Why You Need a CRM for Ecommerce

How well do you really know your customers?

No matter what you think the answer to that question is, you can always know them better.

And how can you get to know them better? You need an ecommerce CRM to help you gain more insights into your buyers’ behavior.

When we say CRM (also known as Customer Relationship Management software), you may think of Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics and wonder if these solutions would really serve your business needs. After all, your sales process is very different than the B2B companies this software was built to serve — you don’t have an army of salespeople on the phone, your sales cycle is shorter, and your target audience is far larger than most B2B businesses.

That’s why you need CRM software that is designed specifically for businesses that sell directly to consumers: a B2C CRM.

A B2C CRM can help you collect, unify, and analyze the data your buyers share with you each day. A traditional CRM solution simply isn’t built to handle the high volume of data created by B2C businesses, but an ecommerce CRM can.

Here’s why your brand needs a B2C CRM to help you better serve your ecommerce customers.

Get a single view of your customer

You need to know as much as possible about your potential customers if you want to sell them your products, convert them into loyal customers. But where is your detailed customer data? Is it all in the same place, ready to be analyzed? Or is all your customer information spread across the five different systems you use to execute marketing?

Maybe you use marketing automation software, an ecommerce platform, a social media marketing solution, Google Analytics, and so on. All of these systems capture data that is crucial to better understand your customers. But if that data exists in silos, it’s almost impossible to get a single view of your customer.

That’s where an ecommerce CRM can help. Traditional CRMs are not built to handle the sheer volume of transactions and other interactions that buyers have with your business. However, using what is known as user resolution technology, a B2C CRM can actually stitch together current and historical data to gain a clear picture of your customer across all the mobile devices, channels, and browsers that they use.

With a CRM for ecommerce, you’ll have one single tool that unifies all your customer data, enabling you to store, track and analyze everything in one place so you can get an overall picture of your customers’ needs and wants.

Personalize your marketing

According to research from Accenture, consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, and knows their purchase history. With an ecommerce CRM system to collect and store the data on every customer interaction, you can more easily offer this type of personalization to your buyers. Some customers prefer to be contacted by email, some by text, some on social media, some even prefer to receive something in the mail. If you’re sending everyone emails, regardless of their preferences, your campaigns won’t be as effective.

It’s not just customer contact preferences that you need to be aware of if you are to improve the effectiveness of your campaigns. You can also use past shopping behavior, price point, typical customer journey, demographic details, and location. With a CRM for ecommerce, you not only have access to this information, but you can dynamically segment your buyers according to different parameters and filters to better target your audience and improve the response rate to your email marketing. You’ll also be able to:

  • Identify the customer from their past interactions
  • Understand more about the products the customer is looking for
  • Have access to real-time information on what customers want in the moment

This includes actions like automatically sending emails when a customer abandons a browsing session on your online store, as well as flash sales, personalized product recommendations, and more.

Optimize your campaigns over time

Even more important than personalization is using your data to improve your marketing by measuring the right metrics. According to a McKinsey study, firms in the top quartile of analytics performance were 20 times better at attracting new customers and more than five times better at retaining existing ones.

With a CRM for ecommerce, you can track the success of campaigns and make tweaks depending on their effectiveness. The metrics you can track with a CRM go beyond the activity-based metrics such as views, open rates, and clicks. Instead, you can look at revenue-based numbers like that campaigns that:

  • Drove the highest rate of first purchases
  • Sparked more repeat purchases
  • Had the highest average order value (AOV)

You can also analyze historical data to get new insight into what particular campaigns sparked the most first purchases, where your most loyal customers came from, what had they had in common in terms of demographics, and so on. Then you can bring all the customer interactions together to build a clearer picture of what has worked for individual consumers, or for groups of consumers. An ecommerce CRM provides an integrated analytics approach to pull together all the data that you need to answer these questions, and then optimize campaigns based on customer past behavior.

Improve customer service

Customer data also includes customer service data. How often have you had to explain the same problem – from scratch – to several different customer service reps? It’s one of the biggest pain points for customers when contacting companies with a question or problem.

An ecommerce CRM also allows customer service reps to access the data on every single interaction that a consumer has had with your company, including customer service. This enables more personalized service as well as a speedy and more satisfactory resolution to any complaint. Collecting this customer data allows your company to build up a better relationship with the customer, driving repeat business instead of sparking complaints of poor customer support on social media or to friends and family.

A CRM system allows you to measure the effectiveness of your customer service in multiple ways. You can look at overall metrics, like whether the case was handled the first time or how long the customer support interaction took, as well as individual metrics like the customer’s opinion of how the interaction went and whether there are any areas for improvements.

You can also analyze this data to see if you can spot any common patterns either in issues that arise frequently or in ways that your customers prefer to be contacted. For example, if you get a lot of calls or emails about a certain topic that could be easily handled without help from a customer service agent, you could include a section on this issue within our FAQs. Customer service data is just another way to leverage data to improve your ecommerce business.

What should I look for in an ecommerce CRM?

As we mentioned before, there are certain features your ecommerce CRM needs if want to get to know your customers better. You must be able to:

  • Identify and track consumers across all devices, and channels, as well as interactions with other systems
  • Stitch together information from an anonymous user to a newly-identified buyer
  • Integrate with other existing marketing systems so the data can be shared seamlessly to build a clear picture of the customer and deliver campaign insights and intelligence
  • Analyze information in real-time to understand a user’s intent and enable contextual and in-the-moment experiences

Ultimately, an ecommerce CRM will enable you to get to know your customers, to better understand the decisions they make, to tailor to their preferences, and tie all your marketing together seamlessly. With the power of customer data in your hands, you can be in the right channel at the right time with the most personalized service to make a new purchase happen. You already have the data — it’s what you do with it that counts.

This post was originally published on January 16, 2018, but was recently updated.

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