Ecommerce is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. As technology meets consumer demand, consumers are more eager to shop online. With accessibility to your favorite stores just a few clicks away and with convenient options for fast deliver and hassle-free returns, it’s no wonder why the internet has become the go-to for modern shoppers.
Today, I had a chance to sit down with Michael Jon Lazar, a thought-leader in this industry and executive at a company that makes a popular ecommerce CRM software solution called ReadyCloud. Lazar has been in this industry for more than 20 years, and owns parts of other ecommerce businesses operating in this space (like his subscription box service, Monthly CPAP Club.) He took the time to answer some interesting questions that better clarify the usefulness of some of the most popular tools retailers are using in this space.
Since most CRMs are glorified digital rolodexes and lead thermometers, I felt this was one of the most important first questions to ask Lazar regarding a CRM that’s built just for ecommerce.
How does CRM help personalize ecommerce interactions?
“When you think of ecommerce CRM, you need to think differently than a traditional CRM,” Lazar explains. “That’s because an ecommerce CRM is an orders-based CRM. It connects to your sales channels and imports all your order, shipping and return data—and uses the ecommerce activity to generate individual customer profiles, complete with notes, tagging, shipping timeline, calendar entries, and more. An ecommerce CRM puts a name, face and relationship to each transaction you make online.”
CRMs might be great marketing tools, but it’s no mystery why Slack has become the preferred back-office tool. This led me to wonder if an ecommerce CRM can stack up and help connect inter-office teams.
Can CRM connect your back-office team?
“My CRM is really more of an ecommerce suite,” Lazar comments. “For example, each user can be a part of Team and have their own individual Team Member profile. What’s more, each user can then create Tasks for themselves, other Team members or collective groups. These Tasks can be assigned with due dates, file attachments, comments and tagging, and can even be directly associated to a corresponding customer’s profile.”
Remarketing and retargeting are two of the most powerful tools that you can use in ecommerce marketing. That’s because they’re based on the actions of converted users, the demographic that’s already familiar with your brand and is the most likely to make a new purchase when remarketed to. Naturally, I wondered how these tools work in a CRM designed for e-tail.
Does ecommerce CRM aid in remarketing?
“Remarketing is a critical part of any ecommerce operation these days, but the efficiency of these actions comes down to what type method the end user is relying on,” Lazar explains. “Newer ecommerce CRMs have built-in remarketing features that work to keep customers informed about purchases, shipment tracking and returns while also cross-promoting related items to increase average order value as well as being useful in email marketing campaigns and updates.”
The usability of a software solution can sometimes be limited by its scalability and third-party integrations (or lack thereof). Curious about this aspect, I popped the next question to Lazar.
Can CRMs like this connect to other types of apps?
“Today’s leading CRM systems are multifarious and have the connectivity to integrate with some of the most popular third-party applications,” Lazar says. “Naturally, an ecommerce CRM functions in much of the same manner, with handshake services like Zapier helping bridge the gap. This connectivity enables end users to pull data from their go-to software solutions and integrate it into their relationship-building and remarketing system.”
One of the most in-demand features of a CRM is reporting. This key function helps retailers make smarter moves and preplan around their seasonal offerings. My final question to Lazar was a no-brainer.
How does the right reporting make a difference?
“A wide variety of shopping cart services are available in the ecommerce industry today, offering all sorts of different bells and whistles. A commonly lamented feature, however, is that these shopping cart services don’t provide the analytics that are desired by the end user,” says Lazar. “Without a doubt, they’ll tell you what was bought and sold, returned and shipped, and so forth—but they provide this in scant detail and don’t really give end users a way to consolidate the data to their future advantage.”
He adds: “With properly consolidated data, end users can integrate a more predictive model that helps them capitalize on the trends and behavior of their customers while delivering insights that enable the retailer to make key moves that reinforce and insulate their bottom line.”
Why is this so, I ask?
“Because,” Lazar says, “shoppers are fickle and can be unpredictable in any CRM model. Giving them key reporting tools that let them identify shopper trends and filter the data to their advantage is how today’s ecommerce CRMs are helping to change online retail. For example, you could filter your data to show you what customers bought what items between a certain value segment, filtered against those who later returned the product. This data would give you unfettered marketing upsides—allowing you to remarket to the customers who are most likely to make a future purchase and least likely to return it.”
As the above information reflects, ecommerce CRM is a powerful marketing, team management and reporting tool that is helping retailers stay a step ahead of the curve. As ecommerce continues to become more competitive, it’s the helpful tools like this that can give retailers a competitive advantage in a crowded e-retail hemisphere.