Retail sales continue to shift from Main Street to online stores, with 36.1% of UK retail sales online in February 2021. With this change, one of the biggest challenges facing retailers in line now facing is how to compensate for an experience with a product.
Improving the online customer experience requires more than quality digital content and accurate product data on a website. To capitalize on this growth, you’ll need an integrated stack of e-commerce solutions to help you present an engaging and ideal experience across all in-person and digital channels.
These eight essential ecommerce tools, from inventory management to email marketing software, will help you deliver an omnichannel customer experience that converts in 2021.
1. E-commerce website platform
Ideally, your website platform allows you to easily create and design web pages, from your home page to your product detail pages. On top of that, it pays to choose a tool that gives you simple, customizable publishing capabilities for all of your content and promotions.
Whether you’re launching your first online store on Shopify or running a company-wide site with a platform like Magento Commerce, you’ll benefit from an ecommerce website builder. Website platforms like WordPress can work for ecommerce as well, but you’ll save time and money by starting with a platform designed specifically for selling products online.
2. Digital asset management software
Your ability to sell products through your website is highly dependent on quality digital content, from product images and videos to logos and other brand assets. Digital Asset Management (DAM) software gives you a central repository to store, manage, and publish all of your content.
Solutions like Widen Collective® make all your digital content easily accessible for internal and external customers. With a DAM platform, your teams can easily find content by keyword, convert file formats, and post to multiple channels and stores. You can also quickly share digital assets with agencies, distributors, retailers, and other collaborators.
3. Product information management software
Product information, like product attributes and marketing copy, deserves a central source of truth. With Product Information Management (PIM) software, you can manage the entire product information lifecycle in one place. Make sure you integrate your DAM and PIM solutions to streamline your e-commerce operations by helping you get your products online faster.
Salsify and Akeneo are two reliable PIM tools. And Widen’s PIM solution is designed to work in tandem with our enterprise DAM solution to help you prepare accurate and compelling product listings for global e-commerce channels.
4. Email marketing tool
Regardless of the size of your audience, you’ll need an email marketing tool that offers email automation, advanced segmentation, and priority support. Look for existing integrations with your other ecommerce tools so you don’t have to use developer resources to build them.
Mailchimp is a trusted favorite with a wide range of features, including a Customer Journey Builder. HubSpot and ActiveCampaign give you proven options for all scales and a wide range of integration possibilities with the rest of your ecommerce stack.
5. Project management tool
Managing projects in spreadsheets only works on a small scale and it’s complicated. You will need to use a project management tool to set up custom workflows, view tasks, and track progress against roadmaps and business goals.
JIRA, ServiceNow, and Asana all offer enterprise project management options. Once you’ve made sure that a tool meets your main requirements, don’t spend too much time worrying about all the little details. Getting your teams to adopt a project management tool and using it regularly is the secret to its proper functioning.
6. Inventory tracking tools
It can be difficult to increase your sales volume and manage your inventory levels at the same time. Inventory management software can help, and there are two common types – an all-in-one enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform or a dedicated inventory and warehouse management system.
Oracle ERP Cloud, Microsoft Dynamics, and SAP Business One are all ERPs you can trust.
7. Customer service tools
If you’re going to sell products online, you need a solid customer service tool. Look for a solution that provides a knowledge base for FAQs and gives you the ability to respond via SMS, mobile, phone, email, live chat, and social media.
Zendesk provides a customer service solution every step of the way and is used by Uber and Shopify. You can even integrate Zendesk with Facebook Messenger. Two other reliable and powerful customer service tools are Hubspot Service Hub and Salesforce Service Cloud.
8. Ecommerce Rewards and Referral Program
You can retain your customers with rewards or a referral program. Think about Amazon Prime, but on a scale that makes sense for your business. You might not be able to offer streaming video, but could you offer a faster shipping method for a monthly subscription?
If you want to retain your customers with consistent offers or membership programs, choose a rewards-focused tool to make it happen. Jumper.ai, Dealyze, and Open Loyalty all offer ways to create an omnichannel loyalty experience for your customers.
Integrate your e-commerce tools to optimize sales
When choosing ecommerce software, be sure to clearly define your needs first. Then map all your tools and see where their capabilities intersect. Once these integration points are identified, you’ll be able to make smarter choices and prioritize the tools that work together as a stack.
The more integrated your technology stack, the more powerful each of your individual tools becomes. One of the most important integrations in ecommerce is bringing together your product content and product information.
Contact us and find out how Widen’s combined DAM and PIM solution can support your e-commerce efforts and help you get your products online faster.
By Nate Holmes, Product Marketing Manager, Widen