No matter what products your eCommerce store is selling, you are bound to come up against hundreds or thousands of competing websites. You have to set yourself apart from the rest. There are a number of ways you can do that such as predictive pricing software and website outage alerts. But perhaps no technique can be as effective as a robust customer relationship management (CRM) strategy.
As a concept, CRM isn’t new. Throughout history, businesses have honed the art of developing policies for managing customer expectations. Though, in the virtual world of eCommerce, CRM can be a little more complex but still as relevant as ever. Here’s how CRM can improve your bottom line.
1. Lead Nurturing
Guiding a prospect through the purchasing process is at the center of every successful eCommerce store. Setting up a CRM system to catalog, guide and nurture decisions along the buying process will give you insights on what works and what you need to change.
This information will help you seal any loopholes in the sales funnel and therefore make your sales strategy more impactful.
2. Data Collection
In May 2017, The Economist alluded to data as fast becoming the most valuable resource of the 21st century. The more data you can legally collect from your customers, the better prepared you will be to make decisions that benefit your business.
Keeping track of who is buying, why they are buying, and what their future spending habits are likely to be, gives you the information you need to directly communicate with each customer in the way that best resonates with them. Data gives you the power to streamline and optimize all aspects of your messaging strategy and product offerings.
3. Customer Trends
Perhaps the biggest benefit of data collection is the ability to map customer trends. eCommerce stores that have collected and intelligently acted on customer information have a significant advantage over their competitors.
In a way, they can see things other stores do not and can, therefore, have a first mover advantage on opportunities that aren’t immediately apparent. You can zero in on specific target markets and demographics then tailor your offerings in tandem with the customer’s needs and desires.
4. Deeper Analytics
Virtually every eCommerce system will give you some insights into customer activity such as what they bought on your site. But such tidbits of information while important aren’t that helpful on their own. The more information you can gather in a central database, the more you can perform a deep dive into individual customers, market niches and general consumer behavior.
A good CRM system would bring all this information collected from various points together and give you the power to create customized reports that give you a deeper understanding of your customer base.
5. Trend-Based Sales Strategy
No business experiences the same volume of sales for every day, week, and month of the year. Your eCommerce store will certainly see higher revenues during certain times of the year. The reason for these sales spikes will depend on the nature of your product, holidays, trends, and so many other reasons.
For example, many retailers see their best numbers toward the end of the year coinciding with the holiday season. Gyms experience a sharp rise in signups at the beginning of the year as people try to act on their new year resolutions to reduce weight and live healthier.
One of the reasons a CRM system can be so potent is the ability it gives you to anticipate demand and therefore position your marketing and sales strategy accordingly. Starting your marketing campaign early would remind your customers to set aside money for the future purchase.
Other than the quality of your product, few things show you truly care about your customers. By gathering all customer interactions into a CRM system, you can see unanswered questions, persistent service issues, and a history of the interaction on a single system.
A CRM gives you the triggers that drive you to act on customer issues without any delay. In the absence of a CRM tool, customer issues can fall through the cracks and remain unresolved for longer than they should.
7. Consistency Across Touchpoints
The modern customer expects businesses to communicate with them using the channel that is most convenient to the customer. What’s more, the customer’s preference for any one channel of communication isn’t indefinite. Today’s eCommerce store will, therefore, find that they have at some point communicated with the same customer through phone, email, live chat, social media, and even snail mail.
Without a CRM system, customers are bound to get frustrated because they will have to repeat their story each time they get in touch with a different company representative. The CRM tool ensures that any conversation the customer has with their account manager, a sales agent, or support team is logged and documented. Such consistency gives your customers a personalized experience and a deep sense that the company truly cares about their voice.
8. Keep Contacts Warm
No business operates in a vacuum. There are competitors out there who will be more than happy to take your customers away from you. Successful businesses are those that greatly diminish the likelihood of their customers switching to the competition. One of the most effective ways to do that is to manage your contacts efficiently and make sure you stay in touch with your customers and prospects through emails, newsletters, and events.
A CRM software can quickly show your customers that need a little warm up. You could, for instance, generate a list of customers who haven’t made a purchase over the last 3 months or so. Pay special attention to those who were regular buyers but recently seem to be losing interest. This category is the most likely to decisively switch to competitors.
Thanks to the information aggregated by the CRM, you can promptly initiate targeted and relevant communication with these accounts and pick up any underlying issues that may have dampened their enthusiasm for your product.
9. Connecting the Team
Getting all employees on the same page is the key to working quickly and efficiently while keeping mistakes low and morale high. While employee management software like Trello or Teamviewer can be valuable assets, they don’t allow seamless integration of complex data sets into staff conversations.
A CRM system enables the team to discuss customer data in real-time while tagging and noting down relevant items for consideration.
With the right CRM platform in place, you can move your eCommerce business to the next level.