The Benefits of a B2B Ecommerce Storefront

Increasingly, customers wants to be able to do everything online, from their Friday night carry-out dinner to the products they use every day for their business. This means that even businesses want to be able to search online for the products they need to buy and also make the purchase right then. This type of convenience could be the deciding factor between your business and a competitor, which is one benefit of having a B2B ecommerce storefront.
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Integrating social media analytics with CRM

Companies today have many available resources that can enhance their operating processes. Many enterprises have streamlined various facets of their business with CRM software. This tool can consolidate critical information regarding marketing and sales onto a single platform. One resource present in most current iterations of CRM software that businesses may not be taking full advantage of is social media. The top-flight CRM software available today allows companies to integrate their marketing and sales efforts with social media. Businesses that overlook the potential of social media are missing out on a great opportunity to enhance their customer relations and enterprise operations.

Many organizations have implemented a social media program, but they typically do not go beyond basic marketing efforts. According to a study conducted by the Duke University Fuqua School of Business, social media campaigns will account for 21.6 percent of marketing department spending in the United States over the next five years. While this is certainly a useful application of the format, there is so much more that can be done. Simplify360 CEO Bhupendra Khanal recently stated that the real value of social media is in the burgeoning field of big data, CXOToday reported. CRM software-based data analytics tools can be applied to social media figures to glean a number of meaningful insights.

For instance, companies could track which types of leads were more likely to be converted into clients. If more valuable leads were being generated through social media marketing, internal teams could allocate their resources to optimize those efforts.

Companies can also gain real time insight into the mindset of consumers using big data tools. By employing data analytics programs, businesses can see trends as they are happening, possibly even beforehand. With a clearer understanding of where their industry is and where it is going, companies that take advantage of the big data resources provided by CRM software will have a distinct edge over their competitors.

Getting the best contacts out of CRM software

CRM software has become an invaluable tool for countless businesses. The ability to consolidate and coordinate various customer relation functions has facilitated many marketing and sales initiatives. With these benefits, companies are investing in CRM software more than ever before. According to a recent study published by Gartner, CRM has surpassed ERP as the top application software investment priority for businesses. The downside to good CRM software is that the integrated functionality and efficient operations management can lead marketing and sales teams to become complacent, expecting the program to do all the heavy lifting. The problem is, the program is only going to be as useful as the data that it can access. Substandard information will lead to poor results, regardless of the application's quality.

Some businesses have overwhelmed their CRM systems with waves of what 1to1 Media contributor Gary Halliwell called "bad data". This type of information is any data that obfuscates a business' record system. For instance, storing contact information about a client's former employees is useless and can potentially lead to costly errors. Having incomplete and or even incorrect contact information can also prevent sales and marketing teams from effectively engaging potential clients. Duplicate entries, meanwhile, can lead to a contact's information being spread out among multiple records, resulting in the system missing vital information when it runs database searches.

To optimize CRM software efforts, businesses should take every opportunity to clean up their contact records, updating incomplete or incorrect entries and removing obsolete or duplicate ones. With more accurate information, marketing teams can launch more targeted campaigns and salesmen can engage potential clients more effectively. CRM software is a valuable resource, but it requires good information to produce quality results.

Enhancing social CRM efforts

Any online business fully utilizing the potential of its ecommerce business can attest to the benefits provided by modern advancements in the field. CRM tools allow companies to monitor various processes like sales and identify potential prospects and marketing campaigns. CRM software streamlines what used to be an arduous and painstaking process of keeping tabs on the activity of a business. These tools have been so successful in helping companies engage and track clientele, they have begun to be applied to social media. Before ecommerce businesses take the plunge on social CRM however, there are a few factors to consider when crafting an approach.

In social media circles, those who carry influence are treated like online royalty. Individuals who have their activity followed by large numbers of people are going to be enticing targets for CRM efforts. The logic goes if someone with influence can be swayed, a business just gained the built-in audience of his or her followers. However, CRM Buyer’s Chris Bucholtz cautioned that those large audience numbers could be misleading. If that audience is unlikely to be converted into a customer base, they – and by extension their influencer – holds little value for an ecommerce business.

It can be easy for businesses to lose track of what is important in their social CRM strategies. Many companies track positive data such as their number of followers. However, digging deeper would provide greater analysis of their place in the market. Examining what specifically a business is doing to draw followers in is more important than simply measuring success by the number of fans acquired.

By successfully integrating social media campaigns with CRM tools, ecommerce businesses can maximize their prospect conversion efforts. CIO’s Ian Whiting noted that by using social media to initiate contact with potential customers, sales team members can quickly begin the conversation on what they have to offer. Social CRM tools can be a valuable resource for ecommerce companies, but getting the most out of them requires proper planning and execution.

Businesses clamoring for CRM mobile solutions

An integral component of any modern successful ecommerce business is a comprehensive CRM strategy. Company leaders looking to enhance their ability to engage customers and track their satisfaction have increasingly applied and leveraged CRM tools. While many businesses are already enjoying the benefits of this software for their ecommerce sites, more industry executives want these solutions to be available on mobile formats than ever before.

