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Eсommerce CRM Software Implementation:

How to Choose the Best Platform and Implement the Strategy

The seasoning guy throwing a pinch of CRM
Original illustration by A. Malyavina

The world of e-commerce is changing. And having a holistic view of your customers has never been more important.

We can bet that you take marketing and sales seriously for your e-commerce business and this means you are always looking for ways to improve sales. But you cannot do that if you do not pay attention to nurturing your customers and converting leads. This is where the e-commerce CRM software comes in.

CRM is an acronym for Customer Relationship Management. A CRM software allows you to keep track of your customers as well as maintain a relationship with them in view of bettering their experiences when it comes to your business.

With the rise of digital marketing, there exist gazillion communication channels that could be overwhelming and difficult to keep up with. An e-commerce CRM software or E-CRM software as it is fashionably called makes it easy to keep track of your customers across channels and manage your relationship with them.

This article explores

  • differences between CRM, CDP, and ESP,
  • why you need E-CRM software,
  • benefits of the software,
  • how to implement it, and
  • best E-CRM platforms.

Understanding What Ecommerce CRM Software Is

CRM software is a system that allows you to manage and improve relationships with your customers. It includes compiling data of your customers from different communication channels including email, social media, live chat, telephones, and your company’s website. It can be mistaken for a CDP but they are quite different.

A CDP is short for Customer Data Platform. It helps with providing relevant information about your customers. It is software that collects, organizes, and stores your customers’ data in one place. A CDP’s main task is to centralize your customer’s information and create a well-rounded profile that has all the information needed by your company as it concerns their journeys.

ESP means Email Service Provider. It is a software service that helps you create and launch email marketing campaigns for your contacts. Your business may use an ESP to ensure that email campaigns are performed seamlessly to get optimal results.

Although CRM, CDP, and ESP all point back to customers, they serve different purposes and all contribute to your ecommerce business bottom line. CRM focuses on the relationship your business has with its customer and how to improve it. CDP focuses on the data you have collected from your customers across various channels. And an ESP benefits from both CRM and CDP when it comes to your email campaigns.

This article’s major focus is on the benefits of the E-CRM software, how to implement it, and platforms to consider when getting it.

Benefits of Ecommerce CRM Software

CRM has become such a buzzword but it is for good reason. Statista projects that the global CRM Software market will be worth US$47.237 billion in 2022. In 2015, it was worth US$24.004 billion. This means that in 7 years, the industry’s worth grew by 96.5 percent. It will be worth US$49.597 billion by 2025. The industry is also projected to grow by 12.3 percent yearly. The growth in the CRM industry is for good reason.

The diagram shows a substantial growth in the CRM industry.
source: Statista

But enough with the numbers. Why should your ecommerce business use a CRM software?

Natalie Furness, the founder of RevOps Automated, a HubSpot Solutions Partner, says that it is impossible to scale your business without CRM. Furness insists that customer relationship management is the most important thing for any business. “I think everyone has one (a CRM system) from day one. They just don’t realize it. An excel spreadsheet or pen and paper can be CRM tools,” she said.

Magic happens with the software. It eases data compilation and segmentation, and progress tracking. It also stops leaks in your sales pipeline, enables personalization and targeted messaging so that customer and lead nurturing becomes a seamless process that saves time.

Salesforce reports that businesses that used its CRM software saw marked improvements to their bottom line. Customer retention and lead conversion went up by 27 percent and 24 percent respectively. While customer attrition reduced by 16 percent.

The imporvements that businesses saw after implementing a CRM software: lead conversion increased by 24%, qualified leads increased by 31%, campaign effectiveness increased by 36%. Apart from that customer retention rose by 27%, customer satisfaction — by 30%, and faster case resolution — by 33%.
source: salesforce

But E-CRM software does more than just retain customers and convert leads. These are 6 benefits you get when you incorporate the software in your ecommerce business:

  1. Better organizes your database.
  2. Makes your team more effective.
  3. Enhances relationships with your customers.
  4. Boosts your marketing efforts.
  5. Helps with lead generation and lead conversion.
  6. Improves your email marketing campaign.

