Odds are that you've engaged in ecommerce, whether you realize it or not. Boiled down, ecommerce is any form of commercial transaction conducted online—from purchasing a dress on Amazon, to bidding for a rare collectible on eBay or even just ordering a pizza.
As you might imagine, ecommerce is a huge component of business today, accounting for almost 10% of all retail sales, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. This means that it's not just retail giants like Wal-Mart or Pizza Hut who need to engage in ecommerce, but also small to midsize businesses (SMBs).
Like all forms of selling and sales, ecommerce needs to focus on the needs and preferences of your customers, which is where ecommerce CRM (customer relationship management) software comes in.
Ecommerce CRM software will help your business reach out to more potential customers and clients, keep track of their preferences and determine how you're best suited to meet their needs.
This Buyer's Guide will take you through the process of determining what ecommerce features and systems might be right for your business, so that you can make an informed choice in selecting the best software for you.
Here's what we'll discuss:
In general, CRM software supports the automation of the processes and best practices related to managing an organization's interactions with customers throughout the entire customer life cycle.
In practice, this means storing contact details, tracking interactions, predicting next steps and providing other tools that are useful to sales, marketing and customer support teams when they are dealing with customers.
Ecommerce CRM software, then, provides all of these functions plus features specific to the digital sales landscape, such as storing customer history, tracking shipping preferences and suggesting related purchases.
Essentially, the ecommerce CRM system will track your customers' journey through your digital store in order to provide you with a clear map of future marketing and sales opportunities, which it accomplishes through a variety of related features.
Below is a table featuring some of the most common features of ecommerce CRM software. Some of these are common to all CRM software, while others are unique to the ecommerce CRM landscape. We will discuss the difference between catch-all CRM suites and dedicated ecommerce CRM systems in the next section.
|Data tracking||Track your customers' data as they engage with your website in order to gain an insightful overview of their behavior.|
|Contact management||Store customer contact information in a searchable system.|
|Customer segmentation||Segment individual contacts into lists for categorization and management, particularly in regards to email marketing.|
|Interaction tracking||Document conversations held by phone, in person, through live chat, email or other channels.|
|Forecasting/reporting/analytics||Track and aggregate data (often visually) regarding performance and productivity, in order to facilitate the generation of predictions for future activities.|
|Email marketing||Create, launch and track email campaigns. Some systems will integrate with email providers or seperate email marketing tools.|
|Customer support tracking||Create trouble tickets for external customers/clients, routing those tickets to the appropriate people/department and tracking outstanding tickets.|
|Lead scoring||Grade leads using certain attributes to identify those most likely to result in a sale.|
|Social media integration||Integrate with social media for prospecting, with the ability to add social profiles to contact details|
As with all CRM software, the most important aspect of your ecommerce CRM will be how you track your customers' data as well as interactions you've had with them. Almost all systems will feature a customer contact profile that keeps track of this information for each contact, like the one below.
A customer contact profile in Less Annoying CRM
Though there are some unique CRM platforms that are specifically dedicated to ecommerce CRM, the most common form of ecommerce CRM software is part of a larger CRM suite. Here are the key differences between these two options:
Other factors to take into consideration when picking the best ecommerce CRM software for your business include:
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