this analysis and review, we evaluate the benefits of desining retailing strategies on CRM and KM initiatives. Some of the citical steps in designing retailing strategies are then described. We discuss what data should be collected for analysis of the customer buying cycle and what information is essential to understanding shifts and evolution in customer needs. The typical CRM initiatives (under the rubric of acquisition and retention management) that retailers could implement are outlined. Sources of helpful information are introduced and areas in which information is lacking is acknowledged. Discussion of the challenges in information acquisition includes the non-technical issies such as the role of government policies and difficulties related to technology, such as absence of household level panel data. Finally we suggest ways in which retailers can benefit most from CRM and KM initiatives and methods for maximizing the success of such initiatives.