Unsure how to decide the CRM, e-commerce platforms, and email marketing tools you need for your e-commerce business?
These could be big decisions and you are most likely going to be confused with so many options available for each of these tools, systems, and software you’ll need for your business.
But do not worry - these decisions are reversible ones. It can take time to switch from one provider to another, but it’s always possible.
So don’t overthink the decision - pick the one you feel the most comfortable with to start.
Yes, the short answer is “You decide”.
Over a period of time. The work is never-ending.
Looking for the long answer? Read on:
Let’s try to make your decisions easier:
Starting is More Important [than actual tools]
E-commerce entrepreneurs already spend a lot of time trying to validate business names, product choices, research products, on e-commerce platforms to base their business on, to create or design e-commerce sites, on logos, and on branding.
Never overthink: your time is a limited resource, make sure you’re using it doing it and thinking about the important stuff.
Designing e-commerce sites, choosing the right tools -- such as the CRM systems, customer support software, live chat tools, email marketing tools, social media tools, SEO tools, and other software -- to help run the business efficiently takes up time as well.
You are missing a critical point though: except for choosing the right e-commerce platform (such as Shopify, BigCommerce, WordPress, Webflow, No-code website builders, and others), you can make all other decisions later.
Get revenue first
In the rush for setting up e-commerce businesses, many entrepreneurs forget the big “why?” -- why are you launching your business? If we think the answer is what we think it is, then the focus should be on getting your first few customers.
Everything you’d be doing -- and the decisions you make, leading to the tasks you do -- ought to focus on getting customers first.
All other decisions will fall in line once you have paying customers. Maybe your customers will tell you (or, you could ask).
Spend Less Than You Budget For [Plus, ride the free trial]
Every business is different, so is yours. Your needs aren’t the same as your closest competitor next door. Most CRM systems, email marketing tools, and e-commerce platforms provide you with free trials to try out these tools and software solutions before buying them.
The trick is to rapidly start using or integrating these tools to test them out (also applicable to Shopify apps and WordPress plugins).
Further, it’s best to experiment, try, and ride these free trials at the very beginning of your business launch so as to not upset customer experiences later on.
Integrations & Custom Ecosystem
When you are looking for answers as to how to decide the CRM system to use, the email marketing tool to use, and the e-commerce platform to use, you’d have to backtrack and see how each of these tools and systems play with each other and also with external platforms such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, your Survey software, and so on.
Let’s assume that you just launched an e-commerce business and you are clear about a few things:
- Your site is built on Shopify (and this is what you’ll go with - my personal preference to be honest - it’s the quickest to start, giving you free time to do other important stuff)
- You plan to use Google Ads, integrate your product catalog with Google Shopping.
- Your email marketing strategy and campaigns will require automation (synced with Shopify), broadcasts, and you’ll need a way to track revenue from email (of course, remember, revenue first)
- You need a CRM to log every interaction of a lead/customer with your store/properties,
- You need a survey software to ask questions to your audience,
- You also plan to launch paid ad campaigns on Facebook (taking advantage of Facebook lead ads, Facebook ecommerce ads
- All of the ads are linked to dedicated landing pages for e-commerce you’ll build and manage.
Yes, that’s a lot.
The bad news is - no, there is no perfect solution.
But there is good news.
There’s a easy way to start this - it’s to take advantage of some built-in features for now from one tool to another.
For example, Shopify offers a good CRM system to start with, then a limited Email Marketing platform, but it’s enough to start.
Mailchimp, Bento and Klavyio offers then a much more robust email marketing platform with advanced CRM capabilities + ways to track the interactions of your audience with ads + ways to build and use landing pages + ways to survey your audience.
Not enough ?
After, you can add layers to this specific stack to add softwares for specific needs such as a landing page builder, a survey software, a review tool, etc etc.
Picking up the right tool over time, you’ll end up with your own stack - and remember, no choice is definitive. There are always ways to change according to your evolving needs: and each platform is making sure to ease migrations from their competitors (of course!)