eCommerce is big business and it certainly makes the big bucks. One needs to look no further than the likes of Amazon, Alibaba or Shopify (and the list can go on) to barely scratch the surface of this reality. Its rapid growth is due, among many other reasons, to our innate need for comfort and diversity and the practical opportunities this business model offers in terms of infrastructure and scope.
Regardless of industry, alpha dogs as well as newcomers can find a space of their own in the online business environment and get access to the same building and developing tools. Some grow to be proficient users and manage to capitalize on their potential, others still struggle to get ahead of the competition. If you feel you’re closer to the latter, then this article might be of use.
As markets become increasingly globalized and the consumers’ pool enlarges, you too need to upgrade your toolbox in order to keep up with the pace. eCommerce business owners can opt for a multitude of ready-to-use instruments applicable to everything from marketing and research, to operations, to development and monitoring. For clarity purposes here’s a brief sum-up, organized according to the following categories:
B2C and B2B eCommerce platforms alike need to know what their specific business landscape looks like. Research is the foundation any business should be built on and it definitely needs to be the starting point of any strategy. Identifying the main competitors, figuring out their weaknesses and strengths, getting a heads-up on short term opportunities and potential threats, all these (and more) are possible through dedicated research software. A few examples:
- SellerApp – will provide you with consistent information on the most profitable products you can sell on Amazon and actionable insights on how to boost demand. It also offers a detailed image on pricing trends over well-defined intervals, sales and revenues forecasts and even potential profits.
- Exponea – cloud-technology based, this platform enables you to anticipate and analyze customers’ behavior. You’ll be able to create custom funnels, automate sales operations funnels and fine tune your communication strategy to increase engagement.
Oh, Operations – the Achilles’ heel of so many businesses. Have a look at the tools below and learn how you can streamline this very important segment.
- EMERGE App – allows you to automate order and inventory management processes. The tracking option, which becomes available from the moment an order has been placed until delivery, is its most prolific one. It also provides analytics on inventory, stocks fulfillment, billing and selling channels.
- Zapier – if your goal is workflow automation, check out this software. Zapier’s popularity comes as a result of its capability to optimize ongoing projects by connecting all the apps you use daily. Workflows can be initiated from any app and routine tasks are completed automatically.
In the online business ecosystem marketing is essential. Not only does it contribute to brand visibility, it’s also instrumental to positioning and consumer loyalty. Some of the alternatives you can use are:
- Adhawk – will help you understand your online media performance by delivering comprehensive cross-platform reporting and data insights. You’ll get a clear idea on engagement levels and acquire updates needed to improve your SEO and SEM strategies.
- Klaviyo – this marketing automation tool works to identify new leads for your email marketing campaigns. Whether you aim to add to you leads count, analyze their connection with your products or services, or see how website’s content performs, Klaviyo will undoubtedly prove useful.
- Kparser – if you want to stay up to date with what your potential audience is looking for on highly popular platforms (i.e. Amazon, Google, YouTube, eBay etc.), see if Kparser is a fit. Just one of the marketing tools offered by Amazon, this platform is sure to assist with SEO and PPC results, refining your content marketing strategy and testing different ecommerce growth opportunities.
Getting customer communication right is particularly important for e-businesses and having a means to connect all the channels that facilitate the dialog with your markets is more than welcomed. That alone could explain why this type of tool gained serious ground over the last decade or so.
Case in point:
- Salesforce – it offers a uniquely integrated platform and an array of features meant to help you be as consumer-centric as you need. It provides extensive data on sales cycles and evolution, the lead generation process and its results, consumer behavior and efficient communication models. Being cloud-based it also enables safe data storage and retrieval. Finally, this software can be customized to support different industries and operational structures.
If you don’t know where your consumers come from and can’t track/understand their journey, sooner or later you’ll end up having to rethink your entire business plan. That’s closer to a ‘worst case scenario’ than you’d ever want to get.To avoid walking this thin line, here’s something that could help you:
- Google Analytics – use it to measure your advertising ROI, track video, online events, campaigns and social networking sites, as well as specific applications. You’ll get all the data generated by your business in one place and will be able to connect the insights to actual results. And the cherry on top: it’s free hence, it comes as no surprise that it’s among the most preferred business tools.
As a Final Note
This is not a comprehensive list, there’s a growing number of perfectly good options currently available. It’s only up to you to set your priorities straight, align your resources with your goals and pick the right tools for the job.