Back in the late 1990s, nobody would have guessed that someday we’d all be using a smartphone to shop online. Nor would they have imagined that stores like Amazon – which began out of a garage as a modest online book reseller – would evolve into the juggernaut that it is today, a company that’s now worth more than Walmart. Indeed, eCommerce’s evolution has changed everything about retail.
While studies show that eCommerce only accounts for about 10% of all retail, it’s grown into a giant $4 trillion worldwide industry. Experts are predicting that by 2020, e-retail will be hauling in double this number every year. Certainly not chump change. Given the convenience of ordering online, the competition between prices and brands, and the outright ease of front door delivery, it’s no wonder why consumers love to shop online.
As industries like this evolve, new marketing methods take center stage. In regard to online retailing, it’s all about big data, the customer journey, and brand recognition. Of course, it goes without saying that brands that cater to the client’s experience. Who offers easy returns and free shipping generally fare better even if they charge higher prices. In a cross-channel online shopping world, there’s a new Sheriff in town, and his name is CRM.
Understanding the Customer Journey
Studies find that the average conversion rate for an online shopper is about 2.5%. Online stores sacrifice nearly 98% of their visitors for one common reason: They didn’t really understand their customer. In enters the Sheriff. Newer solutions like ReadyCloud’s cross-channel eCommerce CRM give retailers real insight into the customer journey, and enable them to follow the client from start to finish, while also helping them enhance each individual relationship.
The journey of the customer begins either by a direct visit to the online store or from a referral click from an ad, a video, a social channel or an article, etc. What they do next and why is what retailers really want (and need) to know. They also want to know how they can improve the relationship with the customer, what their buying, shipping, and returning preferences are, and what other unique habits the shopper exhibits. Compiling these analytics in a cross-channel world used to be a time-eater. But with emerging solutions such as eCommerce CRM, it’s a new and instant reality.
The Cross-Channel Revolution
Most retailers are selling on more than one channel. Many host marketplace stores, such as those you’d find on Amazon, eBay and Newegg, and many are also selling in places like the Walmart and the Best Buy Marketplace, too. The thing is that these channels all host their own databases, and they all compete. So no one actually benefits from talking to each other. But the sheriff makes it all work.
Cross-channel CRM solutions connect the dots (data) and give retailers a clear picture of what the sales, shipping, and returns look like across all of their selling channels. They also give retailers an inside look at each customer, their habits, and their individual journey, so they can create more efficient and progressive marketing campaigns that cost less and have more impact.
For example, where one group of customers may be prone to making returns, and yet another may be prone to converting without the risk of a return something retailers can adjust when using analytics from tools such as eCommerce CRM to run their next email campaign or internal/social ad. Revenue production can increase while returns and complaints decrease. Meanwhile, profits soar.
The New Ecommerce Marketing World
It’s a different eCommerce world than it was even three years ago. Sales are ballooning. Convenience, low prices, verified customer reviews and easy shipping and returns are the mainstays of the most successful online stores. It’s an online shopping world where, according to Forbes, e-retailers can no longer afford just to generate traffic; they need to also take into account a variety of ever-changing metrics that help shoppers convert into customers after they arrive at their store. On the flip side, retailers also need to know how to retain these customers in the aftermath for the long term.
Along the way, tools like eCommerce CRM are quickly becoming the new trendsetter. Not just because they deliver rich analytics and connect sales channels. But also because they help retailers truly understand what their customers want. Like an Old West sheriff, they bring order and sustainability to the town that is their online store so retailers can ride off into the profit sunset.