In B2C marketing, customer data can be more than a little scary.
There’s so much of it, it’s constantly accumulating, and it’s spread out across multiple platforms and channels that are difficult to wrangle. But instead of ignoring the problem or pushing it aside, you have to confront it head-on with the right tool: a B2C CRM.
When you think of a CRM, you likely thought of Salesforce, Oracle or another well-known CRM platform to help you manage the millions of interactions customers have with your brand. However, the traditional CRM was simply not built for the fast-paced and ever-changing world of B2C marketing.
That’s because traditional CRM solutions were built for B2B companies with long sales cycles, sales teams, and high price points. These solutions can’t handle the sheer volume of customer interactions a B2C business has with its customers.
Traditional CRM also can’t help B2C and ecommerce marketers like you nurture customers, segment buyers according to specific criteria, and personalize communications throughout what is often an unpredictable sales cycle.
If you want a solution that is designed specifically for B2C marketers and can handle the unique needs of ecommerce businesses like yours, you need a B2C CRM. We’ve created this detailed guide to help you understand exactly what a B2C CRM is (and isn’t), how it differs from a B2B CRM, and how it can help power up your marketing campaigns, drive customer loyalty, and improve ROI.
A B2C CRM is a single platform that brings customer data and campaign execution together, enabling marketers to better understand buyers and use data to directly power campaigns across channels.
B2C CRMs are built to scale with your business. Consumers interact with your company on an ever-growing number of channels and devices at different times and in different ways throughout the buying journey (and even simultaneously – think browsing online while in-store). Because of this, marketers are now spending one-third of their budgets on channels they didn’t know existed five years ago.
If you want to better understand your customers and how they act at specific points in the customer journey, you need to collect all the data from every channel you market on today — whether email, paid ads, or push notifications. This is why you need a system in place to bring all that data together and help you untangle it. If your data is siloed across a multitude of systems used by different people and departments, it’s extremely difficult to develop a single view of the customer and gain any useful insight.
It’s also a time-consuming process to analyze your ad data, then analyze your email data, and website data, and then try to put it all into one report. Research from Gartner shows that marketing analysts can spend 20 to 30 hours of their work week shepherding, wrangling and corralling their data.
A B2C CRM helps lighten that load by bringing together all the data from disparate systems into one centralized location, without the need for technical help from IT. This includes:
A B2C CRM unifies and analyzes every single interaction you have with customers across all devices and channels. This enables you to build up a more complete customer profile across the entire customer lifecycle. And the more you know about your customers, the better your marketing campaigns will become.
Despite looking almost identical as acronyms, B2C CRMs and B2B CRMs are not the same. While a B2B CRM like Salesforce is immensely useful in the right scenario, it was designed for the unique requirements of businesses selling to other businesses. In contrast, the B2C CRM was built specifically with the B2C and ecommerce marketer in mind. Here are the core differences between a B2C CRM and a B2B CRM.
Most B2B CRMs are built for salespeople specifically. They provide functionality for handling leads and opportunities, and moving them through the different stages of the sales cycle. In B2B companies, marketers generally stay out of the CRM and are only responsible for generating leads, which they then hand over to the salespeople to manage.
A B2C CRM is oriented toward marketers, since they are the ones bringing in new business, directly impacting revenue, and managing and nurturing customers. A B2C CRM provides granular details on a huge number of customers, enabling marketers to keep track of exactly where buyers they are in the customer lifecycle and what is needed to push them towards the next purchase.
In general, B2B companies sell pricier products, which means that salespeople focus on fewer accounts and handle fewer transactions. B2C marketers, on the other hand, often deal with thousands of purchases per day, meaning they need to analyze millions of interactions with potential and existing customers.
For this reason, a B2C CRM has to be able to quickly and accurately identify users across all channels and devices, and stitch together that identity within one customer ID. Then, you can effectively market to your buyers based on a complete history of their interactions with your company. A B2B CRM can’t handle that volume of data, and so, only a B2C CRM works.
Most B2B sales cycles are much longer than B2C cycles due to the higher price products they sell. A typical B2B sales process also involves a lot more stakeholders and stages in the sales pipeline, meaning it can take a long time to close the sale.
In contrast, B2C sales cycles vary wildly. They can be anything from 10 minutes for impulse purchases, to three years for customers who have been reading your blog and liking your Instagram posts, but weren’t yet ready to buy. B2C CRMs are designed to deal with that uncertainty. They allow marketers to understand where customers are in the sales cycle based on their current behavior, how likely they are to buy, and to be able to easily work out the most effective next best action according to each unique situation.
The relationship a B2B salesperson has with their customer is very different than the one a B2C marketer has with their customers. B2B businesses emphasize initial customer acquisition because of the higher value one sale brings in and because one deal can often last for years. But in B2C, companies have to emphasize the importance of loyalty and repeat purchases in order to generate revenue long-term.
This means that a B2C CRM has to be able to analyze data not just on first purchases, but also second, third and so on, to ensure that they can spot the habits that keeps customers coming back for more.
Proving the worth of your product and increasing your revenue aren’t subjects you need to be convinced of as a marketer. But allocating more of your time, resources, and budget to look at your marketing from a more granular perspective might be.
Now that you understand what a B2C CRM does and how it’s different than a B2B CRM, you have to take a look at the impact it can have on your business. While you can get by without a B2C CRM, you’re likely leaving a huge amount of revenue on the table.
