Global retail ecommerce sales are expected to reach $653 billion this year. Successful ecommerce businesses stay up-to-date with the most recent customer and sales information in order to capitalize on this booming ecommerce opportunity.
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system allows you to manage business relationships effectively—but you could still lag behind the competition if you don’t integrate your CRM with your ecommerce platform.
In this post, we quickly review why CRM is essential for your ecommerce business. We then dig in to the benefits of CRM and ecommerce integration, some of the most popular CRMs in the marketplace, and show you how to integrate quickly and cost-effectively.
Why CRM is valuable to ecommerce businesses
A CRM system captures the following information:
- Customer details – This includes name, shipping and billing address, email address, phone number, and billing information.
- Order history – Dates orders were placed, the price, and the payment method used.
- Shipping and delivery information – Details on when an order was shipped and when it was delivered.
- Billing information – Invoices sent to customers, payment status, and refund/credit memos should all be stored in the CRM.
- Prospects – Details should include quotes provided to prospective customers and a history of the sales conversation.
This information brings value to ecommerce businesses in several ways:
- Customer relationships and the sales pipeline are managed more effectively and efficiently. Sales and customer service representatives can quickly access a full customer history.
- Outgoing sales calls are more personalized since reps know which items a customer is interested in and when they may need to replace it. Incoming customer service calls can be handled faster as agents have a full picture of the products or services purchased, how they were purchased, and the price paid.
- Faster customer service means your agents can handle more calls per shift. Your customers are happy because they spend less time waiting on hold. Their issues are resolved faster. This increases customer loyalty and contributes to future sales.
- Your ecommerce team remains informed. They are armed with the information they need to perform their job to the high level you expect.
- Leads on new customers are managed more effectively. Details on how they have been engaged, when, and with what results are stored in the system so informed decisions on how to proceed can be made.
A word of caution: your sales reps and agents need to have the latest and most up-to-date information in the CRM in order to deliver a high-quality customer experience. This means you need to integrate your CRM system with your ecommerce platform so information on sales and customer details is synchronized and accurate. Integration also unlocks a whole new world of potential for your ecommerce business.
How market leaders are benefitting from ecommerce and CRM integration
- End manual data entry – Integration ensures that any time a customer changes their account details in your ecommerce store, the information is automatically updated in your CRM system. Customer service and sales reps can always be certain they have the right information. Manually updating these details is time-intensive and more prone to errors. Employees should be working on higher value-added tasks.
- Omnichannel support – Many ecommerce businesses are expanding and selling across multiple platforms and channels (such as Instagram and Facebook). This means new customer details are coming in constantly and from multiple locations. CRM and ecommerce integration makes the management of the information coming in from these varied platforms possible.
- Increase sales – CRM systems provide sales representatives with a structured sales pipeline and accurate data they can use to close more sales – and they can do it in fewer calls. Email templates, asset libraries, and customized reports keep your sales team on target and successful.
- Abandoned cart management – Items customers are placing in their shopping cart but not purchasing can be recorded in your CRM system. Automatic notifications or emails can be sent out to these customers to encourage them to revisit their abandoned cart. Coupons or other incentives can be used to encourage customers to finish the purchasing process.
- Improved customer service and support – Arming your customer service reps with accurate and up-to-date information enables them to deliver superior customer service and a personalized experience. Imagine calling an ecommerce customer service line and immediately being asked if you are calling about the specific item you just received. Customers will appreciate and remember this elevated level of service.
- Targeted marketing campaigns – Customer information can be used to target promotions on specific items. Advertisements and offers will only be sent to those customers with a potential interest in the product based on their order history. This reduces spam and increases the success rate of your campaigns.
- Manage loyalty programs – Dollars spent or points earned on purchases can be managed and synced with the CRM, ensuring rewards are sent out instantly.
- Customer analytics – Most ecommerce platforms provide some basic analytical tools you can use to identify customer and sales trends. But, a deeper analysis is needed to get the most out of this data. And if you sell on more than one platform or channel, you need to pull all of this data into one central repository so you have a clear picture of your business. CRM and ecommerce integration pulls all of your customer and sales data into your CRM system so you can analyze:
- Purchasing trends (who is buying, when are they buying, and what are they buying?)
- Shipping preferences
- Profit analysis
- Lead originations
All of this data can be used to increase sales, reduce returns, create targeted campaigns, and reduce shopping cart abandonment.
CRM solutions for your online store
These are some of the most popular CRM solutions on the market today:
Salesforce is the leader in the CRM market. The product now has a stronger B2C offering after its purchase of Demandware in July 2016. The acquisition expanded Salesforce’s cloud commerce offerings, which can be reviewed here. Ecommerce businesses can select the product with the right features and cost for their needs. Cloud, SaaS, web, and mobile deployment are all supported. For more information on Salesforce and ecommerce integration, check out our blog.
Microsoft Dynamics 365
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a CRM system that is provided through five individual apps – Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Project Service Automation, and Marketing. You can purchase what you need and add as your business grows. Cloud deployment is supported.
This CRM system is free for individual sales representatives. HubSpot tracks customer interactions automatically and syncs with Gmail and Outlook. You can create email templates and track how they perform. Cloud, web, SaaS, and mobile deployment are supported.
Zoho is an affordable CRM option for online retail. Cloud and mobile deployment are supported. The system provides sales forecasts, email campaigns, and reports. It also offers an AI-powered sales assistant.
CRM and Ecommerce integration made easy
Historically, CRM and ecommerce integration has been slow and expensive. But, advances have been made that enable integration to be completed in just a few days (sometimes less) – at a low cost to you.
An expensive consultant is replaced by a mapping wizard that you and your team can walk through on your own to connect data points between your ecommerce platform and CRM solution. Integration can be done in just a few clicks.
Maintenance is just as simple and can be performed by anyone on your team. Adding integrations as you expand your business to other ecommerce platforms is just as convenient.
This revolutionary solution enables smaller businesses to take advantage of all that integration has to offer without getting bogged down in messy consulting engagements and paying excessive fees.
More information can be found here.
Integrating your CRM system with your ecommerce platform enables market leaders to leverage efficiencies; arm sales and customer service representatives with a complete and accurate picture of customers, sales, and prospects; and create more compelling and personalized marketing campaigns, promotions, and customer experiences. Integration is the key to unlocking the full potential of your ecommerce business.