9 Tools to Get the ABCs of Ecommerce Right




  • by Lori Wagoner February 16, 2016
    February 16, 2016

    The success of your ecommerce business depends quite a lot on use of the best tools as well as the best use of these tools.


    We have so many ecommerce tools available at our disposal these days that it gets difficult to find the best one amidst the clutter. However, here are some really helpful tools to make etailers’ lives easier by taking care of 1) analytics, 2) behavior analysis, 3) customer service, 4) discounts and offers, 5) ecommerce platform, 6) feedback and testimonials, 7) gateway (payments), 8) hacking and security, and 9) inventory management.


    That’s the basic A B C… of ecommerce tools for you.


    Let’s see them!


    #1. Analytics – Piwik


    There’s only this far you can go without analytics.


    Whether you are running a giant site with thousands of pages or a pygmy site with a single product, you need ecommerce analytics to understand important information about your visits, conversions and goals.


    Features on offer


    Piwik is a comprehensive tool that offers wide-ranging functionality, such as revenue analysis, order tracking, goal conversion tracking, conversion rate optimization, product statistics, content tracking, Google Analytics integration, and much more. Piwik is mobile-ready so it can also track visits from mobile phones.


    What this means for you


    You can add an unlimited number of goals to track in Piwik. For instance, you could create a ‘Download Brochure’ goal to see how many times people have clicked this button to find out more about your product. Let’s say an average of 30% people who click on this button go on to become your customers, and you sell products worth $ 100 to each customer. Thus, you know that each ‘Download Brochure’ conversion is worth an average $ 30.


    This is just one example of how Piwik can help you understand the science behind your website numbers. Imagine all the intelligence you can accumulate with right use of this tool.



    #2. Behavior Analysis – Mouseflow

    2 mouseflow


    The best way to understand your visitor behavior is to see them in action, while they are on your site. Since it’s nearly impossible to do that live, the next best thing to do is to watch recordings of visitor sessions and try to understand why they did what they did.


    Features on offer


    Mouseflow shows heat maps, live videos, and gives real time feedback on how your visitors use your site. It is a virtual treasure trove of deep insights on website interactions, keystrokes, mouse movements and clicks.


    What this means for you


    The data you gather can help you boost your conversion rates, optimize your sales funnel, reduce shopping cart abandonment rate, improve your website performance in terms of usability, and save tons of money on expensive (and ongoing) A/B testing marathons.



    #3. Customer Service – Pure Chat


    Pure Chat can help you provide a live customer support service without burning a hole in your pocket. In fact, it offers a free account and the paid package will cost you only $ 5 per month. Besides it has plenty of features on offer.


    Features on offer


    This tool allows you to provide a great shopping experience to your customers by answering the queries they might have. You can directly communicate with customers while they’re browsing your site/products and help them through the purchase process.


    The customizable chat widget of Pure Chat can match the look and feel of your site. You can even select from a library of in-app images. For small businesses that do not feature a dedicated website, Pure Chat offers “Hosted Chat” pages which work with Craigslist listings, eBay and Etsy pages alike.


    Pure Chat plugins can work with Facebook and WordPress too. You can connect with customers from your mobile device, so you don’t need to be glued to your desktop.


    What this means for you


    According to a Forrester Research study titled Making Proactive Chat Work, “44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a Web site can offer.”


    Besides, other studies indicate that 90% of customers think live chat is helpful while 63% of shoppers agreed that they are “more likely to return to a website that offers live chat.


    If you don’t have this feature already, consider integrating one – now.



    #4. Discount Pop Ups – Coupon Pop


    I know, I know what you are thinking. But bear with me for a second please.


    Unlike exit pop-ups and annoying pop ups that spring from nowhere with little or no value to offer, discount pop ups work really well. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the success of your ecommerce business absolutely depends on it, but they can bring in some of those coveted conversions. StoreYa has the solution: Coupon Pop.


    Features on offer


    Coupon Pop offers your visitors a promotion of your choice in return for their like/follow/email. Providing customers with coupons can improve conversion rate by up to 33% increase in fans & followers growth by 25%.


    Coupon Pop captures leads and adds them to your mailing lists automatically. It can be integrated with various email platforms including Mailchimp, AWeber, Infusionsoft, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, etc. It works with almost all kinds of websites including WooCommerce and Shopify sites.


    What this means for you


    If you want to take your ecommerce conversion a notch above, this is one essential tool in your arsenal.



    #5. Ecommerce Website Builder – Shopify Plus

    5 shopify plus


    Before anything else, the most important aspect that sets the pace for any ecommerce site is the platform it is built on. A good platform allows you to scale up or down as per your needs. Shopify Plus, the beefed up version of the storied Shopify app, allows ecommerce sites to make a hitch-less transition from small business to enterprise.


