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B2B-Style CRM Comes to B2C

When David Trice was helping to bring Fusion CRM to market at Oracle, he kept hearing the same question from large retail customers: “How does my store fit into my digital strategy?” Today Trice, who went to work for Larry Ellison after selling him his price optimization company, Revenue Technologies, releases his answer in the form of a new venture, Engage.cx, that he calls the first true CRM platform for B2C companies.

“Interestingly, most of the time we found ourselves talking to B2C organizations, they were calling their marketing databases or their loyalty operations their CRM, but it really wasn’t true CRM,” Trice says. “It enabled them to push messages out, but recognizing you online or in a store has been a blind spot for them. When someone engages with them, no matter where, our system asks, ‘Do we know this person?’”

The idea behind the cloud-based SaaS solution is to get B2Cers acting more like B2Bers—recognizing where customers are on a buying journey, where else they’ve shopped, and whether they’re current customers or involved with the brand in some way. Engage.cx focuses on contextualizing a company’s first-party data, but will call on third-party data to inform it in certain situations. The big difference is that the real-time reaction gauge on Engage.cx is turned up much higher than it is in B2B CRM solutions like Salesforce or Fusion, Trice says.

“On the consumer side, the purchase cycle is much shorter. Customers are fleeting. They’re looking at couches today and cars tomorrow,” says Trice (at left). “So, what we do is bring the ability to recognize a customer across any channel touchpoint and introduce relevant content to the in-journey experience: ‘Joe was on our website last night. Is he in our store today?’”

The outdoor outfitter Rock/Creek, an Engage.cx beta tester, was able to leverage Wi-Fi technology to identify app users and loyalty members in-store to inform associates that, for instance, a premium level customer is on the premises. It also added third-party data to gain more insight about those customer’s current outdoor interests.

Ultimately, Engage.cx is the byproduct of a marketplace full of demanding, educated, smartphone-toting consumers. “Ten years ago this product wouldn’t have been relevant,” Trice says. “But now consumers are more informed and consumer businesses need to be more informed, as well.”

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