In the fourth part of a six-week series featuring SMEs that have taken steps to build their capabilities or venture into new markets with Spring Singapore’s support, Aaron Tan speaks to Norbreeze Group.
The Straits Times
August 26, 2015
FROM its beginnings as a wholesaler in 2004, Singapore-based retail specialist Norbreeze Group has grown to become a major distributor
of accessible luxury brands such as Pandora and Bering in Singapore and South-east Asia.
Until the launch of Cocomi – its first e-commerce store – earlier this year, much of Norbreeze’s business came from some 300 brick-and-mortar stores across the region. The stores have been amassing customer contacts for over a decade.
“We have a growing database of customers, but we didn’t know much about them, such as their preferences and who the top spenders were,” says Mr Anders Peter Juel Sauerberg, group chief executive officer of Norbreeze Group.
“As a group, we could do a lot more to find out more about our customers and offer them a wider range of brands and promotions,” he adds.
So, late last year, the company implemented a Cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) system to collect more information
about its customers’ preferences, such as their preferred brands and products, along with a new membership programme.
The project received funding support from Spring Singapore’s Capability Development Grant, which helps small and medium-sized enterprises
develop capabilities across 10 development areas by defraying up to 70 per cent of qualifying project costs.
Norbreeze’s CRM system, which comes with data analytics capabilities and is integrated with its inventory system, now lets the company send electronic direct mailers (EDMs) with targeted offerings to customers based on their demographics, buying patterns and preferences.
“For example, during Valentine’s Day, we could send out EDMs to male customers who may like to shop at Pandora for their loved ones,” says Mr Sauerberg.
For customers who have indicated a wider preference of brands and products, the CRM system now makes it possible for Norbreeze to cross-sell products across its portfolio.
“But we don’t try to sell them everything if they are only interested in certain things from us.
Customers in our membership programme will only receive relevant communication,” he adds.
To encourage customers to sign up as Norbreeze members at its stores, the company has dangled carrots such as discounts for their next purchases.
Frontline staff have also earned commissions for new sign-ups in the past.
Mr Sauerberg described the early stages of the CRM implementation project as “painful”, largely because Norbreeze had to digitise its customer contact information, which was all handwritten on cards.
“We had to employ temporary staff to enter data into the CRM system, but some data such as e-mail addresses was illegible,” he recalls, adding that the rest of the implementation work went smoothly without major hiccups.
“One of the reasons why we’ve been successful is that we’ve been communicating the benefits of the CRM system to colleagues, while engaging
them along the journey,” says Mr Sauerberg.
For now, Norbreeze is unable to quantify the benefits of the CRM system – since it only went live in April this year – but he says it has already improved customer loyalty.
He adds: “When people sign up for our membership programme, whether it is through Cocomi or Pandora, the chances of them buying something increases significantly because they are interested in what we are selling.
“It is definitely a positive.” He advises companies that are looking to implement CRM tools to be crystal clear about where they want to go with their CRM strategy.
“Otherwise, the technology cannot help you on that journey,” he says.
In the case of Norbreeze, the CRM system, along with the launch of Cocomi, will go a long way to help the company achieve its vision of growing its customer base and expanding to more countries in the region.
For more information on the retail sector and stories on how retailers have built their capabilities, please visit www.spring.gov.sg/retail or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was first published on Aug 26, 2015.
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