In today’s world, starting an online store is no big deal. The market provides you with plenty of dropshipping opportunities and e-commerce software, so you can even sell products that don’t actually belong to you, taking care only about the product’s marketing and delivery.
If you don’t own a store, yet, we’ve set up a separate guide showing how to set up an online store by yourself. But once you have your e-commerce store working or if you already operate a well-performing one, it’s time to think about ways to grow and sell more.
In this material, we’ve gone through the major e-commerce trends and data to provide you with the best e-commerce software recommendations which can help you grow your already operating online store.
Let me show you how to use modern technology to make your crazy e-commerce entrepreneur life much more pleasant and entertaining. Use it to grow your online store, having more time for yourself 🏖️
Software recommendations for growing an e-commerce business:
- Customer communication/support -> live chat software for a website
(The Complete Guide: Best Live Chat Software for eCommerce)
- Store/visitors’ analytics -> analytical software for a website
(How to Maximize Your Store’s Conversion with 3 Best Ecommerce Analytics Tools)
- Customers management -> CRM for e-commerce
(5 Smart CRM Tricks for E-commerce to Grow Sales of Your Online Store)
- Mailing automation -> software for automating email communication with customers [TBA]
- Landing pages -> landing page creators to help you promote your products [TBA]
- Designing graphics for social media -> social media design apps [TBA]
- Social media posting -> social media scheduling tools [TBA]
- Employee/work time scheduling -> work time applications [TBA]
- Marketing -> marketing channels and apps to manage them [TBA]
- If you don’t own a store yet -> e-commerce platforms
Growing an e-commerce store with cloud solutions
So, how to use modern software to your advantage in growing an online store?
Before we start, let’s look into a few tips which might be helpful in figuring out the way to grow your business:
Communications is at the heart of e-commerce and community.- Meg Whitman, President and CEO of Hewlett-Packard
- Provide the best possible customer service out there.
In today’s world, people have a variety of stores to choose from. Make your brand unique and make sure your visitors remember the customer experience at your website.
- Make sure your website and product pages are well-optimized for SEO
You will not experience much organic traffic shortly after the store’s launch. Still, in the long-term, traffic from Google might turn out to be the most valuable source of your business.
- Be a reliable source for your customers
E-commerce business is pretty much about the trust. Make sure your customers believe in your brand by showing clearly who you are. Using customers’ testimonials might be crucial for your final success. Running a blog can also boost your credibility.
- Optimize user-experience at your website
Traffic on your website provides you with a valuable source of information about your users’ behavior. Use this data to create the best possible user experience.
- Find the right marketing channel for your business
There are many different channels to build the presence of your online store online. Focus wisely on social media, paid ads or content marketing, depending on the type of your audience.
1. Add a live chat window to your store and start communicating with your visitors.
The best e-commerce stores don’t require a special guidance. They’re user-friendly and navigating through them is easy for each and every visitor. The best store’s structure you’d like to have is the one that will keep your user smoothly cruising through your store. Still, there are moments when your visitor will want to contact you and in today’s world, no one wants to wait to be served. With so many alternatives available out there, people are most likely to buy from your right at the moment when looking at your store.
So how to provide instant answers to questions together with an outstanding customer service?
One of the most common solutions to do that is a live chat software. Installing a chat window on your website might contribute to the significant boost in conversion rates at your online store.
How can that magic happen? There are a few ways you can use live chat software at your e-commerce store:
- Simply providing instant information to any questions about products’ availability/shipment options
- Sending automated messages to your store’s visitors on specific product pages (e.g. promoting your new or most popular product)
- Exit-intent actions: sending an automated greeting with a discount as soon as somebody attempts to exit your store
- Providing individual, tailored customer service: with live chat solutions, you get instant access to the information about your visitors, chat participants. You can take advantage of this data to personalize your communication.
- Using the chats’ performance data to handle customer support better. E.g. analyzing the satisfaction of your customers, based on chat conversations’ ratings
How to install live chat on a website?
Installing a live chat window on a website can be as easy as one click, adding the application from the marketplace of the software you’re already using, or at hardest, copying a piece of code and adding it to your website’s code. Don’t know how to start? Just ask us anytime on chat.
Best live chat for e-commerce?
There are quite a few live chat solutions available on the market. You might wonder: Is there any live chat which is simply the best one for e-commerce business?
