Part Two: Essential Tools For Ecommerce Businesses

October 31, 2017
- Update on 
June 29, 2018

Part Two: Essential Tools For Ecommerce Businesses

October 31, 2017
- Update on 
June 29, 2018
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Remember the old Apple ads – “There’s an App for that” — well, when it comes to building your ecommerce tech stack, that couldn’t be more true. There is a tool for every conceivable technological need an ecomm vendor or distributor might have. Last month we published part one in this series covering ecommerce platforms, CRM systems, Analytics, Accounting tools, Product Information Management, ERP setups and social monitoring.Retargeting

Need a way to get more sales out of the same number of site visitors? Installing a good retargeting program will allow you to turn one-time visitors into repeat shoppers by placing an invisible pixel on the customer’s browser through a cookie. This cookie, for lack of a better word, follows them around the internet where your retargeting tool can serve them your ads. This makes your advertising more efficient, by only targeting people who have already been to your site.

Industry standards say only about 2% of web traffic converts on the first visit. Retargeting give you a chance to reach the 98% of shoppers who don’t convert on that initial visit. Keeping your brand in mind is a great way to make sales.

There is no shortage of great retargeting tools, but you’ll need to do your homework to determine which is right for you. Start with AdRollTellapartYieldify, and Perfect Audience. Google has a remarketing tool as well, but for bells and whistles look elsewhere.

Inbound Marketing

Launching smart, information-rich campaigns to your regular customers and subscribers can make a massive difference to your bottom line each month. Unlike traditional outbound marketing, where you fight for eyeballs with radio ads, billboards, and Google AdWords, inbound marketing is focused on attracting customers through relevant and helpful content. The toolkit starts with your social media – particularly Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook – and your blog.

By creating content that your audience deems valuable and interesting, inbound marketing can win more, higher-quality, and more accurately qualified shoppers for your business. And the big benefit is that by offering great content, you can make your channels stickier than your competitors.

You can do the front-end of inbound without a specific tool, just get a good blogging program and manage your social well. But to maximize the returns from inbound you’ll need a solid tool like HubspotBloomReach or Autopilot. At the low end of the spectrum, you can even use something as simple as MailChimp.

A/B Testing

Do they like you, or do they really like you? If you aren’t A/B Testing your content and shopping pages the truth is you’ll never know. There’s no excuse for being left in the dark when there are affordable tools that can give you insightful and actionable feedback.

A/B testing lets you serve your customers’ subtle variations in your content, on the fly. The results will tell you which version converts better so you can know for sure what wording or imagery to go with. You can test different product titles, descriptions, images, and more. Basically, if it exists, you can test it.

One of the hangups of A/B testing is the need for statistical reliability. If you only have a few hundred visitors to certain pages this form of testing isn’t all that accurate. For example, if you have 200 shoppers viewing a certain product where you are testing what product name converts better — you would only have 100 customers on either side of the test. Even if you had a 40% converting on option A, and 30% converting on option B, you haven’t really learned much you can rely on.

If you’re ready to get testing look at QualarooKissmetricsOptimizely, and Unbounce.

Cut Down on Abandoned Carts

Nothing is more frustrating than a full cart that never makes it to check out. Losing money on nearly completed orders stings, but it happens to every ecomm store, right?

It happens a lot actually. In a study by the Baymard Institute, 67% of shopping carts are abandoned before they’re completed, while other studies put that as high as 81%. Scary! But just because it happens to everyone, doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it.

Every sale you can recapture, every extra cart that makes it to checkout, is money in your pocket. So it’s worth your time to find the right tech tool to turn hesitating shoppers into checkouts. Whether this is through offering incentives or discounts on cart closes or sending a well-timed recovery email reminder — whatever you can do to complete that sale is valuable.

Some tools to check out: CartstackDataCrushers (formerly AbandonAid), and Rejoiner.

Part three will be out next month where we’ll dive into ad tech, SEO optimization, and ecommerce loyalty programs.

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5. Better consumer engagement requires more data.

“Rising customer expectations for seamless brand experiences underscore how important it is for commerce solutions to work together more closely than ever to harmonize information across systems and touchpoints.” - Brendan Witcher, Forrester Research.

