In ecommerce, sustainability and growth are impossible unless you’re willing to invest resources into tools that can help you scale your business.
When you first launched your business, you might have been able to keep all the plates spinning yourself but, if you want to scale, you need to get out of a fulfillment frame of mind and focus instead on optimization and growth. That’s where tools come into play.
The problem is there are A LOT of tools out there. It’s not always easy to know where to start or what to focus on.
To help you kick things off, I’m sharing a bucketful of tools that you can evaluate, test, and use to grow your ecommerce store. The tools are grouped into five main categories:
- Customer Service / Advocacy / Loyalty
- Business / Product Management
Here are the 58 must-have tools for scaling your ecommerce business:
I’m in marketing – so I consider marketing to be the soul of the business. You need great products, and you need great management and customer service – but no matter how great your products or customer support are, you need someone whose focus is finding your customers and figuring out how to speak to them in a way that convinces them your products are the ones they’ve been looking for.
I look at it as less of a Jedi mind trick and more of a cobbler, delicately inspecting, tweaking, and improving your store’s language, pricing strategy, customer personas, and more.
1. Optimizely – To boost conversions and improve visitor experiences, you can use Optimizely to create, launch, and analyze A/B tests on your ecommerce website. With Optimizely, you can easily and quickly A/B test copy, colors, product placement on sales pages, and even entire pages.
And in case you think CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) is all hocus-pocus, take a look at how I increased conversions by over 40% in about a month using Optimizely.
2. Google AdWords – To increase brand and product exposure, you can use Google AdWords to create campaigns that drive more customers to your website. With Google AdWords, you can target specific audiences based on location or keywords, and you only pay for actual results.
What makes Google AdWords extra special is that you don’t have to create the demand – you simply need to satisfy it. Your audience is already looking for your products and keywords.
3. Photoshop – To boost interest in your products and drive more sales, you can use Photoshop to create professional-grade product images to insert throughout your website. With Photoshop, you can customize and edit photos and graphics to establish a sense of consistency and branding that will differentiate you from competitors. Professional photo editing can also help build trust and legitimacy for your ecommerce business.
4. Canva – To drive more engagement on your social media channels, you can use Canva to create compelling images and graphics that relate to your products or business. Canva is a good tool to use if you have little or no experience using a more robust tool like Photoshop.
5. Hootsuite – To build a stronger and more authentic brand presence for your ecommerce business on social media channels, you can use Hootsuite to schedule updates and interact with current and potential customers. With Hootsuite, you can watch what people are saying about your brand or products, schedule social media updates, and get access to powerful analytics and insights that can help you get more ROI from your efforts.
6. BuzzSumo – To develop compelling content that attracts new customers, you can use BuzzSumo to come up with the right blog post ideas. With BuzzSumo, you can search for a specific topic and see the most popular articles written about that topic. You can also get access to social media followers who have shared articles about similar topics in the past.
I’ve written about some specific strategies for using BuzzSumo as a tool for ecommerce content marketing here before. I’m also working on a more robust, advanced guide that I will be sure to share with you as soon as it’s ready.
7. Campaign Monitor – To stay on top of your customer interactions, use Campaign Monitor to send personalized email campaigns to your customers. Using automation, you can trigger messages to be sent based on a subscriber’s location in the customer journey and increase conversion with relevant content. Use Campaign Monitor’s robust analytics to create targeted segments of your email list and send beautiful, templated emails that inspire action.
8. Syte – To give your customers the ability to interact with your inventory, use Syte and show them how your products work in their daily lives. Make your inventory searchable through a photo, or promote specific items through an image of someone using your product. Syte gives your customers the ability to click directly on your inventory to purchase and learn more.
9. Shakr – To create engaging video ads, use Shakr and start publishing high-quality video content to social media. With a stock image gallery and over 2000 video templates, Shakr gives you the ability to create professional-looking videos through their drag and drop builder. You can also perform multivariate tests to see which videos connect best with your audience.
10. MailChimp – Another email marketing service provider, you can use MailChimp to create and send regular email updates about your products to your list of subscribers and customers. For example, you could create email campaigns that offer special coupons to new customers, or you could use email to fill customers in on new products that they might be interested in.
