As 2020 thankfully draws to a close, the phrase in the title of this article, "Can't Live Without," brings on a whole new meaning. During the lockdown, I couldn't live without my high-speed connection at my office, but I had to make do with my miserable 4 MB download speeds at home. I couldn't live without a juicy steak at a nice restaurant, but I had to make do with my George Foreman grill. You've probably had your own "can't live without" moments over the past year. With that in mind, I thought it would be helpful to detail some of the top tools our team and clients at OMG Commerce "can't live without."
Before digging in too deep, it's important to note that the current array of tools available to make your job as an eCommerce marketer or brand manager is mind-numbing. SaaS companies' proliferation seems to have solved (or claimed to) nearly every challenge you can have. Shopifyandyou.com posted in May 2020 that Shopify announced over 4,200 apps in the App Store. In June 2019, Shopify announced: 25.8 million total number of apps installed, and more than 80% of merchants use third-party apps. Finally, in the 2020 Marketing Technology Landscape blog, Chief Marketing Technologist Blog made this super-graphic of over 8,000 solutions.
It's impossible to imagine running a growing eCommerce brand without using third-party tools and apps. These tools and apps deliver data we can utilize, increase efficiencies, hold our teams and agencies accountable, and deliver outstanding customer experiences.
In full transparency, you won't find any affiliate links in this article. It's also important to recognize it's quite probable you may have a tool or app that has been amazing compared to what we list. It's also entirely possible you might be surprised by a particular tool that didn't make our list. In that case, head to our site and send us a live chat message with your tool suggestions or tips.
Asana and Teamwork: If you're not using a project management solution, it's likely past due for you to check out two of our favorite "getting things done" tools. Both are easy to use. You can be up and going in no time. Both are highly customizable and include a free and low-cost premium version. If you’d like a third option, our clients give an honorable mention to Monday.com.
Google Sheets and Google Docs: I can remember a time as a PC user when Microsoft Office was a requirement if you wanted to get anything done. However, Google Docs, Sheets, and Presentations gives you everything you'll need (in most cases). Online and Offline functionality and sharing options are straightforward.
Google Trends: I'm surprised how many eCommerce owners I talk to who aren't aware of Google Trends. Google Trends is a free data tool that allows you to enter search terms and see how they compare with current trends. It's one of my favorite tools that marketers and business owners can utilize to learn the direction of their brand, products, and related search terms are heading in search volume. Please go check it out and start with your brand name. Look for moments in time where you had a ramped up Facebook, YouTube, or other paid search spend. You'll likely see the correlations in the brand lift on or around those dates.
Vidyard: This is one of those tools that can be fun and productive. I use Vidyard frequently with both in-office and communications with our clients. It works as an extension in the Chrome browser. There is a free and premium version. It's great for video responses to send in your email when somebody could misinterpret a written email. Vidyard messages are great for communicating your message while letting your personality shine while placing the right emphasis on what you're sharing. Here's a special Vidyard message I made just for those reading this blog. Give it a try!
Capture by Techsmith: I've been using this tool for nearly ten years. It used to be called Jing, but was recently renamed. Capture is excellent for those quick screen captures and screen recording tools. You can quickly drag the area you want to capture, then overlay with text, arrows, or highlights. There is also a screen recording with a camera option but that feature isn't as flexible as Vidyard for video recordings. You'll find yourself using Capture to copy and paste images right into Slack, emails, or other messaging services.
Data & Analysis
Google Analytics is one of the tools most eCommerce sites have installed. Still, very few eCommerce owners and marketers ever sit down and delve into the treasure trove of information contained within. I get it. It seems complicated, and what do I do once I log into Google Analytics? If you're getting consistent sales from your website, Google Analytics can be a great tool to improve conversions. For instance, you can find out where your potential buyers are dropping off, what channels bring in the best customers, and the products generating the most revenue. Here's a great guide from storegrowers.com that does a fantastic job of helping you get the most from Google Analytics.
