Whether you are just starting out in ecommerce or already busy making online sales, you need a full suite of great tools to reach your full potential. Even if your current setup is performing well, ecommerce businesses need to keep their toolboxes up to date.
As technology and ecommerce evolve, new tricks of the trade are emerging all the time in the form of new tools. A new integration for marketing or data analysis could set you apart from your competitors and make a huge difference to your bottom line.
To help build out your current toolbox, here is a breakdown of the main categories of ecommerce tools you should consider to keep pace with the marketplace.
These days it’s rare for companies to hire developers and build custom online stores from scratch. Instead, retailers choose from a range of ecommerce platforms for website hosting and ecommerce support. Many are available through monthly subscription. At higher tiers, you may have access to special features and consulting assistance to customize the platform for your business needs.
Well-known platforms include Shopify, Wix, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Squarespace, and Adobe Commerce. The following criteria can help you choose the platform that’s right for you:
- Ease of use: How easy is it to set up? Will you need technical expertise? What kind of customer support does the platform provide? How is the documentation? Will the platform scale to meet your needs? How is performance during busy periods? Read reviews to learn the pros and cons of different platforms or contact a representative to discuss your specific needs.
- Mobile performance: According to Insider Intelligence, ecommerce transacted over smartphones reached $359.32 billion in 2021, and is expected to reach $728.28 billion by 2025. To reach customers where they shop, retailers need platforms optimized for fast, high quality performance on mobile and tablets.
- Expert features: Most ecommerce platforms offer some marketing, business, and analytics features. Make sure the platform you choose provides the tools you want or supports integrations with the best available vendor tools.
- Pricing: Most platforms have several pricing tiers, with different service levels, storage and even sales volumes. Learn the differences before you commit.
Process optimization tools
While ecommerce platforms take care of many basic business-side processes, like customer accounts, order processing, and online payments processing, tools are needed for workflow tasks that happen off-site. Thankfully, powerful tools are available to streamline employee communications, deliveries, inventory management, and customer service. The following are some popular examples:
- Communication and workflow tools: Online businesses need to communicate with internal employees to set priorities and keep everyday business organized and on track. Popular tools like Slack, Coda, and Monday.com are used to stay connected in real-time, organize and daily tasks, long-term projects, and stay on schedule.
- Logistics and inventory management: Some retailers partner with third-party fulfilment services to manage delivery, especially for international shipping. Shipwire, Veeqo, and ShipStation are fulfillment tools that can handle orders and manage inventory and warehousing for online retailers directly through their websites.
- Customer service: Convenient, quality customer support is crucial to maintain customer loyalty. Zendesk, Acquire, and Gorgias streamline customer service for online stores by connecting customers on any channel to service agents, and displaying customer information to agents for better service and fast problem resolution.
In the busy retail marketplace, it can be challenging for ecommerce stores to gain shopper attention. Great marketing tools perform a range of functions that help establish and maintain brand identity and reach the right customers, while saving time.
The following are some of the most popular strategies and corresponding tools:
- Email marketing: Emails and email newsletters are a great way to build a customer base, stay in touch with customers and drive sales through promotions. Mailchimp and Constant Contact are built to help you connect with customers through email.
- Social media marketing: Most online retailers use social media to boost visibility. Tools like Buffer and Bulk.ly can streamline social media management by helping teams create content and posting automatically to multiple sites according to pre-set schedules.
- Omnichannel marketing: Many ecommerce retailers need to speak across several channels at once, including email, social media, and SMS. A tool like Omnisend provides templates and automated posting to support a range of marketing strategies and channels.
- SEO and research tools: Part of a strong marketing strategy is knowing what your competitors are doing and how your site is performing in your domain. Tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs monitor and analyze websites in your corner of the market to identify top-performing keywords and backlinks, plus other insights for ranking and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
The most important by-product in the digital marketplace is data. Ecommerce retailers need it to know how their stores are performing and they need to leverage deeper insights to learn how to do more with their online stores.
Many platforms have built-in dashboards that provide basic analytics tools. These are great for tracking key performance indictors (KPIs), such as site visits, sales conversion rates, order values, customer lifetime value (CLV), and shopping cart abandonment rates.
Other tools can provide deeper, additional insights:
- Website and visitor data: real-time data about your site visitors and site activity is essential to assess performance and to learn more about your customers, their shopping behavior, and sales. Google Analytics provides lots of powerful business information for free, including funnel analysis for shopping and checkout, and predictive analytics. Zoho Analytics provides detailed analytics and data visualizations as a paid service.
- A/B testing and personalization tools: Marketing is a science and your sales strategies need to be tested to see what’s working. Tools like Optimizely and Kissmetrics provide A/B testing tools to compare approaches and target sales to specific customers and more effectively.
Discover tools for better online performance
Ecommerce platforms are crucial templates for getting online businesses up and running. However, additional tools and specialized integrations can help them flourish and grow. What’s important is knowing what ecommerce tools are out there, and how to use them to get ahead. Adopting great marketing, business, and analytics tools can help you streamline operations, stay ahead of competitors, attract customers, and generate more conversions.
To learn more about ecommerce tools to establish or scale your online business, talk to our marketing specialist at 1800.688.9838.