Square and Groupon: A New CRM for Merchants?



Posted on May 20, 2014

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Internet and mobile technology are changing the current state of CRM systems. What we typically envision customer relationship management tools to organize, manage sales, marketing, customer service, and tech support has evolved in different forms. Tools, such as Salesforce and Zoho, are what comes to mind when the word CRM is mentioned, but there’s a new category of services evolved from “CRM’ systems that might look quite different.

“Businesses will increasingly look for applications that help them interact with their customers better – and as this interaction moves to mobile (from phone calls and web), the CRM systems will manifest them as the app,” Anshu Sharma, VP of Product Management & Strategy at salesforce.com.

On Monday, Groupon announced the release of Gnome, an iPad-based payment processing system that rivals Square. Gnome serves as a cash register that will accept traditional payments, Groupon Daily Deals, and include an integrated software to keep track of customer data and more.

Last week, Square announced the release of Square Feedback, a product that will allow its merchants to receive feedback on their services in the form of a digital receipt.

The release of these two products both signal one thing – the point-of-sale cash register also becoming the designated tool for customer relationship management.

Square Feedback is intended to serve as a more seamless communication channel between merchants and consumers. Consumers can easily give feedback and merchants are notified when there’s bad feedback and address the issue – before an upset customer publically complain via social media or by word-of-mouth and influence all their peers. This also serves as a way for the merchant to see any recurring problem, prioritize, and address it. The Square Feedback functionality is similar to help desk ticketing but for physical stores and merchants.

According to Business Wire, the Gnome’s CRM feature will allow “customize marketing campaigns using customer purchase history and preferences. Gnome also lets merchants share customer feedback via Facebook and Twitter and enables one-click email response to solve customer service issues as they happen.” Again, there’s a focus from Groupon on feedback. Having an easy way to receive, manage, and address customer feedback is important for a merchant or any business to have.

Both the Square Feedback and Gnome’s CRM feature creates a way for businesses to collect data about the user and provide better customer support. The point-of-sale system gives key data into customers’ life-time value and spending patterns. It makes sense for this information to be accessible in the same place where merchant can gather information, manage customer satisfaction, and even upsell to relevant customers.

Both companies recognized the opportunity of leveraging mobile and internet technology and provide merchants with a more centralized and easy way to manage information and communication with and about their customers. Both are fighting to be the all-in-one CRM/Payment processing hybrid solution for merchants. How they’ll execute? We shall see, but while they strive to be the CRM for merchants, Helpshift wants to be the CRM for companies like them – CRM for mobile heavy and app-centric businesses.

Every key feature such as searchable FAQ, in-app chat, device information, customer analytics, customized tagging, native SDK, and more – all are carefully developed and crafted with the vision of being the modern CRM in mind. With the rapid adoption of mobile, a new breed of businesses have emerged. Those businesses need a new way to manage customer data and relationships. Shouldn’t the communication channel between these mobile-focused business and their customers be directly when and where the customers are at? Directly in the app?

CRM ( customer relationship management software) growth statistics
Gartner predicts CRM will be a worldwide $36B Market By 2017. It may include unconventional non-CRM focused businesses. It may include Square. It may include Groupon. Maybe Grubhub, or even Airbnb. It’s an exciting time to be in the space and see how CRMs will evolve.

That’s why we aim to be more than just a help desk. We aim to be the customer relationship management solution for businesses – wherever and whenever mobile is a crucial aspect in their business operation. After all, mobile-focused businesses should have a mobile-focused CRM system.

Helpshift – the CRM for the mobile world.

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