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Four plug-ins and add-ons to consider when choosing an e-commerce platform

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

The Smarter Team is made up of business and technology journalists who write to offer insights to small and medium businesses about technology, business know-how and emerging trends.

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

The Smarter Team is made up of business and technology journalists who write to offer insights to small and medium businesses about technology, business know-how and emerging trends.

Setting up an online shop isn’t as big a deal as it once was. You don’t need to spend a heap of money getting a web coder to custom-make your website or know how to code yourself.

Although “nimble and agile” long ago became a business cliché, when it comes to an e-commerce platform, “nimble and agile” is exactly what you need. 

WooCommerce, BigCommerce and Telstra Business Digital Marketing Services provide e-commerce platforms you could look at for your store. Weebly and Wix are also making big moves in the e-commerce space. Customer experience should play a big part in deciding what e-commerce platform you choose, and often it’s a platform’s optional add-ons and plug-ins that make a customer’s experience groovy and not gruesome! Used well, the right tech can also help to sell and ship products more effectively and efficiently.

So what should you look for in a platform’s add-ons and plug-ins? Add-ons can show products, pricing and deals based on a visitor’s location or purchase history. They can offer automatic freebies to help convert a visit into a sale (“buy this item and get this one free!”) or automatically reward returning customers with a loyalty bonus. They can even level up your marketing game with attention-grabbing custom videos.

jigsaw puzzle pieces of ecommercre components The right e-commerce platform can be crucial for your business.

Simpler shipping

A shipping matrix add-on is useful for even very small businesses. It lets customers easily choose their preferred delivery option and can automatically generate a carrier label. As well as helping you save time, this eliminates the potential for making gaffes on address labels. If you’re a larger enterprise, you may want an add-on that automatically sends orders from your online shop through to the warehouse for fulfilment, and then tracks the shipping and updates your stock levels. You won’t spend time filling in forms for the warehouse, and customers can get their goods faster, with easy tracking.

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Integrate with other shopping channels

Some platforms can fully integrate with eBay stores and Facebook shopfronts, as well as power your own e-commerce website. This cuts out a bucket load of work. Without an add-on, you would have to slog through and re-create an inventory for each shopfront, instead of sharing your existing inventory across all the channels.

Integrate with existing software

Add-ons that sync orders with your inventory, or sync invoices with payments, can cut out data double-handling. Remember, routine tasks can be time drains as your business grows – let your website sweat the dull stuff so you don’t have to. Just imagine how long it would take to manually update your stock list if you sold 200 model trains or cars, all of different styles, in two days leading up to Christmas? (And that’s not counting inputting the sales into your accounts.)

Deliver analytics stats

Plugging in Google Analytics lets you measure traffic to your site and see if visitors have come to you directly or through a marketing email, social post or another referring site. The Crazy Egg add-on lets you analyse where people are clicking on your web pages so you can see what they’re interacting with and what they’re ignoring. Telstra Business Digital Marketing Services provide real-time traffic and visitor reports, too. The right plug-ins and add-ons make it simpler for anyone to customise and manage an e-commerce store.

Reduce time and stress by connecting tools for customer relationship management, marketing, order fulfilment, accounts and more. When you’re looking at e-commerce platforms, check what plug-ins and add-ons are around. A good library of these optional features can mean happier customers and a happier you.

*Originally published on March 3rd 2017. Updated December 4th 2019.

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