U.S. retail e-commerce sales hit $431.6 billion in 2020 alone, and is forecast to reach $563 billion by 2025. The e-commerce business sector is a booming and exciting industry, with lots of room for growth. The good thing is, there are many tools and resources you can use to scale your online store. The not-so-good thing is, you can be overwhelmed with the sheer amount of tools, not knowing exactly which ones your business really needs.
Typically, when a business is “scaling”, it is looking to grow exponentially with automation and optimization. This means that your e-com store will be able to reach 100x times the customers, for example, without you having to doing 100x times the work. There are generally four categories of tools that can help you achieve this:
- Marketing tools
- Business/operation tools
- Customer Service and Relationship tools
- Analytics tools
No matter what tools you are looking for, a good fit for scaling a business should be:
- Analytical: Your marketing tools should be able to give you critical insights on how your campaigns or projects are performing.
- Integrable: Your marketing tools should be able to work well and integrate with each other, or with your other operational tools.
- Scalable and flexible: Your tools should be able to drastically cut down the time and effort compared to manual work.
- Encourage long-term relationships: Your tools should encourage long-term relationships with your customers and influencers as the top priority.
If having great products and services is the heart and soul of your business, having strong marketing initiatives is the arms and legs that keep your business moving. It’s important to constantly have your brand and products in the metaphorical and literal spotlight, after all, no one would be able to buy your great products without knowing they exist. (Even when customers already know and love your products, they still need a reminder. We will discuss this in a bit.)
In our previous article, “Top 7 Marketing Channels E-commerce Companies Need to Activate”, we mentioned the importance of tactics like SEO, email marketing, and influencer marketing.
To help you get started, we’ve listed a few of our favorite tools to help you tacks several marketing channels at once:
- Hootsuite: A social media management tool that helps you harbor meaningful relationships with your customers. This tool offers solutions to scheduling, content curating, analytics monitoring, making your social content shine.
- Mailchimp: An email marketing tool that provides more than just customer emails. Mailchimp offers solutions catered to the unique demands of e-commerce businesses, such as follow-up emails to reduct cart-abandonment, birthday discount offers, customer surveys, shoppable landing pages, etc.
- Facebook Ads: A social media advertising tool that’s great with precise targeting your audience. Facebook Ads can help you optimize your reach with various tools like audience determination, location, budget, format, etc.
- Upfluence’s Influencer Matching Tool: A tool to help identify your existing influential customers, and turn them into creators for your brand. The tool offered by Upfluence helps you identify, organize, analyze, and manage your own database of content creators who are already loyal fans of your brand and product.
- Upfluence’s workflow & integrations: An influencer marketing platform to help you scale your influencer marketing efforts and manage every aspect of your influencer campaigns from A-Z. Grow your online store with sales-generating influencer campaigns utilizing promo codes and affiliate links through Upfluence’s eCommerce integrations with Shopify and WooCommerce.
- Canva: A designing platform that provides users with unlimited ways to visually optimize their website, app, posters, infographics, etc. Amateurs and professional designers alike can benefit from Canva’s extremely user-friendly tools and resources.
- Klaviyo: A customer insights to help you understand customer activities, optimize emails, enhance marketing strategies, and more.
Business operation tools
In order to effectively scale, a business needs a strong backbone: the fundamental operation of the business. As your store grows, the demand for streamlining processes, people, teams, finances, back-end, and front-end management, etc. also increase. Sometimes it feels like you’re spinning plates, that everything decided it needed to be done at the same time! We love a project planned to perfection as much as the next, but the reality of it can seem out of reach. This list will help you get shipshape in no time and scale your store efficiently while strengthening the internal structure of your business:
- Monday: A productivity tool to keep your teams and people on top of processes, scheduling, tasks, projects, etc. Unlike manual bookkeeping, Monday offers an automated solution to help make everyday tasks effortless and productive.
- Veeqo: An inventory management solution for small businesses that sell on multiple channels. With Veeqo, your business can easily manage orders, avoid overselling, and have a clear organization of your inventory.
- ShipWire: An inventory management, tracking, and shipping tool. ShipWire uses a network of third-party warehouses and fulfillment centers to store your inventory close to your customers.
- Wave: An accounting and invoicing platform suitable for online businesses. Wave offers features like direct deposit, record keeping, invoicing, payroll management, tax calculations, receipt management, etc. This is a great solution to keep your finance organized and properly managed at a scaled level.
- QuickBooks: An accounting software developed by Intuit, that can offer solutions to businesses of all sizes. QuickBooks’ features include payroll management, tax deductions maximizing, income & expense maximizing, etc.
Customer Service and Relationship tools
Never forget who it’s all for! While scaling your business, it’s important to keep your customers’ experience and journey in mind. This is the time to not only discover and convert new customers, but it’s also a crucial time to encourage customer loyalty. Fortunately, there are smart tools for you to scale this process: Live chat, bot support, customer referral system, and even adding a special touch like a handwritten note… at scale (ouch!).
- Zendesk: A helpdesk and customer communication tool. Zendesk offers a real-time engagement solution with your customers, through support, live chat, and self-service support. You can build your own pathways and customer solutions, by understanding your customers’ unique behaviors and analytics.
- Referral Candy: A referral/ambassador tool for your customers. With ReferralCandy, you can send customers personalized referral links that they can send to friends and family. This is a solution to expand your networks and grow your sales from within.
- Promoter.io: A survey tool to understand your customers using Net Promoter System. With the tool, you can constantly understand and learn to improve your NPS score to drive more sales, identify objectives, and understand the customer journey better.
- This Custom Thanks (Previously Thankbot): A handwritten note service to help you send out personalized notes to your customers. This service helps you maintain the small-business touch, while still support scale-level business models. And yes, these letters are 100% handwritten, and 100% sure to put a smile on your customers’ faces.
Understanding what’s performing is extremely important for you to understand where to scale your business. These analytics tools can give you important insights into various different areas of your business: Your website performance, what your customers react to, how your competitors are performing, and even trend predictors.
- Google Analytics: A tool to understand how your customers and visitors are interacting with your website and products. Google Analytics can help you track and understand users, sessions, views, conversions, events, time, rates, and many more. With this tool, you can also generate reports and identify problems quickly.
- Neatly: A tool to help you organize, integrate, and deliver insights within a single dashboard. Neatly integrates with more than 45 top e-commerce apps, including some of the tools we mentioned above, in order to track all of your KPIs.
- Clearbit: A tool to help you track sales interactions and generate leads. Clearbit is extremely helpful for the sales lifecycle, supporting analytics on when to retarget, reach out, or close the deal. Clearbit integrates with Salesforce, which makes the automation process extremely efficient.
- KissMetrics: An opportunity-identifying tool to leverage customer data. KissMetrics can help you identify where your customers come from, who your best customers are, and how to optimize your website to convert more leads. You will also have valuable insights into visitor profiles, and a better understanding of what’s working and what’s preventing visitors from converting.