Having your own online store is a great way to sell products and services of your choice. You can either decide to create your products by yourself or resell the products of other vendors.
Quite frankly, there are lots of factors that determine how successful your online store will become. You either engage a web developer to build you a store or if you’re on a tight budget you create it by yourself.
There is also the aspect of sourcing products that you will be selling in your store. There are other options like deciding to buy and hold inventory or settle for dropshipping.
You have to promote your store through social media ads and other paid ads. The list seems endless and this could be daunting for those who are new to the online business space.
However, having the right tools to help you build and run your online store would do you a lot of good. That’s why this post was put together to introduce you to the right tools and to help you start and grow your online business without much effort.
I’ve taken the liberty to segment these tools into different categories to make this post easier for you to read and comprehend.
- Store creation and design
- Analytics and Reports
- Sales and Marketing
- Product Sourcing
1 – Tidio Live Chat
Tidio empowers your online business with a live chat service for instant communication with your customers. It is a great tool that boosts your marketing effort by making it easy for you to convert visitors into paying customers.
Your sales and marketing will be able to use canned responses, bots, and product links for promoting your offers.
Tidio lets you view visitors list, previously-viewed pages, and an option to transfer a customer to a different member of the sales team.
2 – HelpDocs
Online communications and customer support comes in different colors and shades. You can have live chat, email, or phone support for customers to reach out to you when there are issues to be resolved. Or you could have a knowledge base containing helpful tips and documentation to guide visitors and customers of your online store.
HelpDocs is a communication tool that enables you to install an instant support page in your store. This support page is well structured and formatted, so customers can find it easy to navigate through it. There’s also a search tool that lets you find texts containing particular search terms.
It’s a great way to set up a support system where customers can easily visit to find answers to previously asked questions. It’s a solution that helps save time for users of your online store while providing the needed support.
Store Creation and Design
3 – WooCommerce
WooCommerce is a powerful tool that lets you build and manage a fully-featured online store on WordPress. It gives users so much control over how the store will be designed, the functions and features, payment methods to use, and a host of other benefits.
If you decide to build your online store, then you would not need to hire a web developer with coding skills. That’s because WooCommerce gives you all of the tools to customize the store and blend with what you want.
The WooCommerce plugin can be downloaded and installed for free both for personal and commercial uses. However, you will have to purchase your domain name, SSL certificate, web hosting plan, and other premium plugins that your store needs.
A good web hosting provider like BlueHost should be able to give you all you need to successfully set up and run your store on WooCommerce.
WooCommerce is easy to use, offers multiple payment options, allows for the sale of physical and digital products, and comes with a customer login area. There are also thousands of WordPress plugins (both free and paid) that you can install to extend the functions and features of your WooCommerce store.
4 – Shopify
Shopify is a great e-commerce solution that lets you set up an online store if all you have is just an idea. That’s because Shopify gives you all you need for your store including website, hosting, inventory management, and different themes to choose from.
It’s a lot easier to have your store set up and running with Shopify, even for those without any coding skills. All you need to access and manage your store is a web browser and an internet-enabled device.
You will get such tools as templates, payment processor, email marketing tools, and a blog provided for you on Shopify. There are lots of learning resources on the internet and in the Shopify community for those who need to learn a thing or two.
Starting at $29 per month, you will be able to access a full website, hosting, and other features for your Shopify store.
5 – BigCommerce
BigCommerce is the ideal store builder for those who would like to build stores that they expect to grow very fast. It comes with a lot of built-in tools that can be used to manage and promote your online store to the right audience.
BigCommerce is similar to Shopify in that it is a hosted ecommerce solution that users can pay monthly to use. There are lots of beautiful themes, drag and drop page builders, SEO features, PayPal, and email marketing integration.
BigCommerce offers various pricing plans for its products with the basic plan starting at $29.95 per month.
6 – Magento
Magento is a flexible, open-source e-commerce solution for advanced users with the knowledge of web programming skills. It is best suited for big companies and enterprises with large e-commerce needs.
Magento gives you unlimited power to customize your ecommerce store with lots of functions and features.
Some of the built-in features of Magento include integrated checkout, payment, global selling, site search, instant purchase, and b2b functionalities. Others are catalog management, advanced marketing tools, customer loyalty tools, and business intelligence dashboards.
Magento also comes with SEO features with marketing and conversion tools, coupon codes, and product bundles.
When it comes to ease of ease, Magento doesn’t score very high because it is best suited for web developers with intermediate to advanced coding skills.
