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How to Maximize Your Store’s Conversion Rate with the Most Popular Ecommerce Analytics Tools

How to see your conversion rate growing with e-commerce analytics tools?

-> This post is a part of: 10 Best E-commerce Software Solutions — The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your Online Store

Running an online store is a great thing, especially when it’s well-operating, bringing a steady amount of new visitors from your advertising activities or simply coming from Google organic traffic. But what if these visitors don’t turn into so many customers actually buying your products?

Even if you manage to capture new clients, there’s always some room for improving your conversion rate. According to Smart Insights, the average conversion rate for global e-commerce businesses in Q2 2018 was 2.86%. This means that on average, more than 97% of visitors at your store will not decide to buy your product. Quite a large crowd, isn’t it? So how to change this situation to your advantage and see your conversion rate growing with e-commerce analytics tools?

Data to collect with analytical tools

One of the most important things about optimizing your store for user experience and consequently, on conversion rate’s optimization is understanding how visitors behave at your e-commerce store:

  • Which products do they visit most often?
  • Which areas of pages do they like to click?
  • When do they decide to quit your website?

All of this information can provide you with a pretty essential insight into your potential customer’s behavior and can be a valuable base for your website’s optimization.

But to gather the data, you firstly need a proper data-collecting software. And while you likely have Google Analytics already installed at your e-commerce store, you likely don’t take full advantage out of its data and features. Also, Google Analytics is not the only tool out there to help you optimize your store.

There are quite a few other e-commerce software solutions out there that can be easily installed at your store to bring you an additional set of essential data.

How to use the data in your decision-making?

But having all the data needed, how can it actually help you in growing your online business?

We can distinguish between 3 main areas of the website’s optimization:

  • Top: Website’s structure -> the structure of linking/navigation of your website’s pages
  • Middle: Pages’ structure -> the structure/design of particular pages in your store
  • Bottom: Element structure -> the structure/design/color of particular elements within your page

So how can data derived from analytical tools help you in optimizing the top, middle, and bottom lines of your store?

Let’s say you use the analytical software to help you understand how users behave on your website.

Case 1. You see a visitor browsing through your store and you realize that the most often visited category within your navigation menu is shoes. This can signal you the information that it might be worth to put “shoes” as a featured category on your home page. At the same time with Google Analytics data, you realize that shoes are actually the category characterized by the lowest conversion rate. As a result, you might consider modifying your shoe category in an attempt to increase conversion rates, e.g. by offering an exit-intent discount using a tool like Sumo.

Case 2. When analyzing your customers’ flow within your online store, you might realize that when adding the products to the basket and proceeding to checkout, the customer decides to visit your “About Us” page, where he checks on more information about your company and team and then quits your website. This might be a signal to optimize your “About Us” page so that it includes reliable information about your team (e.g. your clients’ logos, the photo of your team), increasing the chances of your visitor coming back on the path to purchasing your product.

Case 3. When looking at the scroll data of your homepage, you realize that 90% of your visitors do not reach the final 25% of your website. As a result, they’re not able to see the option to subscribe to mailing discount updates. You might then consider re-designing your homepage to make sure you’re able to effectively capture your visitors’ email addresses.

The ways of using data to optimize your online store are endless, but first, it’s essential to collect the information required in the decision-making process. So below we look into a few most popular software solutions used by e-commerce businesses for analytics and conversion optimization.

3 best e-commerce analytics tools for collecting data at your online store

From a bunch of analytical tools, there are quite a few which are particularly popular and useful among e-commerce companies.

What’s important to look at when searching for an analytical tool for e-commerce business? There are a few things to consider:

  • Does the tool integrate easily with the e-commerce platform you’re using?
  • Can it monitor all stages and elements at your website (e.g. shopping cart, drop-down menus, JavaScript animations)?
  • Does it provide you with an interface well-fitted to driving proper conclusions, e.g. the segmentation of users’ recordings/heatmaps?

You might also be interested in whether the software does not limit you from the proper data collection. E.g. after GDPR implementation in Europe, some analytical software has started to blank the input into the search and contact form queries. If you have a search form available at your website, this might turn out to be quite a significant limitation. You might be interested to use the software which would support you with an option to view search queries of your visitors.

1. Google Analytics e-commerce — an analytical basis for your online store

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Google Analytics for e-commerce

Google Analytics is the most popular analytical software. According to BuiltWith, 8.4% of the total websites available online are using Google Analytics, with 69.5% of the top 10k websites having Google Analytics installed on their website.

It’s likely you already have Google Analytics installed on your website, however, within Google Analytics, you’d be able to take advantage of the E-commerce Analytics module, delivering additional insight to you as the E-commerce business owner/manager.

What’s the difference between Google Analytics and Ecommerce Google Analytics?

