To help you get the most out of your e-commerce store, we’ve put together our top pick of apps, plugins, and tools that will help maximize its potential. From building your store to automating email marketing campaigns, these handy features can save you time and money.
Shopping Carts/Website Builders
Already used by more than 125,000 online stores, PrestaShop offers a number of great advantages for businesses of all sizes, including SEO benefits, easy site management, great customization, lots of features, fantastic analytics reports, and superior navigation. It also allows you to give your customers local, reliable shipping options worldwide.
As the world’s number one e-commerce platform, Magento is a strong contender when it comes to choosing a shopping cart. Current users favor its flexibility, real-time adaptability to customer trends, and the ability to create a unique platform for customers. You can also take advantage of Magento Shipping, which provides an easy connection with global carrier services, automated processes, and the ability to remain competitive with shipping costs.
Making setting up a store incredibly easy, Shopify is favored by many e-commerce store owners, particularly since more comprehensive features and better user experiences have been added. It’s got plenty of templates so there’s no need to hire a web designer to customize your landing pages, and with fast loading speeds and integrated secure payment gateways it’s loved by customers, too. You don’t need to worry about duplicity issues either because of the custom title tags, meta descriptions, and conical tags. Third-party shipping apps make it easy to automate your fulfillment process.
Much the same as Shopify, BigCommerce provides new stores with unlimited storage, fully-functional features, plenty of bandwidth capacity, and no limits on how many products can be added. It also comes with a number of basic features, including gift card settings, review and ratings tools, shipping apps, and other essentials you’ll need. This platform is ideal if you’ve got zero experience with web developing and want to get your store up and running quickly. But if you do want to customize your store you can with CSS and HTML tweaks. It is slightly more expensive than Shopify but with some great features, some stores feel it’s worth the extra cost.
As an extension of WordPress, WooCommerce is very customizable. The functional cart itself is free, but when you’re integrating this with your site there are costs involved. It’s ideal for people who already have a WordPress site as you’ll easily navigate the themes and it also means you won’t have to upgrade or migrate – just install the plugin. However, even newbies will get along with this e-commerce platform as the admin panel is incredibly easy to use. There’s also plenty of plugins and extensions you can add, including shipping apps, and you aren’t limited on how many you can install – which is what sets WooCommerce apart from others.
Connecting to your WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Magento, or Shopify store, MailChimp is a great marketing automation platform that can help you create targeted email campaigns. It lets you automate back-in-stock alerts and product follow-up emails so you can constantly nurture your leads. You can also tailor your campaigns so each email is relevant to the customer it’s being sent to, targeting them based on their behavior, preferences, and purchase history. You can even segment your customers with various rules. Designing emails is easy, too, with the drag-and-drop interface that lets you customize and visualize your template. Pricing varies on the number of subscribers you have, with unlimited emails in each package.
Powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), Boomtrain allows you to tailor each email you send so it’s suited to individual customers. This process is completely automated and you can analyze the behavioral patterns of your customers to provide them with the most relevant content. And because this tool uses AI, it can even tell you what the optimum time is for you to deliver an email to a specific customer – even changing this time to accommodate behavioral changes in the customer. The cost depends on your company.
This platform enables you to simplify and automate your marketing campaigns with a suite of email marketing tools. To enhance your emails even further, GetResponse helps you produce dynamic content so your customers are always receiving personalized, relevant emails. You can choose to customize an existing template or create your own, with plenty of stock images to jazz up your emails. There’s also a mobile-preview feature and you can segment your customers based on a variety of things, including their location, engagement, subscription date, custom data, and so on.
Driving better results for your e-commerce business, Campaign Monitor provides you with plenty of easy-to-use templates (that have been designed by pros) that can be customized to suit your business. You can also use the tool to track each customer’s journey, sending out timely emails that will engage them. By analyzing every touch point, the software makes it very easy for you to create incredibly personalized email campaigns. The sign-up forms Campaign Monitor offer are great for getting more people to join your email list, too.
Pop-Ups for Lead Generation
Focusing on creating new leads, rather than just creating beautiful subscription forms, this plugin from OptinMonster comes with a number of great features. You can establish A/B tests to see what works, while also using page-level targeting options so you can create different forms for various parts of your site. The tool also helps with the right timings for your pop-ups and you can also use full-page pop-ups if you wish, or location-specific forms, sidebar forms, scroll boxes, floating bars, unique MonsterEffects, and so on.
Although this tool’s quite new, it’s becoming incredibly popular, and one of these reasons is the number of templates and customization options available. Bloom is available for WordPress sites and allows you to create six different opt-in forms, which can be set to trigger at a particular times, e.g. after a customer has scrolled so far down the page, after they’ve been on the site for a specific amount of time, when they’ve commented or purchased, and so on. You can also do split tests, and Bloom supports a number of email marketing solutions, too.
12. PopUp Domination
Available for WordPress users or as a stand-alone solution for any type of website, PopUp Domination offers a whole host of pop-up solutions. From exit pop-ups to redirect themes, there are a number of stunning templates on offer, with each being highly customizable based on the behaviors of your customer. This tool also works with all email providers so you can combine your marketing efforts with ease.
13. LiveChat Inc.
As a feature-rich option, LiveChat Inc. is simple and easy to use, allowing you to customize the appearance of your chat box and create archives, file-sharing options, and tags. Customers can also leave you feedback through the tool, and you can easily integrate it with other apps (e.g. Campaign Monitor, GetResponse, Magento, and Google AdWords).
This is a particularly popular option for e-commerce stores due to the free version that’s available when you’re testing the solution – or when you only have one staff member who’s talking to customers online. Zopim also features triggers that direct customers who aren’t sure where they need to go, and it also allows you to monitor and track customers’ behavior when you wish. With integrated metrics, this plugin integrates well with common e-commerce solutions (particularly Shopify).
Although this is one of the most expensive live chat services on the market, it’s also one of the most advanced. HelpFlow’s primary use is to identify which of your customers need help and who wouldn’t send an email or call you to get the solution they’re looking for. It’s also a complete service with the live chat service talking to your customers instead of you. Because of that, it’s ideal if you haven’t got the time or resources to spend talking to customers online.
This cool tool integrates with Magento but it also works with a number of other e-commerce sites, too, including WordPress (through WooCommerce), Amazon, Etsy, and eBay. So, if you’ve set your store up through one of these, you can easily import your store to Facebook using StoreYa. It also gives you access to a number of social shopping features including coupons – which are even available when you’re using the free option.
Shopial works with a number of industry-leading platforms, including Magento, Shopify, and Wix. It also allows you to create social stores on Facebook and Pinterest, using your existing online store. The tool also enables you to create a one-click ad to promote your products and has a report function so you can see how your ads are performing.
This plugin is fantastic if you want to concentrate on social media engagement rather than direct sales through social media. Chirpify helps you convert you social media interactions into a variety of things including rewards, data, and sales. It even provides you with a geo-fencing rewards system, allowing you to see when people are passing by your bricks-and-mortar store. Once inside the “fence,” they’ll be sent a reward to try and entice them into the store!