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Tea Forte steeps value from new B2C CRM

B2B CRM vendors like Marketo and Salesforce have tailored their wares for consumer-facing businesses, but B2C CRM vendor Zaius proved to be the right cup of tea for one company.

With the help of a new B2C CRM platform, Tea Forte turned one-time gift recipients of its luxury tea products into repeat customers and grew its brand across traditional retail channels -- from Neiman Marcus to Saks Fifth Avenue -- and e-commerce.

The purveyor of tea products, based in Concord, Mass., credits its success to email and promotions on Zaius' B2C CRM. The platform delivers real-time, cross-channel marketing automation and attribution. By simply identifying its best products and content, executives saw 20 times the return on spending over what they invested and the revenue they attributed to the platform.

"Zaius has helped us incorporate behavioral campaigns, which drive a higher return rate. We are also able to segment campaigns to nonopeners or 'final day' emails to those with items in their cart who have yet to check out," said Jurgen Nebelung, Tea Forte's vice president of e-commerce and digital.

Zaius' B2C CRM platform combines data and execution in the same place, so brands can understand their best channels and content -- from email to mobile, web to customer support and purchases.

In 2017, that appeal led Tea Forte to rethink its use of multiple systems and a legacy email service provider that hadn't improved its product reach in five years.

"We were using an event-driven architecture to understand behavior, but between the various systems, we were overinvesting," Nebelung said. "Our two systems weren't talking to each other and, therefore, [they were] underperforming."

With Zaius, the Tea Forte team adopted customer analytics and a customer-centric view. The company was finally able to break down customer data by behaviors, products and purchases on Zaius' platform. Through bounce-back campaigns -- an order insert or an email -- and their refer-a-friend program, products gained traction with Tea Forte's most loyal audience. Tea Forte now keeps data in one place, increasing the relevancy of the company's messages.

Zaius also helped Tea Forte secure a third-party relationship with Amazon, which ensures that images, enhanced brand content and the prices of products are still controlled by the Tea Forte sales team.

"Once you lose control of price, you lose control of your brand and the perceived value," Nebelung said. "Our partnership [with Amazon] allows us to get Tea Forte into customers' hands in just two days, which is a great experience for our mutual customers."

Once you lose control of price, you lose control of your brand and the perceived value.
Jurgen Nebelungvice president of e-commerce and digital at Tea Forte

The Tea Forte team now views the most frequently purchased items or repeat purchased items to determine how those perform "over index," as well as what performs best on email and Facebook. Using Zaius' B2C CRM, the company can ultimately determine the kind of products that will do the best in replenishment campaigns with an audience to build trust in their brand.

"We run a lot of campaigns in parallel. Whether it's an email that we send or we use a custom audience sync to then push onto Facebook or Google, it just gives us an opportunity to reach them," Nebelung said. "Customer reviews also help convert visitors."

B2C CRM options on the rise

While Zaius is designed from the ground up for B2C companies, traditional CRM software providers are integrating B2B and B2C CRM capabilities to make their software work for consumer-facing businesses. This means their CRMs need to support for far more leads and larger data volumes, shorter sales cycles and cover more customer entry points.

Marketo's traditionally B2B CRM is moving into B2C CRM. Salesforce is also moving in on B2C CRM customers. Oracle NetSuite's SuiteCommerce targets point of sale and e-commerce, with a 360-degree view of customers across all channels. And most of IBM's CRM customers are B2C -- 70%, according to Gartner. Big Blue's CRM tools include Watson Marketing, Watson Campaign Automation, Watson Marketing Insights, Watson Real-Time Personalization and Watson Customer Experience Analytics. Another B2B and B2C CRM hybrid option is Pegasystems, which offers lead management capabilities on a single platform.

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