The main distinctive element of E-commerce Analytics is its Customer Report option which can help you understand the behavior of particular customers at your store. This includes measuring metrics like:

  • Products’ analytics -> which products are the most visited/purchased by your customers
  • Conversion analytics -> which products/groups of products convert the best into paying customers
  • Bounce rate changes -> this can help you experiment with product pages and observe the impact of any changes on bounce rate for your website
  • Transactions -> the statistics for revenue, taxes, shipping fees for your transactions
  • The time needed to realize the purchase
  • Last order details
  • Total money spent at the store
  • Split between existing and new customers

Analyzing who are your actual customers and how they interact with your store can really help you in achieving the targeted growth. Did you know that Amazon generates 66% of its revenues from returning customers? This shows how important it is to target people who have already purchased something at your store.

There are quite a few ways you could use this data to your advantage and maximize ROI from the returning customers:

  • Sending targeted emailing campaigns with the complementary products (e.g. purchased iPhone -> send the list of accessory products) using a mailing automation software
  • Personalizing the pop-up message for the person returning to your online store, e.g. “Welcome back! We’re really happy to have you as our customer, so please grab a $10 discount from our team”
  • Targeting people who haven’t been shopping at your store for a specific time frame with a tailored mailing campaign, e.g. “Hey, we haven’t seen you shopping for more than 3 months. Did you know we’ve recently introduced a -20% holiday season promotion for our branded t-shirts?”
Expert’s comment, Ronnie McKenzie, Storehacks

"Google Analytics — For a free tool it is an absolute powerhouse for data analytics. Having used it for years I am quite familiar with it, however, still find I haven’t even scratched the surface of its capabilities.
With enhanced e-commerce, you can delve deep into customer interactions with your products. If you LOVE data, you’ll love this. Aside from the information, you can gather from user behavior on your site there is another novel aspect…
Real Time viewing of what your customers are doing onsite. My favourite url handle… /checkout/thank_you
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AliExpress using Google Analytics Ecommerce

2. Hotjar— enrich your Google Analytics data by observing real visitors’ behavior

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Hotjar — software for analyzing the behavior of your store’s customers

Google Analytics makes for a great base to analyze your e-commerce store and it’s more than a great data aggregator (or I’d say more sort of a data generator;) ). However, if you’re looking for a way to analyze the real user-experience at your online store, it won’t provide you with an essential insight into clicks, mouse movements, or most clickable areas of your online store.

With Hotjar, simply by installing a piece of code to your website, you get access to the following details about your online store:

  • Heatmaps -> Areas most clicked at your store e.g. to learn which buttons/elements are the most engaging to your customers
  • Recordings of visit sessions ->e.g. to learn reasons why visitors might quit your store
  • Scrolling behavior -> the statistics about scrolling the web pages and the % of users reaching a particular level of the website

So having all of the above data, you’re well-equipped with the information needed for the decision making process. So how can you use it to get more customers at your online store?

  • Analyze if customers actually click the buttons you want them to click -> try changing the design of the button, link and test if it impacts the customers’ clicks
  • Analyze the % of scrolling the particular webpage -> try putting the relevant information higher if your visitors do not reach this point
  • Analyze recordings of each customer’s session -> Monitor how customers interact with your store and e.g. how they react e.g. to exit-intent messages
Expert’s comment, Wiktor Sobolak, Growth Marketer, Divante.co:

While looking for the best heatmap solution for your business you should think of how it fulfills your actual needs. Beside heatmapping, you might want to consider if you really need recording, A/B testing or scroll depth. Before you proceed with any tool you should figure out do you need regular website analytics and test if a software you want to use can deal with advanced JavaScript animations or drop-down menu.
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Nixon — one of the e-commerce stores using Hotjar

3. CrazyEgg — analytical software with the built-in optimization tool

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CrazyEgg — software for analyzing an e-commerce store

CrazyEgg is another analytical software solution, allowing for an in-depth analysis of your website/e-commerce store. It additionally provides you with in-depth analytics of clicks on your website, depending on the source of your visitor. What distinguishes CrazyEgg from other analytical tools like Hotjar is its built-in tool allowing for optimizing your website and testing different design variations.

With CrazyEgg, you get access to 3 major products:

  • Snapshots -> with snapshots you’re able to identify the sources of your visits, how people are using your store or where they might get stuck
  • Recordings -> recordings let you measure the exact behavior of your website’s visitors browsing through your website with the session replays
  • Editor -> with CrazyEgg editor, you’ll be able to optimize particular elements of your website or do A/B testing without the need to engage an IT professional/designer

How can you use the above functionality to grow an online store?

  • Optimize user experience for the visitors, depending on the visit source

So, having the information about your visitors’ behavior, depending on the source of the visit, you can add specific actions that influence your visitor, depending on the source they’re coming from. For example, let’s say you discover customers visiting your store after a Google search are less engaged and, never scroll down to enter the promotions section. You can set up a pop-up letting them know about the available deals, targeted solely at visitors coming from Google. Or, another way would be to set up an automated live chat message with the link to the directory.

  • Identify the elements of your store customers want to click on and simply make them clickable

You might not even be aware that people click on specific parts of your store. Even more, they might think a particular element is a button, then discovering it’s not actually a clickable element. You can either take advantage of this discovery, making the element (e.g. an image) clickable or alternatively change its design so that it doesn’t distract the customer from his journey at your store.

