Successful e-commerce marketing tech stacks can pull from this comprehensive list of marketing tool categories.
In 2020, sales from global retail e-commerce sites earned more than $4 trillion (US). Consumers are making more purchases online than ever before, but they’re also doing more product research and more digital window browsing as they use social sites like Instagram to discover new items. Effective e-commerce marketing must influence all of those touchpoints and more.
There are many different elements to e-commerce marketing and a wide variety of possible combinations of tools that will enable you to execute impactful, efficient campaigns. For the purpose of this guide, we’ve selected tools with a low barrier to entry so you can evaluate their suitability for your tech stack with low or no risk, as well as options for more advanced marketing needs. Whether you need a complete suite of e-commerce marketing tools or simply want to find the missing piece that will take your workflow to the next level, you’ll find good options here.
Ready to see the kind of results these tools can offer? Be sure to read The Complete Guide to E-commerce Marketing.
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Essential e-commerce marketing tools
The kind of tools your business will need to maximize its e-commerce marketing efforts will vary depending on specific goals, resources, experience, and more. Adding at least one solution from each of the following categories will create a solid foundation for building a marketing tech stack that can scale as your business grows.
Paid social advertising
Social media has become an increasingly important conduit of e-commerce. According to a 2021 study from Catalyst and Kantar, 61% of consumers are “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to buy from a social commerce site, and 62% turn to Instagram to discover new products.
Facebook Ads are perhaps the simplest form of paid social advertising to get up and running quickly. The self-serve portal provides step-by-step instructions for creating and scheduling ads and even has advice on what designs are most effective. The Facebook Ads portal includes placements on Instagram, clearly displaying the different specs for each variant (of which there are many).
Advertising on Pinterest is very similar to the Instagram experience, as both are highly image-centric social platforms. Creating, managing, and analyzing ad campaigns on Pinterest is reasonably straightforward, but there’s plenty of helpful documentation and support if necessary. The ad types are in line with Instagram, offering video, static, and carousel formats.
Twitter is probably the most helpful social media platform when it comes to onboarding advertisers. Their ad center provides data-backed best practices, downloadable guides and webinars, small business resources, and more. The self-guided ad creation works, but Twitter’s ad formats may not be varied enough for all campaigns.
The easiest way to manage paid social advertising is to let a trusted partner like Moloco handle it for you. We’ve built our services on the core values of performance, flexibility, and transparency. That means we work with you to maximize your ROI on any goal, offer fully managed service or full control via our easy-to-use self-serve platform, and give you the data you need to make your own informed decisions. Moloco Cloud’s bidding infrastructure scales with your needs, removes the burden of having to adjust campaigns manually on a per-platform basis, and our network reaches more than 10 billion devices each month.
Social media creation and scheduling for e-commerce
A social media marketing team has an entire suite of tools encompassing all aspects of social media marketing in an ideal situation. Still, at a minimum, they should have something for creating content and something for scheduling.
When it comes to scheduling, the most efficient way to maintain a social media presence is to work in batches rather than piecemeal. There are a variety of tools that can help.
Canva is a great entry point for creating eye-catching images, infographics, videos, and more. It has drag and drop tools so even non-designers can create polished social media-ready files. An array of templates are there for those times when you’re having trouble grasping inspiration. Canva also offers a large selection of free images, but should those not fit the bill, users can pull from paid libraries as well. Canva offers its plans via priced tiers, with more robust plans offering support for more users and social scheduling directly from Canva.
Photoshop is an industry-standard imaging tool that can create everything from sleek graphic design to hand-drawn works of art. The full Adobe Creative suite also includes Lightroom, which specializes in high-end photo editing, as well as Express and Camera, which are geared more toward mobile-friendly images. There’s no question that Photoshop is an excellent tool, but it’s not for beginners. If your team doesn’t have an artist or designer, you may not need something this robust. Pricing for Photoshop varies depending on which apps from its suite you want to use and whether you subscribe to anything else in Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
Buffer is an excellent starting place for anyone new to social scheduling. Its free level allows for 3 social channels and 10 scheduled posts, which is a solid foundation for a social marketing strategy. Once the ball is rolling, you’ll likely want to upgrade to one of Buffer’s paid plans, including vital features like calendar view and an Instagram hashtag manager. Buffer’s Pro plan offers a lot of value for e-commerce marketing professionals, including full reporting.
