4 Surprisingly Useful Tools for e-Commerce


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Follow your sunshine. Be your own boss. Live life on your own terms. These are but a handful of the burning principles that push people to quit their 9 to 5 jobs and strike out on their own.

The internet has been a catalyst in this process in no small measure. In fact, entrepreneurship has seen two distinct eras – B.I and A.I – Before Internet and After Internet. The formidable set up costs and risks that were associated with entrepreneurship have been blown to smithereens. Other barriers to entry like funding, manpower and technical know-how have also been solved with ingenious ideas like crowd funding, virtual employees and smart apps to replace technical chops.

Here I’ll take a peek at my favorite tools for a new e-commerce startup. That does not mean that these tools won’t work for older, more established e-commerce players. It’s just that these tools quicken the set-up time for a fledgling business on the internet.


Did you write a great eBook but don’t know how to sell it online? Did you finally record that album that you’ve been dreaming of since you were a teenager? Did you create some really cool templates for WordPress or Blogger?

You can sell all of these and any other digitally downloadable products that you might have created using FetchApp. All you need is your own piece of the web which can be integrated with FetchApp to see the greenbacks rolling in. FetchApp works with any type of web property – a website, a blog, social media sites, emails, e-commerce platforms and more.

How it works

FetchApp is a fully hosted solution that stores and delivers your digital content, which means you don’t need to plugin or install FetchApp on your site. It needs to be linked to a payment solution and a shopping cart solution. You can pick from PayPal, Google CheckOut, Shopify, Goodsie, BigCommerce or FetchApp’s own API.

  • Create your account on FetchApp (free or paid)
  • Link your shopping cart and payment solutions to FetchApp from within the FetchApp website
  • Upload your digital inventory on FetchApp or auto-import inventory from your website directly if you use either Shopify or BigCommerce as your shopping carts.
  • Sell!

Your digital inventory is delivered to your customers in the form of a time-sensitive downloadable link.

What it looks like

FetchApp Admin Dashboard

FetchApp Admin Dashboard

Add Products section

Add Products section2

Carts & Payments section

Carts & Payments section3

What it’ll cost you

FetchApp has a free version that gives you 1 MB of storage and unlimited bandwidth. Paid plans start at $5 per month and keep going up to $10, $20 to $500 per month depending on your storage requirements. It also offers unlimited bandwidth with all its accounts.


Once you set up your store, you need a way to spread the word and get the traffic on your site, right? Email is a great low-cost, highly targeted messaging platform that gives a higher ROI than any other marketing tool currently available. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing delivers $67 of revenue for every $1.7 spent.

MailChimp is one of the most sophisticated, yet user friendly email marketing tools available today. It allows even novice marketers to design, set up and roll out professional email marketing campaigns. What’s more, with its superb monitoring and reporting systems, you can track and take action on each and every imaginable email metric.

How it Works

MailChimp is a web-based, end-to-end email marketing suite that lets you master your email marketing and track every penny of revenue that your emails generate. Some of the basic features that it offers are:

  • Wide variety of emails that can be sent out – marketing emails, transactional emails, triggered emails and auto-responder emails.
  • Multiple subscriber lists and detailed profiles for each subscriber.
  • Design your own HTML templates or pick from one of the many free professional templates that MailChimp offers.
  • Personalize and customize emails at a segment level or a customer level.
  • Schedule email send out times
  • A/B test email campaigns and pick the best performing option
  • Great online resources for educating yourself about the nitty-gritties of email marketing
  • Superb analytics that track everything from open rates, click rates, bounce rates, unsubscribe rates and open rates by location, time of day and more.
  • Link with Google Analytics or other site analytics tools to track and measure the behavior of customers who click on your emails as well as the revenue impact of your email campaigns.

What it looks like





Template editor

Template editor6

What it’ll cost you

MailChimp has a generous free account option that can be used by businesses with less than 2000 subscribers and less than 12,000 emails sent out per month. The free accounts however, have limited features, as expected. Paid accounts start off at $10 per month and get progressively expensive based on the size of your subscriber base with no restrictions on number of emails sent out. You can choose between monthly, annual or pay as you go plans.


As an eCommerce business owner, you want to convert every single visitor that lands on your site into a customer. Unfortunately, in the real world only about 4-5% of your visitors will actually end up buying from you.