  • Test different design/layout and optimize for conversion

With CrazyEgg’s editor, you’d be able to test different versions of the website and check how the changes affect visitors’ behavior. However, to introduce A/B testing, you’d first need to make sure you have enough traffic on your website, which would increase the reliability of the implemented tests.

Expert’s comment, Vlad Calus, co-founder Planable.io:

Another good tool for optimizing your store’s performance is Visely. It’s supercharging your sales by giving you specific recommendations, based on the analytics in the back and people that are more open to buy the product. They’re doing an absolutely amazing job and you should definitely give them a try. I personally saw how sales were up with 10% just a month after installing it.

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TKMxx - one of the online retail stores using CrazyEgg for analytics

As you can see, the analytical software installed at your store does not mean a straight path to success. A key is to properly use the data, drive the right conclusions, and test your store for optimization when possible. This, in connection with other e-commerce software solutions, should help you grow conversion at your store and drive more happy customers and 💰 your way.

Matt Pliszka

Consultant at SoftwareSupp

How to Start an Online Store using Shopify and integrated software

In this tutorial, we will show you step by step instructions on how to start an online store with the help of software tools.

E-commerce is one of the trickier businesses to be in. Unlike many other businesses that rely on a specialty in one specific functional area like technology, marketing, or logistics, e-commerce requires mastery in almost all the different functional areas. To compete with the likes of Amazon, an online store must not only enjoy a sophistical tech infrastructure but also own state of the art supply chain, customer service, and marketing teams.

Although this can be a daunting task for a bootstrapped small business, third party software apps help bridge the gap between enterprise e-commerce sites and bootstrapped online stores. This is possible because of two reasons. Most software apps are subscription-based. This makes it more affordable for small businesses. What is more, they’re easy to use and implement, even if you’re not a developer.

The starting process of setting up an e-commerce store might look as follows:

  1. Finding a niche where you believe you can sell your product.
  2. Setting up the production of your product or the dropshipping process (e.g. with Oberlo or AliExpress)
  3. Creating your online store by yourself with a software platform or using the developer’s help.

In this tutorial, we will focus on the third stage and show you step by step instructions on how to start an online store with the help of software tools.

Step 1: Set up an e-commerce website

Getting an e-commerce website up and running is one of the most challenging aspects of the business. The process involves designing a beautiful website that aligns with the industry you are in, creating separate pages for each product in your inventory, integrating your site with payment gateways, and making sure that the entire system is safe and secure for your buyers.

Luckily, there are a number of good apps that can help you with this. Shopify is, without a doubt, one of the most popular apps. This app works great for both small and large businesses and is quite affordable with a starting price of $29 per month. In addition to Shopify, you also have other  apps like BigCommerce, for more advanced e-commerce entrepreneurs or Ecwid for those looking for a way to implement a store within a WordPress website. While Shopify is ranked on top because of its ecosystem of designers and developers that make it possible for you to build beautiful sites for all sizes of businesses, BigCommerce is targeted at the developer community.

So let’s look what to remember about when setting up an online store with Shopify:

1. Select and connect the domain

After you register in the Shopify platform, you will be presented with the dashboard, which will guide you through the initial steps of your online store’s configuration. Probably the first step you can and should do is connect the domain where you want your online store to be available.

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One option is purchasing the domain through Shopify which would cost you no less than $14 but would probably be much easier if you’re not so much into technical and internet stuff. Alternatively, you can purchase a domain from a 3rd party provider, which should normally cost no more than a few dollars.

What you will need to do then is to configure the records in the domain settings so that they point to the Shopify servers. This might be a little bit more complicated if it’s the first time you set up your store but Shopify gives you a quite clear tutorial on what records to use and how to go through this process. If everything is correct you should verify the domain and be ready to use it in your store. It might, however, take a few days to become effective so don’t worry if you can’t enter your store using your web address right away.

2. Add the products

Ok, we have Shopify, we have the domain connected, so what now? You should now add the products you are going to sell. Adding products is really simple and you should handle it right away.

Probably, the first thing you would like to put in the picture of your product. You can easily edit colors, shades, and other details of the picture within the platform which is really useful. You can also add and format the description of your product. What is quite awesome is the fact that you can very easily put images or even videos on your product page.

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To embed a video from YouTube or other online services you need to copy and put the code from the YouTube video page. Formatting is really simple and user-friendly, you can even put the tables into the description, to show particular characteristics.

In case you sell different colors of your products, you can also add separate pictures for different products. Shopify enables you to add an SKU or barcode number which might be helpful for more advanced inventory tracking. We will not be going through adding each product step by step as it’s rather the easy part you should not have any troubles with.

3. Select the theme and customize

Now that you have the products added, you can start taking care of the visual side of your store.

The first thing you will probably want to do is to select the theme of your store. In Shopify, like in most other platforms, you will get several, actually 10 free templates to use and customize.

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The free templates are really flexible and well-designed and should be enough for most of you. In our case, we went with the free Debut template. In case you want to purchase other designs, you would need to pay at least $180 which is definitely not a small price for a little piece of enhanced design.