As consumers drive the market, companies must consider how to better collect, manage, and analyze the data from consumer engagements. In most supply chains, this data is relegated to silos by organization, and often further siloed within organizations by department or function. The lack of connectivity makes it impossible to analyze data effectively, let alone action any learnings from the data that would improve brand experiences across systems and touchpoints.

Connectivity empowers brands, manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers to share data across organizations seamlessly, enabling them to respond to learnings with urgency with unified strategies to improve brand experiences across the entire customer journey and impact business results in a measurable way.

6. Organizations can’t respond to change fast enough.

Rolling out changes in retail supply chains that are made up of numerous external relationships takes too long. With the volume of data increasing as well as the number of parties involved (both internal and external), the challenge becomes even more complex. A key limiting factor in retail’s response time is the speed with which organizations can distribute product data.

And when unforeseen external factors come into play, brands and retailers must deal with the fall out, often to the tune of millions. For example, In October 2018, the US Postal Service announced an increase in rates to send packages. Credit Suisse analyst, Stephen Ju, reported this hike could cost Amazon between $400M & $1.1B, which doesn’t include the cost of system-wide price and third-party site changes (CNBC). How will Amazon scale these changes?

Competing and succeeding in retail requires agility. Brands and retailers must be positioned to respond actively to consumer data and analytics.

Connectivity enables rapid delivery of information and feedback across supply networks, and intelligent content distribution supports the growing range of product information standards and facilitates compliance with numerous regulatory standards and content quality and completeness requirements set by retailers.

7. Data bottlenecks prevent growth.

Retail’s data needs are growing, and reliance on manual processes prevents retailers from growing to meet consumer demand. Here are a few obvious areas where scale comes into play:

  • More products and more SKUs
  • More data attributes per SKU
  • More frequent changes to retailer data requirements
  • Increased volume of information being exchanged
  • More frequent updates to product information
  • More data being passed with each update
  • Brands and suppliers are selling to more retail channels

In each of the above examples, retail requires streamlined processes to manage product data. Without connectivity, retail can’t grow. Venzee offers connectivity that positions brands, manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, and technology partners to manage growth in all of these areas.

Connectivity facilitates scale. Period. Replacing manual steps with connectivity removes any limits on the speed of data exchange between trading partners. Once speed is no longer an issue, enterprises can evolve to become more adept at managing data and responding to the market.

Venzee’s API-driven solution provides the connectivity that retailers, suppliers, and content management systems need.

Venzee is solving the retail industry’s product data challenges with our intelligent content distribution platform that facilitates API-connected supply networks.

Venzee's Mesh-based Product Network
Venzee provides the digital core needed for better-connected supply networks.

Venzee facilitates the seamless connectivity that modern retail requires. With an API-driven, intelligent content distribution platform, Venzee is the easiest way for content management systems to connect to thousands of retailer channels.

With Venzee’s API solution, organizations can benefit from the following:

  • Consistent data everywhere
    One-to-many — Starting with a single source of truth, Venzee transforms and distributes product data to all desired sales channels.
  • Ability to meet changing demands effortlessly
    Venzee monitors data requirements, so retailers always receive data from brands that’s complete, accurate, and error-free. Buyers are happier and products get to market faster.
  • Future-proof, adaptable and lean technology solution
    Venzee’s pure-play, API-driven solution lets data management providers add content distribution functionality that adapts to market needs with minimal resources.

Serving as the infrastructure for the seamless exchange of product information, Venzee securely connects the data management technology of retailers, brands, and distributors, and their enterprise software partners via a single API. Our intelligent distribution platform transforms and delivers product information for over 20M SKUs across hundreds of unique formats to destinations like Amazon, Walmart, Costco, Home Depot, and Overstock.

Ultimately, choosing the right tools for your ecomm tech stack can mean the difference between just surviving and really thriving. With that in mind, here’s part one of our quick guide for ecommerce vendors looking to build a great tech stack with the right ecomm tools for their business.
Part One: 7 Essential Tools For Ecommerce Businesses
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