Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2016 and has been completely revamped and updated in January 2023 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
It is Independent Retailer Month and we will continue our postings on retailer tips and tools, to help you get the most out of your business. In this article, we asked successful professionals to share the top online retail tools that they use daily and can’t live without. Many are well-known tools, but there are some more obscure suggestions that might be exactly what you needed.
Prevent Lost Sales and Cart Abandonment
“We use Receiptful to manage our receipts, customer feedback, cart abandonment, and remarketing. This tool allows us to send custom discount codes to customers and follow-up emails in designated timeframes. Receiptful has helped us generate almost $10K (USD) in revenue from follow-up emails (idle customers, 90 days after purchase, and unused coupon reminders)! Because of Receiptful, our store has a 5% cart abandonment recovery rate which has generated almost $6000 in sales.”Isaac Cohen, JNCO
“By deploying address verification we discovered that not only had the solution streamlined our checkout process by making it much faster but conversion rate metrics indicated a staggering 40% increase. Admittedly we had made a series of enhancements to our checkout process but I personally feel that the introduction of PCA Predict’s address verification tool was the main reason for the increases in conversions reflecting significant improvements in profit margin. Address verification reduced cart abandonments as well as completely tightened up the postal delivery process mitigating shipment failure.
The cost of redelivering the returned orders resulted in huge postal charges as well as valuable admin time spent in rectifying the errors. In addition, there are more unquantifiable negative impacts that delays in customer deliveries cause such as reputational damage. After all, customers that have a bad experience are unlikely to recommend Candy Club to friends and family. We really got a speedy ROI as in the first month of the deployment of PCA Predict’s addressing solution it’s actually paid for itself by saving us literally thousands of dollars. On top of that, we’ve significantly improved customer user experience.”Andy Moeck, Candy Club
Easily Check out Competitors’ Prices and Offers
“We highly recommend Intelligence Node as a tool for retailers. Its multilingual feature provides us with a centralized view of competitors in a single language accurately, enabling us to make day-to-day pricing decisions and better plan overall strategy. Gaining real-time, accurate pricing and merchandising intelligence no matter the geography is a major benefit of Intelligence Node’s platform, especially as country boundaries disappear with the rise of global e-retail.” Amit Keswani, MAP
Combine Analytics For Advertising
“There are 3 online tools every retailer should be using to make their business more efficient. An online analytics package – Google Analytics is great. Make sure you’re using the custom dashboards and automated reports – so the right information is available everytime you login, and gets sent to your inbox regularly too. Supermetrics can take this to a whole extra level! But automatically pulling data in from both analytics and your marketing activity (eg Adwords) to create all the weekly and monthly results you need. Time saved on creating reports is time you can spend improving your marketing. An online team management tool like Trello or Asana (my favourite). It’s a great way to manage the team, make sure everything happens, and really speeds up progress because everyone has more time to spend doing and less time to spend chasing the rest of the team.” Chloe Thomas, eCommerce MasterPlan
Retarget Your Advertising Through Facebook
“This is more of a strategy than a tool, but we’ve seen a lot of success with our retail clients who use this technique. Many retail stores have an email list of customers. You can take that list and upload it to Facebook, and Facebook will match up those emails with actual Facebook profiles. This is incredibly helpful for re-targeting existing customers with new products or promotions, but you can also create lookalike audiences. Facebook will take that customer list of profiles and then create a whole new list consisting of Facebook users who have incredibly similar interests, demographics, and behaviors, so you can target a much broader audience who, theoretically, is similar to your customers.”Andrew Choco, Directive Consulting
Schedule Your Employee’s Shifts Hassle-free
Last but not least, we have two solutions to schedule your shifts, effortlessly. “Wheniwork is the scheduling program I prefer because it is the most user-friendly of online options,” says Pamela Barsky, owner of the homonymous chain let stores. “It allows me to create schedules and communicate them to my employees without multiple emails back and forth”.
Another more obscure yet interesting solution is RotaCloud, which is an online employee scheduling platform to plan your shifts and track working hours. “Using iOS and Android apps, employees can see their upcoming shifts wherever they are, so long as they have an internet connection” explains James Lintern, Co-Founder of RotaCloud. “If they need to request time off, this only takes a few clicks and changes are instantly visible. Whenever new shifts are scheduled, any affected employees are automatically notified by email, SMS or push so now there are no excuses for forgetting a shift or turning up at the wrong time! You can instantly generate a comprehensive report looking at any of the data in your account, making it easy to spot trends and optimize your schedule. People are your most expensive resource, so if you’re not scheduling effectively, you’re throwing money on the fire!”
All in All
To sum this up, online tools are your great ally in the retail business. They can help automate processes and save time and money, both precious when working in a globalized market.
Feel free to share your favorite online tools in the comment section below. And if you liked this post, don’t forget to share it on social media!