The best tools to get your e-commerce off the ground!

The best tools to get your e-commerce off the ground!

Sullivan Vitiello

Sullivan Vitiello

March 1, 2021

In 2019, e-commerce in France passed the historic milestone of 100 billion euros in turnover. Why not get started?

Asan e-merchant, it is easy to get lost, so many possibilities and choices to create or develop your online store. Which platform to choose for your e-commerce? Which payment solution? How to retrieve emails from potential customers?

In this article, we will see what the best tools are to create and boost your e-commerce.

1. The choice of the platform (the CMS): 

Thee-commerce platform, called "CMS" (Content Management System), is the most important thing; it is where you will present and sell your products to your customers. It is the showcase of your online store. You might as well choose the one that best suits your needs! 

The universal platform: 

According to us, Shopify is a platform adapted to all styles of e-commerce, from the creative to the most developed. 

Why choose Shopify?

1. Easy to set up: 

Creating a store on Shopify can take only a few minutes! The platform has made e-commerce accessible to everyone: pre-created templates, affordable prices, Saas solution (i.e., you don't need to know how to code to use the platform on a daily basis).

2. Adaptable:  

Contrary to other CMS, Shopify is both ideal for e-merchants who are just starting out, but also for those who make several thousand orders thanks to differentiated offers: Shopify classic and Shopify plus for high volumes of orders!

3. Manages itself: 

The plus of using Shopify: is that the platform updates itself automatically, much like an application on your smartphone. You don't need to touch the code to manage regular updates. 

The tailor-made solution: 

For e-merchants who want a flexible and fully customizable platform, we recommend Sylius. It is a more complex solution that requires one to know how to master open source (code in common language), unlike Shopify, which is SaaS. 

The advantage of this CMS is that it is flexible and allows you to adapt your e-commerce to your business: multi-shops, multi-currency ...

The disadvantage is that it involves a significant amount of development time, either in-house or outsourced. 

2. A payment solution: 

As soon as your products are online on your brand-new CMS, you will have to ask yourself: which payment solution should I adopt? 

For the French market: 

Payplug, in our opinion, is one of the two best payment solutions when launching an e-commerce. In addition to being reliable, it helps small e-merchants to develop by collaborating with partners who could support them. For example, if you choose Shopify and Payplug, you get 3 months free on both platforms. 

Why choose Payplug?

  • Secure payment: Payplug gives access to 3-D secure, which systematically calculates the risk of fraud of a buyer. 
  • CMS: it is perfectly compatible with many CMS (Shopify, PrestaShop, Magento, Woocommerce, etc.)
  • Physical stores: Payplug can also be used as a payment solution in your physical stores with the provision of card readers

The little extra: Payplug is integrated with Oney, which is a solution for multi-payment for expensive products. 

To develop abroad: 

Mollie is also a very good payment option that will appeal more to e-merchants with a large volume or who are looking to expand abroad. It allows your customers to choose the currency they prefer to pay in. But Mollie does not integrate multi-currency on Shopify. 

The little extra: Mollie is very well adapted to the German zone and the Benelux countries, which have a very particular payment system. 

3. The choice of its customer service:

One of the peculiarities of e-commerce is that you have no direct contact with your customers. It is, therefore, essential that you choose a tool that will be your point of contact with them. 

In our opinion, there are two solutions that stand out, the first one allows you to have access to free customer service, and the second one is a turn key solution for Shopify users. 

A solution to get started: is a perfect solution to get started. It's a service that allows you to follow your customers' activity in real-time, thanks to a summary dashboard, and to communicate with them in real-time via chat. This solution allows you to understand your customer service needs before spending part of your budget. 

The benefit of this solution: In addition to being completely free, it is quickly installable and integrable on your shop. 

To take it up a notch: 

Our favorite solution, in terms of customer service, is Gorgias. It is a platform that allows you to centralize all your customer information: from your customer tickets to your comments on your social networks and the updating of order status from your shop. You won't miss any more of your information! Forget the Facebook message that went un noticed or the email that went unanswered. 

Gorgias is a "made in Shopify" solution, meaning that it has been developed to integrate perfectly with the platform. 

The little extra: A personalized onboarding and daily support by a French team. 

4. Enrich your customer databases: 

Once your store is up and running, and it is possible to order on your site, you will seek to acquire new customers or bring back those who have already ordered from you. How can you do this? By collecting the email addresses of visitors to your site. 

What are the three tools that allow you to enrich your databases? 

First step: 

The first solution is Privy. It is an application that allows you to retrieve contacts via the appearance of pop-ups. 

What is a pop-up? 

It is a small window that opens on your website to offer something to a visitor in exchange for his email address. For example, Big Moustache offers €10 from €60 in exchange for an email address: 

Big Moustache pop-up's example

 The little extra of Privy: it's free! It's a good alternative to start with.  

To spend the second:  

Wisepops is an application that also allows you to create pop-ups, but this time you can modify all the parameters that compose them:

  • The content: text, images, CTA...
  • The appearance time: it can appear at the opening of the page or after 25 seconds, for example. 
  • The design: it can vary according to the pages, the customers ...
  • Appearance pages: pop-ups can be present on product pages, for example.

