"Practically Perfect": A look at the top apps and solutions to move your business one step closer to perfection this year.

Monday, February 5, 2018Lauren Macdonald

Guest Blog by eBridge Connections' Partner Manager, Marc Darmon.


“Practically Perfect” … as another busy holiday shopping season comes to a close for those selling online and in-store, I’m reminded of my old college professor and his expression, “practically perfect.”

Because perfection is never something we truly achieve as we can always strive to better ourselves and achieve more.

So, was this season a record breaking one? Or, was there something missing? Either way, it’s always worthwhile to see what can take your business to that next level.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of our top picks for apps and services that can help you get that much closer to online shopping perfection to get new customers and keep the ones you already have.



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Bold develops some of the most popular eCommerce apps available for Shopify, designed to help store owners increase their sales. One of their most popular apps is Recurring Orders, the premium Subscription box app and the only app to allow subscriptions on individual products, a mixed cart (one-time and subscription products) or the entire cart.

Why It Can Help:

Besides being extremely convenient for your customers, subscriptions have a ton of benefits for your business. Higher conversions, creating loyal brand advocates, and recurring revenue are all appealing benefits for your company, but that’s just the beginning. With Bold Recurring Orders exclusively you can:
 

Plus, Bold Subscriptions features some impressive integrations and a ton of additional features. To learn more click here!

 

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If you sell on Shopify, chances are you’ve heard of Nextopia. If not, prepare to have your world changed.
Nextopia is an innovative E-commerce Acceleration software that converts more online shoppers into buyers by creating a superior shopping experience. Their proprietary machine learning algorithms, along with robust navigation and merchandising tools, allow e-commerce retailers to automatically organize their products based on shopper behavior so that shoppers can find what they are looking for in no time.
 
Nextopia’s products seamlessly integrate with any e-commerce platform and are proven to increase online conversions.

Why it can help:

Advanced Site Search
Empower shoppers to effectively narrow their search results or sort by an unlimited amount of relevant fields such as size, color or brand. Their proprietary machine learning algorithms automatically rank your best-performing products based on customer behavior. Present non-product content such as blog, shipping information, videos and user-guide information as part of your search results.
 
Merchandising Tools
Control product ranking within search results on an automated and scheduled basis. With merchandising you can:

  • Display promotional banners

  • Create custom landing pages on the fly

  • Promote select products at top of page

  • Display location-based messaging

 
Learn more about all Nextopia’s functionalities here.

 
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Few experiences have the power to damage a retailer's reputation (and someone's holiday gift idea) like a failed delivery. As online order volumes surge during the holiday season, so does the risk of failed deliveries and cart abandonment. By facilitating a checkout experience that seamlessly collects accurate customer information at the point-of-entry, you can significantly decrease these risks while also improving your user’s experience. Addressy simplifies the checkout process, making address entry easier for time-strapped customers. After almost two decades in the business, we know a thing or two about delivering outstanding data services. Their type-ahead method of address verification works just like a search engine, and ensures every address is complete and accurate at the point of entry. 

 

Why It Can Help: 

  • Removes friction from online forms saving customers time, and increasing conversion rates. 

  • Standardizes address formats at point of entry and validates them against official sources including USPS, Canada Post, and Royal Mail so only clean, formatted data enters your system. 

  • Fuzzy-Matching capabilities effectively capture an address even if a user makes a typo, uses an abbreviation or nickname, or enters their address backwards, or in a different language. 

  • Facilitates internationalization with the capabilities to check addresses for 240+ countries in diverse languages and formats. 

  • Flexible integration with existing platforms and CRM systems for uniform, accurate address information across all of your internal databases. 

  • Our technology is designed to look great on mobile so you can collect accurate customer data, while providing users with an unrivalled user experience across every device. 

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As the world’s number one rewards program provider, Smile.io is the perfect platform for building experiences that make customers smile.  Smile.io can help you build a professional points, referral, or VIP program that rewards your customers for completing valuable actions like purchasing, referring friends, sharing on social, and more.

Why it can help:

With the rising costs of digital and paid ads, it now costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.  These costs skyrocket over the holiday season, as paid advertising channels are flooded by brands desperate to attract as many customers as possible.  As a result, you need to make sure you’re getting a good return on investment on that spend.  

The best way to do that is to make sure that your customers return for more than just a single purchase, and a rewards program is the key to inspiring that type of behavior.  Since most new customers visit your store during the holiday season, entice them to come back with a rewards program that puts value up front.  With rewards within their reach, your new customers will be motivated to turn what could have been a single purchase into lifelong engagements.

Referrals are particularly impactful over the holidays, as consumers are bombarded by mountains of paid ads in a short period of time.  Since ads don’t work for every customer, a referral program gives you the chance to cut through the noise to reach more customers by mobilizing their friends and family to do that marketing for you.  With valuable rewards motivating each successive referral, your new customers will also be pushed to make referrals, giving your brand exponential growth it couldn’t achieve otherwise.



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If you've ever experienced the headache of copy and pasting after you received an order (on Amazon, Shopify, WooCommerce, etc.), finding the appropriate shipping carrier (FedEx, UPS, USPS, etc.), and logging it back in your systems as shipped...ShipStation has probably been recommended to you. 
If it hasn't, you'll be upset it hasn't been because it's going to save you a lot of time and manual data entry. 
 
ShipStation is a web-based shipping software that helps anyone in eCommerce import, organize, process, and ship orders efficiently from any web browser or mobile device.  With over 200 shopping carts, marketplaces, carriers, and fulfillment services, including Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce, USPS, Canada Post FedEx, DHL, Purolator, and so many others, you can streamline shipping wherever you sell and however you ship. 

 
Why it can help:

With their broad portfolio of shopping carts, carriers, and solution providers, we make it easy for you to bring all your orders to one place. No matter which marketplace you sell on (Amazon, eBay, Shopify, WooCommerce, etc.), ShipStation helps feed your order information into one centralized location, cutting out the copying and pasting), lets you compare carrier rates (whether you're using USPS, UPS, FedEx, Canada Post, etc.), and print a label within seconds. Using our custom automation rules, you never have to manually enter the same information again. 

Not only do they simplify shipping, but they also make you look good with customized branding. With their branded shipping, tracking, and returns, your logo stays in front of your customer's entire shipping experience - even on the shipping label. 

Try a free trial of ShipStation here



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Of course we’re on the list! If you use an accounting application to count your business’s ‘beans’, eBridge connects it to your eCommerce store.  eBridge is a cloud-based platform that flows info from your website right to your back-office app or ERP (such as NetSuite, SAP, Sage, Epicor or Microsoft Dynamics).  So, you can stop those order pile ups, data entry nights, or customer errors in their tracks. 


Why it can help:

Automating business processes just makes life easier. With eBridge you can integrate your back-end ERP to eCommerce platforms, Online Marketplaces, EDI Trading Partners, CRM Systems, and Shipping platforms (like ShipStation!)

If you’re interested in mapping out your own integration project, check out our Blueprint Builder
 

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With this tool you can select your systems and pick out which “Touch Points” or “Workflows” can help make your life easier.
 
Hopefully this list has given you some inspiration for holiday seasons to come!
 
A big thank you to our friends at Bold Commerce, Nextopia, Addressy, Smile.io, and ShipStation for their contributions.

 

Want to learn more about any of these businesses? Want to discuss a Partnership with eBridge Connections? Reach out anytime: mdarmon@ebridgeconnections.com