With 93.5% of internet users purchasing products online, there has never been a better time to increase your online selling presence.

In fact, a recent survey on COVID-19 and its effect on e-commerce suggests shoppers are buying more online, with 48% of English consumers shopping online weekly or more, and 25% set to increase their online buying in the future.

Whether you’re starting a new venture, or creating an online element for your existing physical business, choosing the right tools when developing an e-commerce platform is essential.

Choosing An E-Commerce Platform

Whilst listing your products on a marketplace like Amazon or eBay may ensure a large volume of traffic, the marketplace will also take a large cut on every sale. You are wholly reliant on the site to list and promote your products, and when customers have to choose from thousands of products, it’s hard to stand out. Any customer data belongs to the platform, making it difficult to gain insight into your customer base.

Your own e-commerce website allows you to design a platform to showcase your products whilst having complete control over your brand and customer experience. Not only do you not have to compete with other sellers and their products, but you keep all money earned from sales yourself and own all customer data for future marketing and sales development.

A hosted e-commerce platform like Shopify may be ideal for a small business that wants to create a live online store quickly, but ultimately is lacking in customisation options and may limit the e-commerce development tools you’re able to use.

Using a developer like Laracle helps you design every aspect of your e-commerce business to your exact specifications. You can create and integrate a variety of e-commerce development tools into your platform with the help of a team of experts, creating a unified e-commerce store that:

-          Provides all services on one platform

-          Records customer data to enable targeted marketing

-          Portrays a clear brand message

-          Organises inventory and orders

-          Ensures clear and helpful customer support

Read on to find out more about the variety of e-commerce development tools that exist to target all these important aspects of your e-commerce business.

How Much Will This Cost infographic

Marketing 

Did you know that email marketing is responsible for 20% of traffic to e-commerce businesses?

Reaching your customer base is essential in driving visitors to your e-commerce platform, so by integrating marketing tools into your website you can automate this important and time-consuming process.

Add-ons to automatically capture email addresses and generate marketing lists are a popular option, with upgrades available to target visitors at different stages of the purchase process and create targeted lists based on customer specifics. Software to manage email marketing and interaction in an automated way can prove very useful.

Abandoned cart emails have an average open rate of 45%, so why not capitalise on this by installing a tool like Mailchimp to automatically contact these interrupted shoppers and get them back to your store?

Social media is a powerful selling tool, be that via directed ads, affiliate programmes or businesses’ social media presence. Include an e-commerce tool on your site to run an affiliate programme, including searching through social media influencers to determine who is the best fit to represent your brand. Advert management software to organise all external ads in one place and create ad-specific landing pages is a great way to give your visitors a personalised experience whilst saving you time.

Online stores with a social media presence have an average of 32% more sales than those that don’t, so it’s sensible to install a social media management tool to coordinate across all platforms, create content and giveaways, and ensure your business stays relevant.

Don’t underestimate the importance of on-site marketing; pop-ups for exiting customers can help recover as many as 53% of visitors who are about to leave. 

E-Commerce Analytics Tools

Just 2.86% of e-commerce website visits end in a purchase, but what’s stopping visitors from buying? By installing the right analytics tools into your online store, you can gain insight into the barriers standing in the way of sales. Google Analytics and HotJar are great tools for identifying how visitors are interacting with your website.  

A dialled-in SEO strategy is essential for driving traffic to your site. E-commerce development tools that can track your search ranking across a variety of search engines, analyse your keyword usage and suggest new keyword opportunities can really help to boost site visits. You might also consider including competitor analysis software to help you identify areas for improvement.

Poor e-commerce personalisation leads to as much as $756 billion lost revenue every year. By including detailed analytics software on your e-commerce platform, you gain the visitor information needed to customise their shopping experience and increase conversions. The right software allows you to track behaviour, location, duration of stay, frequency of visits, timing of visits, and use this information to bolster your future marketing efforts.

An infographic showing the benefits of bespoke software

Customer Service 

Customer service is important to 84% of shoppers when considering a purchase.

Tools that integrate chatbots with live customer support are popular; an advanced AI sequence helps to solve customer issues quickly, with the option to connect to live customer service staff as required. For an even quicker response, consider a tool for building an online customer-help knowledge base, accessible at any time for an instant answer without the need to contact you directly.

Maintain a strong customer base by using a loyalty programme e-commerce tool to organise a points or rewards-based programme, VIP access system, and create referral incentives to recruit new customers. 

Inventory Management API

With omnichannel retail more popular than ever, businesses often sell across multiple online and physical platforms. Inventory management tools are an essential part of your e-commerce business to enable a smooth operation.

Tools that help shorten the listing process can really save time when adding new products, whilst stock management trackers help keep a record of available products to ensure levels are maintained, even with sales across several platforms. Set alerts to ensure you never run out, customise packing slips, ensure stock is easy to find, and audit the popularity of new products.

Logistics Management API

Coordinating deliveries from different locations, sent with different couriers, can be difficult. Including coherent logistics tools on your e-commerce store allows everything to be accessed in one place, saving time for the business and your customers.

Varying your choice of courier is a good way to reduce shipping costs; why not include software to compare live courier prices and availability whilst managing them all in one place.

With 83% of US shoppers expecting regular updates with shipping information, a shipping and returns portal is a popular e-commerce website addition. Automated returns label generation, returns information, and live tracking updates are all ways to improve the customer experience.

Shipping is another way to establish your brand, with personalised packaging to keep your business memorable, and additional delivery options such as click and collect from local stores. An integrated logistics tool can help coordinate every aspect of the shipping process.

Help From The Experts

With expert industry knowledge, Laracle can help you plan which e-commerce development tools to include in your platform. Whether that’s embedding pre-existing tools like logistics tool Shipmate and live customer chat tool Intercom, or developing new tools from the ground up specifically for your e-commerce business, we’re here to help.

Contact us today for more information on building an e-commerce platform to suit your needs.

 

How to plan for successful Software Development Outsourcing

Download Free Ebook

How to plan for successful Software Development Outsourcing

Download Free Ebook