If your website is only as good as the tools that make it, you might as well work with the best. Sure, it’s easy to do a quick Google search and find a random list of tools, but what if you want the best tools—not just any tools? What if your customers demand more than that?
The problem is that it’s not always easy to find the tools that can do everything your store needs them to do. You might find one tool that looks great but isn’t compliant with your ecommerce platform. Or maybe it fits with your existing strategies, but the pricing would blow up your budget.
The good news is that when you select tools for your ecommerce presence, there’s only one step that’s required: Awareness. You only have to learn what’s out there. If it’s right for you, the next steps are as simple as signing up.
But what are the tools that can optimize your ecommerce presence? Let’s look through some intriguing services that can change the way your store interacts with the world.
In 1999, the World Wide Web Consortium published the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. The goal: Establish the framework to make the internet broadly accessible. Especially for people with disabilities.
Today, a paltry 2% of websites meet the requirements. That’s according to an AccessiBe 2020 Report that scanned tens of millions of pages.
Given that about one in four Americans experience some form of disability, it’s clear these numbers are way off-kilter. Any website that doesn’t meet the WCAG guidelines is potentially losing 25% of its audience.
AccessiBe helps create web access for people with various disabilities. For example, epilepsy patients can prevent videos from playing automatically and turn off flashing graphics. People with color blindness or impaired vision can adjust contrast and saturation for better visibility, and more generally, Screen Reader and keyboard navigation compatibility.
In short, AccessiBe creates a full solution so you can achieve WCAG/ADA compliance with your website. They meet that goal in a few ways:
- Ongoing audit and remediation—performed every 24 hours. This is especially important for online stores with constant updates and new content
- Updating compliance requirements on the platform so you automatically comply with the latest laws and regulations
AccessiBe uses AI-enabled technology to run tests on websites, identify holes in ADA- accessibility, and recommend changes. They even offer a test tool that anyone can use to check their current compliance!
Don’t assume that your website is fully accessible. Verify it first.
Consider everything that goes into making web forms accessible. For example, do your current forms:
- Use plain language?
- Clearly label form fields?
- Include descriptive text alternatives for images?
- Avoid flashy, difficult-to-read fonts?
If you said no to any of these, a person with a disability may have trouble buying from you. And some statistics suggest that traditional tools only discover about 30% of WCAG issues.
The Importance of Universal Web Accessibility
“It affects everybody, even though we forget about it.” –Brian Teeman
AccessiBe identifies areas of weakness so you don’t have to. With context-reading, image recognition, and other tools, it finds areas to improve accessibility. This helps ecommerce sites, especially those with specific niches and customers who need universal web access.
But there’s another important element at play here: Avoiding lawsuits.
With about 98% of all websites having WCAG and ADA issues, it exposes far too many ecommerce sites to potential legal troubles. The solution is simple. With AccessiBe, a simple JV script lets the software take over. From there, AccessiBe scans for ADA/WCAG issues, diagnosing problems with machine learning.
This replaces the need to hire an expert to do a similar review. Without paying them an hourly fee, you can make AccessiBe work with an annual pricing plan.
Think of Shoelace as a way to implement customer journey marketing through automation. You’ll integrate Shoelace with your ecommerce store, Shoelace will build a custom model for your customer journey, and you’ll do the final approval.
What does that mean exactly?
Shoelace attracts and trains top media buying talent. Their goal: Creating compelling ads and delivering them at the precise moments customers are most likely to buy from you.
Plotting a New Customer Journey
For the merchant, that means a complicated idea like “customer journey” isn’t a headache. It’s one less thing to worry about.
Here are some of the key features of Shoelace:
- Shoelace works with 400+ merchants, using thousands of data points across multiple industries
- They have a user-friendly app that can integrate with existing Shopify apps
- They offer custom and transparent reporting on pricing, with Shoelace never taking a percentage of ad spend
- They have user-friendly features and clear reporting available on a dashboard in the app
Since Shoelace handles the creation and scaling of their paid media, ecommerce stores are free to focus on other areas of their business.
It’s not a “set it and forget it” tool, but more like a collaboration with an Account Strategist. It’s a way for ecommerce stores to embrace ad buying for every aspect of the customer journey without onboarding an entirely new team.
