Editor’s note: In the article, Oleg dives into what makes ecommerce CRM such a powerful solution for your business and shares things you need to consider before its implementation. And if you’re looking for the ways to win more customers, increase customer retention, and build brand loyalty, consider ScienceSoft’s CRM consulting service.
Having 16% of total sales, US ecommerce shows a stable trend of growing 3-4% each year. With such increasing popularity, the competition in the ecommerce market becomes stiffer. To end up winning this competition, your ecommerce business should definitely have a 360-degree view of customers, effective customer service and personalized marketing campaigns to build customer loyalty – all of this is achievable with an ecommerce CRM. Tapping into my experience with CRM projects, let’s dive into how exactly CRM makes all of that possible for ecommerce.
Many ScienceSoft’s customers from the ecommerce industry perceive CRM as catering to the needs of salespeople, thus, not so effective in their domain. The truth is, at its core, ecommerce customer relationship management goes deeper into personalized marketing and customer service to bolster the conversion rate of your customer journeys. Such personalization may include individual promotions, discounts, priority customer service, just to name a few examples. A good example of such personalization making an impact on your customer relationships can be found in a project ScienceSoft did for a group of companies engaged in fashion retail and hospitality, where we implemented Dynamics 365 Marketing to enable the customer to run personalized email campaigns and improve their social media engagement in both their brick-and-mortar and ecommerce domains.
Now, when we’re done with the trivia, let’s look at what benefits your ecommerce company can get with CRM. For example, according to Salesforce, a leading CRM provider, their customers achieve a 30-50% increase in the customer retention rate, agent productivity, and case resolution speed. And to top it off, they gain a 25-30% increase in their marketing ROI and purchase volume!
Now, let’s review the features your CRM should have for you to achieve considerable business improvements ranging from better conversion rates to increased customer satisfaction.
360-degree customer view
CRM stores your customers’ data, ranging from their actions on your website, social media mentions, purchases, and email openings to help requests. This data allows you to gain a deeper understanding of your customer base, see ways to improve your product/service quality, provide your customers with personalized offers and discounts as well as tiered customer service.
You can create customer journeys mapping your customers’ route from the point of being a prospect to the point of becoming a brand advocate. Also, you can manage and adjust your interactions with your customers across various steps of their journey.
Personalized email marketing
CRM software allows you to perform mass email campaigns, retaining the necessary level of personalization. Your CRM uses customer data, such as names, deal details, etc. in email templates keeping communication personal, quick, and always on the topic.
Based on the data collected within CRM, you can identify your best customer acquisition channels, marketing campaign effectiveness, popular products/services, and who are the customers most actively buying with your business. Such analytics may help you adjust your marketing strategy and laser-focus on profitable customer groups.
Marketing and customer service workflow automation
CRM offers automation capabilities, ranging from customer data entry to communication. For example, with email automation, you can set up triggers for automated messaging. And if a customer leaves your online store without finalizing a purchase, an email with a reminder will be sent automatically.
Knowledge and case management
The case management feature provides your support agents with a convenient one-window multi-tab workspace where all the necessary customer data and working tools are gathered. With the help of the knowledge management feature, your support agents can promptly share the product/service-related information with your customers using quick replies or smart article search.
A chatbot can become a comfortable tool for your customers to resolve simple queries (e.g., checking delivery status), while simultaneously decreasing your customer service costs up to 30%. The chatbot uses CRM customer data (name, area, etc.) to provide a personalized experience and may transfer the chat to real agents if the query can’t be resolved automatically.
Customer satisfaction tracking
Employing various customer satisfaction forms, you can gain insight into where your brand stands with your customers and what can be done to improve their experience.
When opting for ecommerce CRM, you have 2 options: a platform-based solution or a custom solution. If your team fits into licensing requirements perfectly and the proposed functionality covers your needs entirely or can be customized to do so — building your CRM solution on such platforms as Dynamics 365 or Salesforce, could be just for you. On the other hand, if you run a highly unique sales process, the concepts of which aren’t presented in platform-based solutions or the number of your CRM users makes buying licenses not cost-efficient, you may consider custom CRM development.
- Your CRM should be integrated with your ecommerce platform and website to accumulate needed customer-related data.
- CRM should be integrated with all of your communication channels. Having all your customer interactions recorded, be it email messaging, phone calls, social media interactions, or a message on a community forum, provides you with endless marketing opportunities, from personalized emails to custom landing pages.
- Your CRM system should be able to recognize duplicate records to avoid inaccurate data. Your customers may use various communication channels and different devices to access your store, often creating another account. Thus, having your CRM able to recognize each customer allows you to create an accurate picture of your customer base.
- As your CRM needs to store and process an extensive amount of data about customer interactions, you should ensure its stable performance via thought-out software architecture in case of custom solution development or configure your platform-based CRM properly.
Both platform-based and custom ecommerce CRM will be able to benefit your business if you base your choice not solely on implementation costs but on the overall feasibility. Thus, you can maximize your custom CRM’s ROI by going for iterative development. In this case, you start with basic CRM functionality and get positive outcomes early and gradually add new features when the need arises. As for ROI of platform-based CRM, my practice shows that companies choosing market-leading software such as Dynamics 365 Customer Service may see full payback in 3-6 months after implementation, reaching a total ROI of 300% largely due to automation capabilities. So, if you’ve decided to give ecommerce CRM a try but you’re not sure which option will perform best for your business, let us know, and we’ll help you choose and implement the best feasible variant.
Do you want to manage customer relationships more efficiently? Experienced consultants will help you with CRM software of any complexity.