Hootsuite provides the standard array of social management features such as scheduling, keyword analysis, and reporting. Its social inbox, which lets you respond to messages on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and LinkedIn accounts without having to enter each platform separately, is a great time-saver. Its plans include allocated spend for boosting posts, a nice feature many other tools lack.
Sprout Social has much in common with Hootsuite and Buffer, such as scheduling posts and a Smart Inbox. Sprout Social shines in its higher-priced tiers, offering features like custom workflows, help desk integration, and Message Spike Alerts, which can tip you off to viral activity. Larger businesses in particular will find the Professional and Advanced packages have much to offer.
Email marketing for e-commerce
Even though it’s been around since the early 1970s, email is still one of the most cost-effective marketing channels available. Email marketing generates $38 for every $1 spent and is invaluable for creating a strong connection with consumers once they leave your site.
Mailchimp makes it easy to drag and drop your way to impressive emails and ads. The content studio stores images and files for smoother asset management. It works with more than 250 integrations, including WordPress, Mixpanel, WooCommerce, Stripe, and many other commonly-used apps. Mailchimp’s premium plans allow for valuable features like A/B testing and behavioral targeting.
Using Hubspot to manage email marketing is a little like buying a house just to have a place to park your car: you’re paying for far more than you need. That said, Hubspot’s email workflows and campaign reporting are top-notch. You can create emails from scratch, duplicate and customize, or build from one of many templates with drag and drop controls. Customizable email performance reports are easy to parse at a glance, and when you’re ready to expand your marketing efforts, assimilating into the Hubspot ecosystem is frictionless.
Copy composition and collaboration for e-commerce
Copywriting is one of the most important skills for any marketer to learn, especially given how often it is required when developing emails, ads, landing pages, social media posts, and more. These tools help streamline the marketing copy development process.
Microsoft Word was once the best composition app, but it’s hard to beat Google Docs these days. It runs perfectly on desktop, laptop, or mobile, and because it’s web-based, documents can be created on one device and continued on another. Several people can be in a document at once, allowing for faster collaboration. Google Docs also has clear version history, so it’s always evident who made which changes when — vital for effective version control.
Google Docs has a grammar and spell check tool, but Grammarly will also check the general readability of your copy. It will flag when you might benefit from using a more definitive word or when a sentence is too convoluted. Grammarly’s easy-to-use interface offers suggestions for improving any issues it finds, displays how the new version will look, and lets you make the change with a single click. Grammarly offers basic and comprehensive plans for its users.
SMS marketing tools for e-commerce
A staggering 89% of consumers say they want to text with brands, making SMS a marketing opportunity that can’t be ignored. The best SMS tool to use depends on your desired scope: you could target SMS alone, use a multichannel strategy that sends push notifications to SMS and messaging apps like WhatsApp or pursue an omnichannel approach that adds email into the mix.
IMpower is a multichannel messaging aggregator that provides access to SMS alongside social media and chat channels. Marketers can use pre-made workflows based on their industry or create their own with multiple responses, attribute-based routing, or other efficiencies. IMpower supports integrations with many commonly used e-commerce apps, including Zendesk, Shopify, Salesforce, and Zoho. IMpower doesn’t list pricing on its site, so you’ll have to contact them for more information.
Omnisend, as its prefix implies, is an omnichannel solution with prebuilt workflows, robust analytics, and an “Academy” to help educate new users. Omnisend has a lot going for it, but businesses using customer loyalty as a tactic should pay particular attention, as it integrates with services like Happy Birthday and Loyalty Lion.
Analytics for e-commerce
Crunching the numbers to determine the effectiveness of a campaign can be the most satisfying part of a marketer’s job, and these tools are the way to do it.