    Features on offer


    Shopify Plus is stable and secure enough that blink – let alone prevent site breakdowns in high traffic times. It offers the option of diversifying to new geographies, supports multiple languages and currencies and so on. With unlimited bandwidth, 0% transaction fees, and the ability to sell on marketplaces and social media over and above your own site, this is the ecommerce framework and platform that connects the present to the future.


    What this means for you


    There comes a time when your online business grows and you feel that the channels that were once a perfect fit to your business don’t seem to fit anymore.


    If your website or app is proving to be too tight to accommodate your expanding business and things are getting uncomfortable on technological, functional or transactional fronts, I’d recommend you switch to Shopify.



    #6. Feedback and Testimonials – ReviewsMANAGER


    Some stats on what people look for before they buy:



    – 90% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know and 70% trust reviews from unknown users. (Econsultancy via bazaarvoice)


    – 70% consult reviews or ratings before purchasing anything. (BusinessWeek)


    While these statistics are not surprising in the least bit, it is surprising how many websites are still not harnessing the power of customer reviews and testimonials.


    This is where ReviewsMANAGER comes in the picture.


    Features on offer


    This tool allows you to add individual customer contact details into the system so it will send a personalized email requesting feedback. You can edit the email templates and ensure they are branded with your logo or image. All feedback is collected using custom forms, which include a unique grading system that makes it easier for you to manage these reviews.


    Other than the obvious options to request and manage feedback, ReviewMANAGER also offers feedback moderation and list management, which allows you to embed positive testimonials on your website.


    What this means for you


    Most ecommerce platforms come with a default feedback and testimonials plugin; if however, you are not satisfied with the bare minimum, you can certainly run with ReviewMANAGER if you want to go that extra mile with your customer service.



    #7. Gateway (Payment) – Stripe


    Strong, secure and swift payments is the pillar on which ecommerce success is built. There are a plenty of payment gateways in the U.S., so it becomes difficult to choose which one is the best. What’s more, it’s difficult to find genuine reviews and comparisons on the internet. However, the one that I prefer to others is Stripe.


    Features on offer


    Stripe offers a beautiful and simple payment flow that works across desktop and mobile. It is customizable and offers unlimited payment and subscription plans. Most importantly, it allows you to accept local currencies, so no matter which part of the world you are selling to, Stripe will take care of conversions.


    What this means for you


    If you’re looking for a simple, striking, secure and reliable payment gateway that has been heralded as the best solution to online commerce, Stripe is for you.



    #8. Hacking and Security – McAfee SECURE


    Retail is the worst-affected industry when it comes to online security breaches. And all the steps you take to make your site hack-proof can never be enough. However, few things beats the trust and reputation that comes with McAfee trustmark on your website.


    Features on offer


    Although McAfee needs no introduction, let me quickly highlight the primary features: It scans your web server for malware, virus and other malicious activities and if you’re all clear, your site will automatically be highlighted as SECURE in the Google, Yahoo and Bing search results for the 50 million plus McAfee SiteAdvisor anti-virus users.


    What this means for you


    McAfee also lets you display the “trustmark” badge on your site; place these strategically on key web pages and your visitors can loosen their purse strings without hesitation. It is no secret that displaying trust seals and certifications on websites directly lead to increased sales.



    #9. Inventory Management – Veeqo

    9 veeqo


    Nothing dampens a potential customer’s spirits more than “Out of stock” message. Effective inventory management allows you to overcome that obstacle and ensure the success of your business. Enter Veeqo.


    Features on offer


    Veeqo allows you to track your inventory across your website, eBay and Amazon marketplaces. It also takes care of other small but time-consuming tasks like printing labels, sending email confirmations and updating orders across all your stores.


    What this means for you


    If time is your biggest enemy and you need an effective system to track shipping and inventory, have a go at Veeqo. It helps you save up to 5 minutes per order and ship every order with a single click.



    Recap

    So let’s do a recap of what we’ve learnt so far.


    The success of your ecommerce business depends on:


    A – Analytics


    B – Behavior analysis


    C – Customer service


    D – Discounts and offers


    E – Ecommerce platform


    F – Feedback and testimonials


    G – Gateway (Payment)


    H – Hacking and security


    I – Inventory management


    Are they right for me?

    There is no way I can answer that for you. But I suggest you give them a try; most of these tools come with a no-questions-asked trial, which makes it easier for you to decide if it’s the right fit for you.


    The parameters of judging are quite simple – the number of features on offer, the features that you need or will need in the near future, your budget, and most importantly, usability and reliability. If these tools satisfy you on these terms and any other parameters you set, I say go ahead!

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