E-commerce has taken off in popularity in recent years, and that trend isn't going to slow down anytime soon. By 2023, the global e-commerce market is expected to surpass $6.54 trillion, according to research from Statista.
Whether you're thinking about starting an e-commerce business or looking to scale an established business, having the right tools is a necessary first step. Combined with a winning marketing strategy, the right tools can give you a leg up on your competition and help you grow your business faster.
The types of tools e-commerce businesses need
There are currently hundreds of e-commerce tools on the market, so it can be hard for business owners to know where to start. But it's important to remember that you don't need a tool for everything; you just want to make sure you have the basics covered.
That means you really just need to focus on these key areas:
- E-commerce platform. The e-commerce platform you choose will have a huge impact on your business' success. Many services come with built-in tools to help you manage your store more efficiently, like premade templates and services.
- Email marketing. The right email marketing service will help you continue building relationships with your audience even after they leave your website. You can create an automated marketing sequence to let customers know about new products or upcoming sales.
- SEO. By focusing on search engine optimization (SEO), you improve the odds that your site will show up near the top of Google results. By optimizing your website for search, you can increase your organic traffic and find new customers.
- Analytics. All businesses need to have a way to monitor how visitors are engaging with their site. The right analytics tool can help you identify problem areas and growth opportunities.
- Social media. Being active on social media is one of the best ways to promote your brand and interact with customers. But social media management can take up a lot of time, so you'll want to automate this task as much as possible.
- Customer service. It doesn't matter how many customers you find if you can't keep your current customers happy. The right customer service tool will help you create a positive experience for your customers.
- Automation. Within every business, there are dozens of mundane tasks that can be automated or outsourced. The right automation tools will help your business operate more efficiently and free up your time for more complex projects.
The 15 best e-commerce marketing tools
The types of e-commerce marketing tools you use will depend on the size of your business, your budget and your business goals. Here are 15 of the best tools to get you started:
Best for: Email marketing
Pricing: Free for up to 2,000 subscribers
If you run a business, you need to have a way to stay in touch with your customers. Mailchimp is one of the best ways to make that happen.
Mailchimp is a leader in email marketing, and it is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to get started. Your account is free for up to 2,000 subscribers, and you can do basic audience segmentation.
With Mailchimp, you can automate your marketing campaigns to incentivize more customers to make purchases. For instance, you can set up automatic reminders for visitors who leave your store without making a purchase or abandon their carts.
Best for: SEO
Pricing: Starts at $99 per month
Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO tool that makes it easy to perform keyword research, do competitor analysis and optimize your website. Plus, you don't need to have any specialized knowledge of SEO to use it effectively.
When you get started, Ahrefs will crawl your website and identify any SEO issues that need to be addressed. You can also discover the top-performing content within your niche and identify link-building opportunities.
Ahrefs also provides detailed tutorials, so you'll have the information you need to start using the software effectively right from the start.
Best for: Customer service
Pricing: Starts at $5 per agent, per month
With Zendesk, you can offer customer support through email, chat, phone and social media. This allows you to continue building a relationship with your audience and ensure you provide excellent service to your customers.
Zendesk is fairly easy to set up, and you can customize the level of support for your business's needs. The company collects data from every customer interaction, and it can even record response times. That way, you can continue to improve your interactions with customers.
Best for: Overall marketing tool
Pricing: Starts at $99.95 per month
SEMRush describes itself as an all-in-one marketing tool, and it's a great way to manage every aspect of a marketing campaign. With SEMRush, you can track your analytics, monitor your social media channels and improve your site's SEO.
You start by analyzing your content and comparing it to your competitors'. You can discover new keywords, uncover new competitors and do keyword research. You can also monitor your site's traffic, qualify leads and identify new business opportunities.
Plus, you can use the social media tracker to monitor your social media campaigns, as well as schedule all of your social media posts in SEMRush and determine which content is performing the best.
Best for: Conversion tracking
Pricing: Starts at $29 per month
Improvely helps you track how well customers are converting on your site. The software monitors your website for organic traffic, social media, SEO and paid advertising. It helps you identify which marketing channels are working best so you can invest in the strategies that are working.
Improvely will also create customer profiles and track customers who repeatedly visit your site. With Improvely, you can identify your best customers and learn the lifetime value of each customer.