1. Better organizes your database

This software provides an automated method of storing all your customers’ information and a single point of access to this information. Sales representatives and members of other teams gain access to the value of this information and make better use of it. No more wasting time on unproductive tasks, like manually sourcing for customer’s details or monitoring a prospect’s buyer journey. Your CRM software does all of this for you.

2. Makes your team more effective

An E-CRM Software makes collaborating across teams hitch-free. HubSpot reports that businesses that used CRM software platforms saw their sales team productivity go up by 34 percent.

Other teams aside sales benefit too since these platforms come with collaboration features that can be utilized for communication, notifying changes in customer behavior, and looping feedback. This improves the overall productivity of various departments in your establishment.

3. Enhances relationship with customers

The essence of your ecommerce business is to get customers to buy. If 80 percent of sales come from 20 percent of returning customers then you know you have to keep them happy. And your odds of doing that increase when you use an E-CRM software platform that documents your customer’s journey, analyzes it, and provides insights.

With its capabilities, your employees can better maintain relationships with customers, automate workflows and messages for them and provide support when needed. Your sales reps can log notes containing customer insights, and organize them so that other teams can see these insights and act on them. Customer retention and satisfaction improve and the bottom line is happy.

4. Boosts your marketing efforts

Businesses that used Salesforce CRM software increased their marketing campaign effectiveness by 36 percent. HubSpot also reports that businesses that use E-CRM software solutions increase sales by 29 percent.

The stats provided by Hubspot: businesses that use CRM platform saw a 29% increase in sales, 34% increase in sales team productivity, an $8.71 average return for every dollar spent on a CRM. The sales cycle was shortened by 8–14%.
source: Hubspot

This tool is the game-changer that your business needs to boost marketing efforts, convert leads, and close deals.

5. Lead generation and conversion

Before you have customers, you have leads. These are people who have either searched Google for information about a service you provide or were referred by a friend. Whichever way they come to you, they are not sure if they will buy from you yet, but with targeted marketing efforts, these leads may convert. E-CRMs improved lead conversion for businesses by 24 percent according to Salesforce.

The software tracks a prospect’s activity and their journey through your sales funnel. With this system, your marketing team personalizes efforts which increase the chances of converting a prospect into a customer.

6. Improves your email marketing campaigns

Personalizing your business’ email marketing campaigns is now more important than ever. Grabbing your customer or prospect’s attention inbox is essential in determining whether or not they buy or convert respectively.

The E-CRM software makes sure that any email marketing campaign carried out is effective which increases the chances of the campaign’s success. The campaign aims for the heart of the customer directly because of the easily accessed information stored.

Now that you have seen what this software does for your business, it’s time to learn how it is implemented.

CRM Software Implementation for Your Ecommerce Business: 8 Essential Steps

We have discussed the benefits that a CRM software solution provides for your business. But to harness it you have to know the necessary steps to take when implementing it. Implementation takes time and it has to be done well so that you can squeeze out every ounce of goodness it offers.

Here are 9 important steps that you must take to implement the E-CRM software solution:

  1. Define the purpose the software will serve.
  2. Choose the best E-CRM platform for your business goals.
  3. Gather the data needed.
  4. Decide who will have access
  5. Dedicate a person or team to train them.
  6. Migrate your customer’s data.
  7. Customize the software’s settings
  8. Launch and monitor results

1. Define the purpose the software will serve

E-CRM software serves different purposes. There are operational, analytical, and collaborative CRM software products.

Operational CRMs cover operational efficiencies and improve the overall performance of your business.

Analytical CRMs let you identify what motivates your customers by analyzing their trends and patterns; they turn data into insights that can be acted upon.

Collaborative CRMs allow for collaboration across varying teams to make sure that the different departments maintain a strategy for achieving a unified goal.

Depending on the stage your business is at, you may need one or all of these CRM types. This is why you cannot afford to overlook defining the purpose the software will serve.

The questions you want answers to at this stage include:

  • Is its main purpose for generating and converting leads?
  • Is it for retaining existing customers and strengthening customer relationships?
  • Is this to make the customer support system better?
  • What communication channels will be connected?
  • Which teams will need to use it to ensure that you reach your goals?

When you identify the touchpoints in your business that you want to make better, it is easier to reap the benefits of the software. Failing to identify which problem you want to solve with the software will be a failure to get optimal results.

