Although traditionally, CRM has been a popular tool within the B2B space, it’s beginning to make its mark in the B2C world, and specifically will have a significant lasting impact within the eCommerce industry. A major factor that has caused a shift in the CRM and B2C space is the pressure companies now face to deliver a superior customer experience. With fierce competition online, price isn’t your competing factor anymore, everything now revolves around creating a great and memorable customer experience, which is actually defined by the customer, not the retailer themselves. Whether it’s the ability to find a product effortlessly, or having multiple touch points for customer service, your customer’s experience is becoming the most important part to your business. CRM systems can arm both sales and marketing teams with data to have more relevant conversations with customers, and allow for a much richer customer segmentation experience.
Up until this point in time, there haven’t been many quality tools for businesses to use that were natural, and facilitated easy integration. Now with software like OroCRM, merchants can easily integrate a seamless CRM with their Magento install and therefore enhance their overall customer experience with valuable insights and proper data analysis.
This post will begin to dive into the importance of CRM for B2C in eCommerce and Retail as well as why you as a merchant should be actively considering to implement a CRM system, in order to better understand customers, and how to provide them with the best possible online (and offline) experience.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRM & Big Data for B2C
A Conversation about Data
When we talk about CRM, it’s a conversation about data. With digital marketing and commerce, CRM has become synonymous with visibility for your customers, shoppers, website browsers. For now, we’re just going to narrow it down to the following topics that a strong CRM strategy can help you plan for:
- Single View of the Customer
- Lifetime Value of a Customer
- High Value Customers vs. Low Value
Many retailers have some form of loyalty program. It can be as simple as “press this box” and presto you’re a VIP customer! Or as complex as a points calculation model. What’s changing however, is that merchants don’t just interact with their customers in-store or online anymore, it’s everywhere. The channels we have to interact with our customers, are too many to count. For merchants to build a strong retention tracking and incentivize on it properly, they need to track the different ways they interact with their customers. This is where CRM comes in.
One Single View of the Customer
Channels have increased, and there’s no way around it. Customers come to your store, both online and offline. But it might be in a browser on their laptop, or on a phone. They can browse, buy, email, tweet, search, like, share, review… the list goes on! There are so many ways to interact with your customers. All the interaction is impossible for any one team to keep track of. What a CRM strategy and what the right application will allow you to do, is store all the data that you have at the customer level, in one place. Why is this important?
If we were to collect all your data, put it in one place, and show you the full 360 of each of your customers, would you take it? You’d be crazy not to! Having this all in one spot, and the fact that we’re not already doing this, or a lot of us aren’t doing it, it’s something that we can no longer ignore.
Once we have all the data in one place. What do we do with it? We’d be bananas, if we tried to act on data for each customer individually. We’re not saying that you can’t do this, there are great pieces of software that build product recommendations based on specific customers but overall, marketing initiatives and budgeting won’t go down to that level, it can’t, it’s just not manageable. When we begin to collect data, customers start to fall into certain segments (demographics, characteristics, or any other data set that customers share with each other). With this, you can send more targeted marketing messages, and manage your budget more efficiently. This means that there’s an email that is sent to a specific set of customers who bought from you before, or have always liked a certain brand etc. Targeted messaging leads to a higher engagement of those customers. If you add in that higher level of engagement, the fact that you are managing your money better, overall your revenue profitability will increase.
Many merchants, don’t feel sophisticated enough to do segmentation. Customer segmentation doesn’t have to be hard, or incredible difficult. In fact, segmentation can be incredibly basic, and of course to the opposite end of the spectrum more complex. You can begin to segment by geographic locations, or even demographics (ie. male vs female customers). Then from there you can start to branch out and try more involved segmentation ideas.
Other Segmentation Examples:
- Customers always buy a certain brand
- Customers only buy when things are discounted
- Customers only open if products are discounted or share with friends
- Customers only buy on certain days or holidays, or certain time of the year
It’s possible to track all this activity, then start to market to your customers based on that. Our favourite segment, one that is becoming very important is the segment of your customers who are most influential. This is an amazing one if you track referrals and shares, because you can use those as incentives and then drive more activity on your site.
That’s the important thing about segmenting your customers, consumers nowadays are not expecting to see the same messages as everybody else. They want to know that the experience is personalized to them.
Life Time Value of Customers (LTV)
Merchants are still spending large amounts of their marketing dollars, but focusing on cost per order as opposed to the cost per acquisition. The Life Time Value of a Customer (LTV or CLTV) means thinking about the customer beyond just their initial order. Merchants want repeat business, so you need to begin thinking in terms of what your customers’ relationship looks like with you over time.
Start thinking about your customers in following ways:
- What is the customer life time value of acquired customers in the last 6 months? 12 months? Or 18 months?
- How does their life time value differ if they just signed up, or if they bought from us?
- What’s the customer life time value by different acquisition channels? Organic vs social?
This type of tracking is no longer a good piece of information to have. These pieces of information are becoming necessary and vital. Make sure you stop looking for the short term win, and start looking at the long term gain. By doing this, you will see a much stronger on-going strategy and a much stronger consistent flow of revenue.
To bring us back to CRM, it’s that tool that allows you a 360 degree view of your customer, to build out those segments, and then overall assess your life time value of each customer. It’s not crazy to think that your life time value might be attributed to a certain customer segment as opposed to a specific customer.
Beyond dollars, how else can you measure customer value to a merchant?
Retailers use the word “value” all the time, but they rarely focus on it. Most merchants only equate value to dollars. If you start tracking people beyond just how much is my customer spending? The true value of that customer, and the data you have on them can help to drive many other strategies.
Somethings you might want to keep track of:
- How often do people walk into our stores?
- How often do customers engage on social?
- Is this a signal to purchase more?
- At what frequency do they purchase?
- Do they have influence on other customers? Have they referred other people?
As you begin to ask yourself these questions, what you can start to see is an assigned dollar values to these questions and characteristics. These questions will also help guide you to build alternative strategies based on this kind of value. Things like: Omni-Channel strategies, Mobile strategies and Search Engine Marketing strategies. All of which should be a part of your digital discussions, and if they’re not, we’d recommend that they are.
High Value Customers vs. Low Value Customers
When it comes to overall CRM strategies, this will help you with overall loyalty and retention management. It will give you a 360 degree view of your customer, help you build out customer segments which gives you an idea of life time value, and then help you assess which customers have high value as opposed to lower value.
CRM: Your data goldmine
It starts with integrating your data, and ensuring you have the right tools to give you a 360 degree view of your customer. What are the ways you interact with your customer? What are the various ways you connect? Once you have enabled this integration, you can use the data as your goldmine. You can begin to formulate better strategies, associate true value to customers, and begin a 1-to-1 level of marketing with your customer segments. Where does this lead you? To having more relevant conversations with your customers, ensuring they are given the best possible shopping experience, and of course have them keep coming back for more.