They say, “a man is only as good as his tools,” and that is certainly true when it comes to designing an eCommerce site. While it is possible to build your website from the ground up, doing so would likely prove to be highly time-consuming, cost more money, and leave you frustrated from managing all of the numerous moving parts.
Fortunately, the year is 2021, and there are a plethora of handy tools and resources available to make your life easier when building out your website so you can start making money with your store sooner. On that note, if you’re ready to get started with your site and take advantage of the 2.14 billion digital buyers, then here are four tools to set you off on the right path.
1. Website Builders/eCommerce platforms
These days, there are various choices of eCommerce platforms designed to take out almost all of the heavy lifting typically associated with building and designing your site. Most of these out-of-the-box SaaS solutions act as a one-stop-shop for all of your eCommerce needs, packed with tons of features and tools that help you manage your business. Some of the most popular eCommerce platforms include:
Most of these services let you pick from a variety of pre-installed themes and styles, which you can then alter with drag-and-drop tools. This means that you don’t need to be a tech savant or a coding wizard to create a store, and if you get stuck, technical support is usually available to help. Additionally, eCommerce platforms manage essential parts of your business, including inventory management, SEO, payment processing, and more. Some even take care of your store’s hosting and domain name registration!
2. Web Accessibility Tool
Unfortunately, web accessibility is a far too often neglected topic. While the world of eCommerce grows exponentially, very little has been done to make online stores more accessible to those who lack the skills, knowledge, or physical/mental ability to properly use these sites. In the USA, 26% (one in 4) of adults have some type of disability, which works out to be around 61 million people.
Interestingly, this same demographic is estimated to possess hundreds of billions of dollars in disposable income, which is a tremendous amount of buying power that is severely underrepresented in the marketplace. With this in mind, you must put provisions in place to make your website more accessible to all kinds of customers, including those with disabilities.
So can you go about this? The truth is that manually customizing your website to be more accessible is not easy. It takes time, skill, and knowledge of web accessibility to make sure your efforts are worthwhile.
Fortunately, tech start-up accessiBe has developed an AI-powered automated tool that enables you to create an exceptional digital experience for people with disabilities without having to lift a finger. Their product will bring your business in line with ADA and WCAG guidelines which will prevent lawsuits, but more importantly, it will improve the user experience for all visitors on your site.
3. Email Marketing Tool
Email marketing is an invaluable tool for all online businesses, and eCommerce is no different. The great thing about owning an email list is the simple fact that you can initiate direct contact with your audience without the need for a third party. You see, when you build an audience on social media, through Shopify, or even on a blog or YouTube, all it takes is for the platform to cease operations or change its policy, and you could be left without a customer base.
Tools like MailChimp make it simple to build an email list as they can usually be integrated directly into your eCommerce platform. Once you’ve accumulated enough subscribers, you can launch coordinated marketing campaigns to promote your brand, new items, and sales events. It also assists in the tracking of abandoned shopping carts and automatically sends follow-ups emails to existing customers, which helps to increase conversions.
4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
The art of keeping customers happy is fundamental for any business to succeed. Regardless of which e-commerce channel you have chosen, you need to know who your customers are, their needs, how you can reach them, their preferred methods of engagement, and their buying patterns. Once you’ve got all that down, you can start to put steps in place to make customer satisfaction your number one priority so you can keep them coming back time and time again.
One great set of tools that allow you to gain valuable insights into your customers are customer relationship management (CRM) systems. These platforms will enable you to analyze past, current, and future customers on a variety of levels. With this customer relationship data, you have the power to improve your business in specific ways, mainly through providing a more personalized experience for your customers as you slowly refine your strategy through a series of trial and error. Currently, there are tons of tools out there for you to experiment with, such as Zoho, which includes functionality for sales automation, marketing, reporting, and forecasting.
Building an eCommerce store may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Thanks to all the tools available at your disposal, there has never been a better time to take the leap and design your new site. Thanks to platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, and Wix, you can have your store online in a matter of minutes, then all you have to do is bring in the paying customers. Good luck!