When starting an eCommerce business or online store, the eCommerce software and tools you choose will have a major impact on your ability to grow.
Unfortunately, both the hospitality software and eCommerce software markets are more congested than ever. So, picking the right ones can be daunting.
We've put together an eCommerce business guide to help you better understand the software available, the tools you can use to sell online, and how to choose what's best for your business.
What is eCommerce without eCommerce software? It is the foundation upon which all eCommerce business is done. These platforms and programs simplify and automate various aspects of an eCommerce business. They let you easily handle inventory management, eCommerce accounting, and increase eCommerce sales.
There are two types of eCommerce software you need to know:
- On-Site. This software is installed and managed by developers employed by your business. When issues arise, they are the ones that fix the problem. This model is the traditional one, but is becoming less popular with eCommerce businesses. You are more likely to see these in large direct to consumer brands or a B2B business.
- Software as a Service (SaaS). These are the "hands-off" software solutions. They are hosted in the cloud by a third-party provider and all updates and features are applied automatically. They also allow new businesses to open in 1/3rd of the time. Usually, if you use a headless eCommerce platform, online marketplace, or even hospitality procurement software, you will use SaaS solutions. You may want to use multiple channels such as mobile apps.
Best eCommerce Software
The best eCommerce software for a website is the software that handles the hard stuff for you. It should make less work for you and let you focus on making money.
Here's what you should look for in eCommerce software:
- Software integration. Since you'll be using many types of software in your business, you'll want to make sure they can all communicate with each other. Luckily for food suppliers, BlueCart eCommerce can easily be integrated with most fulfillment services, eCommerce payment gateways, and more. This lets businesses focus on making DTC and wholesale sales and growing their profits.
- Benefits to customer experience. The right eCommerce software serves to make your customers' transactions seamless. An eCommerce customer’s website experience is just as important as customer satisfaction in restaurant industry. It goes a long way to growing your brand and attracting new customers. If your software hampers their experience in any way, it can lose you money and a lasting relationship.
- Product management. Managing your eCommerce fulfillment operations takes a lot of work. You can have hundreds of SKUs that all need to be picked and put into eCommerce packaging. Make sure to get an inventory management software that makes inventory control easier for your staff.
- Marketing capabilities. Software that lets you market your products are vital in increasing your sales. This may be stand-alone software or integrated into your choice of web platform. Whether you need DTC marketing or B2B marketing, you'll want to easily communicate with your customers. BlueCart eCommerce lets you send emails from the platform. It even has a built-in promotional function, so you can set up a deal and send out an email blast all in one place. This marketing strategy is also useful for digital marketing practices.
- Reporting functionality. As a business owner, you need to know what is happening in your business. Pick open source software with robust reporting options that can give you the info you need. You'll want to know real time sales data during the customer journeys, manage inventory allocation, and optimize your eCommerce packaging. Otherwise, you're just guessing as to what will work and what won't. Most B2B eCommerce platforms, B2B online marketplace, and eCommerce marketplaces have these reports built-in.
eCommerce Website Software
Since an eCommerce website relies so heavily on their digital storefront, the software used on their website is vital. This includes the online marketplace or platform you use, marketing tools, widgets and live chat tools, and more. The best software for eCommerce website all have the following in common: they’re easy-to-use, they can be updated easily, and they integrate with other software.
Ease-of-use is one of the most important aspects of any software, as the entire purpose of using software is to speed up processes and limit human error. If the eCommerce software you choose can’t do that, it’s a liability to your business. That’s also why it’s important that the software can be updated easily and regularly. In the ever-changing technological world, software that’s old can quickly become burdensome and actively hurt your ability to make sales. Finally, integrations allow all of your tools to share information and give you the most accurate data to act on. Without this ability, you’re back to asking your team to manually handle things.
There are many eCommerce tools on the market that may meet your individual business's needs. However, there are also a few that we think all businesses would benefit from using.
Here are the five best eCommerce tools:
- BlueCart eCommerce. For food suppliers, our cutting-edge, all-in-one eCommerce platform is a must. We take care of your store design and structure, menus, B2B payments processing, and more. It's even optimized for on page SEO for eCommerce. This means you have more time to spend on what you do best, selling. It's also a great way to learn how to find vendors and buy wholesale products or even selling wholesale yourself.
- Google Analytics. Tracking and acting on eCommerce analytics are key to achieving lasting success in the industry. Google Analytics is the best tool for this and can let you track many different metrics. You can see how a customer got to your site, how many pages they viewed, what they clicked on, and more. You won't find a more useful tool for understanding your customers than Google Analytics.
- SEMrush. If you want to have a successful eCommerce business, you need to pay attention to eCommerce SEO. SEMrush lets you do just that. You can research SEO terms you want to rank for, track your progress, and even compare yourself with competitors. This research can be used to increase visits to your site and you might even get new eCommerce business ideas.
- Mail Chimp. For sending dedicated email marketing, Mail Chimp is a great choice. It's aimed at small business owners and very user-friendly. So, you don't need to be a designer to send great emails. It's also very affordable with pricing plans that can match your business. Email is much more important than most eCommerce trends. It consistently has the best conversion rate in eCommerce and shows no signs of slowing down.
- Google Adwords. If you're looking to participate in any kind of paid advertising, Adwords is where to start. It's a valuable tool to grow off page SEO for eCommerce and will allow you to show up in search results above your competitors. You can target audiences by their location, demographic, business needs, and more. Even better, you only pay when they click through to your site. No being charged for ineffective campaigns here.
When looking into the best tools for eCommerce website, be sure to keep in mind that utilizing them properly is key. This means using white-hat SEO practices and keeping track of the software updates.
eCommerce Tracking Software
One final type of eCommerce software that you’ll want to invest in is eCommerce tracking software. Unlike inventory tracking software, these tools are designed to set metrics and track your ability to hit goals, rather than actually tracking physical things. You’ll want to be able to track the impact of every effort you make to increase sales. Things like the rate that your eCommerce email marketing materials are opened and how many people abandon their carts on your site. This information is vital in helping you hone your offerings and messaging to better serve your customers and grow your business. Try to take stock of the areas you’re spending the most money and seek out tools that can help you maximize your ROI. This will help you grow and eliminate any areas where your money is being wasted.
It's Never Too Late to Learn
Picking the right eCommerce software in tools can help you grow your business quickly and sustainably. Stick with the ones that most match your business needs and won't break the bank. You'll also want to make sure they can grow with your business. You don't want to be shopping for new software every few years.
For even more information on eCommerce businesses and eCommerce software, we recommend checking out some of our favorite and eCommerce books and eCommerce blog. Knowledge is the most valuable resource at your disposal.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is eCommerce website software?
eCommerce website software allows business owners to create their websites so they can sell products and services as well as manage inventory, process payments, and fulfill orders. When using a website builder, you may be able to incorporate some eCommerce software to your eCommerce store.
What is eCommerce Tracking Software?
eCommerce tracking software helps business owners track and understand various metrics and goals regarding their online businesses. When business owners set up an online store, they can track the process of customers on their websites as well as different goals that they create involving their websites.
What should your eCommerce website software have?
eCommerce website software should have:
- Software integration, such as that for social media
- Benefits to customer experience
- Product management
- Marketing capabilities
- Reporting functionality
- Shopping cart abandonment tracking
- Customer support
This kind of eCommerce software may improve site efficiency and customer service. You may have the chance to utilize a free trial offering to test out the software before you commit to it.