Coronavirus or COVID19 is not a new word to anyone anymore. It has impacted the whole world and all types of businesses.
While many industries are struggling to survive such as Airlines and Hospitality, others are seeing increase in their sales due to the business type and model like everyday retail and e-commerce.
In this social isolation phase and going forward technology is going to help businesses to come up with the new model of selling.
E-commerce is not new but the adoption of e-commerce will be quick due to these lock down situations while CRM and Digital Marketing will help grow e-commerce business across globe.
Changing Consumer Behavior
Due to widespread lockdowns people are trying to learn and adopt how to survive staying from home.
With this new normal way of living they are learning new skills and making new habits such as buying things from home or remotely via e-commerce.
At a certain point of time these lock-downs will be gone but the impressions and habits will remain in people and those will transform the way businesses sell goods and services in the future.
Key observation from COVID19 lockdowns
Some industries are seeing the benefits of employees working from home and planning to implement the same even after COVID19 restrictions.
Some businesses are seeing a surge in sales in their e-commerce channel and planning to reduce the brick and mortar shops in future and focus on digital channels.
Eventually there will be more transactions over internet and expansion of e-commerce platforms.
Widespread usage of digital platforms, social medias and videos for promotions and selling.
What is CRM
CRM or Customer Relationship Management often refers to the combination of Marketing, Sales and after sales Customer Support activities.
CRM is not a technical term but with technology CRM activities are easy to manage and save time for Businesses to focus more on the core activities.
What is Digital Marketing
Digital Marketing is a form of Marketing where all sorts of Digital Platforms and tools or software’s are used to perform the marketing function of CRM.
What is E-Commerce
E-Commerce or electronic commerce is a model of business where selling goods or services done over digital platforms and technology using the internet.
With the spread of the internet and adoption of mobile and hand held devices e-commerce has gained prominence in the last decade.
Importance of CRM, Digital Marketing & E-Commerce during COVID19 and beyond
With the current COVID19 lock-down situation, consumers are forced to use e-commerce as the main channels for buying things.
Due to the lockdowns most of the customers are staying at home making businesses difficult to reach.
For some businesses it’s impossible to sell if customers do not come to their place but for many with the emergence of Digital Marketing and E-commerce it’s possible to sell to remote customers even during the current COVID19 lockdowns and afterwards.
In this scenario, CRM systems can come to the rescue and help businesses to reach the right customers and increase sales and help in marketing and servicing customers.
Many businesses have not implemented a proper CRM software, E-commerce platform or Digital Marketing strategy to handle this situation thus making it difficult for them to reach and sell to their customers in this situation.
With a proper implementation of CRM, Digital Marketing and Ecommerce platform businesses can reduce the impact of the COVID19 and reap benefits when restrictions are over.
Key factors required for online selling
Below are the key factors you need to focus in order to sell during COVID 19 and beyond in a more digitally connected customer base
- Create customer database
- Understand your Customers buying patterns, interests
- Market your product or services to right customer at right time
- Creating attractive digital contents and product listing
- Effectively utilize social media for marketing and promotions
- Provide an easy to use and efficient E-commerce platform
- Provide a fast and accurate customer service to customers
Create customer database
It is always helpful to have a customer database although it is not necessary to sell online.
It takes less effort and money to sell to your existing customer than acquiring a new one. This is a proven theory in the world of CRM.
When you have a robust CRM system and regularly collect customer details then you can create a robust customer database and make use of the same for online selling.
During COVID 19 situation and later the focus will be online selling and this customer data will be key to edge out your competitors
Depending upon the size of business and type of customer you can come up with a strategy to create these customers databases.
If you are a small business you can start with something very basic like a spreadsheet but it’s always good to use a software when you grow your customers list and related information.
CRM Systems provide an easy way to collect and manage the customer details and can be linked to other systems to get customer details and create the database.
Understand your Customers behavior, buying patterns, interests
Creating a customer database is only the first step for an effective online strategy. As a next step you need to collect enough and appropriate information to know your customers buying patterns, interests and other demographic factors which influence their purchase.
It’s not easy to have these data, but somewhere you need to start, if you have already collected your customer data and preferences then you can make use of your smart CRM and Digital Marketing systems to come up with the right segmentation and promotion with frequency of marketing efforts.
Inadequate marketing and untimely communication will end up in less response rate so accurate targeting and timing with appropriate content and promotion is key to generate interest in your customers during these times.
Not only databases but CRM systems will help you to analyse the customer data and come up with useful insights for you to make decisions in your sales and marketing activities.
Market your product or services to right customer at right time
Once you have the customer data and done the analysis on buying opatters then you come up with the details on what products to market to whom and how frequently.
Digital Marketing will help in this with various channels such as e-mail marketing, social media marketing, webinars, video reviews. You can also use the traditional marketing channels such as TV and newspaper, billboards etc.
TV, YouTube, Social Media are key during COVID19 and can drive and influence your customer in a big way.
If you have already spent effort and money on these advertisements then you can make use of this.
Not to mention you need to focus on your overall Search Engine Optimisation or SEO and Search Engine Marketing of SEM strategies and tweak according to the situation and regularly based on the responses you are getting from different channels.
E-Mail Marketing is one of the old method of digital marketing and still can be very useful for your business. Here is a blog on E-Mail Marketing
Creating appropriate digital contents and product listing
The digital world is very competitive and crowded. It’s not easy to get attention from your prospective customer if you are not that creative and content rich.
Customer attention spans are less now a days due to various digital channels and they have a plethora of alternatives to choose from.
First thing is to get noticed by your customers and then your advertisement and promotion should excite them to engage in buying your product or services.
Creating visually appealing and click worthy content or advertisement is an art and needs professional skills and tools.
You can start your own but when things go beyond your capacity or you see no good response from your Digital Marketing efforts then it’s better to take professional services from Digital Marketing companies or specialized digital marketers to help in this area.
Read this blog to know how to create great content
Effectively utilise social media for marketing and promotions
Social media has become the backbone for Internet Marketing and Selling. Social media not only influences the decision of customers but also understands your customer behavior and tastes.
Social medias such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, LinkedIn and many more provide ample opportunities for online marketers to advertise their product and services to the right customer for better conversion rate.
Provide an easy to use and efficient E-commerce platform
The backbone of selling onsite is your e-commerce platform. Gone are those days when only big enterprises could have e-commerce sites with huge IT efforts to develop and maintain regularly.
If this is not the option with you then you can leverage bigger e-commerce platforms and marketplaces to sell your products such as eBay, Amazon etc
Provide a fast and accurate customer service to customers
Customer support is one of the 3 primary areas of CRM, which helps businesses build relationships with customers which helps in a long lasting relationship and returning customers and achieving up-selling.
The most important aspect of selling online and keeping your customers happy is to have a responsive and accurate customer service.
Unlike traditional selling, in Internet selling or e-commerce the returns and refunds are more and also there will be many queries from prospective customers during the buying process.
You need to create a smart platform and tools to answer those questions as soon as possible by using chatbots, faqs, information on websites etc.
Most of the CRM products provide Customer Service functionalities but selection of a right customer service software is very important fro your business.
In case you want a niche software you can also go for the same and integrate with your Sales and Marketing software’s.
Please read which service is best for your business.
All the above and many more aspects of selling online can be achieved by the implementation of CRM, Digital Marketing and E-commerce.
Selling online can be boosted by the implementation of CRM, Digital Marketing and E-commerce. Read below article to identify the right CRM system for your business