More than a decade ago, the biggest barrier of entry for eCommerce brands was technology. The infrastructure was just not there and you had to build everything from scratch. It was really hard to run marketing campaigns, automate basic marketing functions, and boost your conversions.
Then the Shopify App Store was launched and everything changed. The biggest advantage of the eCommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce (besides the fact that you could run your store on them) was their apps or plugins. Companies started launching eCommerce marketing tools that integrated with these platforms and offered everything an eCommerce brand needed.
The most successful brands used these tools to become national brands. They were able to automate marketing activities, increase revenue, and launch new marketing channels quickly and affordably.
In this post, we go over all the top eCommerce marketing tools you need to grow your brand.
Let's dive in.
First and foremost, every eCommerce business needs to pick a good platform to run their store on. There are two main eCommerce platforms that dominate the market today - Shopify and BigCommerce. There are also a few smaller options like WooCommerce, Magento, or running a shopping cart on a WordPress site.
Shopify is the largest eCommerce platform today and an industry leader in all things eCommerce. Roughly 80% of eCommerce stores use it today and for good reason. It has the most comprehensive collection of apps and plugins, it's great for smaller as well as giant stores, has great infrastructure and support. The Shopify App Store has more than 4,000 apps available for you to choose from.
BigCommerce is the second-largest platform. Also really strong and has a ton of advantages. BigCommerce doesn't charge a commission fee on every purchase, so it's less expensive than Shopify. It has more native features and is more secure than Shopify.
Magento is open-source software that lets you completely customize your store to your own standards. It can get very pricey if you don't have the infrastructure but if you are tech-savvy and can set up everything yourself then it's for sure the cheapest choice.
WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce plugin for WordPress. It provides a great way for WordPress sites to offer physical products and set up an eCommerce store with the least possible effort. WooCommerce also has its own collection of apps and those provide added functionalities to WordPress shops.
Now that you have your store set up, it's time to connect it to channels you can sell on. One of the quickest ways to sell your product is by using online marketplaces. We're talking about places like Amazon, eBay, Home Depot, Walmart, and Wish. The way you do that is by creating a product feed and then integrating it with each marketplace.
Here are some of the best tools to use to sell on marketplaces.
Google Shopping is one of the best channels to sell on because it shows up in Google searches. You ever seen that top area when you put in a transactional term in your search? Those listings are Google Shopping listings, and Google lets you either sell directly through them or it leads the user back to your site.
Use an app like the CedCommerce Google Shopping Feed App to integrate your product feed and launch your products. The only thing you would need to do is to get approved for the program separately, and once you have that you are ready to go.
Shopify launched its own app back in 2020 This is only for those stores that run on Shopify. It's a marketplace that recommends different eCommerce products from Shopify stores to consumers, a brilliant concept really. It also has a feature that lets shoppers find products from local stores. Shopify is going to be investing a lot of money into this so it's a good time for every eCommerce business to jump on it.
Amazon is the biggest marketplace in the US with over 300 million active users. Nearly two-thirds of Americans have bought something from Amazon. Open an Amazon merchant account and then use a simple app like Amazon by CedCommerce to integrate all of your products and start selling.
eBay is the second biggest marketplace in the US and is actually better for certain categories (like tech, home and garden, and collectibles). eBay actually has its own Shopify app that you can use to integrate your store to the marketplace.
Walmart went from being the biggest retail chain to launching its own online presence. They have an online marketplace with over 100,000 sellers so far and over 100 million unique visitors per month. Walmart has opened up its online marketplace to any seller in the US so you can now apply and start selling. They actually have their own app on the Shopify App Store that helps you sync all your products and keep track of all your orders.
One of the best ways to grow an eCommerce business is through advertising. There are a variety of advertising tools you need to should use. There are the advertising platforms themselves, ads reporting tools, feed aggregators, and much more. Here is a list of some of the best ones.
Google ads are a great way to get more exposure and convert attract potential customers. You can target specific keywords, power up search ads, run banner ads, experiment with programmatic ad campaigns, or power up Google Shopping. Use an app like Clever to optimize your various Google ads campaigns with just a few clicks.
Facebook advertising has been the primary form of advertising that has led online stores to achieve hyper-business growth. Lots of e-commerce brands attribute their success to Facebook and Instagram ads. One of the major advantages of using Facebook ads is that you can target specific audiences based on their interests, and even create look-a-like audiences from your own email list. With the new iOS 14.5 update, a lot of the tracking is going away but there are still really great ways to attract new business.
Use the Facebook channel app by Shopify or the Facebook & Instagram Shopping app by CedCommerce to integrate your store with Facebook's platform and then you can use a tool like AdRoll to manage your ads.
