On Wednesday Groupon announced that it has added new CRM features to itsBreadcrumb point-of-sale app with the potential to drive traffic and improve customer relations for Groupon merchants.
Customer tracking, for instance, is one of the new features now included in Breadcrumb, which was acquired by Groupon in May 2012. Specifically, the software tracks customers, stores their contact information, analyzes purchase behaviors and records notes on their preferences.
“When I check out the tea place down the street from my apartment or my barber, the reason I leave with a strong sense of loyalty is because they remember me and what my preferences are,” explained Varun Krishna, director of product at Breadcrumb POS. “We’re providing local merchants across the country with the ability to develop the same type of relationship with their customers using automated insight.”
Also included in the software are an employee management feature that can establish tasks for specific roles or employees, assign transactions, filter sales and product reports and track commissions and tips; and the ability for users to scan standard barcode SKUs to edit items as well as upload images for each menu item to make them easier to find.
“We approached this project with the idea that the entire view of the point of sale begins with the customer record,” Krishna told CRM Buyer. [*Correction – Oct. 10, 2013]
“It is not about, or not just about, the transaction or the checkout, but rather, for the merchant who is the customer and what is their history with me,” he said. “The checkout is just part of that larger interaction.”
‘A Larger Trend’
Retailers are increasingly demanding technology that can help them engage with customers in ever-more-sophisticated ways at the point of sale, and a growing number of vendors are putting out products to meet this demand.
“It is a growing trend for all mobile applications and most especially apps in the mobile POS to bring more CRM capabilities into their service platform,” Chia-Lin Simmons, vice president of marketing and content at Harman International, told CRM Buyer.
The new features Breadcrumb has added — allowing users to track customer preferences, such as whether a customer likes her coffee black with no sugar — are “part of a larger trend of personalization in e-commerce,” Simmons said.
There are other vendors targeting this same space, albeit in different fashions.
Many companies are taking an inventory-centric approach, connecting to SKU-level purchase data, Dax Dasilva, CEO and founder of LightSpeed, told CRM Buyer.
“Capturing this data allows retailers to provide a certain level of value, service and loyalty to the customer,” Dasilva explained.
Leaf is a startup that just announced a US$20 million investment from Heartland Payment Systems to develop a purpose-built tablet POS that operates on an open platform.
“The open platform is an important differentiator that will further the proliferation of things like CRM apps,” Sebastian Castro, Leaf’s cofounder and COO, told CRM Buyer.
“Basically, everyone now seems to have a vision of what the mobile POS should look like,” Brian Reale, CEO of Colosa, told CRM Buyer.
‘The Omni-Commerce World’
That observation — different vendors, different visions — also applies to how these players see the POS further unfolding and what additional features will be added.
“One capability of these systems that will become more prevalent in the small business market is the automation of this POS data into targeted marketing campaigns, as well as other ways to make the sales process more personalized,” predicted Jeff Shanahan, president at CardConnect.
“Another innovation will be not only adding these automated CRM capabilities to simply the mobile POS market, but truly applying them across the omni-commerce world,” he continued. “This would allow a merchant to understand a customer’s purchases in their entirety — from e-commerce to mobile to in-store — instead of receiving silos of disparate data from many different vendors.”
*ECT News Network editor’s note – Oct. 10, 2013: Our original published version of this story mistakenly stated that a Groupon spokesperson was not immediately available to provide further details.