We selected the template so now it’s time to customize it and personalize the look of your store.

In the customization view, you can see the customization column on the left side, where you are going to edit anything that is on the screen. So there are multiple customization options we are not going to discuss, but just to give you a brief overview of what you can actually do in here.

Even though Shopify does not provide an advanced and precise drag and drop editor you can pretty much customize every part of your website, so you can add new sections, customize the background, edit images or add slideshows telling something more about your brand. Of course, you can also customize the colors and fonts so that the store’s outlook matches your brand’s style.

In case the design is minimalistic and you only supply one type of product you probably don’t want the interface and visuals to be overcomplicated, just the most important information and the products available right away on the main page.

You would probably need to customize the look of your store, depending on whether it is a fashion, sports or any other brand. Tailoring the website, at least the one created in Shopify to your company’s needs should not be a problem for you, even without any technical experience.

4. Set shipping rates and taxes

Right now, when you have the outlook of your store ready, you should focus more on logistics and payments. So assuming you are going to ship your product, you should set the prices for the shipping to be paid by your customers. To make your products even more attractive to your customers, you can set the local shipping for free.

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Likely you also want to ship your products to other regions in Europe. This is why you should add a new region in the settings so that the Shopify system knows where you’re able to ship the item. We checked that the shipment of 0–10 kg product, should cost no more than $15, so this is what we’re going to enter into the system. Right now, when the customer e.g. from Germany orders the product, an additional shipping fee of $15 will be added to the billing.

But what about the taxes? For example if the VAT tax rate is 23%, so this is what we need to set in the settings so that the system automatically calculates the tax you need to pay to the tax office. Similarly, when you will be selling to Germany, the same tax rate will need to be applied if selling directly to the customer. The taxes are by default included in the pricing you add in the product’s information but you can change this option e.g. if you’re located in the US, where the sales tax is always added as an additional payment.

5. Set up the payment system

So you set products, their pricing, the shipping details and tax rates, you already know how much your customers will need to pay for our products. But how are they going to pay? This is why you need to set the ways customers can pay for your products.

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This might differ significantly between different e-commerce platforms, so you might better check the payment integrations of various e-commerce software at SoftwareSupp. In Shopify, any other type of payment than Shopify payments which is the native payment system of the platform will bear a percentage fee to be paid from our sales.

Unfortunately, Shopify Payments is only available in the selected countries, in Europe, it’s limited to Great Britain and British Pound currency so you’d need to check if it can support your currency. Alternatively, you can use PayPal as the payment option (it’s especially popular in Europe and the US). As a result, your customers can now pay at the store through a credit card or a PayPal wallet and a 2% provision is going to be charged on your sales.

You can also set additional payment methods depending on the ones which will be suitable for the location of your business so it’s worth considering giving your customers a few alternative options.

6. Customize checkout and add legal information

So far, you have customized the main part of your store but what about the checkout process when the customer decides to purchase your product? You can customize it in the separate section under “Checkout” settings. Here, unfortunately, the customization is very limited and you will only be able to tailor some content as well as logos or graphics displayed during the process.

However, the information which is way more important for the customer during the checkout is the store’s credibility and confirmation that your store confirms with all the legal requirements. So Shopify provides you with the special fields to put the information about your refund policy, terms&conditions, or privacy policy.

It even lets you generate this content automatically which is not a recommended way. For your store to be fully secure from the legal side, a lawyer’s help might be required.

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Shopify also gives you the option to create custom pages to be presented on your homepage, so you can use it to present all the legal documentation on your home page as well. You’d need to copy the content, create new pages, and add the pages to the website’s footer which can be customized in the navigation menu. Well, your website definitely still needs to be polished but at least right now it has most of the elements required to make the business running.

Step 2: Set up inventory and shipping

There are two vital components to inventory management — the cost of shipping and the shipping duration. Amazon, for instance, offers free shipping on a number of product categories, and some of these also qualify for overnight shipping. This presents a terrific buying experience for customers. As a startup e-commerce store, you may not really have the luxury to offer competitive shipping amenities.

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There are however certain SaaS apps that can help you build a sophisticated supply chain network for your e-commerce business. Shopify, for instance, runs a service called Oberlo that allows users to set up partnerships with suppliers to allow them ship products directly to the customer. Called dropshipping, the process can help bring shipping costs down dramatically.

So what does dropshipping mean? It means selling online the goods which belong to somebody else and are going to be delivered by somebody else.

Once you start receiving orders from customers, the next step is to start delivering them. The shipping segment is quite fragmented and a courier that is cheapest for one location may not be reliable for another destination. This is especially true for international orders. Also, each order needs to go with an invoice, product label, and so on.

Fortunately, there are a few apps that deliver the goods here. Software like ShipStation can help you find the cheapest and most efficient way to deliver while other tools like Printful can make it easy for your store to print labels and invoices that need to go with every order.

Step 3: Set up marketing and implement basic software for the start

1. Marketing software

The next step in launching an e-commerce store is establishing marketing processes. Online stores typically advertise over two channels — Google Adwords and Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads are also integrated with Instagram. If you sell products in an industry like fashion or travel, Instagram is a lucrative channel to find customers and Facebook Ads can also help with this.