Consumers are getting tired of annoying and repetitive retargeting. The most impactful brands use Customer Journey Retargeting to build genuine emotional connections with their customers. If that sounds complicated, Shoelace’s team can serve as experts in collaboration with your team.
Reeview is an automated platform that finds, collects, and provides user-generated reviews for ecommerce stores.
It offers the following features:
- One-click install on Shopify
- Once installed, Reeview automatically sorts through product review videos on YouTube
- Reeview places video widgets at the point of shopping decisions, increasing shopper engagement
- Includes automated video sharing via Facebook to improve social traffic
- Once installed, you’ll have access to real-time reports and A/B testing
There’s no doubt it’s handy. You can essentially outsource an entire video review campaign to Reeview’s automatic features.
Reeview takes advantage of that critical crossroad in any customer’s journey: The point of purchase. By delivering visual and social proof of the concept, it increases the potential for conversion.
Consider that “73% more visitors who watch product videos will make a purchase,” according to Hubspot. By automating the collection and distribution of those videos—from genuine users—Reeview enhances your product’s credibility.
Video is so effective at the point of purchase that many people take their phones into physical stores for this reason. In-store shoppers admit to using video at a rate of 55%. It’s so important for the buyer’s decision, that more than half of shoppers admit that video helps them decide which brand to buy.
How much more effective will it be when the video is provided for them online? If the customer is already on your website and watching a video, the likelihood that they’re ready to make a purchasing decision is that much higher.
This is an especially useful tool for any store that has trouble with visualizations of its product at the point of sale. Yes, it does require that you have an index of YouTube reviews available, but it can give your company an immediate boost and a unique visual element at the most important stage of the customer’s journey.
Boosted by Lightricks
We established that videos are important–but what happens when you need to create your own?
Boosted by Lightricks is a tool that simplifies the process down to its bare essence. By using video templates for branded videos, you can hit the right tone for your shop—even with minimal video editing experience. The web app is extremely intuitive to use for creating short promotional clips quickly, as are the versions for iOS and Android.
Boosted is also ideal for sharing. Features like automatic resizing help you hit the requirements of different digital platforms. You can also access a video library of stock footage, which makes it easy to craft videos with a shoestring budget.
Why Produce Your Own Videos?
Reeview.app is great if you don’t have any of your own videos to share at the point of purchase. But there’s also value in producing your own. Video marketing isn’t only effective, but it’s a great fit for today’s ecommerce buyer. It’s so effective that “66% of consumers prefer watching a video to reading about a product.”
And consumers aren’t tired of it. Hubspot says that 54% of consumers wanted to see more video content.
Don’t wait until conditions are “perfect” to start posting videos online—you won’t ever have the perfect camera, lighting, and concepts. But what you can have is a well-branded video catered to your audience, at minimal investment. And you can use Boosted to learn the ropes of video marketing as you go.
OptinMonster is a signup form builder. It’s simple to use, including templates and drag-and-drop building to minimize development work.
Any ecommerce store that’s gone beyond the testing phase knows how important it is to build quality forms. Those forms are especially important if you use them to capture emails and build a customer list.
The Science of Gathering Emails
Why focus on your forms? Simply put, you need emails if you want conversions.
High-quality web forms are the fastest way to get you there. Newsletters create some of the highest engagement rates in any type of digital marketing, including generating 40x new customers than social media. And according to Campaign Monitor, you’re six times as likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from a tweet.
One of the reasons OptinMonster works so well is that it lets you pre-program the tool to your specifications. For example, you can decide to “trigger” a web form only when a certain behavior occurs, such as:
- After a user has scrolled a certain percentage of the page
- Time-sensitive campaigns
- 2-step opt-ins for people checking out images within your content
Think of Dialogue as an AI version of the person in the store who asks, “How can I help you?”
Dialogue uses an AI-powered algorithm to match customers with the ideal message they need to see. It starts by analyzing user behavior. From there, it uses the data to inform content suggestions it can make to them—along multiple stages of the customer journey.
Creating a Conversation with Customers
Once you implement Dialogue, that’s pretty much it. You sit back and let the tool do its work. The result is a “stickier” website that automatically matches customers with what they need to see.