A B2C CRM unifies all your data so you can get a better understanding of your customers, more effectively track important metrics, and directly optimize your marketing campaigns. It allows marketers to create a single source of truth so they can close the gap between data and marketing execution.
There are three key ways that a B2C CRM enables you to do all of this:
If you engage customers at the right time with the right personalized content, they are more likely to engage and buy from you. In fact, behaviorally triggered, personalized emails increase revenue-per-send by 52X.
A B2C CRM enables you to build up customer profiles, seen below, that show interactions with your brand, as well as information such as:
With this data in aggregate, you can use your B2C CRM to understand what each individual customer has bought historically, and what they may be looking for in the moment on your website today. You can use this data to not only make smart product recommendations, you can also cross-sell and upsell products to drive up average order value. You can then automatically send out triggered emails based on website behavior, such as cart abandonment and browse abandonment.
One example of a company that uses personalization and smart recommendations effectively is Calvin Klein. In the email below, the company used the customer’s browsing history to send a browse abandonment email with recommendations of other handbags the customer might like. It also uses this information to try to up-sell other products.
Segmenting customers is more than just creating a static list of email addresses based on historical data. A B2C CRM gives you access to a single source of truth that enables you to create detailed and dynamic segments for far better ROI on campaigns.
With dynamic segmentation, you can segment customers in real-time as they browse your site, instead of relying on historical data. A B2C CRM enables you to add or remove buyers from a segment based on the actions they take on your site right now as well as where they are in the customer lifecycle. Here are some of examples of emails you can send based on this behavior:
A B2C CRM allows you to segment customers based on their stage in the shopping journey in real-time, whether they are ready to buy or just browsing, and then take appropriate, targeted actions based on that information. This approach also works for winback campaigns or targeting loyal customers who are at-risk or haven’t engaged with you in a while. Lifecycle segmentation helps marketers understand the behavior of loyal customers with those of one-time shoppers, for example.
By segmenting your customers by lifecycle stage, you know exactly when to intervene — before you lose them entirely. If you have an at-risk customer, you can send a reactivation email like this time-sensitive offer from AirBnB.
Segmentation also isn’t restricted to emails. You can use retargeting ads or push notifications as part of your omnichannel marketing strategy for specific dynamic segments. With one single source of truth for your customers, you’ll already know which channel buyers are most likely to use to engage with your brand. You can then use that channel to send them ads and coupons to encourage them to complete the purchase. This enables you to serve the customer the right content in the right channel at exactly the right time.
Once you’ve unified your data, you’ll be able to use your B2C CRM to run all kinds of different analyses into your most effective marketing campaigns, as well as find out specifics about these campaigns, such as:
Finding this information out is just the first step. You then need to work out how you can use this data to optimize your marketing campaigns. You can also measure how these KPIs change over time. For example, when you measure conversions from first to second or third purchase, you can understand whether you are effectively driving customer loyalty. These metrics are not static, and what worked last month might not work in three months time. You need to be agile enough to switch techniques on the fly.
A B2C CRM combines this forward-looking approach with the ability to analyze your historical data. You can understand where your most loyal customers came from in the past, as well as which campaigns were most successful in sparking first purchases. Together, these insights help you get a clearer picture of what has worked, and what continues to work so you can optimize future campaigns directly from customers data.
There are very clear differences between B2B CRMs and B2C CRMs, and compelling reasons why you need a B2C CRM for your ecommerce business. However, recognizing that you need a B2C CRM is only the first step in reaping the benefits it can bring.
If you want to run data-driven campaigns, you need to make sure your B2C CRM can eliminate the gap between customer data and marketing automation. Only then can you execute personalized, dynamically segmented, and optimized omnichannel marketing campaigns. Here is what you need to ensure your B2C CRM can do to make that happen.
Did you know that the average marketer uses at least 12 different marketing tools? Think about what that means for your data and how difficult it is for you to get a single, complete picture of customer behavior. You need a centralized system that can integrate data from all of these different tools to give you a single version of the truth. Without this integration, you will either miss key insights and connections that allow you to spot trends and habits, or you’ll spend hours of your precious time wrangling with a giant spreadsheet to try to make sense of your data.
Traditionally marketers have relied on IT, data scientists, and marketing analysts to either access the data they need for analysis, or to generate the reports they need to take action on the data they have collected. A B2C CRM allows marketers to own customer data so they can operate independently, iterate rapidly, and test campaigns themselves. This will not only empower marketers to realize their potential, and deliver better campaigns, it will also improve the customer experience.
The ability to access up-to-date, real-time data on all customer interactions with your brand, no matter which device or channel that data is coming from, is crucial. Only when you have real-time data can you start to make full use of the data you already have to better understand user intent. Then you can start to build up dynamic segments based on the latest data and create hyper-targeted campaigns to engage specific buyers. This will enable you as a marketer to take a more customer-centric approach to marketing, while making each channel and campaign more effective, relevant and intelligent.
So what are you waiting for? Try a B2C CRM today.
Find out more about the specific distinctions in the capabilities and functionalities of a B2C CRM vs. a B2B CRM so you can decide for yourself which one is right for your business.
A CRM for ecommerce 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. Here’s how.
With a B2C CRM, you can access and manipulate detailed customer data in real-time, but also use it to personalize and power your marketing campaigns.