The steady growth in e-commerce sales over the past three decades has been significantly accelerated by the coronavirus crisis. Research from McKinsey found that since COVID-19, there's been a 15-30% increase in consumers who make purchases online, suggesting that digital shopping is here to stay.
But a successful e-commerce strategy requires a unique combination of tools to engage customers, generate sales, and fulfill orders as seamlessly as possible. We’ve compiled a list of these essential tools for you to consider adding to your marketing technology (martech) stack.
1. E-commerce website building tool
Online marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, and ThomasNet allow you to easily tap into a site that’s already attracting e-commerce traffic. But it’s not the only way to sell online. Setting up your own e-commerce site gives you control over branding, product presentation, design, and so much more. Plus, you don’t have to pay a commission.
An e-commerce website-building tool can help you design a beautiful online store, putting your brand and products at the forefront. It also provides a secure way to process sales by accepting credit card payments.
2. Email marketing tool
Email is still one of the most powerful channels for marketing. According to Salesforce’s State of Marketing Report, 82% of marketers use email to communicate with customers and prospects. To create valuable, targeted, personalized emails at scale, you’ll need an email marketing platform.
Consider a tool that integrates with your e-commerce platform so you can link automatic responses to customer behavior.
3. Digital asset management software
Selling online requires photos, videos, illustrations, and other digital assets that represent your products and brand. A digital asset management (DAM) platform helps you organize and share all of this content. These assets are used to build your online store, and support marketing efforts, like ads, email campaigns, in-store promotions.
DAM systems allow teams to search for content by keyword, convert file formats, publish to multiple channels, and share assets with agencies, distributors, retailers, and other collaborators.
4. Product information management software
The other core content required for selling online is product information. Product information management (PIM) software helps brands prepare accurate, compelling product listings for their global e-commerce channels.
PIM software helps in three key areas. First, it aggregates technical information from engineering and product platforms. Second, it allows marketers to enhance product information with search-optimized descriptions, photos, and videos. Last, it helps transmit product listings to your e-commerce platform, digital marketplaces, and other marketing tools.
5. Project management tool
Selling and promoting your products online involves numerous stakeholders, deadlines, and overlapping processes. Keep your projects on course with project management software. It allows teams to track and manage work from start to finish and provides visibility around project deadlines and milestones. Project management tools can help your team plan effectively and understand the project scope and responsibilities.
6. Inventory tracking tools
Growing sales while managing your inventory levels can be a difficult balance. There are two types of software commonly used to manage inventory: an all-in-one enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform or a dedicated inventory and warehouse management system. An ERP platform supports inventory tracking in addition to other day-to-day business activities like accounting, procurement, and risk management. An inventory management system (IMS) is a specialized tool for integrating your fulfillment with major e-commerce systems.
Whether you’re using your ERP solution, an inventory tracking tool, or both, you’ll need a smart solution to sync orders with your inventory and e-commerce platform.
7. Customer service tools
At the heart of every good business is its customers. That’s why it’s so important to be ready to support their questions and needs. A customer service tool can help you engage them via text, mobile, phone, email, live chat, and social media. Plus, a knowledge base can help your customers quickly find the information they need to make a decision.
Look for a customer service platform that supports all of the ways that your customers expect to connect with you.
8. Rewards and referral program for e-commerce
Reward your faithful customers and entice new shoppers to return with refer-a-friend promotions, point-based reward programs, and VIP status. Even if you're new to the world of e-commerce website tools, setting up your rewards points values and other promotions can be simple with the right rewards and referral tool.
Using the right e-commerce tools can help you present a professional image to your customers, automate tedious manual tasks, and keep your business information organized and readily accessible. Many of these tools have free trial periods or demos, so take full advantage of any offers to find out for yourself which are a good fit for your business's unique needs.