• Retail Top 100 2012, No. 13: Retail CRM

The future of retail CRM — both its potential and pitfalls — is writ large on the walls of Facebook. Amassing more than a trillion page views per month, Facebook is an immense source of CRM data with unlimited potential, but it appears in an unwieldy mix of text, graphics, geospatial and other formats that, thus far, retailers have been unable to wrap their arms around. In the past couple of years, the industry has been aswirl with rumors of impending CRM breakthroughs, with speculation ranging from artificial intelligence supercomputers such as IBM’s “Jeopardy!” champion Watson to applications developed by CIA-friendly organizations for monitoring potential terrorist activities. However, with the release of its Gateway for Facebook CRM solution this past summer, retail business analytics leader MicroStrategy has positioned itself as first-mover in what some observers have already dubbed the “Facebook CRM era,” potentially the biggest development in retail technology and marketing since the invention of the Web.

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