[CRM for Online Stores] How to choose one, advantages and analysis of the 4 best

Surely, you keep track of your customer’s activity. 

You know, the classic Excel spreadsheet you fill in with things like:

  • Each customer’s purchase history 
  • The messages they’ve sent you (queries, complaints, etc.).
  • The date they first signed up at your store. 

In a nutshell, all the data that help you better understand your customers, offer them a customized service and optimize your sales strategy. 

But in time, that spreadsheet starts to fall short because:

  • You keep on having new customers and it’s hard to keep an up-to-date record.
  • Your team has grown and having them work coordinately is almost impossible (that’s why some customers have received the same offer twice).
  • You sell on different platforms and end up having a different spreadsheet for each of them. 

Conclusion: your customer database is utter chaos. 

You need a more powerful tool that brings all that info together (one that can even be hooked up to other tools you’re using such as your CMS in order to automate data collection). 

There’s just the right software for it all: a CRM system. 

Now we’ll tell you how this tool can help you offer your customers a better service while selling more. 

Also, we’ll explain to you what you need to take into consideration when choosing a CRM, and we’ll present a comparison of the most used CRMs. 

Ready to sort out your database? 😉

👉 Why you need to use a CRM system on your e-commerce

Surely, you’ve heard about it a thousand times. But do you know how this tool works?

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a tool that manages your contacts so that you can organize and have all your current (and potential) customers’ info in a single place. 

In other words, it unifies different data and advanced analytics of your web such as:

  • Each customer’s purchase history
  • Your interactions with the customer via e-mail, WhatsApp, the store’s chatroom, social media…
  • The number of visitors and the time each visitor has spent on it.
  • The documents they have downloaded (product cards, user guides, etc.).

Ultimately, it keeps track of customers’ and leads’ behavior. 

This allows you to offer each of them a more customized experience (which boosts conversion). 

Let’s see an example. 

Let’s suppose that your CRM system lets you know that a customer hasn’t visited your store in two months, and that their last purchase was a face scrub. Now that you know this, you can e-mail them an exclusive sale of a face cream that supplements the scrub (which they are most likely interested in). 

This is how you make the customer buy again and guarantee loyalty. 

So there’s one of the reasons to use a CRM system but, as we’ll see, there are some more. 

✅ The benefits of using a CRM system to manage customers 

Using a CRM can provide a series of benefits: 

  • You improve customer experience: by offering the buyer a more customized experience such as the one we just mentioned above. 
  • You unify data: if you have a large team, it is important that you use a common database that everyone can have access to. Besides, a CRM system is practically a must if you sell on various platforms and want to offer an omnichannel experience. This means building a solid and positive user experience no matter if the user visits your web, Instagram account, Facebook or a marketplace such as Amazon. 
  • You group your customers into market segments: First, you have the users that have given you their email addresses but haven’t yet bought (we call them ‘leads’ or potential customers). Then, you have those who have already bought from you. Customers from any of these two lists can be segmented into interests, amount of web visits, etc. The more segments you create, the more effective your strategy will be. This way, the content you would send a person who owns a cat isn’t the same to the one you would send if you know this person has a neutered furry cat. 
  • You boost productivity: this tool allows you to automate everyday tasks. For example, you can set the CRM system for it to automatically send out emails about abandoned shopping carts or birthday sales.
  • You see the big picture: a CRM system gives you a panoramic view of everything that is happening in your store so you can use those data to optimize your strategy. 

In conclusion, a CRM system’s goal is to make the follow-up of your current and potential customers easier, and to offer them a more customized care (so they want to buy more from you). 😉 

👉 What should I take into consideration when choosing a CRM system for my online store? 

As you’ve seen, a CRM system is a very useful tool.

However, you might have felt overwhelmed by the amount of options out there when trying to choose a specific one. 

If that’s the case, don’t worry because later on in this post we review 4 of the best options that are currently on the market. 

But before we see those, it’s important you understand the criteria you need to take into consideration when choosing the best CRM system for you. 

Grab a pen and paper. 

✅ 1. It should be easy to use (and customize)

A good CRM should be simple to use and set up. 

Even more if it’ll be used by different people at the same time (if your team spent most of the time struggling with the CRM, they won’t be very productive). 

However, remember that “easy to use” doesn’t mean “limited”. The ideal thing is that you can customize it to adapt it to your store’s specific needs anytime. 

If, for instance, you just included WhatsApp Business to your communications platforms, you should be able to hook it up to your CRM system. 

To make sure you choose one that meets these two standards, try different platforms before deciding on one of them (most of them offer free trials). 

✅ 2. Look out for the tools it includes: the more useful settings, the better 

By default, any CRM system allows you to know what stage of the purchase process each customer is in. 

In other words, whether it is someone who just heard about you, someone who recently made their first purchase, or has been a loyal customer for a couple of years. 

These are the basics. A good CRM system should go beyond and offer different options. 

For example, see if it allows keeping track of the messages you’ve sent and received from specific customers via e-mail or web form. This will help you better understand each customer’s objections as well as to spot the most recurring doubts among your audience. 

It should also include automated marketing (we’ll explore this further below). 

Take your time to assess these aspects and prevent your CRM system from falling short too soon. 

✅ 3. It should include analytics 

As we mentioned before, a good CRM system should provide you with the big picture of your sales strategy. 

