In addition to other sales channels, your company is ecstatic about the growth potential in offering your merchandise online. Your e-commerce site is projected to boost sales, increase the bottom line and help with customer retention. Soon, customers are buying products through your site. Then, reality sets in.
Your customer buys from your Web site and telephones your call center later to ask a question about the order. The call center representative is unable to help the customer because he doesn’t have access to the order information until an interface uploads the online purchase or, worse, until it is keyed in manually. The customer order information resides in two separate databases. Everyone is frustrated.
A customer orders frequently via mail order, call center and Web site. The customer goes to the site to track her orders but can view only Web orders. Mail and phone orders reside in the back-end system and cannot be viewed on the Web. The customer needs to telephone your call center, and the cost to service this customer has cut into your bottom line.
Multichannel marketers every day run businesses off multiple databases, creating problems with duplicate or incomplete customer information. This leads to inferior customer service and possible loss of business. As direct marketers move to e-commerce in droves, a new sales channel need not give rise to new problems. The answer is already within your reach.
The Real Multichannel Solution
A simple solution, yet revolutionary: Integrate your e-commerce with your back-end system in one system and database. The right technology (one database) will make seamless customer service – regardless of channels – not only possible, but also easy. An integrated solution will turn everyday challenges into opportunities for better customer service and a fatter bottom line.
A number of vendors claim to offer the best solution. Before committing to any system, ask these questions:
- Is it complete? Can the product connect CRM, multichannel order management, call center, marketing, fulfillment, ERP and accounting all in one solution without interfaces and file transfers?
- Is it scalable? Can the system meet the needs of your company now, as well as handle the explosive growth being projected in future e-commerce retailing?
- Is it on-demand? The best solution, I think, is a software-as-a-service model that lets you run your entire business on a Web browser.
If your system provider has these elements, your customers – and your bottom line – will thank you for it.