AdRoll is a tool that lets you connect your product feed and run ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and 500+ networks. It has a collection of templates you could choose from and a really easy interface to set up your targeting sequences. You can connect AdRoll to the email marketing platform you're using with Zapier and import your email segments to create ads that target each one.
Taboola is a tool used for native advertising. These are ads that appear alongside articles on large publisher sites such as NBC, MSN, Business Insider, and others. This type of native content gets can be used for the awareness stage of the buyer journey or to retarget abandoned carts customers from your own mailing list.
Email marketing is known to be the most powerful marketing channel for any brand. As social media platforms and search algorithms change the most stable channel to retain customer data continues to be email marketing. Here are some of the best tools to power up your email campaigns.
Klaviyo is by far one of the most popular email marketing tools for brands. It's used by more than 23,000 customers mostly based in the US. It's a perfect tool for brands with 10-50 employees and $1M-$10M in revenue. It has powerful segmentation, campaign creation, and email automation features. Klaviyo is a great place to start for most brands.
Omnisend is another great email marketing tool. It also allows brands to send email campaigns, push notifications, text messages (SMS) and has an audience sync feature for ads. So it's more of an omnichannel platform that helps brands manage all of their various campaigns in one place. It has very similar email features to Klaviyo and is a bit cheaper as well.
Retention Science or ReSci is a really powerful email automation tool. It helps you create segments, power up email campaigns, and then automatically sends the optimal message to the right segment, at the most optimal time. So it knows when to send your abandoned cart emails, who to target, who is most likely to click on a promotional piece of content versus an educational campaign. It uses advanced artificial intelligence to do all the work for you.
Search Engine Optimization
Studies show that 43% of all e-commerce traffic comes from organic Google searches, so organic traffic remains a huge source of traffic and conversions. SEO tools range from Google's own tools to help you optimize your site and track your performance to 3rd party tools that help you track keywords, rankings, and backlinks to your site.
This is a great tool to see how much traffic you're getting, find out if you have any errors or negative penalties against you, and see what you need to do to optimize your site to improve your search rankings. GSC sends out monthly reports so make sure you sign up and get those every month.
This is a tool that displays the historical number of searches for keywords across the last 20+ years. It can help you find trends within your industry and help you zero in on the topics you need to cover in your next blog post. You can also use it for product discovery.
This is Google's main tool that tests your site's speed. Use it to analyze your site speed, optimize each page on your site, both for mobile and desktop devices, and continuously monitor your site's performance.
Ahrefs is one of the best SEO tools out there. It helps you monitor your search rankings, discover keywords you rank for, and track your backlinks. You can also use it to research what your competitors are doing and get content ideas for your industry.
MorningScore is an SEO tool built for beginners. If you are new to search engine optimization and it all seems overwhelming for you then this tool is for you. It's a simplified version of Ahrefs that gives you helpful suggestions and rewards you with points each time your rankings improve. It's a fun way for a beginner to start optimizing their site for search.
Conversion rate optimization tools
Conversion rate optimization is one of the oldest disciplines in digital marketing. It involves analyzing your user data and setting up A/B tests to improve the usability and conversion rate of your site. Every online business should do this, and especially an e-Commerce store that wants to grow. Here are some of our favorite CRO tools for eCommerce.
HotJar is a great analytics tool that uses heatmaps, video recordings, and direct customer feedback to give you valuable insights into every stage of your eCommerce funnel. That data is super valuable because it shows you which areas of the site contribute to the most customer dropoff and what you need to improve on.
Google Optimize is a free tool that integrates with Google Analytics and lets you set up A/B tests and multivariate tests on your site. It is super easy to use and is a great place to start with CRO if you are new.
Optimizely is a higher-end conversion rate optimization tool. It's used for large eCommerce brands to set up A/B tests, multivariate tests, forecasting, and analysis. They also have several commerce tools that let brands send personalized messages and experiment with chatbots.
Social media tools
Social media platforms are constantly changing and you need to get the marketing and content tools that can help you adjust and meet your customers' needs and exceed their expectations. Online stores use social media to advertise, respond to customer questions, promote their products, build an engaged audience, and reward loyal customers.
Canva is a great tool used to create social content. It has thousands of templates for every kind of social media post you can imagine. Use it to create banners and graphics for all of your social media channels.
Buffer is a great tool to use to publish social media posts on all your various social media accounts. It has a free plan that lets you publish content on up to 3 social accounts. The paid plan is also really cheap. It is $5 per social media channel and includes analytics, engagement, planning & publishing tools.
