Specific Features in E-Commerce CRM Strategy

When we talk about CRM we often mean solutions such as software or SAAS technologies which allow us to organize the processes of relationship with clients. It is understandable, because any business and especially e-Commerce one has a huge data amount and it is not possible to manage them without special technologies. In this article we consider this topic more widely.  CRM is not confined to one system or to only one technical solution. The more information you have about your clients, the more customer-responsive business environment you can create. E-Commerce has some specific features and its CRM strategy should take into account all these peculiarities.  Let's take a closer look.

The main reason why merchants implement a CRM system is their wish to sell more. This market is similar to the usual retail one, but the important e-Commerce feature is that seller interacts directly with buyer very rarely or never. This lack of communication requires more careful approach for some CRM processes, because in most cases you can’t ask website visitors what is wrong.

We can divide all clients/potential clients in two groups at any online store:

  1. Customers who left some information about themselves. There are registered users or existing clients who made purchases at the online store.
  2. Customers with no available information. There are visitors who visit the online store and leave it without any purchase or registration.

1. Customers with no available information

Most of the online store visitors are in this category. They enter the website, look for something and leave the online store without any purchase. The main problem here is that it is not possible to influence the users’ behavior. If the user doesn’t like something at the online store, or can’t find what he needs, or doesn’t want to wait when the website loads, he/she will leave the online store and it is impossible to prevent it. You are lucky, if the client asks a question or sends request in the online chat. But generally, you can do nothing.

Google Analytics can be a part of the CRM system

As long as Google Analytics is available, it is untrue that you don’t any information about this type of visitors. You will not have the information about the certain user, but you have great aggregated data. Each area of Google Analytics provides you with some ideas about your visitors and their activities at the online store such us:  new vs. returning visitors, their locations, used devices, engagement and many others. In each report you can see different segments of users: all visitors, new users only, converters and non-converters and so on. Google Analytics allows you to analyze visitors behavior and gives you a hint of what is wrong.

It is recommended to pay attention to the following areas:

Bounce rate

This indicator shows the single-page sessions percentage when the user left your online store from the home page even without browsing the page. The possible reasons of high bounce rate are: problems with usability, irrelevant information on the page, poor design, technical issues, pop-up ads and so on.

Conversion Rate

Conversion Rate is total visitors’ number to the visitors who made a purchase ratio. Usually online store owners pay attention to the average percentage of conversion rate. But it is possible to investigate this indicator more deeply using Google Analytics. Conversion Rate includes following reports:

Goals. This area gives you the information concerning the completed goals total number. The goal is some user’s activity which is completed or finished. It may be a payment (finished purchase) or just adding a product or several products to his/her cart, registration, file downloading, writing reviews, and other actions which are essential or extremely important for the online store. So you can identify what can be considered as the goals and then start to monitor users' behavior according to these activities.

There is an example. The most significant process in e-Commerce is a checkout procedure. That means that the user adds necessary products to his/her cart and is ready to purchase.  Losing such customers at this step is a big mistake and that’s why the whole procedure needs maximum attention. Checkout can include several steps or pages where the user should enter some data to complete the purchase. You can set several goals at each checkout step to see how many users start the checkout and then compare how many of them are finished. Using goals, you can also monitor abandoned carts percentage at the online store.

E-commerce. This area provides you with information about your visitors’ path from the home page to conversion. In the Goals area you can monitor any clients’ activities, but only sales process is important at this point. 

Multi-Channel Funnels. This Google analytics area can give very useful analysis of the visitors’ means to complete the goal. For example, a user found your store using Google organic search and visited it for the first time. A week later, the same user came back using the direct URL. Then he/she found your post on Facebook and also followed to the online store, and in a final step he/she made a purchase using the direct URL again. The Multi-Channel area shows such users’ behavior and gives you a clear understanding what channels really work and attract real customers.

Google analytics tool has a huge amount of ready reports you can use for free. Use this service to make your CRM strategy more effective.

2. Customers who left some information about themselves

It is the most valuable client group, because you can influence them and try to communicate with them. Each seller wants to have as many registered users as possible. All standard CRM approaches are acceptable here. In e-Commerce you should pay attention to:

Loyalty program. It’s a special program proposed by the online store to customers who make one or more purchases. It may provide attractive prices, discounts, coupons, or even free products as a present to keep customers and encourage them to buy more. Registered users, who didn’t buy anything, also need some attention. They require distinctive communication, and in case it is effective you will be able to get this customer to make a purchase.

Loyalty program can be flexible, but it is important to use all available information you have. For example, some online stores ask their clients about their date of birth while registering. It is effective when the information is used and the clients receive birthday bonuses. You can identify the bonus type (email, a special discount or a gift) according to the customer’s value and the number of purchases he/she made, and this is a good example of effective CRM strategy. Yet it will be strange if you ask the date of birth, but never congratulate the customer.

Segmentation. It is a very important part of the CRM strategy. You can divide your clients into groups and plan activities on working with them. It is not enough to use only Google analytics. Your CRM functionality can help you to be more flexible because you have the information about certain customer. The obvious clients segments such as male/female, age, location, purchase history may hint at some other products this customer may need. Specific or not standard segments are also useful. You can identify customers who prefer to buy at nighttime, or buy only promotional products. Analyze all the data available in your CRM-system carefully to get as many specific segments as possible. Segmentation can be very helpful while developing the above-mentioned loyalty program.

Cross-selling. Using the purchase history you can activate cross-selling. Most of the online stores have a related products block. According to the viewed or added to cart products the client can see related products at the “you might also like” section.

Using your CRM-system you can develop more flexible cross-selling. For example, you can select all the women who bought or browsed 36 size summer shoes. So you can inform these women about the new autumn shoe collection by sending e-mail with the shoe models where size 36 is available. Of course you should use the clients’ name in your email campaign to make your message more personal.  At that rate it is the most correct communication type and your email will not look like spam.

Eventually, it all depends on how strong your desire to know your customers is. Here there are no strict instructions on what to do to have effective CRM. Nowadays there are many opportunities and a lot of services available to get information. Even if your customers keep silent, don’t leave reviews or contacts and do not show any activity, you are able to analyze the situation and make your business more customer-oriented.


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