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3 tools every E-Commerce Site needs

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

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!

How to decide the best platforms for marketing your business

You’ve got a business and you need to market it. People need to know you exist and how they can find you. Sounds easy enough, especially when we live in the era of Social Media, right? Just throw some posts up and you’re good, no?  Maybe ten years ago, but not now. 

There are reportedly over 500 social networks and counting.  While some channels come and go (RIP, Google+), there are six top channels that are likely in it for the long haul. And as it’s not physically possible to be active on all of them (nor would you want to, but more about that later) those companies just starting out may feel like they need to try. A new brand needs as much exposure and awareness as possible – understandably, they want to be everywhere to achieve maximum reach.  What you’ll find is that a more targeted strategy will yield better and long-lasting results as opposed to a blanket, one-size-fits-all methodology.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed trying to keep running on the hamster wheel of posting, it’s time to take a step back and figure out your social media sweet spot.

Repeat after me: I do not need to be on every social media network. 

It’s much more important to have an active and engaged audience on one or two networks than to have a bunch of people across every platform who never read your posts or respond to them.  

Daily posting isn’t necessary either.  Two to three well thought out valued-filled posts a week are much more effective than a hurried and panicked “I don’t know what to post today, so I’ll just post this …” mentality. 

When trying to find out the best channel for your business, it’s important to answer a couple of questions first:

  1. Who is my ideal customer?
  2. Do they have kids? A truck? A koi pond?
  3. Where do they live? What do they do for a living?
  4. Which platform(s) do they spend time on?
  5. How old are they? 

Answering these questions will give you insight into which platform aligns best with your existing and future customers. Some of this information may be available through your CRM, but if you don’t know the answers to these questions – ask! Make a few interactive quiz or poll posts on your existing social pages or website for quick and easy market research.

For this blog post we’ll focus on the top 6 networks:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn

These six are the most well-known and used world-wide, applicable to most industries/niches,  and so are generally where people choose to market their businesses.  

Let’s review each one to help determine which fits best for your business.

  1. Facebook 

The big granddaddy of them all. Used by 180+ million businesses for advertising and 2.7 billion monthly active users, this one goes to the top of the class. It’s been around for long enough that an older audience is comfortable with using it, while younger generations tend to spend their social media hours elsewhere.  If your company has customers who average 35 and older, definitely include this platform in your strategy.

  1. Twitter 

This channel continues to grow;  at last check with 152 million monetizable daily active users. Of these, Americans comprise 15% of Twitters total monthly users worldwide – putting them at the top of the platform’s user base. A quick-moving hashtag-driven search haven for those who want to get bite-sized pieces of information at the push of button. With a 280 character limit this is great for users who move quick and enjoy these microblogs as their preferred method of information intake.

  1. Instagram

The images and graphics grab your attention, but the captions are where the stories are found. Crafting a caption has become an artform, drawing users in to inspire, educate, and inform.  The app has been busy rolling out new features to keep users on the app more engaged and for longer – Stories, Reels, Guides, IGTV, lives and I’m sure, more in the works. This is a great place to tell a story and grow a community.  With a reach of 140 million users in the U.S. and a nearly even gender ratio (51F/49M) it’s one to consider. And if that doesn’t convince you – 200 million users visit at least one business profile per day.  

  1. Pinterest

Not just for moms craft projects anymore! Male users are on the rise (more than 20%) here, and everyone uses it as a research portal. A large majority of female users head to Pinterest to help with planning ‘life events’ so you’ll definitely want your business to have a presence here if you serve that niche.  The site is used to find inspiration and ideas for big purchases and share ‘pins’ they’ve liked and tried with other users. And the biggest benefit to using Pinterest? The lifespan of a pin can be close to two months! When you compare it with other social media channels, where posts are gone in hours (or minutes) from your newsfeed, Pinterest leaves them all in the dust!

  1. YouTube

People may not realize this, but YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world. With 2 billion users and growing, if you cater to 18-34 year olds you should work on including this into your marketing strategy. As video content can sometimes require a bit more experience in compiling and producing compared to other channels, YouTube might be a good step for more medium-sized businesses who are ready to add it to their social media strategy and have the resources to outsource the production of videos rather than doing it in-house. 

  1. LinkedIn

If you provide SaaS or primarily a B2C organization, then get on #TeamLinkedIn right away.  It’s no longer just a place to search for jobs. With 700 million active users you can connect with other professionals, and follow industry thought-leaders. They also offer “LinkedIn Learning” where you can take courses on several business topics and programs (from video editing to Microsoft Excel and everything in between). Live streams have spiked 158% in use, especially during the pandemic. LinkedIn users skew slightly more males than females (57%/43%) and it is by far the best site for lead generation.

“When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.” 

Meredith Hill

As stated earlier, you don’t need to be on every social network. If your customer base is parents-to-be and grandparents ready to spoil their grandkids, you can probably put LinkedIn on the backburner.  Narrow down your audience and wherever they are, that’s where you need to be.

Are you comfortable with Facebook from personal use? Then start there. Start a page for your business, post relevant and helpful content related to your industry.  Grow a community – remember it’s called social media for a reason.  Interact with your followers, start discussions, ask questions of them and they’ll give back to you.

As your community grows in engagement and you feel confident in one channel, then think of adding a second one to compliment your offering and expand your reach. A health social media strategy is one that includes an engaged and happy audience.

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