How to find the right marketing channel?

Before you start your marketing campaign it is worth doing your homework and spend some time thinking and researching where is your audience. For example, if you’re running an online store selling stylish socks like happysocks.com, it might be probable that your customers — teenagers or those in the early 20-ties spend a lot of time on Facebook or Instagram. Also, they might be interested in your product, even if they are actually not looking for new socks right now.

This makes Facebook Ads a perfect marketing channel for starting the campaign of your online store. How do Facebook Ads work? They enable you to select the group of your potential customers, based on their nationality, age, interests, or even specific Facebook profiles they like and target them with an advertisement presented in a news feed. Setting up a Facebook campaign takes time but spending a few hours or days on learning its basics might bring you a really worthy reward in future sales. If you need a hefty guide to running Facebook campaigns, you can find it here.

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Another marketing channel you can use is AdWords, which are simply the advertisements presented in the google search results. You set up the keywords which will trigger the advertisement to appear only to the people looking for a particular product. So for example, when somebody types “buy stylish wallet”, you can set up google to view the ad of your e-commerce store with branded wallets on the first page of google results.

This might be especially useful for dropshipping businesses where you mostly care about people who already are in need and search for particular products. And what is even cooler, you only pay for a click (CPC — Cost-per-click), meaning you don’t spend money for those only viewing your advertisement and not visiting your website. The cost, however, differs depending on the popularity of keywords you want to target so if you sell very popular and competitive products like smartphones, it might turn out that this marketing channel is not profitable for your business.

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There are a bunch of other online marketing channels you can use, including LinkedIn, Twitter, or Pinterest, so coming back to the basics, you need to think where is your audience to target it right where they spend most of their time.

Introduction to marketing automation

Nurturing your target audience is a vital aspect of your marketing strategy in e-commerce. Marketing automation tools like MailChimp and Drip have free starter plans that help e-commerce marketers build a list of prospective buyers who they can nurture and convert into paying customers. In other words, using tools like MailChimp costs nothing to a startup e-commerce store and is thus a big boost to your marketing ROI.

The other aspect of marketing involves building loyalty and increasing conversions. Luckily there are a number of apps that can help you here. For example, an app like ReferralCandy can help you set up a referral program for your customers. There are also SaaS for setting up coupons, reaching out to users who have abandoned their carts, display popups, and so on. Depending on the e-commerce platform you choose, many such tools are available as easy-to-install apps from the native app store.

2. Customer support software

You want your customers to value your service.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com

Customer relationship and user experience play a big role in improving the ROI on any e-commerce operation. As we have pointed out earlier in this article, e-commerce marketing relies heavily on nurturing your prospective audience into paying customers. This is a gradual process that involves building customer relationships and by offering great customer experience.

A study published by EConsultancy found that live chat offered the highest customer satisfaction ratings among all communication methods. According to this report, over 73% of customers expressed satisfaction over live chat compared to just 61% among customers using email and 44% among those who used a phone to talk to the business representative.

As always you can browse through numerous live chat solutions that integrate with Shopify but one of them which is well integrated into the platform and is perfect for managing e-commerce businesses is LiveChat.

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Add live chat to your online store

After the registration, you simply need to download a LiveChat’s application in the Shopify store and that’s it, you’re ready to chat with your customers. LiveChat gives you options to customize the chat window visible on your website as well as provides the unique functions for e-commerce businesses, enabling you to measure the direct impact of your chat conversations on sales.

From a marketing ROI perspective, live chat tools are fantastic for online store businesses. For one, they do not require the same kind of capital investments that phone-based support channels do. Also, with live chat, an agent can converse with multiple customers simultaneously and this improves support productivity. In addition to this, live chats increase customer satisfaction, and these factors together help improve marketing ROI significantly for e-commerce businesses.

3. Analytical software for your store

The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight.
Carly Fiorina, Former CEO Of HP

Starting an online e-commerce business is not only about buying and selling. It is also about optimizing the way your store works and measuring your marketing efforts and results. A good first step for doing this is implementing analytical apps to measure your website’s activity.

The main app you can install at your kite store is Google Analytics, which will give you insight on who your visitors are, where they come from and what activity they’re performing on your website. After creating a Google Analytics account, you only need to copy the tracking code to the Shopify platform and you’re ready to go, you can now check the information about your website’s visitors and details about conversion, meaning the percentage of visitors that turn into a paying customer. Additionally, Google Analytics offers special e-commerce tracking functionalities which can also be activated in the Shopify menu.

Another app you can use is Hotjar — a free app that will enable us to track the detailed behavior of each and every visitor. So you can use it to actually see the video recordings of the behavior of our users. The installation is not the easiest one but if you follow Hotjar’s guideline is manageable as all you need to do is to copy the provided code in the appropriate places in the theme’s HTML and in checkout settings.

