Today’s customers have high expectations when it comes to making purchases online. They want to get their products quickly, they want to have a great shopping experience, and, perhaps most importantly, they want to feel valued. One of the best ways that small retailers can check all those boxes is by using a customer relationship management (CRM) solution.
CRM refers to the collection and analysis of customer information to help you optimize the relationship between you and your customers. Using technology to manage customer interactions makes your business more efficient, it also improves the customer experience which creates more loyal customers.
With the number of CRM solutions available, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your business. To help, we’ve made a list of tips to help you narrow your search.
Tips for Choosing the Right CRM for Small Ecommerce Companies
- Look for free CRM setup and support. Even if you have a small customer database, it’s challenging to migrate the data, contacts, and integrate your other systems with a new CRM. It might seem cost-effective to go for an inexpensive or free CRM deal, but having to set it up yourself may make the deal far from worth it. Instead, choose a solution that offers help with setup and ongoing support in the future.
- Find a fixed-price CRM. A CRM that bases its price on the features you use or the number of contacts in the system can negatively affect your bottom line. You won’t be able to budget properly because your contacts will continue to fluctuate. Look for a CRM system that offers unlimited usage for one set price.
- Focus on Features. It’s important to only pay for the solutions you need. There are more options than ever that are tailored to a small business’s needs. It may be tempting to get a CRM with a suite of features designed for large or even enterprise-level companies, but a CRM that is too complex may cause more problems than it fixes. In fact, it may be hard to get your team to use it consistently and accurately, which defeats the purpose of having it.
- Make sure your CRM integrates with social media. A social media presence is a must-have for all ecommerce businesses, especially for small businesses trying to grow brand awareness. Therefore, having a CRM that integrates with your social networks is essential. The ability to manage social media advertising, marketing, and customer service with a CRM will save you a lot of time and hassle.
- Look for email segmentation. Email is a huge part of nurturing the seller and customer relationship. Take email further with personalization, it is an effective marketing strategy. Of course, personalizing your email campaigns requires that you can mine the specific data about your customers and then personalize the emails. An effective CRM will have the customer data needed to segment your customer database into specific groups. Having a CRM that also offers email automation, or at the very least integrates easily with your email software, makes targeting those customer groups simple. It also allows you to monitor the customers’ journeys and effectiveness of the personalized emails.
- Find a CRM that integrates with marketplaces and shopping carts. Just as it’s important that your CRM has easy email integration, you’ll want one that also works with the marketplaces and shopping carts your business uses. That way you have all your customers and their preferred shopping destinations stored in one place. It also helps you maintain a cohesive communication strategy, no matter where a customer buys your products from, they’ll receive the same post-sale experience.
- Get a CRM that offers custom reporting. While it’s true you don’t want an over-complicated CRM, the ability to create custom reports is an important feature. Custom reports will help you associate contacts with specific products, campaigns, or services. For example, you may want to run a report that lists customers who purchased a specific product within the last year so you can target them with a new product.
Final Thoughts about CRM for Small Businesses
There are plenty of CRM solutions available to ecommerce businesses. As a small business, you must identify your specific needs in order to select the best CRM for your company. With the above tips, you have a good start for ensuring that you find the right one.
Let us know which CRM and features you find most helpful for your small ecommerce business in the comments below.
Once you get your CRM setup, you should try targeting customers you haven’t heard from in a while. Here are a few ideas to get you started with winning back your dormant shoppers.
Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published September 2014 and was updated in December 2019 to reflect more accurate and relevant information.