A tool that converts: 

One of the tools that we recommend to e-merchants who are on Shopify is the Wheelio application. It is a wheel of fortune that will be displayed as a pop-up on your site and that will offer your customers in exchange for their emails to win various prizes (discounts, free e-book, free shipping, etc.)

Wheelio says that the wheel of fortune converts about 9% of your site visitors.

Wheelio wheel

5. The emailing strategy:

You've convinced your potential customers to give you their email addresses, now what can you do? You will convince them to buy your products through an emailing strategy!

For our customers, an average of 30% of their sales come from an emailing strategy.You might as well not be mistaken about the choice of software. 

An almost universal solution: 

Klaviyo is the solution that best suits all sizes of e-commerce. The platform offers options to suit all budgets. 

With Klaviyo, it is possible to: 

  • Create newsletters for your community 
  • Create automated emails to bring one of your customers back to the site after a shopping cart abandonment
  • Set up very advanced scenarios according to the purchasing process of your potential customer 
  • Segmenting databases in a very precise way

We chose Klaviyo and not Mailchimp, mainly for the quality of the database segmentation. Klaviyo allows more flexibility in the choice of criteria for the automatic emails of e-merchants.  

The little extra: Klaviyo is perfectly adapted to Shopify.  

For more information: 

We realized that the emailing strategy: the segmentation of the bases, the creation of scenarios, and the sending of automated emails were not necessarily very easy. So, we selected Splio, which has the same features as Klaviyo, but with more support. 

Each customer is followed and advised by an account manager on a daily basis. E-merchants benefit from a turnkey emailing strategy. 

6. The importance of customer feedback:  

Customer reviews are very important for an e-merchant; they help to trigger the sale. According to Search Engine, 88% of Internet users trust online reviews more than those of their relatives. 

Therefore, it is essential to collect the opinions of internet users about your products! 

Take your first steps: 

We selected Judge me to take the first steps in collecting customer reviews. It is a very simple, affordable solution developed for Shopify that allows you to setup a rating system on your products very quickly. The small negative point is that it is not possible to customize the rating in terms of design, for example. 

To go further: 

Once you're familiar with customer reviews, you can move up the range with Yotpo

It allows you to collect and display customer reviews with a design customized to your site, such as colors, font, content, etc.

The little extra: Yotpo is certified by Google, which means that the reviews your customers have left will appear directly in the results after a search on the search engine.

For more guarantee: 

We decided to offer you a 3ᵉ solution for e-merchants who have specific products and who need a very strict rating system to avoid fraud. 

Trustpilot is a real guarantee of quality and trust. A large majority of Internet users are familiar with the famous star logo, which is an extremely powerful and indispensable reinsurance argument in competitive sectors. Trustpilot guarantees its reviews are 100% verified, i.e., only those who order on your site are allowed to write a review. 

The little extra: Trustpilot can improve your Google ranking by creating a "brand" page on their website. 

7. Manage its logistics: 

Once you have launched your e-commerce and start taking orders, it is important to take an interest in logistics: how will I send my products? 

We talk about logistics at the moment the payment is made by your customers. It, therefore, includes the preparation, shipping, and return stages. 

For less than 150 orders: 

If your e-commerce does not yet make 150 orders per month, you can internalize apart of the logistic process, such as the preparation of orders, for example, but you will need help for the rest. 

Boxtal is a solution that we recommend to small e-merchants. It comes in the form of a platform on which you can centralize all the carrier tracking of your parcels in transit, but you can also generate shipping and return labels. 

For more than 150 orders: 

The preparation and management of orders above 150 orders becomes time-consuming and can impact the development of the brand: delay in the creation of a new product line, little time for a marketing strategy, difficulty in finding partnerships, etc. 

Why not completely outsource its logistics? 

Bigblue is a turnkey logistics solution. You can outsource 100% of your logistics: product storage, order preparation, and dispatch return management. Thee-merchant benefits from expert order management while monitoring the entire logistics process in real-time on the Bigblue platform. 

6. Other apps: 

Manage cookies:

The RGPD (General Regulation on Data Protection) is essential on your website. It is a law that regulates the use of cookies on websites. Each e-merchant must inform and request the consent of its visitor on the use of its navigation data.  

Some applications used for the creation of pop-ups sell RGPD in their services, while they only display the message on websites without managing customer data. Studio Zerance has developed an app to meet this need: Cookibot

It allows you to manage 100% of customer data, display the famous cookie pop-up and record user preferences. In case of control, you can provide a recent audit of your site's cookies.  

7. Find an accountant: 

As a company, you will have to manage your compatibility yourself: expenses, VAT, salaries, and so on.

Why not use a digitized solution that would be in line with your e-commerce? 

For us, Studio Zerance, the solution for e-merchants is Pennylane!  This is an accounting firm offering a custom online interface that is directly linked to Shopify. It is possible to import all sales flows automatically from your shop and manage all accounting operations online.

8. In brief... 

In this article, we have made a non-exhaustive list of tools that we believe can help you on a daily basis to develop your e-commerce. There is no perfect solution that fits everyone. It's up to you to try and find the one that suits you best.

Main image created by pikisuperstar -

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