Magazine article CRM Magazine

The Convergence of CRM with the Ecommerce Platform

Magazine article CRM Magazine

The Convergence of CRM with the Ecommerce Platform

Article excerpt

Since the dawn of modern technology, a pattern has repeated itself: A challenge emerges and software providers rush to deliver a solution. Then, with time, that solution becomes part of a more powerful, integrated experience.

Take the web browser, for example. It was at one time a standalone solution that has now been absorbed into the modern operating system, which incorporates a wide range of other tools that previously were sold as standalone products.

As we look to the next evolution in technology, there is a clear case to be made that customer relationship management (CRM) systems will logically converge with the ecommerce platform. It seems inherently obvious that a company would want to have a single system of record for customer information and interactions as well as the customer's commerce transactions.

In B2C ecommerce, the next-generation convergence of CRM and the ecommerce platform introduces a wealth of new possibilities to monitor and measure everything that happens online and capture every interaction with a customer or prospect, automatically and on a massive scale. Combining interaction and order data in a single repository will enable the ability to drive dynamic and personalized merchandising and offers online.

Despite the undeniable value of capturing and analyzing as much customer information as possible, the traditionally separate worlds of ecommerce and CRM have made integration economically unviable. Most companies would agree that recording all customer actions on an ecommerce site is useful, yet few are willing to make the investment to replicate that data into a separate CRM system. The only way to achieve this goal is to build CRM and ecommerce directly on the same platform, creating a single data source.

Another factor that is driving towards integrated CRM and ecommerce is increasing awareness that the traditional linear transaction funnel is obsolete. In today's digital, mobile and social world, customer interactions with a brand leading up to a sale are far too frequent, haphazard and variable to fit that old-school linear model.

In the old world of commerce, where transactions were driven through sales people, each interaction was focused and time consuming. Today, a CRM system needs to adapt to micro-interactions, even if it is just a quick visit to a website while standing in line to order a sandwich. …

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