Running your own online venture can be a daunting task. In the digital age, good salesmanship also requires that you master some key skills such as online marketing strategy and SEO techniques.
But let’s face it. Not everyone is an ecommerce whiz, and decoding all that techspeak is enough to make some break out in hives.
While you can hire the pros to get the job done, this money could well be put to better use.
Whether you have a tight budget or simply love to DIY, here are five free ecommerce tools that can give your online business the winning edge.
It is not enough to just grab eyeballs. You also need to convert traffic to sales, and do it fast. This means a short loading time for your website, including the hi-res images that typically take longer to load.
As its name implies, Compressor reduces the file size of any image without sacrificing its quality. The result is attractive high-definition images that load quickly – a winning combo for any website that wants to wow and keep its customers.
Think about it: A 2017 study by cloud service provider, Akamai Technologies, found that 53% of mobile site visitors left a page that took longer than three seconds to load, while a 100-millisecond delay in website loading time shaved conversion rates by 7%.
For retail companies, testing their customers’ patience can incur heavy losses. Amazon revealed that even a one-second lag in loading its pages could cost it SGD $2.2 billion in yearly sales, while Google worked out that it could lose out on 8 million potential searches a day if its search results take just 0.4 seconds longer than usual to load.
Love it or loathe it, email marketing is here to stay. A 2018 study by Direct Marketing Association showed that every USD $1 spent on email marketing yielded average returns of up to USD $32.
This is where a marketing automation platform such as Mailchimp comes in handy. It offers more than 100 simple “drag and drop” design templates that help you create eye-catching newsletters and electronic direct mailers (eDMs).
You can also embed interactive links and videos in your email messages. Such features can boost the open and click-through rates of an email campaign by 19% and 50% respectively, according to a 2016 report by email marketing firm Campaign Monitor.
MailChimp also offers an automated follow-up email, enabling you to reconnect with users who abandoned their shopping carts or left the website midway.
Here’s a tip to bear in mind: emails with personalised subject titles generate 50% higher open rates, according to Yes Marketing. So customise your greetings and subject titles to include the recipients’ names when you send out emails.
3. Google Analytics
One of the best free ecommerce tools available, Google Analytics gives a whole slew of valuable insights into your customers and how effective your marketing campaigns are.
A one-stop service for business analytics, the tool offers data such as the average time spent on a page and behavioural flow charts that document one’s retail journey. There is even a real-time observation option that lets you see what users are doing on your site.
Google Analytics also takes the stress out of analysing data by condensing complex readings into digestible information so you can make key decisions with less effort. One feature is the benchmarking screen, which lets you compare your online traffic statistics with those of competitor sites.
Knowing what people don’t like about your website is just as important as knowing what they like. And Heatmap is one tool that provides this vital info.
It compiles clicks from users and shows them in a colour-coded system that reveals which parts of your website draw the most and least interest.
Knowing where to place key buttons and images can make all the difference. As a 2018 study by the Nielsen Norman Group found, visitors’ viewing time declined sharply when they went below the fold, the part of the page that is visible without scrolling.
Besides providing real-time information and key statistics on consumer behaviour, Heatmap also takes user privacy seriously: It does not collect cookies or track the IP addresses of those who visit your site.
Bad customer service not only reflects poorly on businesses, but could also lead to losses in earnings. A 2016 report by Accenture revealed that US companies lost almost USD $1.6 trillion due to terrible service or slow response to customer queries.
Groove, a customer support management tool, helps ensure that you don’t miss out on customer feedback. It uses your email inbox as a customer service helpdesk, so you simply have to check your mail regularly.
Groove’s add-on tools also allow you to integrate customer feedback from your social media, phone and SMS channels. What’s more, there’s a dashboard which lets you track your average reply time when answering a query.
Studies show that staying connected with your customers helps to increase sales. An article by Forbes revealed that 52% of shoppers said a good customer service interaction influenced them to purchase more from the company.
Need more help to boost your online sales? Try online advertising in the form of Google, Facebook and Instagram ads that are coordinated through easy-to-use platform Adtiq.
And if you need tools to create and grow your ecommerce site, head over to Shoptiq. It enables you to sell online easier, by linking your store with local partners and marketplaces. Get your 14-day free trial today!