There is probably no such answer, as each store and business might have its own needs, preferences or design guidelines.
E.g. If you are looking for a very basic live chat solution (only to respond to customers visiting your store), there are a few free solutions you could try. However, if you’re searching for a software which will provide you with data analytics, automated messages, ticketing system or queue management, you’d rather look at more premium solutions.
Let’s look into a few live chat solutions you could use in your e-commerce business:
1. LiveChat – premium, user-friendly live chat for e-commerce, with goals tracking and ticketing system.
LiveChat is especially well-known among e-commerce businesses. It focuses on delivering the value-added to online stores by additional e-commerce functionalities like sales and goals tracking. It also pays a vast attention to user-friendliness with its simple and well-designed interface and step-by-step tutorial for new agents/operators.
Main LiveChat features for e-commerce:
- Automated greetings – automatic messages to be sent to your visitors, e.g. on product pages
- Ticketing system – a built-in system letting you handle more complex customer cases later, via email
- Customers analytics – a view and analytics of visitors browsing through your store, their source, geography, visits’ history
- Sales/goals tracking – analytics of chat conversations’ impact on your sales
- Easy and extensive integration with e-commerce platforms, well integrated with BigCommerce
- Option to connect with Facebook Messenger to handle communication in one place
2. Tidio Chat – a live chat solution with easy automation set-up and great Shopify and WIX integrations
Tidio Chat is a freemium live chat solution, which is especially known for its easy automation’ set-up. What does it mean? With Tidio, you will easily draft the flows of automated messages to be sent to your visitors, either by chat or by email. The only thing you need to do is to drag and drop particular triggers and actions which happen within Tidio. E.g. an agent doesn’t respond for more than 2 minutes -> send an automated chat message asking for a visitor’s email.
Main features of Tidio for e-commerce:
- Easy setting up workflow and scenarios for automated messages (e.g. for abandoned cart messages)
- Integrating with email as an additional communication channel
- Responding to Facebook fan page messages within Tidio
- Extensive integration with Shopify, letting you set up your own bot answering questions about order status or delivery options
- Built-in integration with WIX, allowing to handle chat conversations within WIX administration panel
3. LivePerson – an enterprise-grade live chat solution for more demanding customers
LivePerson is a solution designed for larger enterprises to help them communicate with their customers more effectively. It’s known for its built-in bot functionality, letting you handle simple customer cases automatically, without the engagement of a human being. It’s also one of the few solutions which focuses on connecting online chat with mobile messaging, integrating with SMS, iMessages or Facebook Messenger.
Main features of LivePerson for big e-commerce stores:
- Setting up the bot to handle and direct the requests automatically. Can be used to:
– handle billings: balance information, bill payments
– order management: order status updates, returns processing
– customer routing: routing the customer to the correct department or agent
- Setting up multi-channel communication with customers (e.g. via SMS, iMessages)
- Co-browsing: browsing the customer’s store and guiding him through the order
-> See our full material about TOP 5 Live Chats for eCommerce.
2. Install analytical software, optimize your website and grow conversion rate.
Did you even know you’re able to “spy” on your store’s visitors and track the way they move through your store? Even if you know, I’m pretty sure you’re not making the most out of the data you gather at your e-commerce business. Knowing how users use your online store provides you a vast advantage. You can then use this data to move particular elements across your website and check the impact on the conversion rate. Using some analytical tools, you’d even be able to make specific optimizations within a tool, without the need to engage your developer, simply by dragging, dropping or rearranging particular elements.
So how to install analytical software?
Installing an analytical software is very similar to adding other tools to your website, it simply requires copying and pasting an additional piece of code on your website. Don’t know how to do it? Just ask anytime on chat!
Data you gather with analytical tools and… how to use them to your business advantage
If you have an analytical tool already installed, you have started collecting the data. With analytical tools, you can collect the following information:
- Pages most often visited by your visitors
- Sources of your visitors (e.g. Google, social media, direct, referral traffic)
- Demographics of your visitors (e.g. male/female, country)
- Conversion rate (how many visitors decide to buy a product), also for particular products or product groups
- Recordings of your visitors using your website (exact video replays of people browsing through your store)
- Heatmaps showing you the most often clicked elements on your website
- Scrolling maps showing the scrolling patterns of your visitors
So how to use these data to grow your business?
