Technology led to the creation of the e-commerce industry, and it’s only going to fuel its evolution further in the years to come. This is ever transparent in the way that websites, search engines and online marketplaces have evolved over the years, as well as with what you currently see in the e-retail space online. Retailers, on the other hand, have struggled to keep up with consumer demand, bogged by heavy order load, shipping and fulfillment, and reverse logistics (returns).
Amid all this clutter, retailers also have to figure out a reasonable marketing spend while making educated guesses about what products will perform best, what marketing methods yield the greatest results, and which customers cost the more because they have a higher return rate. These are but a few of the many concerns that retailers have to factor when deciding where and when to spend their marketing dollars. But emerging e-ecommerce CRM software solutions are turning the tides back in favor of the retailers. There is a method to this madness. A quick look at the functionality of these systems and what major news sites are reporting paints the full picture.
Resolving the Cross-Channel Conundrum
Today’s merchant is selling online in as many channels as possible. This also creates more work and a lot more clutter. For instance, a retailer is likely hosting a shopping cart service that they use for their online store, has a presence on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Rakuten, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Etsy and others, and probably is also selling via various social channels. The problem is that none of these channels really talk to one another, leaving the retailer to guess as to what analytics make the most sense for each sales channel as well as their bottom line.
Newer e-commerce CRM software solutions feature cross-channel integration, and are one of the “marketing tools no online store should do without,” according to Engadget. What this means is that the CRM literally integrates directly into the sales channel via direct API, and is able to pull all the order data, creating rich analytics and detailed customer profiles. This gives retailers a true look at all of their cross-channel data from one hub, enabling them to identify and capitalize on trends, behavioral shopping patterns, and more. The end result is the ability to cater marketing campaigns and inventory to better meet consumer demand, while reducing returns and better managing shipping costs.
Another way that CRM for e-commerce can help online retailers succeed is through improved organization and project management. These systems often include event calendars, integrated chat functions, task lists and more – not to mention an array of project management plugins that are available – that help teams better connect and communicate, according to The Huffington Post. Retailers benefit from having a variety of functions that help them improve operations at their online store being housed under the umbrella of one software solution.
Imagine how workflow is improved when projects are more efficiently managed, communication between team members is superfluous and employees are held accountable to their daily task lists. Additionally, the added project management function eliminates the need to have a separate software solution in place. This,in turn, improves usability and onboarding rates while reducing the overall learning curve.
Improving the Customer Journey
Online retailers are all looking to improve conversions. But this is a complicated affair that bewilders even the most adept of digital marketers. A Forbes report emphasizes that even if your online store receives a large amount of website traffic, you’re likely still losing visitors if you are not factoring in the customer journey along the way.
The right CRM system enables retailers to better identify customer needs and respond to them, giving them the insight to make key changes in the customer experience, minor adjustments that would otherwise go overlooked, but that have the strong potential to dramatically improve conversions, loyalty and long term retention when corrected or properly approached.