Does Your eCommerce Business Need A CRM Platform?

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Can a customer relationship management (CRM) platform help your eCommerce business? We look at the benefits of CRM for eCommerce and ask what they can do for you.

The success of an eCommerce business depends on the strength of its relationships with its customers. Good relationships keep customers buying from their preferred retailer rather than from a competitor. They generate positive word of mouth that brings new customers to a store. Without good relationships with loyal customers, a retailer must constantly scramble to attract new customers, surviving month-to-month on the unpredictable success of discounts and marketing stunts.

Despite their importance to sales and revenue, many eCommerce retailers do not use a dedicated platform to manage customer relationships. They rely on ad-hoc interactions, second-rate tools, and inefficient processes that fail to maximize the value of customer relationships and data.

Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms provide specialized tools that help retailers to build better relationships, extract more value from existing relationships, and use data to attract new customers.

What Is Customer Relationship Management Software?

A CRM platform gathers data from various sources, including eCommerce stores, marketing platforms, and payment processors. The data might include customer contact details, sales data, account information, support data, and records of other interactions with customers.

Because all of the relevant data is gathered in one place, it can be compared, segmented, and analyzed in ways that are not possible when data is locked away in separate applications. For many sales and marketing professionals, a CRM replaces a complex set of difficult to maintain spreadsheets with a single source of truth.

Customer relationship management platforms are available in many different forms, from cloud software-as-a-service platforms like SalesForce to self-hosted open source applications like OroCRM.

How Do Ecommerce Businesses Use CRM Software?

Customer relationship management applications can have a profound impact on the health of customer relationships and the efficiency and productivity of sales and marketing teams, such as:

Data Is Shared With All Stakeholders

CRMs centralize data, allowing it to be accessed and analyzed by anyone in the company who needs actionable information. Developers can use CRM data to improve conversion rates and to design and build new features and user experiences. Customer support and sales professionals use CRMs to track and manage interactions with customers. Marketing professionals segment CRM data to identify important customer groups, as we’ll discuss in a moment. Executives use CRMs to build and monitor reports that provide the data they need to make decisions.

Marketing Opportunities Are Identified, Tracked & Acted Upon

How do eCommerce businesses identify their most valuable customers, the ones who generate the most revenue and who are worth the biggest investment? As marketers will tell you, there is an art to segmenting a customer base. It requires creativity, a little intuition, and a lot of data.

One of the most commonly used techniques is RFM, which stands for “recency, frequency, and monetary.” The best customers to market to are those who have recently made a purchase (recency), who often make purchases (frequency), and who tend to make larger purchases (monetary). These are the customers who are most likely to generate a rewarding return on any marketing investment.

RFM analysis can be carried out in various ways. Ecommerce retailers can hire a developer to run SQL queries on their database to generate RFM reports. They can export the data and import it into a spreadsheet for quasi-manual analysis. Alternatively, they can use a CRM such as OroCRM which provides RFM analysis and lead out-of-the-box segmentation.

RFM is not the only way to segment a customer base. The best CRM’s provide comprehensive analytics and reporting tools that can be used to segment and compare groups of customers according to any number of factors, empowering retailers to identify opportunities and build stronger customer relationships.

Customer Support Is More Productive & Effective

Customers expect more than just prompt delivery of a product; they also expect support throughout the buying process. Retailers have to go above and beyond with support to build long-lasting relationships that keep customers away from competitors.

The best customer relationship management software integrates with help desk software and other support tools, providing a complete picture of a customer’s interactions with the business. Detailed information is invaluable for support professionals, helping them to provide personalized support and resolve issues more quickly.

CRM software helps retailers manage the full span of the content lifecycle, from identifying leads to post-purchase support.

Routine Tasks Can Be Automated

Sales professionals spend upwards of 25 percent of their workday on manual administrative tasks. They move data from one system to another, fill in forms, and manually enter data into spreadsheets and other applications. They compile reports and send documents to other departments. All of this is important, and most of it can be automated.

As we’ve discussed, a core strength of CRMs is their ability to centralize data through integrations with other software. OroCRM offers two-way integration with Magento; it can automatically extract information from Magento for processing and send information back to Magento when required. Other CRMs have similar features, saving businesses an enormous amount of time.

Data entry errors waste a lot of time and money. However diligent employees are, any dull and repetitive task is prone to error. By automating the flow of information between platforms, manual errors are eliminated. Data is automatically made available to the powerful analytics tools of a modern CRM, and business owner can be sure that it’s the right data.

CRM automation goes beyond integration. Reports can be compiled automatically, often in real-time. Approved team members automatically get access, so there’s no need to email documents. Team leaders can implement and enforce workflows to ensure that best practices are followed.

So Does Your Business Need A CRM?

Solo eCommerce businesses with a small customer base may not benefit from the power of an enterprise-grade customer relationship management application. However, once a business serves more than a few dozen customers or has more than one or two employees, a CRM can make a massive difference to eCommerce marketing, sales, and customer support.



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