The most jolly time for both consumers and retailers is on in full force, the holiday season has started. So how can retailers, or more specifically, eRetailers, take advantage of the holiday season and receive the gift of a record high sales quarter? The solution is most likely the perfect combination of marketing, sales promotions, and optimization. Unfortunately I can’t provide you with that perfect solution. What I can provide you are the tools to help make sure that your web store is performing to its maximum potential.
Here are 10 of our favorite eCommerce tools:
- Google Analytics: The first tool is one that every business should have on their
webstorewebsite. Although there are many obvious benefits of having Analytics installed on your site, there are some features that are critical for those engaged in eCommerce. For example, identifying conversion funnels within Analytics and creating events is important to see which channels are performing the best and where your conversion process may be struggling.
- MailChimp: Email marketing is still essential to the success of any website. This is especially the case when email is the preferred methods of communication among consumers. And with conversion rates of email marketing being 72% higher than search and 323% higher than social, any eRetailer that isn’t using email in their holiday arsenal is missing a big opportunity. Oh and MailChimp? The best platform in my opinion.
- Google AdWords: Although search may not always have the highest conversion rates, it is still one of the most effective methods of traffic acquisition and sales promotion. Although you will have to decide which is the most effective way to promote your business – whether through search, display, or both – having a highly focused search strategy for the holiday season is a must for eCommerce.
- Topsy: Taking the industry by surprise with a recent purchase by Apple for $200 million, Topsy has solidified it’s place as a major social analytics player. The platform offers an array of valuable features including the identification of influencers, trends among specific keywords, and with a little savvy, the ability to analyze your competitors’ performance on social.
- ZenDesk: You are nothing without your customers. So keeping them happy and resolving any issues that they have should be one of your highest priorities. ZenDesk allows you to do this when you don’t have the budget for full time customer service over the phone. Offering customer service through nearly every channel imaginable for a price that almost any business could afford (their lowest plan starts at $1/month), ZenDesk is undoubtedly one of the best solutions for customer support.
- Lucky Orange: Sometimes Google Analytics isn’t enough. Unfortunately most SMBs can’t afford top shelf analytics packages. That is where Lucky Orange steps in. Offering an affordable analytics solution with tons of features that you can’t get from Google Analytics like visitor “heat maps,” form analytics, and visitor recordings, this is a must for any business that wants to get a better insight into how visitors interact with their site.
- SproutSocial: Although most businesses use Hootsuite, SproutSocial remains as my favorite social media monitoring platform. Offering a slew of features that you can’t get from Hootsuite in a very user-friendly way, those who are highly engaged in social will find that this platform pays in dividends if you are willing to put up a little extra cash. Some of my favorite features are their aggregation of all social activity and mentions into a simple “messages” format and their many exportable reports.
- Online Conversion Insights: Knowing your conversion process is of utmost importance when trying to optimize and identify problematic areas of your funnel. But do you know what your competitors’ conversion rates are? Or the percentage of your customers that are also shopping on a competitor’s site? Are you benchmarking your conversion rate in order to evaluate site performance? If not, you can be losing a real opportunity to improve your site performance and get an edge over your competition. Online Conversion Insights, one of Millward Brown Digital’s latest tools, offers you the ability to do all of those things.
- Wibiya: This is one of the more unheard of tools of this list but it is certainly very useful for any business engaged in eCommerce. What Wibiya does is place a bar at the bottom of the browser for any site visitor. This bar is customizable for the site owner and offers the ability to further push sales promotions, increase attention to your social profiles, improve your content marketing efforts by increasing traffic to your blog, and provide accessibility to international visitors by providing an option to translate the site.
- Adroll: Last, but certainly not least, is Adroll. Identifying itself as the leading retargeting platform, AdRoll is a must for retailers that want to recapture the attention of visitors that did not buy—or did not buy enough. Although many choose to keep their retargeting efforts in AdWords using their remarketing platform, AdRoll does an excellent job of explaing why you are wrong in doing that.
As a senior at Northeastern University, Zach Eberhart is thrilled to join the Compete team as the new Social Media / Marketing Co-op. Majoring in marketing and management information systems, Zach loves everything marketing and technology and has experience in both the agency and startup world. If you like what you read, you can connect with him on Google+ or LinkedIn.