Being an e-merchant means that you have to deal with a quite long “to-do” list on the daily basis. This way, when it comes to managing your online store, any help from the outside is very much appreciated. As there is a huge number of tools available on the market, the main question is to define the right ones for your business. Below you’ll find a list of some of the best free tools to give a boost to your productivity and save both your time and efforts.
During the last 5 years, social media has been regarded as one of the fastest growing marketing channels. More than 2.8 billion people across the globe use social media at least once a month, with more than 91% of them doing so via mobile devices.
That’s why we’re going to start with some tools that can make your social media presence more effective and help bring some traffic to your store.
This tool is a great choice for managing your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ accounts with one platform. Its free version allows you to schedule your posts and later on measure their performance. As their tagline clearly explains, “our Free plan is perfect for individuals who want to start managing multiple networks, schedule content, and engage with their audience—all in one place”. Surely, the free plan has its restrictions: you’re limited to three connected social media accounts in the free version. However, for the majority of eCommerce stores, three is enough. This vendor also provides the training on various aspects of social media strategy (with further certifications) to their clients, which is also free.
Buffer is the second option with nearly the same features as Hootsuite. Its free version can be used to post to your most important social media sites, and it also provides some statistics on how your campaigns perform. The solution makes possible to schedule your posts, comments, tweets and other updates. This way, you can stay in contact with your followers through different social media accounts, again, “in one place”.
They also have a nice blog with articles, tips, and guides on social media. Check this out, it has a lot of valuable info inside.
Some other tools worth checking:
Every e-merchant has a dream in which his store is ranked higher than competitors’ ones. In a highly-competitive world of eCommerce, where even reaching the first page isn’t enough, a strong Google presence is considered as a must. But do you know the SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) tips and tricks to get your shop to the top? Because if you don’t, you’re missing out on clicks, which, consequently, leads to missing out on making more sales. Undoubtedly, there are many reasons you should optimize your site for search engines, but the bottom line is to increase sales. Just have a quick look at this chart by Advanced Web Ranking:
The numbers clearly say it all: the value of being in the top 3 with CTRs from 30% in first position to 12% in third position is unbeatable. However, even if SEO may not be the biggest of the biggest factor related to the efficiency of your e-commerce site, it’s definitely one of the most time-consuming ones. So let’s see what tools can make this task easier.
A real giant of its kind, Google Keyword Planner is the place where your keyword planning starts. Using this tool, you can discover the average number of times people have searched for the keywords and how popular the related keywords are. You can search for keyword and ad group ideas, get historical statistics and see how a list of keywords might perform. A free AdWords tool, Keyword Planner can also help you choose competitive bids and budgets to use with your ad campaigns.
Another great tool from Google, Google Trends, allows you to gather some extra information that isn’t provided by the Keyword Planner tool. You can explore the most trending search terms or even compare how one keyword is trending compared to another one (see the screenshot below that show a laptop/notebook comparison). By selecting different regions, you can also see more details on the search volume for specific countries and locales.
Some other SEO tools worth using:
- SEOmoz Keyword Tool
- Open Site Explorer
- Screaming Frog
- Authority Labs for Monitoring
- Ubersuggest Keyword Suggestion Tool
- Citation Labs Broken Link Finder
Customer Relationship Management
CRM solutions allow you to log, track and utilize data relating to customer interactions so you can gain an insightful overview of customer behavior and trends as a result of the analysis. In other words, these systems help you improving the interactions between your e-commerce store and your prospects. These are few ways in which a CRM can effectively strengthen your eCommerce business:
- Customer Trends
- Deeper Analytics
- Connecting The Team
- Task Management
- Lead Nurturing
- Trend-Based Sales
- Data Collection
- Product Returns
As we already covered in our previous article, email marketing continues to play an important role in e-commerce. According to the MailChimp’s Holiday Survey 2014, around 73% of its users are from the e-commerce industry. This means that both established and aspiring eCommerce players continue to drive more sales thanks to the marketing automation tools like MailChimp.
Fair enough, the full potential of this solution is revealed in its paid plans, but it can be used absolutely free if your mailing list has less than 2.000 email addresses and you don’t send more than 12.000 emails per month. So if you qualify for the conditions mentioned above, it’s worth giving MailChimp a try. MailChimp is an intuitive tool known for its ease-of-use. You can use it to send bulk emails and also track orders that are generated by your email campaigns. This way, you can better segment the newsletters and modify your content strategy correspondingly. The solution provides a big number of built-in templates, and you can create your own templates for an email campaign (or an autoresponder) without worrying about any HTML/CSS skills.
Zendesk Chat (formerly known as ZopIM)
When it comes to buying online, shoppers have multiple questions. In most cases, they are related to the products or services your store is offering. Sure enough, your customers may refer to product catalogs or browse through the FAQ section, but….who does this on 2017? I mean, if you intend giving the best possible experience to your customers, try on a live chat. Zendesk Chat is a nice way to personalize your customer experience by engaging your prospects in a quick chat. In the case of using chats, C stands for “convenience” as you can talk to your customers anytime no matter what your location is. To take things to the next level, ZopIM comes with Google Translate. As marketers around the globe speak about brand’s trust, the better their interaction with your brand is, the more likely they will buy from you. For this reason, live online chat makes your website reliable and user-friendly.
Sure enough, the proper analysis of you online store takes time, and as e-merchants frequently say “there’s never enough hours in the day”. However, armed with the tools presented in this article, you can be more efficient in a way you plan your time and activities.