With this in mind, it should provide you data such as: 

By being able to measure all these aspects separately, it will be easier to know whether there’s a part of your sales funnel not working so that you can improve it (for example, leads taking too long to turn into customers or one-time customers not coming back). 

✅ 4. It should support automated marketing

A few years ago, the CRM system was almost exclusively the sales’ team concern. 

Nowadays, such software has evolved a lot, and most of them even offer automated marketing settings. 

This means it allows you to schedule automated actions that will launch with a specific event or by a “trigger”. 

Imagine one of the issues you’ve spotted is your retention rate being too low, which means that only a small percentage of your customers buy from you a second time. 

Therefore, you schedule an automated action so that 4 days after making a purchase (the trigger), each customer receives an e-mail asking them whether they are happy with the product. This way you can verify whether there’s any problem you have not yet detected and that accounts for such a low retention rate. 

And to make it even better, in that same e-mail you add a little discount to encourage the customer to buy from you again. 😉

✅ 5. Safety first 

A CRM system stores your customers’ personal info. 

It is your responsibility to ensure these data don’t leak out because, as you know, that can bring legal issues on top of ruining your reputation and make you lose credibility. 

In order to avoid that, make sure the CRM system you choose includes top-notch security. 

The least it should do is letting you know when someone accesses the system from an IP address or strange geo-location (the way Google does when you try to log into your account from another device). 

It should also keep a record of every user that logs into the CRM system. 

👉 Which CRM system should I choose for my e-commerce? Review of the 4 best ones

To make life even easier for you, we’ll show you the most well-known and widely used CRM systems by online stores, keeping in mind a variety of needs and budgets. 

To start off, we’ve divided them into two types: SaaS and Open Source. 

Don’t worry if you don’t know the difference between one and the other. We’ll tell you right away. 

✅ 1. Saas CRM systems

The first type we’ll see is Saas: Software As A Service. 

Under this model, you pay for a CRM plan that offers specific features. If you want to have more features, you need to upgrade your plan. 

This is an ideal solution for the vast majority of online stores that are looking for a software that meets their needs, is simple to use, and has customer service of some kind. 

Here are some of the most used ones.

➡️ A. Salesforce

Salesforce is one of the most hired and well-known CRM systems of the world. 

Just like the rest on this list, Salesforce meets the requirements any good CRM system must have, as we reviewed above. 

In general, it is designed for large companies and can work along a variety of marketing and sales tools. It’s a platform that, at first, has a very steep learning curve, but once you become familiar with it, it gets very easy to use. 

Its main con is its high price, but if you need a full-on solution, Salesforce is a good investment. 

➡️ B. Zoho

Another best-rated CRM system.

In addition to working as a database, it includes many other interesting options: 

  • Project management.
  • CMS (the platform for creating and managing your website). 
  • Marketing campaign management.
  • Etc. 

You can do pretty much anything with this tool. You can even manage social media. 

For example, it allows you to keep track of your WhatsApp chats with your customers. Here’s screenshot of its interface for you to see a preview of how it works:

el-mejor-crm-para-ecommerce

On this one you can check the special section for social media.

mejor-crm-ecommerce

This CRM system is pretty complex and its customers don’t rate it high on user-friendliness. Similar to Salesforce. 

Unlike the previous one, this one includes a free version that, even if somewhat limited, it could meet the requirements of a mid-size e-commerce. 

➡️ C. HubSpot

HubSpot is a very popular CRM system. 

This tool has a very intuitive interface and an enormous amount of features such as: 

  • Contact management.
  • Marketing tools.
  • Social media.
  • Analytics. 

It has a free version, but it is very limited. To make the best of it, you must choose a paid version, slightly more expensive than the other platforms, and it does not offer such a wide range of features. 

Should we recommend it then?

If your store is getting started and right now you don’t need a very powerful CRM system: yes.

Besides, the good thing about HubSpot is that you can start with the free version and, should you see it’s not enough, then decide whether to move onto a paid version or choose another platform. 

✅ 2. Open-Source CRM systems

Saas-type systems are these closed ready-to-use bundles… The Open-Source ones are exactly the opposite. 

They are open-coded CRM systems. In other words, they are free tools whose code is freely distributed, which means you can modify it as you like and add any features you want. 

But be careful, the fact that it is for free doesn’t make it the best option for low-budget stores. 

Quite the contrary. An Open-Source CRM system demands you to be on top of technical aspects (installing, security updates, etc.). If you want to make the best of it, you’ll need a specialized programmer to manage it.  

In turn, you’ll get a tailor-made tool; something that can be essential when even the premium-plan offers of Saas-type CRM systems fall short for you.  

Let’s see the CRM system we have chosen for this category. 

➡️ A. Odoo

Odoo is a free Open-Source CRM system. 

According to its users, it is perfect for e-commerces and allows you to keep your stock list and sales record in a single place as well as automating any stock list changes for it to always be updated. 

It offers a module layout that allows you to edit it any way you want. Alternatively, it also has add-ons to add features (you do need to pay for these). 

Among its cons, some users highlight the costs of having to hire a professional to manage it (it’s not easy to set up) and the fact that it can run slow sometimes. 

👉 Take your store to the next level with a CRM system

As you’ve seen, the possibilities are endless with this tool. 

You’re up now. 

Analyze your needs, look for a CRM system that can meet them, and start implementing it on your e-commerce. 

Get on it! 😉