MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: The retail sector represents a massive future growth opportunity for CRM (customer relationship management) outsourcers in Asia-Pacific (AP), with contact centre agents servicing the industry projected to increase by 30 per cent by 2016, according Ovum.
However, the independent technology analyst finds that to be able to take advantage of the potential the retail market offers them, CRM outsourcers must first enhance their offering.
In a new report, Ovum claims that CRM outsourcers will need to look beyond their standard service to make their mark in the sector.
Peter Ryan, Ovum lead analyst and author of the report, commented: “The retail sector is undergoing significant change globally due to both poor economic conditions and shifts in how consumers purchase products. This is having a significant impact on how end users interact with retail operators, many of which are under considerable pressure to keep costs at a minimum, while at the same time maximising revenue opportunities and customer service”.
In Australia, the ANZ Bank analyses point to a relatively sluggish remainder of 2011 and 2012, with economic growth relatively sluggish. Should this occur, there is significant likelihood that consumers' disposable income will remain tight or evaporate altogether, thus having a tough impact on retailers profitability,, meaning that there will be pressure to cut overheads in order to maintain margins.
“We believe that there is tremendous opportunity for CRM outsourcers globally to win business in the retail sector. However, in order to do so vendors will have to take a more forward-looking approach than simply cheap agents on telephones. Rather, the retailer of the future will need to partner with an outsourcer that can provide enhanced standards of support at the agent level channels.”
According to Ovum’s figures, the Asia-Pacific market size for outsourced contact centre agent positions in the retail sector will grow from 478k positions in 2011, to 681k in 2016, an increase of almost 30 percent for the period. Australia proved to be the most sluggish in comparison to China, The Philippines and India within the AP region, with a CAGR of only 3.8 percent over the five years. China, being the growth engine globally, shows a CAGR of 12.9 percent. The Philippines is not very far from China, showing a CAGR of 11.2 percent from 2011 to 2016.
Ovum’s report advises that the enhanced services CRM outsourcers adopt in order to win business should focus on areas in which their services are better equipped than any in-house solution to drive retailers' businesses forward.
One example is to provide additional services to existing retail clients that will allow them to target their end users with add-on products that enable the retailer to boost revenues and reduce costs in the contact centre.
Ryan commented: “To execute this effectively, outsourcers must stress their expertise in this domain, as well as capabilities in using analytics tools to properly target tactical opportunities. This is likely to resonate strongly with retailers that have been struggling with budget issues leading to an inability to invest in the right agent training and application acquisition.”