Does it work? According to some statistics, specific recommendations can have a major impact on the way shoppers interact with ecommerce. For example, 37% of shoppers that simply clicked a recommendation during their first visit would return. That’s compared to 19% who didn’t click a recommendation at all. Giving someone a recommendation that suits their needs makes the interaction feel more real, and more memorable. If the recommendation is on point, a customer feels like you “get it.”
It’s especially good for retail. Dialogue’s Product Recommendation feature is intuitive for “browsers,” the same way it might work in a brick-and-mortar store. Stores that need to increase sales via cross-selling will also benefit from AI learning. If you can’t quite figure out what your customers want, consider letting Dialogue give it a whirl.
#paid is a content creation platform that pairs creators with companies to collaborate on campaigns.
Creators there include a wide range of content experts, from writers and freelancers to social media influencers. It features its own centralized communication platform, complete with goals and metrics, so you can target a specific creator’s audience with ease.
Why is this important? In the future, Google is going to crack down on customer tracking for advertising purposes. This is going to make it harder for companies to advertise to highly specific niches. But if you work with a creator with a well-defined audience, your advertisements can be as relevant as you want.
The Importance of Content/Creator Marketing
If 2022 is going to change digital advertising permanently, it only makes sense to invest in the future now. Nearly 40% of marketers already rate content marketing like this as a “very important” part of their strategy. Sponsored influencers already comprise an almost $8 billion market.
Those trends aren’t going anywhere. If you’re going to avoid the Cookie Apocalypse, you’re going to need new avenues to reach highly specific audiences. And #paid is a platform that’s already rolled out the welcome mat.
Referral Candy helps you set up a referral program for your store. Their mission: Getting your customers to refer your store to their friends in about ten minutes. The “candy,” in this case, includes the incentives you use to make your store worthy of a social share.
Referral Candy does it by connecting your store through a platform like Shopify or BigCommerce. From there, you can set up in-shop rewards for referrals, and motivate word-of-mouth marketing with rewards like cash or discounts.
“Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions. Its influence is greatest when consumers are buying a product for the first time or when products are relatively expensive, factors that tend to make people conduct more research, seek more opinions, and deliberate longer than they otherwise would.” –Ole Jørgen Vetvik, McKinsey
Word-of-mouth marketing is the oldest form of social proof marketing in existence—and it hasn’t gone anywhere yet. It’s just as relevant these days, when “59% of shoppers trust offline recommendations.” Another 49% said that online word-of-mouth is highly credible, too.
It’s great marketing—if you can get it. The problem is that word-of-mouth marketing is easier said than done. Pun intended.
What if you’re selling a product that lends itself to viral success? Some stores need a way to systemize their referral program and incentivize word-of-mouth promotion in the first place.
There are some nice options here, including:
- Choosing the rewards you hand out to customers for their referrals, including cash, discounts, and custom gifts
- You can connect marketing apps (such as Mailchimp) to integrate with your existing promotions and campaigns
- You can incorporate widgets like nuggets and embedded signups to take advantage of organic traffic already present at your shop
- Post-purchase popups help minimize distraction before the point-of-purchase, not taking away any of your conversions
Retooling Your Digital Presence for Ecommerce Marketing Success
Here’s a handy list of all the ecommerce marketing tools you just read about:
- AccessiBe: Ensuring ADA and WCAG compliance for full accessibility
- Shoelace: Collaborate on digital ad buying for maximum impact on the customer
- Reeview.app: Automatically grab and post video reviews at the point of sale
- Boosted by Lightricks: Video templates and resources for kickstarting your video
- OptinMonster: Customize your forms and capture emails
- Dialogue: Match your customers to the ideal product recommendation
- #paid: Work with content creators and build targeted digital campaigns
- Referral Candy: Incentivize word-of-mouth marketing
Which one is right for you? Which ones? Only you can know that.
But if any one of these tools grabbed your attention, there’s a good chance it’s a match for you. What’s next? Many of these tools are simple to implement and try with minimal risk.
You may not feel like your store is ready for major tools that talk about customer journeys and content creator campaigns. But you can always get moving with an online business more quickly than you think—especially if you have the right tools on your side.