E-commerce thrives on the most efficient and effective tech available. Even if your business is already using the latest tools, there are probably things your company is still missing out on. With this technology in place, it’s possible to make your operation even more efficient and appealing to users.
Here are six technologies and online resources your e-commerce business can use to boost its strategy.
1. Omnichannel E-commerce Platforms
Many customers today spend time looking at multiple channels before making a purchase decision. They may visit a brick-and-mortar store before going online to make a final purchase — or shop online, then go to a shop to see the item before they buy. The evidence also shows that omnichannel shoppers spend more than those who use a single channel to buy.
With an e-commerce platform that includes omnichannel management features, you can coordinate your sales efforts across different channels and build a more robust strategy for direct sales. If you’ve ever struggled to balance pricing, product descriptions and inventory across sales channels, you’ll want to use an ecommerce platform built for omnichannel sales.
BigCommerce is one of the most popular examples of an omnichannel e-commerce platform. It includes drag-and-drop website creation features and handles the technical aspects of building a website so you can focus on running your business. What sets omnichannel platforms like BigCommerce apart is that they come with special features that make it easy to manage multiple sales wethods from the same dashboard.
2. A/B Testing and UX Tools
A frictionless user experience (UX) is essential for any e-commerce business. In fact, 86% of customers are willing to spend more for a good experience — and 89% went with a competitor after dealing with a website that’s clunky, difficult-to-navigate or broken.
There are a massive number of UX and A/B web testing tools out there. They allow you to quickly A/B test your e-commerce page and receive feedback. Click heatmaps and user responses let you know which elements of your page are working and which aren’t. They can help you build the smoothest possible sales experience and have some hard data to back up your design decisions.
There are several UX and A/B testing tools out there. Optimizely is one of the most popular, and is considered by some to be the industry go-to for A/B testing. Other tools will work better, depending on what kind of tech your company is already using. Google Optimize, for example, natively integrates with Google Analytics and Nelio AB Testing is built for WordPress users.
3. Enterprise Resource Planning Systems
Enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs) are tools used to help your business manage and organize its use of resources. When used alongside other e-commerce tools, they can be extremely useful in managing omnichannel resource usage, ensuring consistency in pricing and product information across channels.
ERPs can also help ensure all your employees have access to key information about your business’s resources — like current stock of a given item or marketing spend across all campaigns. As a result, your employees will be able to more effectively implement marketing strategies that generate buzz or assist customers who have an item on back-order.
4. Mobile Apps
The average American spends a massive chunk of their day using their smartphone. About 90% of this time is spent using apps, rather than browsing the web directly. It’s not enough that your e-commerce website is optimized for mobile. You also need to target users who are using apps.
You should develop an app specifically for your brand or ensure your company has a presence on storefronts that have apps of their own. Many e-commerce platforms have tools and APIs that will help you build your app and coordinate your storefront across your mobile and existing sales channels.
5. Mobile Payment
You will also want to integrate your e-commerce platform or app with some kind of mobile payment solution. Entering payment information or credit card details can already slow down the checkout process significantly on desktop. On a mobile device, it can be even harder to accurately key in information.
Mobile payment apps, like Apple Pay or Android Pay, streamline this process by letting users store payment info that can be used at checkout. Most e-commerce platforms support mobile payment apps, allowing you to make mobile sales as painless as possible.
6. AI Chatbots
Customers who need support want help as quickly as possible — but often don’t like the idea of talking to a robot. Bad experiences with tech like robotic answering systems and inflexible chat platforms have turned many people off to automated assistance.
However, it seems likely that customers just don’t like bad automated help, rather than computer assistance altogether. A massive number of consumers use tools like Alexa and Siri to answer their questions, fetch important information and assist in the control of electronics.
A significant number of these consumers are also open to the idea of receiving help and making purchases through AI chatbots — especially if it means their questions will be answered as soon as possible. These bots use AI-based natural-language-processing tools to intelligently understand and respond to customer issues when live agents aren’t available.
Some chatbots can also collect data about how a customer is feeling using advanced AI-powered sentiment analysis. This data can help the AI understand what the customer needs, how they’re feeling and how likely they are to convert. The chatbot can then provide this information to the agent they hand their customer off to. This helps your business prioritize the people whose needs are most urgent and gives customer service agents the best possible information.
Boosting Your E-commerce Business With the Right Tech
Having the right tech in place can seriously help out your e-commerce business. New developments like omnichannel e-commerce management, AI chatbots and mobile payment options help smooth out the purchase process for customers and management alike.
Some of this new technology may require a change in platform. However, it can be extremely effective if your business has struggled to coordinate its efforts across multiple sales channels or make its storefront user-friendly.
Lexie is a digital nomad and business owner. If she’s not traveling around the country, you can find her baking some chocolate chip cookies or hiking with her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.