Enterprise Apps Today’s Pedro Hernandez recently examined a survey of 450 C-suite executives and found that 31 percent of those queried cited CRM as the software they would most like to see deployed as a mobile app. The report, issued by market research firm IDC, suggested that industry members are eager to take their CRM solutions on the go, allowing them to access critical operations data anytime they wish. Companies can use the software to keep tabs on current sales figures as well as identify potential new clients.

“Ensuring a competitive advantage and enabling an even more productive workforce that gets access to correct data, even when they are on the move, is a critical success factor in the future and a major focus for mobility solutions,” IDC Program Director Jason Andersson said in a statement.

In order to satisfy growing market demands, ecommerce software developers continue to look for new ways to enhance CRM technology. The software solution is as popular as ever. Although exact figures fluctuate depending on the source, analysts agree that market adoption is on the rise. According to statistics gathered by IDC, the entire CRM software industry grew by nearly 12 percent last year. In addition, the research firm predicted that mobile CRM technology adoption rates would increase 500 percent through 2014. There is little doubt that demand for ecommerce software solutions is increasing, because successful businesses require access to comprehensive data on the marketplace.

Focus CRM efforts on customer experience

The advent of CRM software has been a great boon to ecommerce vendors. The application of a high quality product can help businesses open lines of communication with their consumer base, provide any needed support and track customer trends to enhance marketing efforts. The goal for these initiatives should be to increase customer satisfaction. While some industry figures may talk about consumer contentment abstractly, the best way to ensure that these efforts have the desired effect is to go straight to the source.

Gartner analyst Michael Maoz, in a blog post, recently lamented the growing divide between the analysts leading CRM efforts and the customers they affect. A good CIO, he argued, ought to consider the actual customer over the abstract idea of the consumer. By contacting both satisfied and displeased customers, as well as those who have taken their business elsewhere, companies can ensure they are taking every effort to enhance CRM operations. Data analytics are an invaluable resource, but there is still a use for getting information straight from the proverbial horse’s mouth.

One way to enhance the customer experience is through social media. Business 2 Community contributor Annette Gleneicki recently examined the potential for social media solutions to help businesses communicate with their consumer base. Customers are taking to the blogosphere and social media sites to voice their praises and complaints of the businesses they patronize. Companies can utilize this information to enhance their CRM operations and provide a more satisfying customer experience. Ecommerce vendors can use social media to confront complaints and issues, strengthen relationships with existing customers and seek out new prospects.

Customer satisfaction is essential for establishing a successful ecommerce business. CRM software will greatly assist companies with their efforts to retain and communicate with their consumer base. To ensure these initiatives have the desired effect, however, businesses should be sure to maintain the human element as well.

Things to remember when launching an online store

Shoppers all over the world are looking for ecommerce and mcommerce options from their favorite retailers, so they can browse, compare and purchase items from their computers and mobile devices anytime, anywhere. Thus, many retailers are realizing the value of managing an online store and mobile application, as a means to reach out to a new consumer base, and grow the business without heavy investment in physical infrastructure. One way sellers are able to achieve this growth is through the deployment of ecommerce software and ERP business solutions to manage and monitor ecommerce information.

In a piece for the Huffington Post, Julia Rogers listed some important things retailers should understand before launching an online store. When developing an online store's design and functionality, retailers should recognize the online platform is intended to showcase products as well as generate revenue. Therefore, accounting business software should be implemented to ensure all online transactions are safe and secure, and the checkout process is fully automated to reliability and compliance. Retailers have a number of options available to them regarding online payment systems, each option demanding a different set of standards and regulations retailers must meet. Retailers should automate as much of the payment transaction process as possible, so as to free up time and resources for other operations.

There are also ecommerce software solutions that leverage cloud computing technology to integrate marketing, selling and fulfillment tasks from a single platform. The ERP solutions are designed for data sharing, marketing and supply chain processes in a cloud-based environment. The software allows retailers to maintain an online storefront, while automating and synchronizing supply and demand functions to improve business-to-consumer transactions, CBR reported.

Online businesses look for conversion rates

Research from the Direct Marketing Association revealed that email conversion rates still play a key role in many ecommerce platforms worldwide. Retailers are looking to increase click rates, boost sales and foster repeat purchases through organized email, marketing and social media campaigns. Through the deployment of software for enterprise resource planning, many retailers are able to monitor and analyze these online campaigns to improve business operations and spur growth.

The Direct Marketing Association's research also showed that many organizations want to increase their email operations for marketing and customer service, but do not have the resources to manage and monitor these efforts. ERP business solutions can integrate information from internal and external sources onto a single platform for easier navigation and analytics, for improved campaigns.

The Graphic Solutions Group, for example, recently adopted an ERP solution to strengthen its ecommerce platform and allow the company to display its products and services to a global, digital consumer base. The technology will provide a fully automated process so the company can scale and supports its online business worldwide.

GSG selected the ERP solution after finding an option that could be seamlessly integrated into its existing ecommerce platform. The technology supports the company's growing business needs so as to easily manage the website without hiring a third party provider. The cloud-based technology aims to enhance the customer experience, through more efficient workflows and analytics on the back-end.

The company's ERP solution is specifically designed for the ecommerce industry, to address unique workflows and retail-specific business rules. The technology helps the company remain compliant with international retail regulations, while reducing overall spending and increasing productivity. The ERP system equips GSG with the necessary tools and information to operate its own ecommerce site and data analytics using minimal internal resources.