The A to Z of e-commerce digital transformation tools and platforms

The digital world is awash with technology promising to be the answer to your business needs, but selecting what is right for your specific project can leave you scratching your head and eating up valuable time.

To help you navigate this digital transformation minefield, the Quickfire Digital team has compiled some of our key recommendations of tools and platforms, ranging from the essential building blocks to the time-saving tactics.

You won’t need them all but our list should act as a starting point, providing some of our favourites and how they can drive your business forward.

A

APIs – Application programming interfaces define interactions between multiple softwares allowing systems to smoothly work together, share data and avoid the need for manual inputs. They are vital to ensure maximum efficiency within a digital transformation project. 

Amazon Marketplace – an e-commerce platform owned and operated by Amazon for third-party sellers to sell products alongside Amazon’s own offerings. While it can provide additional e-commerce revenue for businesses, it can be time-consuming to set up and challenging to appear in search results

Automated emails – a relatively untapped opportunity for businesses to send a message automatically in direct response to an individual user’s specific actions on your website or web app. They can drive an immediate increase in e-commerce sales without manual intervention

B
Bronto – an email and SMS platform assisting with personalisation and automation to drive. Works with most e-commerce platforms

C

CRM systems – Customer Relationship Management captures interactions with existing and potential customers. CRM systems use data analysis about your customers’ history with you to improve relationships, specifically focusing on retention. Some, such as Salesforce, can be complex to set up with a range of features but there are others on the market, such as Less Annoying CRM which are more suited to small businesses

Cart recovery – e-commerce websites can automatically send reminders to customers who add products to their cart and leave without completing an order (known as cart abandonment). An email is automatically sent and can drive an increase in conversions

Customer segmentation – marketers are well versed in the notion of grouping customers into segments, based on demographics, psychographics and behaviour, and targeted communications to different segments has been proven to increase conversions. This can be done via your website, through email and targeted advertising. Segmentation can drive up to a 760% increase in revenue

D

Digital transformation – simply put, this is the digitisation of businesses and includes everything from changing business models to operations to supply chains. Research shows that the UK has a challenge to improve its productivity and digital transformation has been highlighted as one key solution

E

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system – a type of software businesses use to manage day-to-day activities such as accounting, procurement, project management, risk management and compliance, and supply chain operations. It works in almost real-time and helps businesses run more efficiently

Etsy – an e-commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items and craft supplies

eBay – it’s been around since 1995 and offers businesses the chance to sell to its 167million users. An attractive additional revenue stream for many e-commerce businesses with a pretty simple set-up

F

Feefo – a customer review platform which can be easily integrated into your website, providing what is known as social proof – an important tactic in today’s world of e-commerce

Funnels – these come in many different forms – and include the more traditional marketing funnel of awareness through to conversion and advocacy – but for e-commerce the focus tends to be on the conversion funnel i.e. taking a website visitor from hitting your website through to purchase. Making that conversion journey as seamless as possible is vital and it is important to analyse each stage in order to eke out constant, marginal improvements to increase your website’s conversion rate. Amazon is a master at this

G

Gamification – the idea of ‘gaming’ your e-commerce website to increase engagement and loyalty. Add game-design elements and game principles to allow customers to continually advance their own status, compete with others and, potentially, earn rewards as a result

Google Analytics – you all know what Google Analytics is so here’s a tip instead of a definition: make sure you’ve set up the site search function. This enables you to analyse what customers are searching for when they hit your website and how it has helped them through to purchase. Some businesses are missing a simple trick here

H

Heatmapping – gain an understanding of what elements of a website and individual pages work and don’t work through platforms such as Hotjar and Crazy Egg which allow you to view where users have clicked, how far they have scrolled and what they do, thus generating ongoing improvement opportunities

I

Influencers – the modern-day brand ambassadors using their social media following to help brands and products get in front of relevant audiences. Smart e-commerce brands are building in the use of influencers into their growth plans

J

Jilt – an email platform built specifically with e-commerce in mind, Jilt integrates neatly with the likes of Shopify and Woocommerce

K

Klarna – the Swedish payment platform which allows e-commerce businesses to offer different payment terms for customers and helps with on-site messaging and insights. Integrates simply with Shopify and Woocommerce

L

Loyalty schemes – with increased online competition comes the need to double-down on retention – an area often overlooked by businesses. A great way to drive customer retention is by offering a loyalty scheme which rewards repeat customers and drives up their lifetime spend. There are a number of ways to run loyalty schemes from a simple £1 spent = 1 point model to tiered programs where rewards increase in value to offering subscriptions. Loyalty Lion can help with the software

Live streaming – the practice of streaming events live to your audience. Facebook, Instagram and YouTube all provide live streaming options with the chance for e-commerce businesses to build deep engagement with customers as a result through product launches, special events and workshops