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Use Hotjar for your store’s analytics

Then, you’re ready to go and you can start seeing what visitors do on your website. Additionally, you can also analyze which areas of your store are most often clicked, which gives a huge insight into any changes in the layout and the design of your website.

E-commerce is a challenging industry to be in and as the owner of an online store, you will be required to wear multiple hats at the same time. SaaS-based tools discussed in this article can not only help you set up and manage all these various functions with ease, but also bring down the cost of operations thus significantly boosting your ROI.

Do you own an e-commerce business? Share your favorite software and apps in the comments below.

Now that you have the store ready, it’s time to make it grow. Check how to use software to grow an already operating store in the below guide:

-> 10 Best E-commerce Software Solutions — The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your Online Store

Matt Pliszka

Consultant at SoftwareSupp

How to monitor your leads’ activity through Pipedrive CRM

Knowing how far you’re in the relationship with your prospects is essential to assess the chances of your sale’s success.

Learn more about Matt and hire for services on his SoftwareSupp Expert profile page.

This guide is the part of An Ultimate Guide to Integrating Your CRM to Grow Sales and Automate Work.

Once you have your Pipedrive set up with your data imported into the system (data import) and your lead sources connected (CRM integrated with the website, mailing campaigns, customer service process) you’d now like to monitor how the leads progress through your sales process and how they respond to your campaigns.

Knowing how far you’re in the relationship with your prospects is essential to assess the chances of your sale’s success and to know which deals/prospects to focus on.

E.g. Let’s say you have 100+ deals in your pipeline but you only have 2–3 salespeople to handle the communication process. You’d rather have your team focus on the leads which have the highest probability to succeed (those that are the furthest in the sales process & show actual interest in your value proposition).

So how to do it properly in Pipedrive CRM with proper configuration & integration? Let’s take a look:

1. Configure sales process to actually reflect your relationships with customers.

A good first step to keep track of your leads’ activity is to properly set up the stages of your relationship with customers (pipeline stages). These should actually reflect the stages of your sales process.

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Example stages in the sales process

Once you have it properly set up, it’s much easier to prioritize your tasks and sales process. Simply focus on the deals that are furthest in the pipeline (the closest to the right-hand side in the pipeline). Also, start any summary meeting and discussion with your sales team from the deals which are closest to the right-hand side.

2. Set up probabilities for sales stages to forecast sales for upcoming months/quarters.

Once you have your sales pipeline configured, it’s worth spending some time assessing what’s the probability of each lead passing through a specific stage of your sales pipeline. This will provide you with the actual sales forecast, letting you plan your sales ahead of time.

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Probabilities' setup in Pipedrive

Inputting probabilities at the very beginning of using a CRM will be difficult as you don’t really know what’s the chance of progressing the deal to the next stage. Once you have some data to analyze (actual sales data) it will become much easier. You will then simply enter actual conversion data or Pipedrive (unfortunately, Pipedrive will not recalculate it automatically for you).

Tip! Pipedrive will also allow you to override overall stages’ probability with individual deals’ probabilities if you feel a certain deal is more likely to progress to the next stage of the sales process.

3. Implement a “no red circle” policy and set up “rotting days”.

After you have your sales process defined and sales forecast implemented, you can now focus on progressing the deals to the next stages and on monitoring your or your salespeople's activities and interactions with potential customers.

A good first step to make sure you’re able to effectively monitor activities for deals in your sales pipeline is introducing a so-called “no-red-circle” policy which means that none of the deals in the pipeline can have an exclamation mark (meaning no activity planned) or a red circle mark (meaning an activity with overdue date).

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Activity planning from the pipeline view in Pipedrive

This means all of your salespeople will need to actually report the activities they perform with leads in the CRM system. If any of the deals in the pipeline turns into a “red-circle” one, you can then set up a notification in Slack to notify your team about the need to execute or re-schedule the activity.

Also, if you’re in the industry with quick and intensive sales process (like retail), it’s good to set up a “deal rotting” making sure your deals cannot lag in your pipeline without any activity made for more than X days. Otherwise, they should be marked as lost.

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Deal rotting notifications in Pipedrive

4. Integrate with lead activity software.

With the “no red-circle” policy in place, you can now monitor the activities/interactions of your team with prospects/potential customers. But how to make sure you then know what happens on the customer’s side? You can’t spy on them whenever they turn on the computer but there are some techniques you can use to know when customers are browsing through your offer, e-mail, or website.

Integrate with proposal software

If you integrate your Pipedrive with proposal software, like PandaDoc, you will then be able to know what happens once you send the proposal to the customer. This includes the number of times they open your proposal or the most often viewed parts of your offer. Also, you can set up an instant Slack notification every time a customer opens your proposal and have your team call your prospect exactly when they scroll through your offering.

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Pipedrive & PandaDoc proposal software integration

Integrate with a lead scoring system

As Pipedrive does not have a built-in lead scoring system at the moment, you’d need to integrate it with a proper lead scoring solution like Salespanel to score leads based on multiple data collected in your CRM. The lead scoring solution will collect overall information about your leads’ activity, presenting you with a unified score reflecting your chance to close the sale with the customer.

