The ecommerce industry is projected to hit $61.8 billion during the holiday shopping season, according to Emarketer. Ecommerce software comes in many shapes and sizes, from WordPress plugins to massive scripts that require a data center to handle. There’s many complementary, web-based tools that help boost the performance of an ecommerce site. Use these to earn the sales increases you need to make this holiday season your best one yet.
Having the right accounting software for your ecommerce store is essential to keeping you in the black. It’s even better when you get accounting software for free, such as the free trial of Quickbooks. Any accounting system has a learning curve to it, so it’s best to look into ones with free trials. This way you have enough time to learn the application to determine whether it fits your needs. Ecommerce platforms such as Squarespace support direct imports into popular accounting software. This simplifies the bookkeeping process and cuts down on the chance of human error causing issues with accurate profit and loss numbers.
Cross sells are an easy way to expose your customers to additional products they may be interested in. CNet offers a product called Intelligent Cross-Sell, which works with existing solutions to give recommendations based on the items that your customer is purchasing. This service is focused around consumer electronics, with 5 million products contained in the database. Hockey Monkey implemented Yahoo’s cross selling tool and increased its revenues by $300,000 by offering hockey fans products related to the items in their cart, all using an automated system.
Dealing with international shipping is a struggle for many ecommerce site owners. When your product has mass market appeal overseas, you want to make it simple for international customers to order. A currency converter is particularly useful, whether you have it as part of your script, or as an additional tool such as the one WooCommerce has available for WordPress based ecommerce sites. Planet Management, a payment processor who offers international payments, reports that ecommerce stores who use their service to offer multiple currencies increase international sales by up to 25 percent.
It’s not enough to know that you are getting sales. You need to know where those sales are coming from, the types of websites that are sending you traffic and how your marketing efforts are doing. Some ecommerce scripts have statistics built in or available through a plugin. Stand alone packages such as Google Analytics also provide you with a way to thoroughly check your stats, and all you do is place a line of code on your site for tracking. Analytics allows you to check all of your data online. You also have access to it whether you have access to your ecommerce servers or not.
LaTienda, an artisan food ecommerce store, tracked customers from regions they could ship to inexpensively, and those who were in regions that required higher shipping costs. They used Google Analytics to track in-cart sales behavior and increased their purchase rate by 70 percent by adjusting shipping costs for the secondary region.
It’s important to retain the customer after you’ve made the sale, as repeat customers are essential to every size of business. Zendesk is a full featured customer service tool that has customer knowledge base and community support forums for support. Your customers can educate themselves on any of the issues that are causing them problems. It focuses on self-service customer support so you don’t have to be chained to your desk at all times. One company that is known across the ecommerce world for its stellar customer service is Zappos. They spend a great deal of time training their employees in their customer service focused culture, and they augment this with ecommerce tools that offer live chat and a thorough knowledge base.