Best for: Graphics
Every online business needs a way to create eye-catching graphics, which is why you should check out Canva. Canva is a graphic design tool that's great for people of all design skill levels.
You can use Canva to create social media posts, logos and marketing newsletters. Canva provides free templates, as well as stock photos, filters, stickers, icons and shapes. You can get started for free and upgrade the service as your business grows.
Best for: Project management
Trello is a project management tool that you can use to plan your content calendar or manage an upcoming project. It gives you a bird's-eye view of your project and is a great way to collaborate with other team members.
You start by creating a new board for your project, and you can invite other people to join your board. Within each board are individual cards that contain details about the project. You can use the cards to create to-do lists, tag team members and upload files.
8. Google Analytics
Best for: Analytics
Google Analytics is a free analytics tool that can help you better understand the behavior of your website visitors. With Google Analytics, you can track how visitors find your site and how they interact with your online store.
You can also use it to gain real-time insights about your audience. Plus, the dashboard shows you important trends and potential areas of improvement.
Best for: Automation
Pricing: Free for up to five "zaps"
One of the biggest problems many businesses have is that they use a variety of tools that don't work together. For instance, if someone subscribes to your live webinar, how do you add that individual to your email marketing provider as well?
With Zapier, you can move information between your website and third-party applications seamlessly. Zapier creates a trigger flow, called "zaps," so that the information is sent automatically.
And once your automations are set up, you'll be able to work more efficiently and focus on the tasks that will really move the needle in your business.
Best for: Chatbots
Pricing: Free to get started
With Drift, you can continue to nurture potential customers even after your business is closed for the day. Drift chatbots can answer questions, schedule appointments and capture information about leads.
You can get started with Drift for free and view how the software would look on your website, without installing any code.
Best for: Landing-page creation
Pricing: Starts at $25 per month
With Leadpages, you can create high-quality landing pages, sales pages, pop-ups and alert bars. It's easy to get started, and Leadpages provides dozens of premade, mobile-responsive templates.
Leadpages allows you to track how well your content is performing. You can conduct A/B split testing and track real-time data to monitor how well a page is performing. Leadpages integrates seamlessly with over 1,000 apps and tools.
Best for: Ad campaigns
Pricing: Starts at $49 per month
AdEspresso allows you to create, manage and monitor ad campaigns across multiple platforms. For instance, you can track the results of your ads on Facebook, Instagram and Google. This will save you from constantly having to switch from one platform to another.
With AdEspresso, you can decide how granular you want to get when analyzing the data from your ad campaigns. You can customize your main graph so you track only the most relevant data.
Plus, your campaign dashboard will provide actionable insight into how well your campaigns are performing so you can continue to improve your ads.
13. Google Ads
Best for: Online advertising
Pricing: Varies depending on the search network
Many businesses start by trying to capture as much organic traffic as possible, but at some point, you may want to invest in paid advertising. Google Ads is one of the best ways to promote your business online.
With Google Ads, you target specific audiences based on their demographics or keywords. So, when a consumer is searching for a particular keyword, your product or service will pop up in their search results.
Advertising can be expensive, but it's also one of the fastest ways to bring targeted traffic back to your website.
Best for: Plug-and-play e-commerce
Pricing: Starts at $29 per month
Shopify is a great option both for beginners and established business owners. You can set up your online store without any coding by using one of Shopify's templates.
Every Shopify theme is optimized for mobile, and the platform allows social selling and integrates with third-party marketplaces. You can also use the Shopify point-of-sale software for in-person sales.
But the best thing about Shopify is that it's robust enough to grow with your business. The company offers three pricing plans, so it can work for you regardless of the stage of your business.
Best for: WordPress users
Pricing: Free to install
If you're not interested in a plug-and-play e-commerce option such as Shopify, WooCommerce may be a good choice for you. WooCommerce is a plugin that adds e-commerce functionality to your existing WordPress website, thus saving you from having to completely rebuild your website.
The tool is fully customizable and integrates with popular payment processors such as Stripe and Square. The plugin is free to install, but you may have to pay for additional customizations.
It's a great time to be an e-commerce business. By finding the right marketing tool to manage your business, you can continue to increase your revenue and bring more value to your customers and leads.