- Optimizing website’s navigation, e.g. deleting the parts of the website less visited or worse converting by your customers
- Increasing customer retention, e.g. identifying exit points and adding social proof increasing the chance of customer staying at your store
- Optimizing subpage’s content, e.g. by moving the most clickable elements above the average scroll point of your website
- Testing different variations of particular elements, e.g. by changing the copywriting and colors of specific buttons
- Adding other software solutions like live chat and checking how customers react, e.g. to automated greetings
3 analytical software solutions to use in your online store
To gather the above data, all you need is the right analytical software to use. You don’t require a software expertise to use one. Actually, all you need to do is to add a single line of code to make it work.
1. Google Analytics e-commerce – basic analytics for your online store
Google Analytics is the most popular analytical software. About 70% of top 10k websites available online are using Google Analytics, and the rest is likely not using it to not provide the data about their website to Google.
Google Analytics provides online store owners with a special e-commerce module, letting you dive even deeper into the data.
With E-commerce Analytics, you can easily gather information about:
- The most popular products at your store
- The best converting products at your store
- The average time a visitor needs to visit your site to purchase a product
- Orders’ statistics
- Average value of customers visiting your store
- Demographics and sources of your customers
There are numerous ways you could use this data to your advantage, including:
- Targeted mailing campaigns
- Personalized discounts & promotions
- Identifying the most profitable customers’ segment
E-commerce Analytics can easily act as a basis for your store’s analytics with additional tools providing deeper insight into vital information.
2. Hotjar – additional, essential information for your store’s optimization
Hotjar is a tool which can enhance your online store’s information with insight into detailed visitors’ behavior. It lets you see exactly what your visitors do on your website with automated session’s recording and heatmap analytics.
So what can you get with Hotjar what you don’t get with Google Analytics?
- Sessions’ recording – detailed recording of your website’s visitors’ behavior
- Heatmaps – the most often clicked areas of your website
- Scrolling patterns – the way visitors scroll through your store (e.g. the moment where they stop browsing)
- Feedback analytics – as an additional feature Hotjar lets you set up a feedback window at your website
All of these can be a valuable data source for you to use in optimizing your online store:
- Hide non-clicked elements not to distract users from the experience at your store
- Move elements up or down on your website and check how it affects users’ interaction
- Change your CTA Call-to-action (e.g. buttons) copywriting and color to check how it affects users’ interaction
There are many more ways you could use the above information to grow your online business but these highly depend on the type of your operations. Go through the data and think! How can you improve based on this information?
3. Crazy Egg – support your analytics with optimization.
So you have all the data you need to draw the right conclusions. Based on this, now it’s time to optimize your store and see your business growing 🚀 CrazyEgg is the analytical tool which will help you in optimizing the way your store works with the built-in optimization software.
What will you find in CrazyEgg, which is not available in other tools?
- Behavior filtered by sources of your visitors, e.g. heatmaps filtered depending on the Google, direct, social or referral traffic
- Editor which will let you modify particular elements of your website and A/B test particular changes
What can you do with the above data?
- It lets you test your assumptions and check how changes on your website actually affect your customers’ behavior
- You’re able to distinguish between different sources of your customers and test changes for a specific source of your visitors
Installing the analytical tool is the first step to data-driven decision making (it’s not that difficult, it’s just adding one additional line of code or installing plugin e.g. at your Shopify store!). Unfortunately, gathering data is only the beginning. It’s all followed by aggregating the information and its skeptical analytics.
And while it’s the most difficult step, the right analysis of the data is crucial to your store’s success, if you’re aiming for outstanding user experience for your customers and increased conversions.
-> Read the full material about how to use the top 3 analytical tools to grow your online store.
3. Use CRM software to improve co-operation, handle abandoned carts and canceled orders
Using a CRM system when your store is still small might not be necessary. But when your operations start to scale and tasks multiply, it’s not difficult to get lost in all the issues. So how can a CRM system help your online store solve some of the problems you’re likely having?
- One shared database to improve transparency and communication within your store
Having an easily accessible CRM system lets you communicate with your team more effectively. All the data about your customers and suppliers become available and synched for your employees, which will save your and your team’s time on cross-checking the data every time you need it.
- Increase abandoned carts’ recovery by structuring the process on a visual pipeline
Having abandoned carts at your store is quite a common thing but are you doing everything you can to turn abandoned carts into the actual customers? With a CRM, you’d be able to make abandoned carts appear on your pipeline and handle them in a structured way. When a new customer abandons the cart, a new card will appear in your CRM, automatically scheduling an email or call with a customer for you.