If you weren’t already aware – I run the marketing team at a large multichannel ecommerce store called Dollar Hobbyz. We sell drones, radio-controlled cars, and replacement parts for pretty much anything RC. Using MailChimp for email has been a huge factor in our success – especially using their abandoned cart emails.
11. WordPress – To connect with new audiences and potential customers, you can use WordPress to create and produce helpful blog posts about your products, industry, or specific pain points that relate to your target audience. If the tool you use to manage your online store doesn’t have a blog feature, WordPress is a good option to explore. It’s free, extremely easy to use, and very versatile.
ProTip: You can also set up your ecommerce shop in WordPress using WooCommerce (learn more here).
12. Facebook Ads – To connect with new customers and drive them to your ecommerce site, use Facebook Ads to launch campaigns that target specific users or types of users. Facebook Ads is a great option for ecommerce businesses because the cost is relatively inexpensive compared to other options. In fact, I’ve been able to use Facebook Ads to get over 500% ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) for most of my clients.
My favorite part of using Facebook Ads is that you can get incredibly specific when it comes to targeting your ideal customer.
ProTip: Go the extra mile and set up Dynamic Product Ads (this post will teach you how).
13. OptiMonk – To capture more potential customers before they leave your site, use OptiMonk to create exit-intent popups to display when a visitor makes an attempt to leave your site. You can use OptiMonk to essentially retarget visitors right on your site by tracking user behavior and offering targeted offers to people who might otherwise never return to your ecommerce store.
14. Criteo – To create more compelling ads for visitors, use Criteo to create and launch personalized retargeting ad campaigns. With Criteo, you can convert more shoppers by presenting them with dynamic ads that recommend the best offers and products from your catalog. The tool also allows you to optimize campaign performance by automatically selecting creative components that are likely to drive the most engagement.
15. Drift – To capture more qualified leads on who visits your site, use Drift and create conversational bots that interact with your website visitors. By setting predetermined questions and answers to commonly asked questions and tailoring these questions to different pages on your site, you can help potential new leads find the information they’re looking for quickly and boost conversation on lead generation pages. This tool also gives you the ability to connect with your support team directly for any interactions that require a more “human” touch.
16. Customer.io – To automate your email interactions, use Customer.io to create relevant email campaigns based on your customer’s behavior. You can trigger transactional email to keep your customers up to date with important information and use analytics and segmentation to send relevant newsletters based on detailed customer profiles. Customer.io also integrates with a number of different services through an API.
17. AdEspresso – To optimize your Facebook Ads, use AdEspresso to create simple A/B tests to determine which ads perform better for your audiences. With robust analytics you can easily see how well your campaigns are performing. This tool will also provide suggestions on how best to optimize your campaigns to perform better for certain metrics.
18. The Obvious Social Channels – To build a loyal army of brand advocates, engage regularly and authentically on the social media channels where your target customer spends most of their time. In other words, don’t be active on every social media site because you think it’s necessary — pick the social media sites that your customers and prospective customers use most. Don’t spend all your time posting special offers and photos of your products — take the time to create meaningful relationships with the people who find and follow you on social media.
Business / Product Management Tools
Too many times managing your business gets in the way of growing your business. We’ve all been there – and it just gets more annoying the larger you grow. These tools can help you manage your time, finances, people, channels, and even competitive analysis so you can stay ahead of the “guy down the street” who thinks he can stick his nose in your space.
19. Kin – To spend less time on tedious back-office tasks, you can use a tool like Kin to manage all the HR needs at your ecommerce business. Kin manages onboarding, employee data and files, time off, and performance reviews in one easy-to-use cloud-based system.
20. inDinero – This tool can help you streamline accounting tasks and responsibilities at your ecommerce business. inDinero gives you access to a full finance and accounting team who can prepare and maintain financial accounts, manage the books, review and categorize transactions, and handle tax filings.
21. Zirtual – This tool can also save you time and make it easier to focus less time on back-office tasks and more time growing your ecommerce business. Zirtual is a service that connects you with your own personal assistant who can help you with everything from scheduling meetings and booking travel accommodations to fulfilling personal errands and managing your email inbox.
