This is a guest post by Nataliia Kharchenko. Nataliia is a Technical Writer at Cleveroad, a company that offers mobile and web development services. She enjoys bringing the digital world closer to people and writing about technology, mobile apps, innovations, and progressive management models.
CRM solutions are vital in B2C contexts for maintaining relationships with customers for long periods of time. In terms of online retail customer management, it is very important for the normal functioning of any eCommerce platform. Common CRM solutions in eCommerce give an opportunity to register, track and use data that refers to interaction with customers.
Business owners use CRM systems to analyze the whole picture of customers’ behavioral changes. The advantages of CRM, as well as best practices for how to use them, are worth reviewing.
Customer Relationship Management is a strategy of business development based on a client-oriented approach. It means that customers’ needs are the most important criteria for business development.
Why is CRM is so important? CRM software can be classified as technological ways of collecting and processing customers’ data. These solutions give businesses some additional opportunities: tracking the touchpoints between customer and company, consideration of consumers’ needs, drafting of the holistic client profile. These measures help not only to attract new customers, but also turn a one time customer into a regular customer.
CRM benefits to business
This is a pretty easy question to answer. A CRM system is useful both for business owners and customers. It should be noted that CRM in eCommerce will prove to be useful only if the business in question is built on a client-oriented approach. Using CRM systems without good reason is a waste of time and money.
Advantages of using CRM for eCommerce
CRM can be useful for eCommerce in the following ways:
- Sales growth. Sales and service departments can apply a personalized approach to every client by using the results of research of order history, goods inventory, etc.
- Targeted campaigns. Advertising campaigns are more effective when they use centralized, customer data.
- Planning of supply and demand. A business owner has a chance to forecast the demand and manage reserves.
- CRM allows you to to make self-service profiles for customers, so they can track the shipment, check inventory and so on.
- Effective after-sales service. Offers after the sale would be more useful and personalized.
One of the main advantages of CRM for eCommerce is reduction of losses and costs. Automatic synchronization of data reduces the chance of serious mistakes.
Main features of CRM selection
The choice of CRM for an eCommerce site is directly dependent on their main aims and objectives. Also, it is important to analyze all available CRM solutions. Be careful with budgets and functional characteristics of selected systems.
Cloud CRM systems (SaaS) are very popular because all data is stored in the cloud. Such a CRM system does not require large investments, which makes it a good choice for eCommerce CRM for medium and small business. Using standalone CRM solutions means that business owners need their server to store and analyze information. Individual eCommerce CRM can match all customers’ wishes and requirements. Of course, it is important to choose a proven and reliable vendor (Zoho, Oracle, Salesforce, etc.)
Now, let’s consider how to build a CRM as well as how to use out-of-the-box solutions.
What is a CRM system built with SDKs?
Using SaaS, you can face serious limits. Such a system is located on the vendor’s side, so you cannot change anything in the code. SaaS allows you to record calls, receive data from sites, change designs, etc. Standalone off-the-shelf eCommerce CRM solutions can be changed according to the user’s wishes. It is a fact that standalone systems are not very popular among representatives of small and medium businesses.
Open source CRM
The most popular systems of this kind are Sugar CRM and vTiger CRM.
Sugar CRM costs $40+ per month. Also, there is a full-featured free version called Community Edition. Using the license means that a user can copy, distribute and modify the programs. Sugar CRM is developed and designed in PHP. vTiger CRM has free and paid versions too. There are some advantages of open source CRM:
- they are portable;
- highly customizable;
- they are modular;
- they usually have a large community of developers.
If they have the proper qualifications, every business owner may assemble any corporate system. On the other hand, paid versions of such solutions have some restrictions on their number of users. Sometimes these CRM don’t take into account the national standards of management and documentation.
Paid eCommerce CRM with platforms and SDKs
These CRM systems are non-open source software with a paid license.
Salesforce is considered to be one of the best CRM systems for eCommerce. This company works under the names Force.com and Data.com. Sales Cloud, a functional part of CRM, makes it possible for its subscribers to store data on potential clients. Also, it gives an opportunity to interact with customers, bill them, analyze the base of customers, etc.
The advantages of using this type of CRM are: simple enhancement, different solutions for various industries, convenience for non-programmers. But they have some disadvantages, such as the high cost for enhancement, dependence on system requirements and insufficient set of capabilities.
Benefits of CRM software built from scratch
The main advantage of using self-created CRM software is the ability to change it according to the needs of almost any business. It is the best choice for organizations with unique software or an unusual business model. A CRM built from scratch can solve the majority of individual problems of the company. Another important advantage is the absence of unnecessary modules and scripts. At the same time, fully customized solutions have high upfront costs, since they also need developer sources.
In one word, a CRM gives indisputable benefits to every business. It is very important to realize how CRM solutions enhance business goals and objectives. Choosing the right CRM has many advantages, and will make your business more competitive.