If for some reason you haven’t been paying attention, retail e-commerce sales in the United States have been steady for the last couple of years. In fact, during the second quarter of 2014, sales from e-commerce came out to $75 billion.
Something intersting to note about our hosting clients. Through research we have conducted on our customers, we’ve seen a 4.9% increase in sales that have Joomla CMS installed on their sites over WordPress. Basically, Joomla sites are converting a tad bit better online over WordPress.
If that isn’t enough to convince you into selling products online – or your ecommerce site needs a little jolt – I’ve compiled a list of 15 tools that will help you increase your online retail sales. Best of all? Each and every selection is 100% free.
Magento is one of the most powerful ecommerce platforms available. While you would have to pay for the Enterprise Edition, the open-source Community Edition is completely free. Once you download the software, you’ll be able to make modification to the core code and add features and functionality by installing extensions.
Other beneficial features include an administration panel, email notifications, sales reports and the ability to manage payment gateways, shipping and invoices.
OpenCart is another open source shopping cart solution that works with over eight shipping methods and twenty payment gateways. It’s also packed with features like automatic resizing, product reviews, product ratings, sales reports, tax rates and even a discount and coupon system.
Best of, OpenCart is search-engine friendly and you will receive lifetime support and software updates.
Spree Commerce has become a favorite open source ecommerce platform because it’s easy to customize your storefront. Unlike other ecommerce platforms, Spree Commerce uses a modern that you not only own, but can be understood by nearly anyone.
Google analytics, page checkout, tax logic and support with more than fifty payment gateways are also included.
If you’re already using WordPress, then you should definitely consider this free ecommerce toolkit from Woo Themes. WooCommerce essentially converts your site into an online store by setting up shipping options, managing inventory, tax settings and reports that detail your store’s overall performance.
You can also run coupon marketing coupons and accept payments through gateways like PayPal.
For over 14 years, osCommerce has helped online retailers create their own self-hosted online store. Today, the osCommerce community has over 280,000 store owners, developers, and service providers who can help you get your shop up and running.
Features include access to 7,000 plugins, seo-friendly URLs, multiple payment gateways, multiple languages and custome taxes.
If you’re a small business selling products online, then you absolutely need to look into Wave. Wave is the perfect business software for small businesses that provides accounting, invoicing, payroll and payments for free. No strings attached.
One of the best ways to sell your products online is by informing people on social media. The only problem is that it can be a time-consuming task to frequently update all of your social media channels. Thankfully there are a number of social media management tools that can schedule all of your accounts in one dashboard.
Hootsuite is a social media management tool that allows you to schedule tweets or Facebook posts, engage customers through comments and keep tabs on the effectiveness of your social media marketing campaigns.
Another powerful tool for your social media campaign is Bitly. This tool shortens links and is able to keep track of engagement in real time. You can also keep notes on the activity surrounding Bitly, such as seeing who shares your links. This a great way to boost sales since you’ll know how to optimize content to convert leads into sales.
Want to know what real customers think of your online shop? Then submit it to PEEK and you’ll receive valuable feedback and suggestions on improvement after a real person has navigated through your site. Once you make these improvements, it should enhance the experience of your customers and keep them happy.
Keep your customers updated by sending out mass emails through a service like MailChimp – which is free if you send out 12,000 emails per month. Furthermore, you can see when emails were opened, if they converted into sales and gain insight into your customers through subscriber profiles.
MailChimp also integrates with WordPress, Google Analytics, Facebook, Twitter and Magento.
This is an awesome screenshot tool from Evernote that allows you to draw attention to images by adding text, arrows or shapes. You can also create quick sketches for your team to work on. This a great tool if you’re designing an online storefront or perfecting product images for your catalog.
Whether you need graphics for your landing page, social media accounts or an email newsletter, you can use this free tool to produce your own design. Not only are the search and drop features easy-to-use, you can also collaborate with anyone in the world
Why spend money on photo-editing software when you can use PicMonkey for absolutely nothing? Since PicMonkey is a photo editor that works through your desktop, you don’t even have to worry about downloading any software.
Whether you need to correct facial features, create a college, fix errors or add text to an image, PicMonkey is an outstanding tool for anyone involved with ecommerce.
If you’re promoting your products, services or online store in general, then you’re probably creating quality content on your website or blog. But, how can you make sure that your content is resonating with influencers and your audience?
BuzzSumo discovers the most popular content and topics currently being discussed, as well as discovering when your content is being discussed the most. This free tool is arguably the most important for your SEO campaigns.
15. Google Analytics
It’s pretty difficult to run a business online without using Google Analytics. This popular Google tool can be used to better understand your customers by identifying their wants and needs, where they spend time online and which tactics worked in converting them.