SentryKit: I love what SentryKit has to say about itself, "The Full Checklist Amazon Sellers Should Do...Done For You." SentryKit uses AI to monitor and analyze the mundane tasks that sellers don't have time to do. SentryKit checks your products frequently and catches problems early on. It includes product listing alerts, review alerts, rank tracking, inventory alerts, category changes, hijackers, and sales alerts. One of our favorites with our Amazon team is the listing suspension alerts. For under 20 ASINs, it's only $19 per month and well worth it in our view.
Bindwise: An alternative to SentryKit, Bindwise, should be evaluated. You'll always know your status with the Buy Box or who is winning it. There is also a new invitation-only add-on to Google Sheets.
Helium10: If you're an Amazon seller and haven't heard of Helium10, you're likely new to the Amazon Marketplace. OMG Commerce's Amazon team uses Helium10 daily. It's packed with useful tools. Our team loves checking sales revenue estimates and trends for the brands we manage and their competition. It's great for market research, product research, keyword research, keyword tracking, and reverse ASIN keyword search.
Agorapulse: Thousands of social media managers use this tool. They most appreciate the time savings and organization benefits. Agencies love Agorapulse because you can manage multiple accounts, but the benefits for a brand are tremendous. You'll know the best days for publishing new content and tracking your competitors. It effectively monitors ads and makes it much easier to view ad comments in one view rather than go through the ads manager.
Promorepublic is an excellent tool for brands with smaller teams but desires a big brand look to their social media presence. Promorepublic's small business option allows you to post to your business pages using automation, scheduling, and recycling successful posts. It's an excellent alternative to Agorapulse.
Gorgias is an eCommerce help desk that turns a headache for many store owners into a profit center. You're able to centralize all your support tickets in one place, edit orders, modify subscriptions, and refund payments without leaving your helpdesk. If you're on Shopify, Gorgias is without question, your go to in providing top-notch customer service and allows your service agents to serve as salespeople with integrations like live chat, Yotpo, Facebook, Zapier, Slack, and so much more.
Facebook Ad Library: This resource is a gold mine of information to track your ads and investigate what your competitors are promoting. Need an idea for a new headline or promotion? Head over to the Facebook Ad Library and begin searching your competitors and related industries for great ideas and insights.
SEMRush: Our agency has used SEMRush for many years. It's a great tool that is continuously evolving to offer businesses an online presence to get deep insights that would otherwise take many hours to determine. Whether you're doing keyword research, competitor research, advertising research, or working to improve your social media, SEMRush has a toolkit to assist you. There's a great library of video overviews on their various toolkits here.
GoDataFeed and DataFeedWatch: OMG Commerce has been a leader in education on Google Shopping since Brett Curry, CEO, wrote his "The Ultimate Guide To Google Shopping" that debuted on the Shopify Blog over five years ago. An updated guide just posted a few weeks ago. Both GoDataFeed and DataFeedWatch are Google Shopping automated feed tools. There are three options to manage your multi channel product feeds. You can use a spreadsheet (manual feed) or use a content API like the one Shopify has or an automated product feed. A manual feed is not a bad idea for a few SKUs or small product catalogs. Shopify, BigCommerce, and others have API feeds that are quick ways to connect your channel, but the downside to these is a lack of flexibility, customization, and optimization. If you have ten to twenty products without many child versions, your feed's automation probably isn't necessary. However, as we've seen in managing hundreds of eCommerce Shopping campaigns, both of these tools using automated feeds can save an enormous amount of time. The key is finding a tool that gives you a scalable solution. Compare both and determine which one would be the best fit for your situation.
Wicked Reports: This suggestion comes from several of our clients. Wicked Reports can tell you how a customer found you and the series of actions and events they took that eventually led to a buying decision (conversion). The most useful feedback we've heard from our eCommerce clients has come from the cross-platform attribution benefits, which can give you a better understanding of where to allocate your marketing dollars. Their customer support gets a thumbs up along with weekly classes and training. If you utilize InfusionSoft, it's especially helpful as it gives you a deep understanding of analytics for all digital advertising, ROI, opt-ins, and sales. The downside to Wicked Reports is the time-consuming nature of adding all the UTM codes.