First came the idea.
The Retail CRM Idea Exchange was started in March 2002 as an email solicitation to friends, colleagues and acquaintances of Tim Anglum at retail companies involved in CRM.† The goal was to recruit members for an independent information exchange among passionate CRM practitioners.† Very simply, the objective was for peers in the retail industry to talk about the challenges, objectives, concerns and philosophies that everyone had regarding CRM.†† Some were drawn to the group for itís value as a place to find empathy in trying times and others as place to validate an approach or get a confirming opinion.
What followed was a great start.
The response to the original email was great.† Retail friends joined.† Vendor and partner friends referred other retailers.† The group kicked off in April 2002 with members from Saks, Kohlís, Toys R Us, Marshall Fields, Nordstrom, Staples, Sam Goody, Wilsons Leather and Best Buy.†
Working out the ground rules was easy.
To keep things simple, it was agreed that no confidential information would be exchanged and no non-disclosures agreements would be required.† Long before Linked In and Facebook, the first informal discussion was conducted via conference call to discuss the pressing topics of the day.† Subsequent exchanges were been held every six weeks with each exchange lasting between 60-90 minutes.
We are all grown up now.
In subsequent years, the group has added members from Victoriaís Secret, Federated Department Stores, Target, May Company, Borders and many others.† After a short affiliation with the NRF, we are back on our own again.† The group migrated to LinkedIn and manages membership there but largely conducts exchanges in a similar manner to the original conference call back in April 2002.† Along the way, many new networks and relationships have developed.
If you are interested in learning more about the Retail CRM Idea Exchange or want to join the group, you can contact itís founder Tim Anglum or join at Retail CRM Idea Exchange.