What happened to all the others who dropped by? Why did they simply drop off? What did they do on your site while they were there? How can you make them convert the next time they return? CrazyEgg gives you answers to all these questions in full measure.

How it works

CrazyEgg is an extremely simple tool that helps you optimize the design, layout and conversions on your website. It tracks click and scroll data on the selected web pages and shows you the exact elements on your page that your users engaged with. The insights derived from CrazyEgg, can be used to understand what elements on your site work and what don’t, which area of your site attracts most eyeballs and where your conversion hotspots reside.

CrazyEgg offers 4 types of reports

  • Heat Map – a colorful visualization of the areas that get maximum clicks on a particular page. The hottest areas are denoted in red with the color intensity moving from the warm end of the spectrum to coolers colors like blue and green for less popular sections of the page.
  • Scroll Map – shows you how far down your visitors will scroll on a particular page
  • Confetti Report – show the exact spots that receive maximum clicks and color code the clicks based on parameters that you specify like the user’s browser information
  • Overlay Report – shows the actual number of clicks received in each hotspot

What it looks like

Heat Map

Heat Map7

Scroll Map

Scroll Map8

Confetti Report

Confetti Report9

Overlay Report

Overlay Report10

What it’ll cost you

CrazyEgg is a paid service that offers you a no-risk, 30 day free trial. Paid plans start from $9 per month and can go up to $99 per month, depending on your site traffic.


So your business is growing fast and your ambitions push you towards newer channels? Entering a brand new channel is often as difficult as setting up a new business from scratch. Each channel comes with its own set of challenges, rewards, functional requirements and customer engagement strategies.

Staying on top of all of them is tough even for giant retailers like BestBuy, Walmart and Macy’s. For a small business, multi-channel management is often the kiss of death.

But it doesn’t have to be so hard. Agiliron, a fantastic multichannel commerce (as opposed to just e-commerce) enterprise management suite, simplifies the lives of small and medium sized businesses that want to branch out into new channels. Best of all, it’s actually user friendly and affordable unlike most enterprise management software out there.

How it works

Agiliron is a web based business management solution that targets multi-channel businesses and offers them a range of tools to manage various aspects of their business like, e-commerce platforms, POS systems, marketing, CRM, inventory management, supply chain management, pricing, finance & accounting, reports & dashboards and so much more.

Agiliron is fully hosted on the Amazon Cloud Servers and does not need you to install any plug-ins or download any software – it’s all online. It takes care of your information security by backing up all your data and securing it with the highest level of encryption, so you can still breathe easy when your work computer crashes. Here’s a quick snapshot of what you can do with Agiliron:

  • Operate on Multiple Sales Channels – Set up and run your own e-commerce store, operate stores on eBay, traditional retail outlets, set up a direct sales model
  • Manage your Marketing and CRM for all channels from one place – Lead management, order management, email marketing, customer service
  • Integrate back-end operations for all channels with Agiliron’s ERP module – Products, pricing, inventory, fulfillment, vendors, purchasing, QuickBooks integration
  • Track, analyse and report efficiently – Business intelligence reports, dashboard, 360 degree view of the business
  • Integrate data from Agiliron with Google Analytics to optimize your conversions

What it looks like

Dashboard showing Individual Modules

Dashboard showing Individual Modules10

Setting up Multiple Sales Channels

Setting up Multiple Sales Channels12

Order Management

Order Management13

What it’ll cost you

Agiliron costs a fraction of what regular ERP systems cost. It has a 30 day free trial period with a variety of paid plans. Plans range from $49 per month for the basic package to $199 per month for the full-fledged enterprise package. As you move from the basic plan to the enterprise edition plan more and more advanced features, functions and support options become available.

The web is flooded with apps and tools by the dozen for every imaginable need. But what makes a real difference to your e-commerce business, is separating the wheat from the chaff and zeroing in on tools that are simple to use, powerful in their capabilities, yet light on the pocket. Hope I could help your business with my take on four really interesting tools for e-commerce businesses!

Lori Wagoner
Lori Wagoner is a marketing researcher and strategist who works with small businesses and organizations to help them gain online visibility. Feel free to strike up a conversation on Twitter @loridwagoner.


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