This post is by Shabbir Nooruddin, an ecommerce entrepreneur and blogger who has been working on online businesses and income streams for over four years.
Running an online store is a lot of work. To get online shoppers to convert and buy your products, you have to get more and more creative as every day goes by. You have to be one step ahead of the competition all the time.
Getting ahead of the competition is made a lot easier by some of the awesome apps and extensions available for your store. Shopify and BigCommerce have incredibly robust and diverse app stores – each filled with little nuggets of gold.
There are a LOT of apps available, but some stand out a lot more than others. Here are some of the coolest apps around for both platforms.
Available for: Shopify, BigCommerce, Prestashop, Volusion, Magento, Tictail
Yotpo is a social reviews app that encourages your customers to write reviews for your products after purchasing them. They also have a really neat badge that they display on every page of your site highlighting how many reviews you have.
Yotpo also maintains a profile for each reviewer, so potential customers can see how trustworthy each review is.
You can completely customize the appearance of the reviews on your website, and customize the look and feel of the email your customers receive, too.
Reviews are very important to ecommerce – they are the best form of social proof. Amazon’s biggest asset is probably the billions of product reviews they have! In fact, if you’ve ever shopped on Amazon, think about this: do you really read the product description, or do you just skip down to the review section?
Available for: Shopify
Notify is one of my favorite apps ever, and it adds a really exciting touch to your store. It works by showing your orders to other visitors in real time as they come in! So one visitor may be browsing, and if someone else places an order, they’ll get a small unobtrusive popup in the bottom corner of the screen saying “Someone from [city] just purchased so and so product.”
You can also set it to cycle through your previous orders, and it’ll show them as if they are happening in real time.
It’s a great way to show social proof for your store, and the fact that they’ve added the location of the customer adds a more genuine touch to the experience.
InStockAlerts/Out Of Stock
Available for: BigCommerce and Shopify
InStockAlerts and Out Of Stock are apps that let your customers receive “back in stock” notifications for products on your store that are out of stock.
When something is out of stock, the add to cart button usually disappears, so if someone comes looking for an item, they usually leave without doing anything. If you had a way to get their email address, though, you could save the sale and build your email list at the same time.
These apps let you customize everything from the email you send to your customers to how the form looks on your store.
Disclosure: I am the developer for InStockAlerts for BigCommerce
Available for: BigCommerce, Shopify, Magento, Volusion plus many more
Referral Candy harnesses the most coveted marketing marketing tool sought after by all ecommerce merchants – word of mouth referrals.
Whenever you make a sale, Referral Candy reminds your customer to share their purchase with their friends – through email or their social networks. They let you offer a two way reward – a coupon code for every person your customer refers, and a free gift for your customer for referring.
Word of mouth marketing is how many successful stores (such as Diamond Candles) have become huge successes, and it’s something that all ecommerce merchants should try to implement and encourage on their stores.
Available for: Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento
Picreel is an “exit-intent” app which gauges when your customers are about to leave your store and shows them a pop-up with an offer just before they click the back or exit button.
Once Picreel gets your customer’s email address in exchange for an offer, it’ll also send a reminder email – between the offer and the email, Picreel says some stores have seen their conversion rates double.
Edging up your conversion rate is a huge win for you as an ecommerce merchant, and if you can catch just a few more customers from falling through the cracks every day, you can see some serious improvements to your revenues.
Available for: Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, Woocommerce and others
PriceWaiter is a neat but slightly controversial app. It adds a “Name Your Price” button below your Add To Cart button where customers can negotiate pricing with you. You can set it so that offers x% below your product price are automatically accepted, so you don’t have to manually attend to each offer.
Any lower offers would be sent to you for consideration, and you could then decline or present a counter-offer. In effect, this makes your site like eBay’s “Best Offer” function, which is pretty neat.
This is also an underhanded way to skirt MAP policies, since your advertised price is still what your manufacturer is asking for, but you’ll be edging into a grey area here.
These are six of the most innovative extensions and applications available for your online store – there are thousands to choose from. Depending on the nature of your product and your customers, you can choose the best fit for your store.