ecommerce platform optimization and distribution optimization with CRM and BI

A Distributor’s Guide to eCommerce Platform Optimization

In our digital-driven economy, eCommerce and online transactions are the standard. Typically, marketing teams manage and own companies’ eCommerce platforms, utilizing them to generate leads, data, and revenue. 

But how are offline, boots-on-the-ground sales teams utilizing these platforms?

Most likely, they’re not. For many distributors and B2B companies, the disconnect between online activity and offline engagement leaves sales operating in the dark without relevant insights and data about customers’ online behavior. For these teams, the eCommerce platform is little more than a catalog, with a gaping hole in their customers’ CRM records.

This prevents the seamless path to purchase that organizations strive for in pursuit of an improved customer experience and increased revenue. Integrating your eCommerce platform with a CRM built for distributors is key for the entire business to optimize analytics, customer experience, and revenue strategies. Below, we’ll guide you through optimization opportunities.

eCommerce Analytics for Business Growth

Your eCommerce platform collects a wealth of data on customers’ buying behavior essential for growth. If these data points are not making it into your CRM for the sales team, that means lost revenue. Some of these key metrics for distribution optimization include:

Top online purchases

  • What is it? The leading items sold via online transactions by a defined measurement.
  • How is it measured? By either revenue generated or by count of items sold within a given period, such as weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc. It can change more often than you think. 
  • Why does it matter? Knowing what your customers buy the most online — vs. offline channels — as well as what their business needs are throughout the year is invaluable.

Online vs. offline sales growth 

  • What is it? How many sales are happening online, vs. via the sales team? 
  • How is it measured? As the previous metric, this can be measured via revenue generated and item count.
  • Why does it matter? Visibility into both offline and online sales growth shows opportunities for growing channels, but can also provide insight into trends: Are certain products selling more online vs. off? Are discounts being utilized more in one or the other? This visibility can also help realign forecasts, goals, and staffing decisions.

Abandoned carts

  • What is it? The number of carts with items in them without checking out/purchasing during a defined period.
  • How is it measured? This can be measured by the number of users or the number of carts, plus the total cost of the items in the carts. It’s also beneficial to track how long these carts sit, and what the conversion rate on eventual purchase is.
  • Why does it matter? Abandoned carts affect forecasts. Understanding the rate of abandonment can help better forecast, but can also help identify issues with the purchase flow or customer perception, such as expensive shipping or a painful checkout experience. 


Sales Strategies in eCommerce

These new metrics from your eCommerce platform optimization efforts that are now available in your CRM provide the offline sales team with an opportunity to develop revised sales strategies.

Top online purchases point the sales team to what’s needed most in certain industries, allowing them to reach out to their contacts with popular solutions — and they’ll be able to see if customers have already purchased online. 

Monitoring online vs. offline sales growth can indicate if customers are buying a product elsewhere (e.g. a customer buys trash cans from you — but not trash bags, and obviously they need both), or if a product needs to be remerchandised (e.g. offline sales are strong, but online are weak). Sales teams can use online sales trends to offer customers new products and solutions. 

Abandoned carts show intent. At some time, the customer or potential customer needed what was in their cart. With abandoned cart information from the eCommerce platform in the CRM, sales teams can reach out to those shoppers and help them find a solution.

eCommerce Insights for Marketing

While marketing teams have already been utilizing eCommerce data, the integration with CRM records offers a wealth of new insights that can help develop more effective, targeted marketing campaigns that better reach shoppers. 

For example, utilizing purchase history can lead to seasonal campaigns that promote products the customer typically buys each quarter, as well as upsell campaigns that offer ancillary products, such as connectors for hoses, or larger or recurring orders on items purchased regularly. 

And if a cart is abandoned, an ongoing campaign targeted at customers and leads who are shopping around can help make the sale.

Customer Support eCommerce Strategies

We’ve mentioned the value of using eCommerce insights to help create a better overall customer experience, but having a complete picture of the customer and their purchase history and online behavior is essential.

Not only does this help your customer service representatives provide better service, but it makes things easier for your customers. If they’re contacting customer service, they probably have an issue and are probably already frustrated. They’re only going to become more frustrated if the representative doesn’t seem to have a complete picture of the customer’s purchases and interactions to fully resolve the problem. 

eCommerce Workflows for Operations

As previously mentioned, optimized eCommerce platform analytics can highlight opportunities for operational efficiencies, such as remerchandising, UX, and more accurate forecasts.

Moreover, eCommerce and CRM automated workflows can help you monitor and maintain inventory levels (while also letting marketing and sales alert customers when certain items are back in stock), and notify you when inventory drops below a certain level.

Keep everyone in the loop with automated reports for internal stakeholders, as well as purchasing trend reports for partners and vendors, so they can be prepared for potential influxes or slowdowns.

Maximize eCommerce Investments With White Cup

To fully optimize your eCommerce data and investments, it’s important to use a CRM and Business Intelligence (BI) solution built for distribution — designed to natively integrate with your eCommerce platform. 

White Cup is the first distributor-focused software provider to offer a solution to help offline sales teams take action based on customers’ online buying behavior — while empowering your entire business to work toward the same goal of increased revenue. Previously, this type of nuanced solution wasn’t available to distributors, and add-on solutions or custom software had to make do. 

Through a native White Cup CRM and BI solution, your sales team can leverage online activities to capture more leads and fuel more meaningful sales conversations. 

Learn more about this integration and seize every sales opportunity.

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