Making Use of Knowledge Management to Keep Your Ecommerce Store Ahead of the Competition

Global e-commerce sales are growing steadily and, according to eMarketer, they will reach $6.5 trillion in the next 4 years.

Ecommerce sales continue to grow

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At the same time, PipeCandy estimates that there are at least 2-3 million online stores worldwide. The number of online buyers is rising but so is the number of e-commerce brands.

There is fierce competition in almost every niche.

So, how can you outpace your competitors?

If you dive deeper into research reports, you’ll notice a trend—the most successful companies capitalize on product and customer knowledge:

  • Insight-driven organizations grow more than 30% year-over-year (Forrester Research)
  • 73% of companies that over-perform use customer knowledge to create tailored experiences (Millward Brown Vermeer)
  • Companies that provide employees and customers with relevant knowledge resolve issues up to 80% faster (Gartner)

In other words, effective knowledge management (KM) can lead to increased sales, better customer experiences and higher employee productivity.

Let’s explore a few of the ways to make use of knowledge management.

Better Customer Targeting

“Which are the right customers?”

This is a million-dollar question because, when you have the answer, you can lower your customer acquisition costs and boost your retention rates. You can get your product or service in front of the people who need it right now, increasing your chances of upsells and cross-sells.

In reality, you already have pieces of information about your best customers and you can connect them using a knowledge management solution.

This was the approach taken by Lumension, a leader in endpoint security software. Instead of sending the same message to all website visitors, the marketing team used what they called an “integrated retargeting” strategy. The first step was to organize offline events to warm up prospects and collect data. The second step was to upload the data and create a retargeting campaign for attendees only. As a result, Lumension managed to cut down their PPC budget by 30% while increasing their lead volume by 81%.

Lumension strategy to integrate online and offline marketing initiatives

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To find your best customers, you can compare the performance of your marketing channels and break them down by audience type using a KM solution such as Google Data Studio.

Google Data Studio reports

Personalize the customer experience

Accenture recently reported that 91% of consumers are more likely to buy from companies that remember them. At the same time, LoyaltyOne revealed, 76% of consumers prefer to get personalized discounts.

Customers are looking for tailored experiences and companies that provide them stand to gain a lot. If you want to wield the incredible power of personalization, you can do so with a KM solution because it allows you to access, capture and analyze information from various sources. For example, you can pull insights from social media, chatbots, surveys, customer service interactions, purchase history, loyalty program data and use them to tailor each customer’s digital experience.

Let’s bring this into perspective with an example. SaaS company BuildFire employs two KM tools—Clearbit and Segment to store and retrieve customer data for personalization. Using this data and the personalization platform Proof, they have launched an auto-fill system on their website. If a visitor has already opted in on the website, a form will pre-fill all known fields. In addition, BuildFire’s smart forms also populate business information from the web such as number of employees and company website.

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After implementing this solution, BuildFire saw a 46% lift in the number of qualified leads and a 48% lift in conversions.

Improve customer service

Customer expectations are as high as ever and one of the top demands is a quick reply. Case in point, according to McKinsey, 75% of online shoppers expect help within five minutes.

One of the ways to lower your response time is to improve the workflow between agents and across teams. In such a setup, the agent can resolve issues faster because he or she has access to information shared by the support team, the marketing team, the sales team, etc.

This is usually done with a KM solution like a knowledge base, a customer wiki, or some type of electronic document management system (EDMS) so that knowledge can be captured, stored and organized in a single, searchable location. As a result, product and customer information is readily available to your agents and they don’t have to hunt it down across shared files and folders making it easier to organize their tasks.

Your EDMS can contain FAQs, white papers, customer support articles, explainer videos, best practices, pre-sales questions, and any other relevant information.

For example, here is the knowledge base of Kajabi—an all-in-one platform for digital product creators. It contains information about how to use each tool the platform offers as well as the option to start a live chat.

Speaking of live chat, your knowledge base can also make your AI agents (chatbots) more effective. By creating a chatbot that integrates with a KB, you allow customers to find answers to their most common questions, while also letting service reps focus on complex and time-consuming issues.

Here’s how Sephora does this with a chatbot. After completing a short quiz, the customer can request tips on a specific topic. The bot pulls relevant information from Sephora’s knowledge base, engaging the customer and answering her questions.

Sephora's chatbot helping a customer

Conclusion

As the number of online buyers increases, e-commerce brands will face stiff competition because the number of online stores is also growing at a steady pace. On the upside, nearly every company possesses valuable customer and product knowledge which can be used to move ahead in the race. Understanding your customers allows you to improve your targeting and personalize their experience. Capturing and storing knowledge about your products and services helps you engage customers and resolve issues faster.

 

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