Best Ecommerce Platforms for Small Businesses

One of the big advantages of ecommerce is that it is affordable and can be used by any business, even if it is relatively limited in scale and has only ever operated in-store in the past. There are a wide range of affordable and easy-to-use (especially useful if there is no dedicated IT operator or department involved with the business) ecommerce platforms that can be used by small businesses to maximise their general sales. Listed below are some of the most popular ecommerce platforms for small businesses:

  • Magento
  • WooCommerce
  • BigCommerce
  • Shopify
  • OpenCart
  • Volusion
  • Lemonstand
  • osCommerce
  • Miva Merchant
  • X-Cart
  • Drupal Commerce

Best Ecommerce Platforms for Enterprise Businesses

Enterprise businesses tend to need a larger-scale, more comprehensive ecommerce platform that allows for greater levels of functionality and a wide range of features (both manual and automated) that will enable ecommerce businesses to completely control every facet of their systems. An enterprise ecommerce system will be able to handle thousands of products as opposed to only a few hundred, but will probably cost a lot more than an ecommerce platform for a small business.

Listed below are some of the most widely used and popular ecommerce platforms for enterprise businesses:

  • Oracle ATG Commerce
  • IBM Websphere Commerce
  • Hybris
  • Demandware
  • Magento Enterprise

Best Ecommerce Payment Technologies

No ecommerce site would work if the customer was unable to pay for their goods at the end of the process, so a suitable system must be implemented to allow them to do so. Not only does a strong connection have to be established at both ends, but that connection also has to be extremely secure so that the personal and financial details of customers are not obtained by spyware or hackers. Although PayPal is the most commonly used payment system for ecommerce websites, there are multiple, simple-to-use options available.

  • Stripe
  • Braintree
  • Square
  • PayPal
  • WorldPay
  • SagePay
  • PayMill
  • Cardstream
  • DataCash

Best Ecommerce Recommendations Engines

Customers who shop online recognise when they are being offered a personalised and unique shopping experience – this increases an ecommerce site’s value to them and makes them more likely to return in the future. Various recommendation engines can be utilised by websites to offer unique content, offers and products to customers by analysing their purchasing behaviour to increase engagements and conversions. From recent search terms that have been used to individual behaviours, no stone is left unturned.

  • Strands Retail
  • Salesforce/ExactTarget Predictive Intelligence
  • Barilliance
  • IBM Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM) Product Recommendation Solution
  • RichRelevance Recommend
  • PersuasionAPI
  • UNBXD Recommendations

Best Tag Management Tools

Tags are snippets of code that are designed to enable third-party tracking, analysis and reporting within a website – there might be multiple tags on each page of an ecommerce website, but a tag management system allows them to be collated inside a “master” tag. This allows technical resources to focus on the site and product editing, reduces loading times on the site because only the necessary tags need to be fired and ensures that campaigns can be started more quickly. A tag management system with full technical support is a highly-recommended addition to any ecommerce site.

  • Ensighten
  • TagMan
  • Tealium
  • Satellite
  • OpenTag
  • Tag Commander
  • Super Tag
  • Site Tagger
  • Bright Tag
  • Google Tag Manager

Best Ecommerce Web Analytics Software

Using the right web analytics platform is an essential part of the running an ecommerce operation.Being able to track the movement and behaviour of your customers, referrals,  direct traffic through various funnels is key to ensuring that the most is being made of your websiteand your general digital marketing activities.

Best Live Chat Software for Ecommerce

Customers visiting an ecommerce website may have questions about a certain product or part of a company’s service that they can’t find an answer for, and they may not have the time or inclination to phone or email a customer service department and wait for a reply. In cases like these, a form of live chat software can be extremely useful. Because they save the customer time, they are therefore more likely to make a purchase, and subsequently to come back because of the good experience they have just had. Following are some the best live chat tools:

  • Zopim
  • Oracle RightNow
  • LivePerson
  • Velaro

Best SSL Providers for Ecommerce

Finding a solid SSL provider is a must for an ecommerce website if it wants to be able to process payments securely. SSL (Secure Socket Layer) protects the financial and personal data that is transmitted through the website to prevent it being intercepted by third parties. Although there are a number of different SSL providers out there and their certificates of safety all tend to be of the same sort of grade, their prices differ by quite a bit and certificates can take up to three weeks to be confirmed and implemented.

  • Verisign
  • GeoTrust
  • Comodo
  • Digicert
  • Thawte

Best Ecommerce Behavioural Targeting Tools

The next step up from the generic segmentation of online customers is behavioural targeting, which involves analysing and organising customers based on their behaviour on a particular website. By examining the number of times a customer has visited the site, what they have bought, if they are a member of any loyalty or email lists and so on, certain actions can be taken to increase the chances of them making a purchase. For instance, a tailored offer pop-up might appear, or specific content on the page could be highlighted to draw the visitor’s attention to it.

  • Critio

Best Exit Intent Tools

When every ecommerce website needs to maximise its conversion rates in order to maximise profit, it needs to take every chance to convert a visitor into a paying customer. Exit intent tools give a website one last chance to secure a customer by sensing when they are trying to leave the site without having bought anything or signed to an emailing list – when this happens, a pop-up engages with a message designed to obtain a conversion, however the website owner sees fit to design it. It might be a last-ditch attempt but it has been proven to be effective.

  • Picreel
  • Bounce Exchange
  • Justuno
  • OptinMonster
  • Exit Monitor

Best Marketing Automation Tools for Ecommerce

As a time-saver, the adoption of automation tools on an ecommerce website is invaluable – for example, being able to set an email to automatically send to a subscriber if they haven’t logged in or bought anything for a month or so is fantastic because it means the website operator doesn’t have to write the email or remember to send it. It also increases customer engagement and conversions in the long-term and acts as a data compiler with measureable and actionable insights gathered from its use.

  • Marketo
  • Eloqua
  • Pardot

Best Loyalty Platforms & Tools for Ecommerce

One of the most effective ways for businesses to gain repeat customers is by offering a loyalty scheme, but a solely online business has a more difficult task of implementing one of these schemes than a physical business which can give customers loyalty cards. Some loyalty platforms have taken the idea a step further by offering incentives to customers who introduce new people to the business, review products, share their purchases on social media and so on. Loyalty schemes are evolving, and may soon become as important to ecommerce websites as the products they sell.

  • Sweettooth Rewards
  • Badgeville
  • ReferralCandy