Many online brands have failed to realize the potential value an integrate CRM can bring in. This article looks at the basic integration touch-points which an online store must have with a CRM solution. The article then explores the business benefits such a integrated solution can bring on board. It may be noted that various platforms have varied integration capabilities. In most of the cases eCommerce APIs are well developed and documented. However, some custom APIs may be needed on a case to case basis. There is always a second approach to integrate on basis of file exchange. This can be explored if APIs are not available.
Integration Touch-Points for eCommerce CRM integration
To harmonize the applications certain entities need to be synced on a scheduled basis. This includes the following.
Customer information along with the shipping addresses must be synced with the CRM application to ensure that CRM users are equipped with information when dealing with customer requests. This will form the basis for further integration.
Complete order history along with line items and pricing information must be synced from eCommerce solution into CRM. This will help dealing with order modification, cancellation or additional requests.
Delivery / Shipment Sync
The shipment information along with the tracking details must be synced to ensure that support representatives can help the customer with this information.
Invoice and Credit Memo
Invoice and credit memo information must sync in bi-direction manner. Thus any cancellation in CRM must reflect in eCommerce application as well.
Using customer browsing history and Google Analytics , it is possible to see what products are customers looking at. If products are being added to the cart this information could be relayed to the CRM application.
Following are the business benefits of integrating eCommerce and CRM application. Not only can it eliminate lost sales, but also help in attaining a loyal customer base.
Preventing Lost Sales Follow up on abandoned cart
Automated notification or customer e mailers can be defined within CRM to go these customers. Additional incentives can be provided with proper budgeting to drive sales. Similar notification can be provided to customer who have set up a price watch for certain product.
Efficient customer support
By integrating the application, the customer support and feedback mechanism can be made efficient. The team can work solely within one application and drive customer satisfaction.
Customer Loyalty Management
You can define customer loyalty management rules within CRM application so that the accurate points can be calculated and redeemed by the customer.
Instant promotions can be given to the online customer at a specific time based on their order history or on total order value in the past.The rules for the same can again be set up within the CRM application.
Based on the customer’s browsing history, you can customized the campaign to the right audience. For example if there is a discount on printer, the campaign can be targeted to all the customers who are browsing the relevant or related products.
Importance of eCommerce CRM integration in today’s connected world
Let us look at the relevance of this integration from the perspective of digital age that we live in. Customer have many choices when they buy a product. Following are the key aspects they consider when they shop.
Efficient Customer Care and Returns Handling
To gain trust of customers you need to ensure that their questions and queries are resolved in a timely manner. It could range from requesting product information or order cancellation.
Relevance in the era of data overload
If you look at promotional information you get everyday be it print, emails or calls, you will find that it is too much information to assimilate. It is not that the information is not valuable, what is lacking is relevance. You may not be interested in a PS4 deal when you already have one.
A seamless experience for the customer
When a customer calls help desk he / she expects that you already know who they are and their recent transactions they have had with the organization. This is only possible when various departments using different applications have access to same data.
Having well defined and integrated customer-centered process help the eCommerce players to acquire business and retain customers. It can also help create a differentiation, thus enabling the company to charge a premium as compared their competitors. The integration of CRM to the online store ensures that the organization is well prepared to understand what is going on in customer’s mind and pitch the right product at the right time.
Author: Shailendu Verma
Shailendu works in the areas of defining customer strategy and enterprise application integration. He loves working on helping company innovate their business processes and improving their performance by use of software solutions. He has worked on various industry segments and loves writing on topics such as CRM, eCommerce, ERP and automation. Few other things he loves are catching up on technology updates and playing soccer with his 7 old son.