British consumers are more demanding than ever and expect the same features from large and small online shops alike. A few years ago, things were rather different: when you launched an online shop, one had to ensure that the shop system of your choice included every conceivable function. Therefore, shop systems became huge feature monsters that sometimes provided hundreds of features.
But times have changed. More and more providers of shop systems have now opened up for third parties that can offer their services in special app stores, which operate much like the ones of Apple. The merchant chooses exactly the features which they need – and often has the choice between several apps for one function. This way the best shop systems now cover widely differing requirements and needs of online merchants, who nowadays always need to be one step ahead of their competitors.
Particularly helpful is that the app providers usually focus on one special niche – for example, sending out newsletters or optimising product descriptions. This allows them to create perfect solutions, which cater to the most sophisticated needs.
But which apps could make the most difference to your webshop? Below, we take a look at some best in breed apps that all embody one thing: the ability to leverage the potential of a highly specialised service provider to deliver a significant competitive advantage.
Logaster (Boost your branding)
One of the first things visitors see when visiting an online shop is the logo in the upper left corner. A good logo is instantly recognisable, transmits the corporate identity and inspires trust as well as confidence.
However, not every online merchant can afford creating a logo with an agency or a professional designer, especially due to cost reasons. This group of merchants is the target audience for Logaster. With this app, merchants can easily create a logo in just a few clicks and without design skills. Just by submitting the company name and the industry they represent, Logaster provides a wide variety of logo proposals for the merchant’s use. Once the shop owner has found something that suits his needs, it is possible to adapt styling elements, such as the colours.
The end result may not be equivalent to logos delivered by a professional graphic designer, but for merchants needing a quick and low-cost logo, Logaster is a great solution.
Pixelz (Great product pictures)
Professional product photos play a crucial role in the success of online shops. Pixelz specialises in one aspect of the creation of product photos: the post-processing. Whether it be removing the background of images, colour corrections or adding shadows – through the image optimisation of Pixelz, product photos get better than ever. That way, rather average images can often become stunning.
The procedure is very simple: merchants upload their images to Pixelz and indicate which optimisations should be made. Within 24 hours they get the photos back.
Pixelz processes a huge amount of up to 20,000 images per day. In addition to the perfect quality of the results, the corporate concept of Pixelz is convincing as well: many of their professional image editors are located in Asia, but western standards like a 40-hour work week and good salaries are applied.
Clickworker (Enhance SEO / content)
Product descriptions in an online shop have to fulfill multiple purposes. Firstly, they have to convince the customer to buy the product - by getting their interest, answering open questions and generally to provide a comprehensive picture of the product. In addition, good product descriptions are very important for search engine optimisation (SEO). Choosing the right keywords and following certain rules of SEO improves the visibility of an online shop in the Google search engine results. This leads to more visitors and potential buyers.
However, not every online merchant has the necessary copywriting skills and SEO expertise to write perfect product descriptions. At this point, the Clickworker app comes into play – Clickworker employs a large number of professional copywriters who know exactly what is important to produce successful descriptions. The texts are search engine optimised, tailored to the target group of the shop and are always proof-read by a second Clickworker writer.
This app is especially interesting for merchants who sell internationally and therefore require product descriptions in multiple languages. Regular language translators can often be unfamiliar with the complexities of search engine optimisation and therefore cannot deliver texts so SEO rich.
Justuno (Online marketing)
The app Justuno is all about conversion. To convert your shop’s visitors to buyers or newsletter subscribers, Justuno provides a number of sophisticated tools.
When a visitor subscribes to the newsletter of a shop, this can be worth a lot of money for the merchant: they agree to receive regular new mailings and may be ready to be convinced to buy something in the shop. So, to increase the number of newsletter subscribers, merchants can implement automated pop-ups in their shop, where visitors can leave their email address. The Justuno technology can detect, for example, if a customer is about to leave the shop and then presents a pop-up just at this moment. Or customers can be offered a special discount, with which the departing visitor perhaps can be converted into a customer.
The design of pop-ups is customisable. Therefore, the colours and fonts can be selected to fit the design of the shop. Through a variety of control settings, merchants can make sure that the pop-ups are only displayed to the right customers.
Smartsupp ( Smarter chat)
There are many channels through which a merchant can now enter into contact with their customers. However, one of these is seldom used in online shops: a simple chat window. Imagine you are visiting an online shop and have a question concerning a product. What could be more convenient than starting a live chat with the shop owner or his team?
By using the app Smartsupp, merchants can embed a live chat into their shop. After Smartsupp is activated, a small window is visible at the bottom of the screen. If a customer feels the need to contact the merchant, they can quickly ask questions and can get immediate interactive feedback. This is a great way for shop owners to start a conversational relationship with their audience and offer them a convenient, timely method of support.
The backend for the merchant is easy to use, and incoming messages can be addressed easily from smartphones.
Richard Stevenson, from cloud based e-commerce provider ePages
Image source: Shutterstock/mtkang