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Salespanel lead scoring in Pipedrive

Integrate with your website

After you send a proposal, it’s very likely that your prospect will be visiting your website checking on your value proposition, reviews, and many others. It’s good to know when somebody decides to visit your website after your email. By integrating with tech solutions like Leadworx or Outfunnel, you will easily check on the website visits of your potential customer.

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Website tracking through Leadworx integration

5. Track your sales and marketing email opens and clicks.

Mailing remains one of the most important channels to communicate with your prospects. Hence, it’s important to know if your communication catches the eye of a potential customer.

Integrate with your newsletter campaigns

It’s essential to know if somebody opens your newsletters and it’s great to have this kind of information in your central CRM system (e.g. to catch the customer on the follow-up call). If you’re using MailChimp for emailing campaigns, you will easily stay up to date with your prospects opening or clicking on them, e.g. using an Outfunnel integration.

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Newsletter & Pipedrive integration through Outfunnel

Integrate with your outbound campaigns

If you use outbound to reach out to potential prospects, you can also use a proper integration to know about your prospects opening on clicking on your outbound campaigns. Set up an integration with your CRM system and have your team react to any replies, clicks, or opens of your campaigns (you can use Slack notification as additional notification support).

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Custom field for cold mailing campaigns in Pipedrive

Make use of built-in Pipedrive’s mail tracking features

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Pipedrive open and click tracking

Pipedrive will allow you to monitor clicks and opens for every email you send from Pipedrive CRM. Make use of this feature and monitor the status of your emails without the need to leave your CRM system. You can do it by marking a click and open icon whenever you send an email and by using a sales assistant every day you use your Pipedrive CRM.

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Pipedrive sales assistant with open and click tracking

-> Learn how to integrate with mailing solutions and outbound campaigns in our guides on How to configure and use mailing in Pipedrive CRM and How to integrate Pipedrive CRM with cold emailing campaigns in 3 steps.

Monitor your leads’ activity and stay active in your sales process

Having the data about your leads and their activity in one central place will allow you to make data-driven decisions in your sales process. It will also help you focus on the leads in your pipeline which actually have a chance of closing instead of reaching out to each and every lead not interested in what you’re offering.

Integrating with all the lead activity happening in your business will also let you analyze the activity data and optimize your sales processes. However, we will look into data analytics in the next part of our guide.

For now, use the right tech setup and integration to your advantage and to improve your team’s sales efficiency.

Matt Pliszka

Consultant at SoftwareSupp

CRM Support for Diesel Sales

Learn how we helped Diesel Sales by integrating their Pipedrive CRM with lead generating websites.

We were very happy with Zapier and Pipedrive integrations SoftwareSupp implemented for us, it was a rather complex project that required parsing email data and they did a great job making it work.

Lauren, Director of Marketing at Diesel Sales

Time of the project: 1 month

Scope:

  • CRM custom fields setup
  • Multi-website integration
  • Email parsing
  • CRM integration

Effect: 1h a day saved on manual data copy

Expert realizing the service:
Michael Karas, Pipedrive Expert and Project Manager

Company’s biggest challenges

Diesel Sales is an automotive company that focuses its sales efforts on utilizing several external portals for lead generation. Once the lead is interested in buying an automotive part, they fill out the questionnaire on one of the landing pages leaving their contact information. Then, using the Intermedia Distribution List, it is distributed to a given employee that is taking over further conversations.

There were so many offers coming from several different landing pages that it wasn’t possible to directly integrate them with Pipedrive or add Pipedrive web form to them. That’s why the CRM used to be filled manually. It was problematic for the employees and consumed too much time. In addition to that, the customer’s requirement was that the emails needed to be clearly and graphically visible in Pipedrive along with all the data.

Once Diesel Sales reached out to SoftwareSupp, we got to work right away. We estimated the project scope in 1 hour, started it in 24 hours. Every ticket or request during the whole cooperation was taken care of in 1 hour.

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But let’s get into the details

We were ready to cooperate in our usual way. Right away we created an Asana board that was integrated with the ticketing system and dedicated Slack channel. All these channels were shared with the customer so the information was smoothly and instantaneously distributed. By taking care of this high-level project management SoftwareSupp was able to maintain its open and clear communication policy.

Information flow needs to be as simple as possible, and the customer needs to have access to all the steps we’re taking towards success. This is our mantra.

After testing a few options, we came up with a solution:

First, we took advantage of Email by Zapier and added it to the existing Intermedia distribution list. Now, included in the list, Zapier also receives emails of finished questionnaires. Next, Zapier saves received emails in HTML format. Finally, Zapier collects all the form data and passes it to Pipedrive along with the HTML version of the email. Thanks to this, it’s possible to view everything in a visually-friendly manner within Pipedrive. Our solution also made it possible to automatically generate deals using customer’s data and information from the form.

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Final results

This solution was exactly what the customer wanted based on their business goals and needs discussed at the beginning of our cooperation. They saved at least 2 hours of daily manual work and automated a big part of their duties being able to spend this time on getting new customers.