22. Sellbrite – For businesses that sell online, Sellbrite is an easy-to-use multichannel listing and inventory management tool that helps merchants of all sizes list and sell products on multiple sales channels, control and sync inventory, manage and fulfill orders, and access the multichannel reporting intelligence needed to be successful. If you’re still only selling on one channel, this should be your first growth initiative for the next quarter.
23. UpCounsel – This tool gives you on-demand access to a team of lawyers that you can hire when you need help. As your ecommerce business grows, it becomes increasingly important to work with lawyers to help you with trademarking and branding, intellectual property protection, patents, customer agreements, and labor and employment agreements.
24. HelloSign – This is another helpful tool to leverage as you work on scaling your ecommerce business. HelloSign is a tool that you can use to get secure and legally binding esignatures for your business. HelloSign can be integrated seamlessly with Gmail, Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, Evernote, and OneDrive. As you grow, you’ll likely be hiring some contractors – and this is the easiest way to get all those signatures collected.
25. ShipStation – To streamline, automate, and scale fulfillment and shipping at your business, you can use a tool like ShipStation to import, manage, and ship product orders. ShipStation integrates with a number of ecommerce shopping carts, platforms, and tools — including Sellbrite. You can see the complete list of integrations here.
26. Signifyd – To prevent fraud and eliminate chargebacks as you scale your business, you can use a tool like Signifyd. You can use the tool to manage fraud manually on your own, or you can outsource the task and let your team at Signifyd review and guarantee orders and manage fraud cases.
27. Kit – This tool can help you with your ecommerce marketing needs. Kit connects you with a virtual employee who can help you create Facebook and Instagram ads with audience targeting, post store updates to your Facebook page, send email marketing campaigns to your customers, and more.
28. Wiser – To compete in your space on pricing, you can use a pricing intelligence tool like Wiser. With Wiser, you can monitor competitor pricing, dynamically optimize your own pricing, and get access to helpful reports and powerful analytics that can help you scale and grow your ecommerce business.
29. Hiver – As your team grows, being able to effectively manage your communication becomes vastly more important. With Hiver, you can maintain a cleaner, more streamlined inbox by removing cc, bcc, and forwarding entirely. Shared mailboxes give your team the ability to assign tasks to one another and remove any difficulties that come along with multiple team members interacting with customers through the same email.
30. Sourcify – To produce a high-quality product at scale, you need to be able to rely on your manufacturer. Sourcify gives you the ability to connect with a number of different manufacturing platforms around the world and makes the bidding and shipping process easy. This tool helps you keep your inventory in stock so customers don’t experience any delays related to lack of product availability.
31. TaxJar – To help alleviate the stress and difficulty of filing sales tax for different states and districts, use TaxJar to automate and file for you. When you set up auto-filing you can connect your store to the places where products are sold and immediately receive returns in the correct format with all applicable sales taxes calculated correctly.
32. QuickBooks – This tool is a full suite accounting software that can help your business at any stage. By managing every aspect of business bookkeeping, QuickBooks gives you a full 360-degree view of your business. With multi-user logins and extensive analytics, you can keep on top of your business growth.
Customer Service / Advocacy / Loyalty Tools
You don’t have a business if you don’t have customers. And a lot of other companies are fighting to make your customers their customers. It’s important that you figure out how to support them, advocate for them, delight them, and build up their loyalty to you.
33. Zendesk Chat – To eliminate objections and build trust, use Zendesk Chat (formerly Zopim) to chat with your website visitors in real-time. With Zendesk Chat, you can build a customized chat badge to install on your site, set up proactive chats that engage with visitors based on certain triggers, respond to questions left by interested customers, and also get access to powerful metrics and reports.
I’m not sure I could emphasize the power of live chat enough – especially for ecommerce growth.
34. LeadChat – This is another tool that you can use to engage with future customers in real-time on your website. LeadChat is more focused on converting customers and identifying qualified leads that you can follow up with. With LeadChat, you’re outsourcing chat to a team of conversion experts who have all the answers and know all the common objections people typically have about your products. This is particularly helpful if you don’t have products that are overly technical in nature.
35. ReferralCandy – To build customer loyalty and drive more ecommerce sales, you can use ReferralCandy to establish an ambassador or referral program for your business. With ReferralCandy, you can send new customers a personalized referral link that they can in turn share with friends. You can use the tool to set up custom discounts, limited-time deals, and view data on your highest-referring customers.