2. Choose the best CRM software for your business goals

Now that you have defined the purpose and set your goals, choosing the best software is the next big deal. There are several platforms providing E-CRM services to ecommerce businesses but not every one might be good for your business.

Some important features of an E-CRM software solution include:

  • visualizing the sales pipeline
  • tracking and analyzing emails,
  • social media monitoring and listening,
  • customer analytics and forecasting,
  • tracking activity of teams,
  • customer support,
  • integrating third-parties,
  • customization, and
  • lead management.

This is not an exhaustive list of what the software does. You need to research the features offered on a particular software and the payment offerings. After that, you make a list of viable software platforms and streamline them so you can see your options clear as day.

You might want to keep the initial features simple and relevant to avoid paying for services you do not need at the time. This points back to defining your goals.

Whichever software you settle for, make sure that it suits your business needs. Later in this article, you will learn of different E-CRM software products and their offerings.

3. Gather the data needed

The whole idea behind CRM is data, loads of it, and then use of this data to manage relationships with your customers. This makes gathering data to be utilized by your choice platform a prerogative. Your E-CRM software’s job is to reflect a well-rounded view of your customer.

The data includes information on spreadsheets, email contacts, phone numbers, social media, and so on. At this point internal sources in your business pitch in and check the validity of the data presented. If you do not have a 360-degree view of your customer then you might need to start collecting loads of data. This article tells you how to capture data from leads.

4. Decide who will have access

An E-CRM software cannot reach its full potential if there is no one manning it. At this stage, you decide the departments that will have access to the E-CRM software.

You can do this by gathering employee insights and experiences to better assess their needs. The software will then be customized to suit their workflow and make the experience more effective. This will lay the groundwork for the software’s success. After all, only with the right people on board will all the effort be worth it.

5. Dedicate a person or team to train relevant employees

Now that you have chosen the employees that will use the CRM, it is time to train them. Assign a person or a team that will teach employees how to incorporate the CRM software in their workflow and how they can use it to get results.

There are online platforms that teach CRM usage guidelines at individual paces. Workshops and seminars (or webinars if there are remote employees) should be organized. Employees get to discuss their pain points which the trainer will address.

At EmailSoldiers, we help our marketers train using online courses (like Mailchimp Academy, Exponea Academy, and others). We also organize a training process within our company so that marketers share their expertise, tell their colleagues about their experience with different businesses and different platforms. It is a smart investment at this point so that the person in charge of the training carries everyone along.

6. Migrate Customer’s Data

Another step towards implementing CRM for your ecommerce business is migrating the data that you have gathered. This is often overlooked. You have to decide which data needs to be migrated to the software.

Note that only up-to-date information should be migrated. Outdated sales reports and repetitive data must be left out. Migrating data in small batches is recommended to test the features. Make sure that there is a backup for data in case anything goes wrong during the migration.

7. Customize the Software’s settings

Customizing the settings of the E-CRM software will tailor it to fit the needs of essential departments within your business. The software has to be set up correctly. This includes who gets permission for various roles, the sales pipeline and funnel stages, the templates which your team will follow, automated text messages and emails for follow-up sequences and reminders, customer fields, and filters as well as dashboards.

Customizing the settings of your software will make sure that the design syncs with other tools you use to ensure the smooth running of your business.

8. Launch and Monitor Results

Now that you have done due diligence, it is time to launch your software. It is at this stage you experience the power of your choice E-CRM. You check for leaky pipelines and overall improvements and you score progress either monthly, quarterly, or annually.

It is important to note that despite the general success of CRMs for ecommerce businesses, your business average results may differ. Monitor the improvements closely and recommend changes where needed.

How to Choose the Best Ecommerce CRM Software

Making decisions for your business is not an easy task. This section will look at available ecommerce CRM software options, their features, and prices. The best E-CRM software platforms that you should consider include:

1. Drip E-CRM

Drip has carved a niche for itself in the ecommerce world. One of its foremost advantages is that it caters to ecommerce businesses alone. Drip features include marketing automation that includes but is not limited to cart abandonment, special offers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals as well as customer win-back. You can build a workflow into it.

Screenshot of the Drip starting page.

