177001192-457113-editedTom Schwab runs a B2C direct ecommerce company, Goodbye Crutches, and is the ecommerce HUG leader. Here are his four key takeaways from the INBOUND conference.

The Ultimate Ecommerce CRM

One of the biggest challenges we've had as a small and quickly growing ecommerce company is where to keep the customer records. Every shopping cart has a basic CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system on the back end, yet it's not made for easy access by Customer Service Reps. We've tried integrating with larger CRMs like Highrise, Salesforce and Zoho, but they are all built around B2B. Worse yet, they were so time consuming to enter data that the Customer Service reps would not consistently get all of the information manually entered - making the system worthless. Once your shopping cart is integrated with HubSpot, HubSpot’s CRM provides an easy to use system. We've already configured it to import payment history information so customers’ billing questions can be answered without leaving HubSpot.

Selling Without Sales People – the Inbound Way

The traditional answer to increase sales is to increase the number of sales people. For ecommerce this is not a viable option. According to Jay Simons, President of Atlassian, it isn’t needed in more traditional models either! When this startup launched it's software development and collaboration tool, it could not afford a full sales force. They recognized that their major markets were in Europe, while they were based in Australia. Using an inbound strategy, they used automation to help the customer make the buying decision and focused on reducing the friction in the purchase. Customer advocates logged every phone, chat and email question. Marketing continually tested the site to make it easier for the customer to buy. The result is sales in excess of $1M a day from a predictable and scalable inbound sales machine.

COS – Treating First Time Visitors Like Individuals

The Content Optimization System (COS) from HubSpot has always enabled personalization for leads – visitors who filled out a form or took action an action on your site. Now the COS allows even a first time visitor to be shown unique content based upon their IP address. This is a huge tool for ecommerce. For international visitors, you could instantly show them products available in their county in local currency. For regional visitors, you could offer special prices or shipping promotions. Offering free next day delivery becomes easy and attractive when you set the COS to show that offer to everyone within the UPS 1 day delivery option. The possibilities for ecommerce with this feature are endless.

Inbound.org – You’re Not Alone

The growth of the inbound movement is undeniable. I attended my first INBOUND conference in 2012. Looking back it was a small intimate affair with 2,500 attendees. Just 2 years later it has grown to over 10,000 like-minded inbound converts. Yet when we all traveled home, you quickly realize what was common in Boston, may be rare in your hometown. The local HubSpot User Groups do a great job of connecting people geographically. There is even a virtual ecommerce HubSpot User Group that meets online monthly.

Now there is another easy way to connect with the world of inbound with a free online community. Inbound.org can help you connect with others, ask and answer questions, and read the best articles as voted on by the community. You can even post or find a job.

 How to Build a Profitable Ecommerce Business

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Originally published Oct 30, 2014 10:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016