M

Merchant CentreGoogle Merchant Centre helps you make your shop and product information available to shoppers across Google, complete with the latest price and availability. Retailers should take advantage of the fact that Google Shopping listings will be free in the UK before the end of this year

Mailchimp – the daddy of email platforms, Mailchimp also provides the option to create bespoke campaign landing pages and Facebook and Instagram adverts

N

Netsuite – a platform for multi-channel, multi-location businesses. It assists with e-commerce, point-of-sale, order management, marketing, inventory, financials and customer service

O

Online chat – a significant element of customer service for e-commerce businesses, online or live chat provides users with the chance to ask questions in real-time to help guide them to purchase. While chat platforms are often manned, many businesses are now adopting the use of chatbots to deal with common queries. Chatbots are programmed to provide answers without the need for human intervention

Obsess – a platform which digitises a physical retail outlet and creates a virtual shopping experience using augmented and virtual reality. Clever stuff for driving experiential e-commerce

P

Personalisation – a lot has been written about the importance of personalisation but initial excitement has been dampened somewhat as businesses have struggled with its implementation. The use of artificial intelligence to analyse what customers have done and predict what they want may well drive website personalisation forward and platforms, such as Pure360, are taking this approach

Q

Quickfire Digital – digital transformation for e-commerce specialists 😉

R

Reviews.io – a Google licensed review partner, reviews collected by the platform are fed into Google organic and paid search results to increase clickthrough rates and can be used on your site to increase conversion rates

Remarketing – a relatively simple, but effective, method of increasing e-commerce sales by targeting visitors to your site with adverts on third-party websites. Often, remarketing adverts will be based on products customers have viewed on e-commerce websites and can be run via Google Ads or social media ad management platforms

S

Shopify – a leading e-commerce platform but it also aids with point-of-sale material, online selling platforms and social media. Definitely one of our favourite platforms to drive your online sales strategy

Shoppertainment – an inelegant phrase which has sprung up recently as online retailers seek to deliver the in-store experience online interactively

T

Trustpilot – one of the leading customer review platforms, claiming 3 billion reviews are seen every month

U

User generated content – research shows that we are more likely to buy based on the recommendations of friends and a like-minded community, and this is where user generated content comes into play. Think reviews, think hashtags, even think product development to drive higher levels of customer involvement

V

Voice assistants – the use of gadgets such as Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri is increasing in big numbers and a report by OC&C Strategy Consultants predicts that voice shopping spending will grow to more than $40 billion in 2022, compared to $2 billion in spending today

Virtual reality – delivering experiences to customers, alongside the art of proving smooth pathways to conversion, is on the radar of the e-commerce industry. Customers seeking a richer shopping experience may well turn to mobile virtual reality to ‘visit’ showrooms, gain a deeper understanding of products and simply enjoy themselves in new online stores

W

Woocommerce – the open-source e-commerce platform for WordPress which allows for integration with the likes of PayPal, Mailchimp and ShipStation

Wish lists – customer-controlled lists of products which have caught the eye but aren’t quite ready to be bought just yet. Wish lists can be shared with friends and family to help with birthday and Christmas presents

X

Xero – a platform to help with stock control, order management and admin tasks. Xero offers you instant access to your financial situation and can be viewed via a mobile app

Y

Yotpo – offers a variety of e-commerce solutions including capturing customer reviews, creating loyalty and referral programs and delivering user generated content on your website. Yotpo integrates well with a number of platforms including Shopify and Salesforce

Z

Znode – a B2B specialist e-commerce platform designed to deal with more complex inventories, pricing structures and quotes. 

Events & Insights

To keep improving you need to continually sharpen the saw. We run events across the UK to share knowledge, encourage peer to peer learning and to help you, our customers to stay one step ahead of those around you.

Here is a sneak peak of some of the events we have coming up next.

Technology moves at an incredible pace, so take a look at what's on our Christmas list for future e-commerce festivities
Thinking of taking your e-commerce business on to Shopify Plus? Find out why - and when - it's a good idea to take the next step
Despite the past few months being one of the hardest, most stressful times for Quickfire Digital, we are delighted to share our amazing recent win at the European Agency Awards.
In what has undoubtedly been the hardest, most stressful few months for the team at Quickfire Digital, we are over the moon to share that we are now finalists in the following 3 categories for the 2020 UK Agency Awards!
Nathan Lomax and Heloise Finch-Boyer have broken down this series into 3 core pillars; E-commerce Principles, Latest Insight from Leading E-Com Partners and Founder Stories.
Previous
Next

Start your digital transformation today

Ecommerce

Ready to start selling online? We specialise in building
e-commerce stores that convert for our clients across the world.

Wordpress

Website needing a refresh? Find out more about our goals focused approach for building websites that convert.

Custom

The web is changing and fast. Maximise efficiency, scalability and profitability with a totally bespoke solution.