Eclincher is a comprehensive social media tool that lets you aggregate and grow all of your social accounts in one place. It has the same publishing and scheduling tools as Buffer but also includes social listening and monitoring tools, influencer search, a social inbox, and much more. It can be used to augment your existing customer service tools by being able to respond to customers on a variety of channels online.
Social proof and UGC tools
Do you know that feeling you get when you visit a site that has no pictures of actual people using the product? Those kinds of lifeless sites are a thing of the past, especially in the world of eCommerce. It's absolutely essential for any e-Commerce business to display images and videos of actual customers using the products and that's called social proof.
Social proof is a way to display customer loyalty, improve conversion rate and increase the customer experience. It helps the site visitor relate to the product in a much better way and helps brands show their flair and unique style.
Here are some of our favorite tools for social proof.
Fera is a really great app for displaying product reviews on your site. It lets your shoppers upload images and video reviews, displays unique verification badges, and even displays an average store rating in the footer.
Loox is one of the leading Shopify reviews apps. It has the same features as Fera with some additional powerful features like optimized email automation to automatically collect reviews from your customers, a homepage carousel, and a happy customers page.
Yotpo is one of the biggest eCommerce marketing automation platforms and has extensive features for displaying customer content and UGC. It uses AI to analyze the impressions and clicks on each piece of content and customize your UGC galleries.
Loyalty & Rewards Tools
Loyalty and referral programs need to be a central part of your marketing strategy. They help incentivize word-of-mouth marketing and increase customer retention. And although they are aimed at delighting current customers, they can actually help you attract new audiences. Here are a few of our favorite loyalty tools.
Smile is by far the most popular loyalty and rewards tool for eCommerce brands. It's super easy to set up and within minutes you can have a viable referral and rewards program. You can set it up on a page or display it on a widget on the site. It lets you reward your customers for sharing your product on social media, purchases, and even on their birthdays.
Swell was acquired by Yotpo and is now a part of Yotpo Loyalty & Referrals. It provides more integrations than Smile and is used by some of the world's largest brands. It's part of Yotpo's platform so if you're using them for another one of their products then Swell is the right choice for you.
Referral Candy is a referral app that helps you get referrals from your existing customers. It's one of the best-reviewed eCommerce tools on the Shopify app store
Data analytics tools
Data is the basis of everything in eCommerce marketing and every brand needs to aggregate and analyze its data to unlock business growth. Here are two data analytics tools that every eCommerce business should use.
Glew is a really useful analytics tool that helps aggregate all of your data into one place. Use it to see which channels drive the most revenue, which channels bring the most repeat customers, track your LTV across channels, and monitor all your daily performance KPIs. You can also use Glew to track your inventory and product data in one place to streamline your operations and fulfillment.
Google Analytics is the most popular software to use to analyze your site. It displays a wealth of information (traffic, audience demographics, conversion data) and can be used in conjunction with Google Optimize to set up A/B testing experiments to decrease your bounce rate and get more conversions.
Affiliate marketing tools
Affiliate marketing is a great way to build content and revenue-sharing partnerships with online publishers and bloggers. Here are two tools that eCommerce brands can use to create and manage their own affiliate program.
UpPromote is a great affiliate tool that lets you set up your own affiliate program. It has an affiliate dashboard that helps you keep track of affiliate links, coupons, and performance metrics of each transaction and affiliate. It has a free plan and the basic plan starts at $19.99/mo.
LeadDyno is a more advanced affiliate tool. It lets you create affiliate newsletters, automated emails, invitations, and helps you set up sharing widgets that are tied to your affiliates. It's a little more expensive, has no free plan and the starter plan starts at $29/mo.
Inventory and Fulfillment Tools
This list of eCommerce marketing tools wouldn't be complete without tools that help streamline inventory and fulfillment. Some of these tools you can't find in the Shopify app store but they have a huge impact on the overall operations of the business. Here's a list of essential tools for every business owner.
ShipStation is an order management system that lets you keep track of your inventory and orders. It integrates with all the major eCommerce platforms, shipping carriers, and eCommerce marketing tools and helps you track all of your orders and service customers from all your sales channels in one place.
AfterShip is the ShipStation alternative for diehard Shopify lovers. It's a Shopify app that lets you track and fulfill orders, look up orders, and create branded tracking pages (this is something ShipStation can not do). So the next time your customer asks for their tracking information, you could send them to a branded tracking page with your logo and brand information on it.
This is a great tool to help brands that have a large list of products. It helps bulk edit thousands of products via a CSV or Excel import. And you can literally edit any part of the listing - the price, tag, title, description, dimensions, and variants. It's a huge time saver if you need to quickly change something that applies to several products.
These are some of the best tools that every eCommerce brand needs to use. Have we missed anything? Want us to add a tool that we haven’t covered yet? Send us a message via our chat!