Part Two: Essential Tools For Ecommerce Businesses

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.

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.

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