36. Coed Monkey – To delight your customers, build loyalty, and increase word-of-mouth, surprise them by sending them free swag. You can use a tool like Coed Monkey to design and order shirts for your business. Send your shirts as gifts to your most loyal customers, your newest customers, or customers who leave you great reviews and testimonials.
37. AuthentiPix – To drive more product sales and conversions in your store, use a tool like AuthentiPix (formerly Instagration) to incorporate Instagram into your store. With AuthentiPix, you can allow your customers to show off your products and do free advertising for you on Instagram. When it comes to boosting ecommerce sales, social proof can be incredibly powerful. AuthentiPix is a great way to show prospective customers how much other people love having and using your products.
38. Smile.io – Another great way to boost customer loyalty and drive more sales is by creating a loyalty program for existing customers. With a tool like Smile.io (formerly Sweet Tooth), you can give points or rewards for purchases, social shares, and customer referrals. The tool currently integrates with Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, and custom platforms for enterprise companies.
39. Qualaroo – To improve buying experiences and learn more about your customers and website visitors, you can use a tool like Qualaroo to include quick surveys throughout your ecommerce store. Surveys can ultimately help you increase conversions, uncover objections, and understand the buyer journey better.
40. Promoter.io – This is another tool that you can use to survey customers, but this one is focused entirely on gathering feedback using the Net Promoter System. By using the tool to constantly improve your NPS (Net Promoter Score), you can drive more sales, connect with your best brand and product advocates, identify real problems, and outgrow your competitors.
41. Thankbot – This is another tool that you can use to delight customers. Thankbot makes it easy to send handwritten, personalized thank you cards to new customers at scale. In ecommerce, growing your business is all about making a great first impression, nurturing relationships, and being the best solution your customers can find. Sending handwritten thank you cards to people is a great way to differentiate from competitors.
42. Yotpo – Customer reviews are a great way to eliminate objections and leverage happy customers in order to drive future sales. Yotpo is a customer review tool you integrate into your ecommerce store. The on-site widgets are completely customizable and very easy to install.
ProTip: Use Yotpo to send Mail After Purchase (MAP) review requests. MAP requests get sent to customers automatically after they purchase a product. It’s a great and easy way to capture compelling reviews from happy customers.
43. Postmates – Interacting with customers on your website or on social media is a great way to have a personal interaction. When those interactions are positive or the customer leaves a glowing review of their purchase, you can send them a little something extra to say thank you. Using Postmates, you can delight customers by “taking them out” for a cup of coffee or lunch from their favorite local spot. It’s a great way to connect with your customers when they’re not in the same city.
44. Kayako – As your business grows, so will your customer base, and customers always have questions. Kayako is support software that tailors itself specifically to ecommerce stores.With this tool you can interact with your customers across multiple channels, proactively reach out to prompt engagement, and track previous interactions so that you can better assist customers who have reached out to you previously.
45.UJET: To create faster, more personalized service experiences that delight customers, use a tool like UJET to empower support reps with a modern SDK (Software Development Kit) that includes fingerprint verification, real-time photo sharing, and a unique diagnostic packet with pertinent customer information. In customer support, a quick and seamless resolution could spell the difference between retention and attrition. UJET ensures that frontline employees have all they need to leave customers smiling.
You can’t grow your ecommerce store if you don’t know what’s working. Analytics is the backbone of growth. Create your hypothesis, test it, measure it – and if it worked, scale it. These are a handful of my favorite ecommerce analytics tools.
46. Google Analytics – To keep a pulse on how users are interacting with your pages and products, take the time to set up Google Analytics on your ecommerce website. With Google Analytics, you can track sessions, users, pageviews, conversion events, time on page, bounce rates, and more. You can also set up reports that can help you identify problems or opportunities in real-time.
47. Moz – Moz is another useful analytics tool for scaling an ecommerce business. With Moz, you can track keyword ranking for your site and for competitor sites, compare mobile vs. desktop rankings, find link opportunities elsewhere on the web, identify keyword opportunities, and crawl your site in order to find and fix any potentially-damaging SEO issues.