Another feature it possesses is personalization which makes interacting with customers easy. It also enables multichannel marketing — email, social media, text message, and on-site interactions. Drip has inbuilt analytics and reporting feature that covers conversion tracking, detailed email reports, customer journey overviews, lead scores, and customizable dashboards.

Pricing starts at $49 per month for the basic plan with 2,500 people maximum. Then there is the Pro version that can cater for up to 5,000 people and starts at $122 monthly. The Enterprise version caters to over 5,000 people and the pricing varies monthly.

2. Salesforce

Salesforce has made quite a name for itself in the sales and marketing world. Its features include automated workflows that save time for repetitive tasks like email sequences and social media integration; AppExchange that allows you to integrate your business with popular third-party apps including LinkedIn, Mailchimp, Google Workspace, Slack, and others.

A screenshot of Salesforce

There is also the mobile access feature that makes it easy for your employees to communicate from anywhere whether in or outside the office. Data reporting is another strong suit of Salesforce. The software can analyze data from different sources. Your employees will find customizing the features on this platform effortless.

Pricing starts at $25 for the basic plan which 10 users can access, the Professional plan starts at $75 per user, the Enterprise plan starts at $150 per user, and the Unlimited plan starts at $300 per user, all charged monthly.

3. Keap

Keap is ideal for SaaS ecommerce businesses. Its features include contact management, mobile access, task management, social integration, email marketing options, analytics and customer dashboard, lead management, and marketing automation. Its tech support is one of its strong suits. Pricing starts at $79 per month for its Lite version and $159 for its Max version.

4. Pipedrive

Pipedrive CRM is designed for teams of different sizes. Its features include proposals, multiple integrations, segmentation, mobile access, lead scoring, task management, and document storage. Email campaigns are easy to run on Pipedrive.

Pricing starts at $12.50 per user for its Essential. Per person, its Advanced plan costs $24.90, its Professional plan costs $49.90, and its Enterprise costs $99. The pricing structure is monthly but billed annually.

5. HubSpot

With HubSpot CRM you can track emails, collect information of your customers with live chats, track visitors, connect your shopping cart, manage your sales pipeline, capture leads, segment customers correctly and follow up with social media engagements. It offers seamless management of your customer’s data. And HubSpot CRM is free.

Hubspot starting page

6. ZoHo

ZoHo CRM is a popular option for ecommerce businesses. The platform is ideal if you’re looking for an E-CRM that covers social media marketing as well as other main features discussed before. It has a free version like HubSpot and a free trial of its paid version. Pricing starts at $12 per user yearly which makes it one of the cheapest E-CRM software out there.

7. Freshsales

Freshsales is recommended for small ecommerce businesses. It is good for lead nurturing, automation, customer insights, customization. It is ideal if what you are looking for is call management features and integration of mobile and field sales representatives. It is not good enough though if your business relies on email campaigns and social media marketing.

It has both free and paid versions. Its paid version starts at $18 (monthly) or $15 (annually). Its Pro version costs $47 (monthly) or $39 (annually) and its Enterprise version costs $83 (monthly) or $69 (annually).

8. Capsule

Capsule prides itself as a simple online CRM. It is great for contact management, sales pipeline management, sales analytics, and integrating third-party apps and software products. It has both free and paid versions. Pricing at $18 per user for Professional, $36 per user for Teams, and $54 per user for Enterprise, all charged monthly.

9. Sendinblue

Sendinblue boasts of being an all-in-one platform for ecommerce businesses. Its features include marketing automation, segmentation and customer data platform, ecommerce analytics, and live chat as well as other features. Sendinblue pricing starts at $54, $69, and $99 depending on the monthly plan you choose.

Sendinblue starting page

Summary

With the right ecommerce CRM software platform, you have the power to scale your business, provide great service to your customers, and convert leads. It does not solve all the problems of your ecommerce business but it makes the process of acquiring and keeping customers happy less complicated. It is a must-have.

If you need help with managing your CRM software and improving marketing automation, contact us — we’ve got considerable expertise in email & marketing automation for ecommerce businesses and will be happy to discuss your project with you at our first free consultation.

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Anna Senkina

Anna Senkina

SMM-manager at EmailSoldiers. Read our marketing blog: https://clc.to/emailsoldiers-blog