According to eMarketer’s Global Retail eCommerce Forecast, eCommerce sales worldwide should reach $5.9 trillion this year, a 1.8% increase from 2022. The continued growth in online business represents the changing needs and expectations of B2B buyers who want the convenience and personalized service they’re getting as consumers. Distributors and their team members need to be quick to leverage every feasible tool available to master online sales and customer satisfaction to survive in the current market and retain customer loyalty.
Customer relationship management (CRM) and eCommerce integration is a valuable way for distributors to unlock the benefits of eCommerce business and a CRM system to exceed customer expectations and outperform the competition.
Distributors who aren’t using eCommerce sites are already behind. Distributors using eCommerce but not integrating it with their CRM software are missing out on categorizing their customer base, analyzing customer data, including shopping and browsing trends, and using what they learn to maximize marketing and service delivery.
What is the difference between CRM and eCommerce?
While some ecommerce solutions have a built-in CRM system on a single platform, other distributors have two separate systems.
- CRM is a customer relationship management tool used by distributors to manage interactions with all its customers and potential customers. CRM software helps distributors stay connected with their customer base and improve the customer experience. Some of the much sought after CRM platforms are Salesforce, Monday.com, Hubspot and Pipedrive.
- eCommerce is the ability to buy and sell goods and services online. It’s a distributor’s online business connecting the buyer and seller on the internet. Platforms like Amazon, EBay, Alibaba are a few of the top global key players who are at the forefront of online eCommerce today.
What is eCommerce CRM Integration?
When companies integrate their CRM platform with eCommerce, distributors can deliver an uninterrupted and personalized website experience.
eCommerce CRM integration unites the two systems to create a bidirectional data flow and a centralized hub for all customer data. For example, when a customer browses hoses via the online store, this behavior and interest in hoses is used to later personalize offers or email marketing messages to the customer. Next time there is a rebate offer on hoses, a distributor with eCommerce CRM integration would be able to pull a report for all potential hose customers to send out a relevant and timely message.
An integrated system consolidates any customer data captured from the CRM or eCommerce platform.
What are the benefits of integrating eCommerce and CRM?
With CRM and eCommerce integration, distributors can connect the dots for the best ways to support their customers. Types of data that can be integrated between eCommerce and CRM include:
- Customer data, including email, address, phone, title and more
- Contract details and renewals
- Purchase history
- Sales interactions
- Product information
- Manufacturing and supplier information
- Records of customer support and interactions
From having one source of truth for all customer information to resolving customer issues quickly and so much more, eCommerce CRM integration elevates distributors above the competition.
Here are the four essential benefits distributors can expect with an integrated online store and CRM system:
1. Lead Conversion: Stay on the prospect’s radar, close the deal.
When your eCommerce business and customer relationship management system are integrated, leads can be analyzed and data patterns emerge, leading to strategic approaches. Most customers won’t purchase on their first visit to your website. However, with integrated eCommerce and CRM, you can use data to develop successful strategies to convert leads and close deals.
2. Personalization: Customers expect it and integration delivers it.
Delivering a customized B2B shopping and buying experience is necessary in the modern marketplace. Customers demand personalization and the same customer experience they get when they shop as consumers.
Integrating CRM with eCommerce will deliver the custom experience buyers want. Customers’ interactions with your company, such as what they clicked on, when they called the customer service desk and what they abandoned in the cart, are all tracked and categorized in one location. When you analyze this data, you can use it to deliver relevant suggestions and product information to each customer.
3. Analytics: Know your customers and maintain your customer base.
Powerful analytics can differentiate between keeping your customers or losing them to competitors. The best analytics will deliver numerical data that allows companies to see their customers’ behavior and better predict and understand them, leading to better customer retention.
eCommerce CRM integration commonly analyzes customer data, such as demographics, user integrity, product return ratio, website and app usability, lead conversion and content relevance. Access to top-tier data allows distributors to treat each customer like a VIP by delivering an extra personalized customer experience.
4. Cost Savings: eCommerce CRM integration reduces errors and waste.
When you integrate CRM and ecommerce you’ll also realize cost savings. No more duplicate data entry into two systems or experiencing losses due to keystroke errors. Whether you’re in sales, customer service or leadership, there’s no time for errors. Integrating CRM and eCommerce allows distributors to use their human resources more efficiently and frees your team to focus on higher-level tasks. Instead of entering contact details for a prospect into two systems, a sales rep can use the time they would have wasted on duplicate data entry for sales training or to nurture a customer relationship. Decision-makers require accurate data. If you pull the wrong customers due to data errors when launching marketing campaigns, over time, you may lose subscribers and harm customer relationships. Your efforts also won’t be effective because you sent irrelevant information to some customers.
Next steps for distributors to integrate eCommerce and CRM
Delivering a customized experience to your buyer results in tangible benefits. Integration of eCommerce and CRM is vital to providing that experience.
Working with an experienced integration partner can make all the difference when implementing eCommerce CRM integration. Look for an integration solution that offers real-time data synchronization, end-to-end security and advanced mapping. The sooner you get your CRM and eCommerce platforms communicating, the sooner you realize all the benefits of integration.