5 helpful tools every successful online retailer should use

Online retail gets more competitive by the year. So how do you stand out with customers and improve your operational efficiency? Here are 5 essential tools for boosting your sales and getting an edge on your competition.

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shopping cart using an online queue

Succeeding in the online retail space today is more difficult than ever. As more consumers turn to the internet for their shopping needs, the retail sector is becoming increasingly competitive. Experts say four out of every ten purchases occur online. Over the years, this change has forced businesses to find creative ways to stand out from competitors.

One of the most worthwhile investments you can make is choosing to invest in modernizing your daily sales tools. These tools can assist in scaling your ecommerce business and taking sales to the next level.

Are you wondering which tools are worth your while? We've compiled a list of five essential tools for retail success.

1. Streamline social strategy with a social media manager

By having a streamlined social strategy, your department can better track and analyze individual posts and even entire campaigns.

Using an automated social media management system that allows users to schedule posts for numerous accounts ahead of time can save your social media team hours of productivity. This streamlined software gathers information from all the platforms that your company currently uses so you can manage them all in one location. Rather than using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social platforms individually, an automated system lets your team spend less time posting and more time building relationships with your customers.

Many of these systems provide detailed analytics that break down engagement rates across each channel. Additionally, using social media management software can help reduce the stress that often accompanies the role of 24-hour social media management.

2. Increase customer communication with an email manager

Email marketing is critical for ecommerce businesses. Research shows that for every $1 dollar of investment in email marketing you can expect an average return of $32.

With an email manager, you’ll be able to schedule specific mailing dates that can align with sales and events, whether that's monthly, weekly, or daily. Keeping your emails on a consistent schedule helps to increase your marketing team’s efficiency.

After your emails have been sent, these programs offer solutions to help track key data points such as open rates, clicks, or overall engagement levels. All the information needed to measure how well each email performs is easily accessible in one location. 70% of brands say that they have difficulty measuring the ROI impact of their email marketing campaigns. Using advanced software to gain these data-driven insights will help you avoid being left to guess what changes need to be made in future campaigns.

3. Automate your customer experience with AI-based chatbots

Customer service departments can experience days where they are flooded with calls and requests. When they do call, it often takes effort to direct them to the appropriate department. Put together this results in decreased efficiency for your department and increased time-to-resolution for your customers. We’re beginning to see automated chatbots make inroads against these problems.

Automated chatbots act as virtual customer service representatives. Their smart capabilities, backed by AI and machine learning, allow them to answer questions about product recommendations or purchase assistance and attend to any other general support needs. Communicating with a chatbot is often more convenient and less time-consuming for a busy customer. Waiting hours to talk to a representative can be frustrating and may give them a negative view of your company.

On the business side, chatbots are proving their worth by reducing site-wide slowdowns while increasing production and sales rates. Call centers have become a costly operation for many businesses with a study from collect.chat finding $1.3 trillion in annual spending on nearly 265 billion requests. The study showed chatbots can save a company an average of 30% in this area when implemented. Reducing costs while increasing customer satisfaction rates is a win-win for any company.

4. Boost your efficiency with Enterprise Resource Planning software

Tasks such as asset and cash management, customer data, and payment processing are pain points for many organizations. Finding a streamlined solution to automate these processes can be an invaluable tool.

With enterprise resource planning (ERP) the management of everyday operations exists in a more cohesive manner, where all functions work together. With recent advancements in technology being made, we’ve been introduced to solutions such as cloud ERP software. This software can significantly boost the efficiency of your company's financial management process through automated software that removes those pain points retailers experience daily.

Data is often used in business operations for a variety of reasons, particularly for analyzing and evaluating past projects. For retailers with large datasets to collect and organize, the task of doing so can quickly become too difficult for one person to handle. With an optimized internal process that automates data collection, such as that of an ERP system, you'll be able to assess future business decisions better, faster, and more accurately.

5. Use an online traffic manager to avoid site-wide surges

When you succeed at driving customers to your website, you're at elevated risk of becoming a victim of your success. If your website can't keep up with traffic surges, your site can slow and crash. According to a recent survey, 96% of global IT decision-makers reported a site outage in the past year, saying 51% of those outages were avoidable.

Virtual waiting rooms can help you run a successful online retail business, no matter the level of demand. During high-traffic situations, visitors are offloaded to an online queue and then passed back to your website or app in a controlled first-come, first-served order. Having an online traffic management tool in place lets you focus resources where they’re needed without worrying about website failure.

As an ecommerce business retailer, you likely have your plate full already. Why not get a competitive advantage by utilizing modern tools that can help you succeed? Conduct thorough research before investing in any third-party tools to ensure you're choosing the one best optimized for your business needs.

How will you choose the right virtual waiting room for you?