Analytics and Reports
7 – Google Analytics
While there are lots of premium analytics tools for obtaining insights and performance reporting, Google Analytics is a free tool you can access any time of the day for obtaining your store’s insights.
You can use this tool to gather insights on user behavior and also conversion details. You’ll also find out that most e-commerce solutions integrate nicely with Google Analytics.
It can be tough to read and interpret insights for first-time users of Google Analytics, but after a while, you’ll get the hang of it.
8 – Kissmetrics
Kissmetrics is an essential business marketing and analytics tool used for obtaining the right metrics that matter to your business.
Its main strength is in behavioral analytics where it ties pieces of data to visitors or customers of your business. This will help you obtain a better understanding of those who visit your store and find ways to better serve them.
Some of the features that come with Kissmetrics include goal tracking, referral source tracking, and time-on-site tracking. Other features are conversion, keyword, pageview, site search, and user interaction tracking.
Although Kissmetrics is a pricey product, it makes up in the quality of features that you obtain from using it.
Sales and Marketing
9 – Sendinblue
This is an email marketing solution with a range of features designed for small and medium-sized businesses.
Sendinblue features let you design and send emails with ease, chat with your website visitors, and also communicate urgent messages via SMS. It is also packed with CRM features to help you manage customer details and build rewarding relationships with them.
For a small fee, you will be able to save time and improve your email campaigns through segmentation and marketing automation. There is also a free plan that you can access on Sendinblue to help you get started with your email campaigns.
10 – Buffer
Buffer is the ideal social media marketing tool that enables you to manage your business’ engagement with its social media followers. Buffer can be used to plan, schedule, engage followers, and analyze social media campaign results. It is a useful tool for both individuals and social media teams in managing all their social media efforts.
Some of the features of Buffer include post scheduling, content management, automated publishing, and multi-account management. Pricing for Buffer starts at $15 per month while there is a free plan with limited features and a free trial.
11 – TrustedSite
Site security is very vital for the success of your online store if you want shoppers to feel confident paying with their credit cards while on it. And so you have to ensure your store is protected by the very best in online security.
It’s one thing for you to protect your store against malware attacks and identity thefts; it is another for your customers to know that your site is well protected.
You can add the TrustedSite emblem on your site to assure your customers that your site is protected from any kind of breach.
TrustedSite offers a wide range of security products to keep your company data and that of your customers safe. The tools they offer include vulnerability scanning, PCI compliance, and breach insurance.
12 – Shippo
Shipping management is an aspect of e-commerce business that can impact the success of your store.
If your shipping is sloppy, you will find yourself losing your customers one after the other, even if you have great products or services. That’s why online stores invest in the right tools to ensure that their shipping operations are top-notch.
You may decide to self-fulfill, which means that the storage, packing, and shipping is handled by your store. You could also contract order fulfillment to a third-party company to do all that for you.
Whatever option you choose for your online store, each has its own pros and cons for your business. However, it’s becoming more common for online stores to engage the services of third party fulfillment companies.
Shippo is a great option that will help to keep your shipping costs as low as possible. They also help with email tracking and ensure that all packages are rightly labeled.
Shippo also integrates nicely with most well-known online stores.
13 – SendOwl
If you sell digital products in your store, then you may want to consider using SendOwl for delivery. It’s a delivery tool that works natively with Easy Digital Downloads using WordPress.
You can easily sell products like music files, eBooks, photos, and videos with SendOwl and Easy Digital Downloads.
Whenever a purchase is made from your store, an email containing the download link for the product is sent to the buyer’s email address.
14 – Alibaba
If your business model is such that your products are sourced in large quantities and sold in retail, you would need to buy directly from manufacturers.
And Alibaba is the online store from which you can buy products at the best prices from producers and manufacturers. The store features the biggest manufacturers from around Asia giving you the lowest prices possible.
15 – Spocket
Dropshipping is an order fulfillment method where you forward orders made on your store to the products’ manufacturers. They handle everything about the shipping while they pay you commissions for every sale that comes through your store.
Spocket is a solution that offers dropshipping services and high-quality products at fast delivery times.
If you are a producer of physical or digital products, it may be more profitable to own an online store. Though setting up one may seem like a great big task, there are lots of tools to help with building and running your own store.
This post covers 15 of the top e-commerce tools that you would require to set up and grow your online store. Though all the tools may not be particularly suited to your kind of product or service, you can choose the ones that fit in nicely.
Even if you’re a novice when it comes to computer programming, there are lots of tools to help you build the store you ever want.