I’ve seen ecommerce websites that have over 13,000 404 errors on their “new” website. That’s 13,000 pages that are losing a lot of money and ruining your customer experience. Keeping track of some basic SEO issues is too important to ignore in ecommerce.
48. Kissmetrics – This is another tool that offers powerful data that can be used to identify opportunities and take your ecommerce business to the next level. With Kissmetrics, you can leverage data to determine where your best customers come from, who your best customers are, and how to convert more customers on your website. The tool allows you to view revenue metrics broken down by traffic source, Funnel Reports that give you insight into what’s keeping people from checking out, and visitor profiles.
49. Taplytics – To better understand how customers interact with your product, use Taplytics to experiment, test, and track your various subscriber actions. With their web and mobile testing tools, you can create A/B tests to gather more insights on how specific customers interact with your app. Backed by real-time analytics reporting, you can iterate faster and release features smoothly based on direct customer feedback.
50. Clearbit – Tracking sales interactions and lead generation is very important as you start to scale out your business. Clearbit’s Salesforce integration will automatically update any interactions with your leads based on a number of different sources. This tool will also help track leads through the entire sales funnel, helping you know exactly when to retarget or reach out and close the deal.
51. Metrilo – By combining an analytics platform, email marketing, and a CRM under one roof, Metrilo could be the one-stop shop you’re looking for. This tool is tailored specifically to ecommerce stores and provides users with conversion tracking, sales attribution, cart abandonment, and LTV insights on a real-time basis. You can also set specific goals to track successful purchases as well as retargeting campaigns for one-time customers who have not made a purchase in a certain amount of time.
52. Social Media Analytics – To drive more engagement and conversions from social media, track and evaluate analytics from Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or any other social site you use to interact with your target audience online. Measuring social analytics can help you understand which products and content your audience relates and responds to best. There are a lot of great aggregators of this data – but nothing beats the individual tools’ platforms for the best information.
Beyond everything else we talked about above, there are other tools that need to be addressed. These are the tools that make things really fun. Tools that help you with personalization, avoiding MAP policies, and custom search are the big guns of scaling and growing your ecommerce business.
53. BloomReach – This tool can help you personalize and optimize experiences for your website and mobile apps at scale. With BloomReach, you can use the suite of tools offered to improve organic SEO, build better search functionality into your site, and present products to your visitors that are personalized in real-time based on interests.
Personalization is definitely taking things up a notch, but if you’ve already figured out the rest of the tools above – then personalization is probably your next big win.
54. PriceWaiter – This tool can help you boost conversions and automate sales campaigns and offers. With PriceWaiter, you can offer pricing match capabilities on your product pages that allow visitors to make offers on your products. You can also use the tool to create compelling call-to-action offers that appear whenever a visitor who hasn’t purchased attempts to exit your website. Finally, you can use PriceWaiter to send automated drip emails containing personalized, limited-time-only offers to potential customers.
Pro tip: My favorite thing about PriceWaiter is their ability to “skirt” around MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) rules that so many manufacturers have put into place. Just be careful and really read the MAP policy – some brands won’t even allow you to sell for a lower price in cart.
55. SearchSpring – This is another powerful personalization tool that you can use to drive more sales and grow your ecommerce business. The platform delivers the most relevant products you offer to visitors who land on your product pages. It utilizes machine learning and predictive artificial intelligence to understand product data and aggregate user behavior to surface the most relevant products across the customer journey.
56. Aimtell – This tool makes it easy to re-engage website visitors with targeted mobile and desktop web push notifications. With this tool, you can send website visitors offers and reminders about your product, even when they don’t have their browser open. Installation is quick and easy and the tool integrates with WordPress and Shopify.
57. Segment – When all of your internal and external processes are working together, running a successful business gets easier. Using Segment, you can make sure that your analytics, email, helpdesk software, and more are all working seamlessly together. This tool gives you the power to connect different providers together and adjust integration settings directly while also having an open source API for developers.
58. Zapier – This platform gives you the option to connect a number of different apps together. Acting as the conduit for different services, you can use Zapier to automate your customer tracking with your payment processor or update a spreadsheet with new purchases. This is a powerful tool that helps you streamline different processes as your business grows.
What other tools would you add to this list? Tell me in the comments section below.