Customer relationship management (CRM) used to be as simple as keeping an address book or Rolodex filled with customer contacts. Today, businesses handle an enormous amount of information ranging from addresses and phone numbers to personal shopping and buying preferences. Business owners require a more sophisticated system to handle it all and often wind up relying on separate software for eCommerce and CRM.
Segmenting important data between platforms makes it difficult to deliver the personalized brand experience that customers have come to expect. To succeed in the competitive world of online business, it’s necessary to integrate eCommerce interactions with CRM to get the clearest possible picture of customer behaviors.
How CRM Drives eCommerce
The customer experience is the backbone of eCommerce. Selling has evolved from a linear process to a cyclical one in which customers spend time researching their options and looking for peer input before making purchases. If at any point they feel disconnected from a brand, confused by the purchasing process or lost in a website’s navigation, they’ll move on to another company. To retain customers from the initial lead to the final purchase, businesses need to focus on building quality relationships anchored in an understanding of customers’ needs and facilitated by clear communication between brands and the audiences they serve.
Using Big Data to Improve CRM
An enormous amount of data flows into eCommerce platforms every day. At the same time, customer interactions add up in the form of social media posts, blog comments and product reviews. Integrating these two information streams creates a dynamic picture that includes both consumer purchasing behaviors and the engagement that creates conversions.
Knowing where customers are coming from helps bring more people into the buying cycle. While eCommerce platforms allow businesses to monitor the leads that are converting, CRM tools offer a window into opportunities that may be getting missed due to perceived problems with the onsite purchasing process.
By using a visual dashboard or analytics program, business owners and marketing specialists can see which phases of the purchasing cycle need to be strengthened to improve customer retention. With integrated CRM and eCommerce platforms, it’s possible to monitor not only customer dropout rates but also their reactions to the buying experience. This provides the data necessary to reach out to customers every step of the way from connecting with potential leads to following up with those who make purchases.
Building a Better Campaign
Linking a CRM platform with eCommerce solutions allows data to be shared easily between departments in a company so that each team knows what’s working and what needs improvement. This way, the marketing department can coordinate with IT, web design and customer service to make sure that data from campaigns is used to improve the customer experience.
A good CRM plan doesn’t just consider the customers that convert; it looks at where leads are failing and makes changes that allow for better connections with the company’s target audience. The dynamic nature of modern sales and marketing makes it necessary to keep track of every step in a customer’s purchasing journey and tailor the process according to their needs. Together, CRM and eCommerce allow businesses to reach out to leads, nurture relationships and track consumer reactions to establish a solid brand that draws a loyal customer base over time.