- Manage canceled orders quicker and more effectively
Cancels and refunds are likely not your favorite tasks. They take time and money but they’re likely here to stay for a long time and the more customers you have, the better you have to plan your refunds and cancels. With a cloud CRM solution, you’d be able to easily structure the way you handle canceled orders within your team by automating the process on the pipeline. Also, anytime you move the item to the next stage in the pipeline, an email can automatically be sent to your customer, notifying about the status update.
How to set-up a CRM system to benefit your online store?
Setting up and using a CRM system for e-commerce is likely not very different from other businesses. Let’s look into some tips on implementing and using CRM software to your advantage:
- Find the right CRM – choose the tool which will support, rather then distract, automation is the key
- Do Smarketing (connect sales & marketing) within your CRM – you can use your CRM to connect sales and marketing together
- Use CRM for customer retention – having the CRM in place it’s good to make a good use of it to keep your current customers happy and coming back to your store, e.g. by identifying the most loyal customer and sending them a direct message
- Automate your work to outsmart competitors – use smart CRM automations to automate email communication, while keeping the communication personal
- Integrate with your software environment – integrate your CRM with other software you’re already using and make sure your data is in sync
Best CRM software for e-commerce?
As with any other type of software, there is no one solution which would be suitable for every business. After all, you’d need to figure out your needs and choose the tool which works the best for you and that’s exactly what we’re helping with here @ pickSaaS.
It’s important to make sure your software can easily integrate with other ones you’re already using. That’s what makes Pipedrive a great tool to create a synched and effective software environment within your company. Connect it with Shopify, MailChimp and dozens of other tools and make your work even smoother.
-> Read full material about 5 Smart CRM Tricks for E-commerce to Grow Sales of Your Online Store
Don’t own a store, yet? Use an e-commerce platform to build one.
Setting up an online store is not a problem these days. A few years ago, you might have needed a developer’s help and support to create one. In today’s world, it’s not a problem to create one, even for a less tech-savvy person. With the help of the e-commerce platforms, you will be able to easily create your own brand, add products, descriptions, set-up the payment, delivery method. You’d also be able to connect it with Amazon, Facebook or Etsy to sell via multi-channel.
What to look at when choosing an e-commerce platform?
When selecting the e-commerce platform, you’d better take a look at:
- Supported payment systems/fees
- Selection of templates and designs
- Products’ / website’s SEO optimization
- Integration with other applications/marketplaces
- Blog set-up
- Inventory management options
While there are many e-commerce platforms available (you can browse through them at pickSaaS or ask about our recommendations on chat), only a few of them offer a decent quality of service and are worth to considering, when setting up a store.
Shopify – best for user-friendliness/design quality – our e-commerce platform recommendation
It’s an extremely popular online e-commerce platform letting you design an online store by yourself.
- Integration with hundreds of different applications available at the app store
- Wide selection of templates and designs
- Solution focused on user-friendliness (easy store editor)
- Easy access to the store’s HTML code
- Easy SEO edition
- Limited payment integrations
- Shopify payments are not supported in many countries
- Might be quite expensive if you want to add multiple applications and use the full functionality
BigCommerce – best platform for setting up a large e-commerce store
BigCommerce is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms for those looking for a more advanced solution to build a larger online store. It’s quite common among developers and software houses looking for a tool to help them design an e-commerce store for their customers.
- An omnichannel solution, connecting to Ebay, Amazon, Facebook, Google Shopping, Square or Instagram
- Wide selection and high quality of templates
- Well-developed application marketplace to connect other software
- A wide range of payment options
- Advanced e-commerce analytics
- Well-suited for more demanding e-commerce merchants & large stores
- No mobile applications to manage the store on the go
- Non-technical users might find it more difficult to set up the store by themselves
Alternative e-commerce platforms:
- ecWID – a platform designed for WordPress users
- Shoplo – a platform focused on multi-channel sales (e.g. with Etsy integration)
- Volusion – user-friendly e-commerce platform with a well-priced plan for small stores
- Magento – a very popular but more advanced e-commerce platform requiring the involvement of the developer
This article will be updated with the new software for e-commerce coming every 2 weeks.
For more updates and e-commerce software recommendations join the eCommerce Software Community.
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