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3 tools every E-Commerce Site needs

3 tools every e-commerce site needs
Great idea: ✔
Website: ✔

So what’s next? You’ll need more than just a well-designed site and great products to stand out and be seen online these days. We’ve collected some of the essentials tools you’ll need to establish your site as an authority and stand apart from the crowd. 

1. Social Media Management Solutions

Social Media

Social media posts are a part of your weekly, if not daily, routine. Keeping up with the latest trends, creating posts, growing your community…can all become very time-consuming. So this is where the adage ‘work smarter, not harder’ comes into play.  

One of the best ways to save some time is to prepare your social media content ahead of time and upload a week or months worth of content ahead of time. You can upload your visuals along with captions and hashtags for the platform, choose the time and the software will post for you, freeing you up to focus on other tasks.    

There are dozens of scheduling tools available. Many have various tiers of membership from free to paid – with each level offering more functions than the previous.  Review which social media channels you use regularly and then begin your research. 

Here are a handful of options to consider, based on your needs:

Facebook Creator Studio is great if you are on Facebook and Instagram. It is a free tool that will allow you to upload your creative, write your captions and hashtags and then schedule them accordingly.

Hootsuite has a free version with a limited number of channels that can be connected and users allowed.  You can opt to upgrade to one of their paid plans and have up to 6 social networks connected and scheduled for.

Later has customizable plans along with available upgrades. There is a saving if you choose to pay for a yearly account versus monthly. 

2. Email Marketing Platforms

Email Marketing Platforms

It’s generally accepted that Social Media for business is necessary, but Email Marketing is often ignored.  An essential part of your plan, email marketing can be automated to a point, allowing yourself more opportunity to spend on things that can’t. 

Mailchimp currently has 4-tiers available from a Free account for up to 2,000 subscribers that can grow to their Premium level for over 200,000 contacts. It features a drag-and-drop style email builder that is very customizable and it also offers many integrations with various software.

Klaviyo is a powerful tool that can also include SMS marketing to supplement your email messages. They do offer a free tier for both services and can be adjusted as subscribers increase.

Flodesk offers a free 30-day trial to familiarize yourself with the platform and then has a single flat monthly fee without any caps on subscribers or email sends.

3. Help Desk/ChatBot

Help Desk/ChatBot

Today’s breakneck pace and need for instant information means customers want quick and easy access to information. Here is where installing a Help Desk/ChatBot can come in handy. You can set up an AI helper on your site with relative ease and give your customers the information they need as quickly as possible.

ZenDesk – One of the most well-known options, it has products for both Sales and Service agents; both of which have multiple tiers with different features.

MobileMonkey – A comprehensive tool that includes pre-built templates and customizable options. They also provide SMS marketing tools and options for Facebook Messenger ads.

Tidio – Services provided include Live Chat, personalizable ChatBots, and email marketing. They have standard tiered packages that can be customized as needed.

There are dozens of options for all these types of tools. Thankfully, most of them have either a free trial period or a free tier in their offering. As with many small business related items, it make take time to test out each of these items to find which yields the best result for you. As every business is unique there can be no cookie cutter one-size-fits-all plan. If you have other tools that small businesses need to include in their arsenal let us know in the comments!

5 Tweaks That’ll Make a Big Difference to Your E-commerce Store

Whether you make awesome tie-dye t-shirts, intricate bespoke jewelry, or drop ship various home decor items, you love running your e-commerce store. You’ve got a product offering, you’ve got some social media marketing going on, admin tasks that…well, those never end, but still. Things are going pretty well, all things considered.

But what if, things could be really great? And possibly approach ‘awesome’ territory?

Here are a few little tweaks to your e-commerce operation that could take it from here to HERE.

1. Set up email automations

If a new potential customer visits your website and decides to sign up for your newsletter to learn more about you – great, right?  Sure. But what if your next newsletter isn’t due out for another week or more.  Good chance that they might forget they signed up by then and wonder who you are when you finally appear in their inbox…and delete it.

What if, the moment they signed up to your email list, they received a quick, short n’ sweet “Thanks!” from you. Create a connection right away, reinforce your brand immediately. This is something that will take you minutes to set up and automate within your ESP and you’ll see long-term benefits for.   Go, do it now.  We’ll wait.

Other email automation to consider are abandoned cart emails, thank you purchase emails and upsell offers.

2. Take a pulse on your site health

Run your store through an SEO tool online, if you don’t have someone you use already. Make sure you have no broken links, no glaring page errors, and also make sure your site has a quick load-time on both desktop and mobile.  If you see any red flags, address them as quickly as possible. The better experience people have on your site, the more likely they are to come back and bring their friends with them.

3. Ensure your branding is cohesive

Do your social media pages match the look of your website in terms of logo, brand colors, fonts, and tone of voice?  Are your user names the same (or close to it)?  Little things like this help your store and brand remain recognizable to your customers.  If you’re Joe’s Pet Food on Facebook, but you’re Joey Smith on Instagram…are people going to connect the two? 

Find a name you’d like to use across all platforms – check to see if it’s been taken. Then when you find one that’s available, use it everywhere. Some platforms have character limits so you might need to tweak them slightly to stay within the parameters.

4. Confirm Humanity

We put customers through a lot. Double-opt-ins when signing up for accounts, clicking those pictures of traffic lights…always wondering if we’ve clicked on enough of them just to sign-up.  What about you?  Have your customers ever seen your face or heard your voice? 

Referring back to our previous blog post (I’m sure you’ve read it, right?!) social media is the place to show your face and remind people that a real human (or several) humans are on the other side of the computer.  Instagram and Facebook have “Stories”; they last 24-hours before they expire. A great place to pop on for a little hello, share a quick behind the scenes, share something non-business related, and more. 

Even before ‘lockdown’ became part of our everyday vocabulary, people wanted to know there’s someone real that they’re ordering from. Take a moment to show your face and share why you love running your store and thank your customers for their support.

5. Streamline your checkout process

Our attention spans are dwindling and our patience is evaporating. 

Bigger brands have mastered the art of a quick and simple checkout process and people become repeat customers when it’s a frictionless experience. Put yourself in your customers shoes and place an order on your site. See what it’s like. How many clicks, how many fields to fill in? How long does it take?  

If you find things you can simplify or refine for a better overall user experience, do it.  Customer expectations are evolving and if another store offers an easier experience, some could easily jump ship and order with them instead.

The moral of the story is…

Think like your customer. How do they interact with your store and what can you do as an owner to make it the best experience possible?  That combined with a healthy and well-running site will turn your site from a 7/10 to a 10/10 (or higher!).


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