It’s hard to top Google Analytics as an introduction to data dissection. Its Enhanced e-commerce option includes data from crucial aspects of the buyer’s journey, including conversion rates, average order value, and returns. Perhaps even more valuable than the tool itself is Analytics Academy, which can either get a rookie up to speed or serve as a helpful refresher for veterans.
Crazy Egg does one thing: demonstrate how visitors are using your site. Its snapshots are heatmaps (the titular “crazy egg”) illustrating the specific components on your site that achieve the most interaction. To gain an over-the-shoulder view of consumers navigating your site, use Website Recordings. Crazy Egg doesn’t provide a pricing breakdown on its website, so you’ll have to contact them for specifics.
Woopra prides itself on “democratizing data” so that anyone in an organization can review the information they need to make intelligent marketing decisions. As a result, Woopra’s analytics are presented in eye-pleasing colorful graphs and charts that provide clear answers to questions like “How does live chat affect conversions?”
SEO tools for e-commerce
Search engine optimization is something every marketer knows is essential, but few claim to truly understand. That’s partly because the best practices for SEO are constantly evolving as search engines adjust their algorithms. These tools can help keep your strategy on track.
Google Search Console
SEO performance is subject to the current state of search engine algorithms, so it makes sense to add Google Search Console to your arsenal. Google isn’t the only search engine that will drive traffic to your site, but it’s the most powerful. One of Google Search Console’s most valuable features is helping you “understand how Google sees your pages” and providing suggestions of how to tailor it for better ranking. The Google Search Console hub includes video tutorials to help new users acclimate quickly.
Ahrefs knows that SEO is confusing and wants to be the kinder, gentler version of an optimization tool. Its site has numerous guides and weekly videos to help anyone gain a better understanding of how to conduct effective SEO. With it, you can audit your site, analyze competitors, and of course, research keywords.
SEMRush distinguishes itself by being a one-stop-shop for online marketing, going so far as to say their CEO will “eat his hat” if you can find another tool that does everything theirs can. In addition to auditing your site and allowing for keyword research, SEMRush also provides content recommendations and lets you draft and schedule social media posts.
Moz is a must-have e-commerce marketing tool thanks to its SEO analysis capabilities. Straightforward menus allow for deep analysis of keyword performance and opportunities. Moz’s crawl tool regularly scans sites for any issues that might impact SEO, such as broken links. Billing itself as “the world’s most accurate SEO data,” Moz offers videos and guides to give users a better understanding of SEO nuances as well as Moz functionality.
Customer service tools for e-commerce
Frictionless customer service is a crucial part of any e-commerce business. One-third of consumers will abandon a brand after a single bad buying experience, and that number doubles after several bad experiences.
Zendesk provides customer support via chat, email, phone, and social media, while tracking customer data and response times. Chatbots can handle more straightforward support issues and then hand off customers’ more difficult requests to trained agents.
Gorgias is designed specifically for e-commerce customer support and allows agents to edit orders, modify subscriptions, and refund payments without leaving the helpdesk. Gorgias can also answer customers’ questions on your ads and posts, which can lead to more sales and fewer abandoned carts.
Price comparison tools for e-commerce
Whether their eventual purchase is online or in a brick-and-mortar store, shoppers do their research before buying. Price comparison sites and apps raise your visibility at a critical moment in the buyer’s journey, indirectly serving as e-commerce marketing.
Products submitted to Google Shopping earn the extra advantage of appearing in Google Ads and Google search results. Consumers also appreciate Google Shopping features like Average Product Price, which helps them make informed buying decisions. It’s important to note that Google will stop showing your ads once your daily allotted budget has been reached.
Shopping.com provides similar services for eBay, which sees nearly 107 million unique visitors every month. eBay trails behind just Amazon and Walmart as the most popular retail website in the US, making it a trusted source of pricing information.
Assembling the right e-commerce marketing tools for your business will probably require a bit of trial and error as you learn what best suits your workflow and resources. Moloco’s data-driven approach takes the guesswork out of advertising on mobile. Our AI-backed user acquisition and re-engagement solutions provide the support your e-commerce app needs for long-term growth. To learn more about how Moloco can help your business connect with shoppers, contact us today.