9 Tools to Give Your eCommerce Company the Competitive Edge

eCommerce is a highly competitive industry with an increasingly demanding customer base. It’s not enough to simply throw up an online store and expect that the orders will come flooding in. You need to be constantly testing, learning, measuring, and optimizing.

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eCommerce is a highly competitive industry with an increasingly demanding customer base. It’s not enough to simply throw up an online store and expect that the orders will come flooding in. You need to be constantly testing, learning, measuring, and optimizing.

Companies that learn from their analytics, frequently optimize for conversions, improve sales funnels, and perfect the user experience gain the competitive advantage when selling direct-to-consumer.

A simple optimization could be as easy as changing the color of a call-to-action button on your website. Substantial changes could occupy your web dev team for weeks and months. More often than not, the easiest and most efficient route is to install a third-party software-as-a-service app that can do the job.

Here are nine essential tools that every eCommerce business should consider using to attract more customers, offer an amazing user experience, and outpace the competition.

1. CashShield – Reduce fraud risk

Online security should be one of your biggest worries as an eCommerce business. Any time you collect personal information or accept any kind of payment over the Web, especially when operating across borders, you put yourself and your customers at risk for cyber attacks and theft. Most importantly, when accepting payment as a merchant, you are held liable by banks for disputed orders and chargebacks. Each chargeback costs the brands between $15 to $25 and if your chargeback rate goes too high (above 1%) you will start getting penalties, up to being banned by the Visa/Mastercard schemes

CashShield offers online stores both transaction and account security with real-time fraud detection software that’s powered by automated machine learning. What this means is that you don’t need to hire your own team of fraud analysts or data scientists to do this work.

What’s more, CashShield ensures your money with a 100% chargeback protection policy for both physical and digital products. Its solution is PCI-DSS compliant, and currently used by merchants to screen billions of dollars worth of transactions across 190 countries.

The cost for this enterprise risk management solution varies depending on the associated product risk.

2. Carts Guru – Reduce cart abandonment

On average, 69 percent of online shoppers abandon products in their shopping cart.

While that statistic looks depressing, it also means that brands have a huge opportunity to grow their business just by doing a better job of convincing customers to come back and follow through on their initial intent to buy something.

Carts Guru is an omnichannel marketing tool that helps digital commerce businesses target consumers who expressed interest in their products but were reluctant to pull the trigger.

The service provider enables retargeting of would-be buyers via email, text messages, automated voice calls and Facebook and Instagram advertising to remind them about the products they left behind and encourage them to make the final purchase. Carts Guru says it’s possible to convert more than 20 percent of lost customers into sales.

A free 14-day trial is available, while the complete package costs $49 per month plus 3.5 percent of revenue generated from the service.

3. Elevar – Simplify marketing analytics

There are numerous data points to consider when you’re running a digital commerce company.

From a marketing perspective alone, you’re probably deploying multi-channel campaigns, each of which has a unique data set to manage. Analyzing the constant flow of information can get cumbersome and time consuming.

Elevar is an analytics software provider that compiles marketing data — from Google Analytics to social trends to cart abandonment stats — into actionable graphs and snapshots. The service company specializes in eCommerce insights, marketing analytics, attribution insights, and predictive and forecasting summaries to help digital brands optimize conversion strategies and increase profitability.

Rates start at $50 per month.

4. BuzzSumo – Analyze content performance

Content is king in the digital marketing world. But not all content generates impressions, clicks or conversions. Understanding what type of content is catching attention among specific target demographic groups reveals valuable insights for your content marketing strategy.

BuzzSumo is a content analysis tool that makes it easy to identify trending topics and posts as well as the people who view and promote them. Be sure to install the highly useful BuzzSumo browser extension for Chrome, which allows you to instantly see social share estimates for the page you’re viewing.

Specifically, you can identify influencers that share content in your niche field, what type of engagement a given post got across social media platforms, and gain insight on how to build backlinks that support your SEO performance.

BuzzSumo offers plans starting at $79 per month.

5. Hotjar – Understand on-site behavior

No matter how good your website looks, if it’s not converting visitors into customers it’s not performing properly. There are numerous reasons why a website may be underperforming, but without the proper insights it’s difficult to pinpoint areas that need improvement.

Hotjar illuminates click patterns with “heat maps” that illustrate where shoppers are spending time. It also offers site operators videos of customer shopping journeys.

This eliminates the guesswork behind optimizing site layout and creates a clear picture of where shoppers are clicking, how they are navigating to checkout, and where they aren’t engaging or getting stuck.

Hotjar also connects brands with shoppers via polls, surveys and direct messages to initiate dialogue and gather feedback on what is working and what’s not.

Business plans start at $89 per month.

6. Prisync – Track Competitor Pricing

Price competition can get fierce and often makes or breaks a conversion.

A recent study found that over 65 percent of people spend more than 15 minutes comparing prices before making a purchase online.

Since savvy digital consumers have access to information about the best prices around the web, you should too.

Prisync makes it easy to track your competitors pricing and incorporate dynamic pricing rules that allow you to adjust prices in real time to stay competitive while maintaining minimum margin requirements.

The service ranges from $49 to $209 per month.

7. Sentient – Optimize Design

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become increasingly integral to eCommerce and brands that utilize cutting edge technology help carve out a competitive advantage.

Sentient gathers and leverages data from across the web to provide consumers with a more intuitive, visual and personalized shopping experience.

Sentient Aware assists brands to better serve shoppers with image-based search features that help the customer find what they are looking for faster without searching with text or filters.

The company’s Sentient Ascend technology suggests layout and design options for your website to optimize conversions, essentially speeding up the AB testing process to hyper speed.

Pricing is subject to the nature of the project.

8. Segmentify – Customize User Experience

Personalized user experiences allow brands to tailor content to each shopper’s interests. Not only does this make it easier for buyers to find what they are looking for, it’s also a great way to introduce new products and increase per customer revenue.

Segmentify is a useful tool for personalizing customer experiences that presents shoppers with product suggestions based on what other people with similar profiles bought. This is an effective way to encourage package deals and impulse purchases, which ultimate boost profits. Segmentify has a track record of increasing conversions by an average of 10%.

The service provider charges site owners 3% to 5% of the sales generated via its widgets.

9. Optimizely – A/B test everything

Always be testing. That’s the mantra you need to embrace if you want to fully optimize your online store. Optimizely’s platform makes this task less onerous by allowing you to test images, website copy, design, and pricing with just a few clicks.

Instead of designing and building out entire new versions of your website, Optimizely allows you to change the color of a button or a headline or a product’s price on the fly, and see what resonates better with your audience. This allows for fast experimentation and better results, without spending a whole lot more in development or acquisition costs.

Optimizely offers a generous 30-day trial, and then plans are customized according to your needs.

By incorporating these third-party SaaS services into your arsenal of tools, you can increase your customer acquisition, improve digital marketing, understand your traffic better, improve and scale conversions, and ultimately grow your business.

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