CRM for ecommerce

The R in CRM

All too often I hear CRM referred to as Customer Retention Management. I’m afraid you’re missing the point.

At the heart of retention, is loyalty. In modern business, loyalty is driven by pleasure, by affordability, by experience, by knowledge, by personal preference and fit. In short, a business builds a relationship with a customer. Relationships can be fruitful, and in the long term, relationships turn to retention.

To forget that the R is CRM is ‘relationship’ is to forget what is at the heart of loyalty.

In ecommerce, the market is awash with systems to manage this for you. But, do you really want your relationship ‘managed’? In truth, the secret to success in CRM for a business embarking on the early stages of their journey to better customer relationships, is planning. I talk a lot about ‘keeping it natural’ and it applies here more than ever.

When I plan basic CRM campaigns, I do one simple thing – plan the customer journey.

What happens when a customer arrives? How do you learn who they are (what data do you collect)?

When a customer purchases, what do you learn from this transaction?

What can you learn from their product selection?

How does this tie in what what you’ve learned from other customers?

Hang on – where did that customer go?

Why didn’t they come back?

How are you gathering feedback?

How long has it been since their last transaction?

How has their behaviour or frequency changed?

What’s the perfect amount of time to wait before you contact them again?

What’s their main concern – is it price? Is it your knowledge? Their experience with you? Your brand?

What would convince them to come back?

Do you talk to customer en masse?

That’s a lot of questions to ask yourself. Once you’ve done it, in order to be able to gain anything from them you need to be able to segment. For some, this will be will be done in your head – not all businesses are run via huge numbers of customers – sometimes this would involve picking up the phone and asking some of the questions above.

The answers to this all lie in data. The management of this doesn’t always have to include complex systems and fees, although there will come a time as you grow that this will become a necessity. All that really matters is that you can manipulate information about your customers.

‘AND’ and ‘OR’ become important words here. That, and lesser known but equally useful ‘BUT NOT’.

Some of the easiest examples to get started:

– Customers who made multiple purchases -AND- gave negative feedback

– Customers who bought X product -OR- Y product might need Z product

– Customers who purchased multiple times BUT NOT since X

Don’t forget – keep it natural, and never forget that the point of all this is to nurture that relationship. Communicate with your customers with high quality content. Add value to the conversation. Contribute. CRM is not take, take take. 

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