We took the lead on providing excellent support to smoothly take Diesel Sales through their implementation using both our perfect CRM and 3rd party tools knowledge. Our 40h support package allowed Diesel Sales to automate crucial parts of their sales efforts and most importantly save time and money.

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Mike Karas

Project Manager at SoftwareSupp

SoftwareSupp

5 min read

SoftwareSupp customer service, project and platform guidelines

Our guidelines for SoftwareSupp Freelancers for successful project delivery.

After running hundreds of projects, we’ve noticed that there are a few main challenges for companies working with freelancers, consultants and agencies supporting them with development and other services:

  • Recruitment and execution — recruitment takes a lot of time and resources and execution of the professional hired directly cannot be guaranteed, with SoftwareSupp, you hire in 24h and make sure you always get continuous service
  • Communication, project owning, settlement — When hiring directly, settlement rules are often not clear up front. Working with freelancer or agency there is often a mismatch of communication, due to different time zones and differences in availability, often there is no actual decision-maker owning the project and aligning technical implementation with business expectations. SoftwareSupp provides a simple and straightforward way of billing and acts as a party coordinating the service and hiring process
  • Technical setup’s quality — in every project, the technical delivery part is crucial and companies are not able to ensure proper quality of delivered implementations if they hire directly, SoftwareSupp ensures quality through recruitment process and delivers high quality service

Let me show you how we address these problems at SoftwareSupp by managing the network of certified freelancers and what kind of guidelines we follow when working with customers, by:

  • Delivering the right expert and launching the project in less than 24h, saving time and resources on recruitment and project organization
  • Guiding the customer through the details of the project and liaising between the customer and developers/experts
  • Ensuring quality by NPS monitoring, escrow mechanism, dedicated platform, task system

Customer service guidelines at SoftwareSupp

Important! SoftwareSupp is an elite network of freelance professionals and we always deliver highest quality work and services to customers, aligning to customer's demands and expectations. Experts need to organize their time and engagement (either full time, part time or hourly) to meet the standards required by SoftwareSupp's customers and are required to deliver actual relevant work for the customers. Certified SoftwareSupp Freelancers need to represent highest standards both in terms of communication and skills and shall properly represent SoftwareSupp.

Work and updates
We work in weekly sprints, meaning:

  • Tasks planned and executed for every week
  • Weekly summary calls with the customer if requested by the customer (at customer's preferred time/convenience) and/or email summary
  • Weekly summary reported in SoftwareSupp system with hourly measurement

Key work is planned and reported through a dedicated platform available for experts and customers for free.

Reporting and communication

SoftwareSupp project board


Key communication like milestones updates and additional work need to be reported through SoftwareSupp project board.

Regular communication is conducted through a preferred customer's communication channel.

For email communication, SoftwareSupp delivers a dedicated mailbox under domain expert.softwaresupp.com for every member of the network.

All the tasks that are in progress or are completed need to have a number of hours spent reported.

All the tasks that are on the to do list, need to have an estimated number of hours to complete, indicated.

The above are required for a proper settlement, remuneration process as well as to ensure top quality service for our customers.

Query replies
We provide 1h response time to the customer. For every query handled we deliver:
a) an answer to the customer question (the real and actual one, once we don’t know something and need to check on this, we say this, if we require more time to work on the job/problem, we communicate it transparently)
b) estimated time to complete the job, delivery time
(in hours or a deadline when it can be delivered, preferably by reporting in SoftwareSupp project system)

Every query (if it requires action on the developer/expert side) should be followed by:
a) Actual action/activity taken by the expert/developer, work delivered
b) A task created in the system (this can also be done in weekly summaries)

If we don’t know the answer:
a) if it can be checked quickly (e.g. by asking our community/partners) we 1. Inform the customer that we’re checking on this, 2. check with other experts/developers. An internal SoftwareSupp team or a community of expert can then come back with the answer to the question and support a developer/expert in solving the issue)
b) if it requires research (e.g. dev issue) we 1. Inform the customer that we’re checking on this and that it might take a while and 2. check on this by running research.

Password submission
Any access to the software should be collected by using one of the below process:
a) Adding your email under domain expert.softwaresupp.com account as admin, or:
b) Adding support@softwaresupp.com account as an admin, or
c) Submitting access through a secured form:
https://www.cognitoforms.com/SoftwareSupp/SecuredAccessUpload

Dev work/release
Any dev work is performed according to the following process:
a) The solution is always first implemented on the freelancer's or company’s staging environment
b) The solution is tested for proper setup/implementation
c) The solution is released on the production or is simply duplicated for the company’s production in the same way it was implemented on staging

Meeting (or remote sessions) guidelines:

  • Customer can book a meeting with an expert/developer at their convenience using a SoftwareSupp meeting system available to customers and freelancers or with the help of the below link:
    https://calendly.com/softwaresupp/software-consultation
  • An expert/developer needs to attend the meeting with the customer
  • If the expert/developer person due to unusual circumstances is not able to attend the meeting, he must send the message to the customer that he/she is not able to attend and propose an alternative time to meet (reschedule)
  • Every meeting should be followed by a 3-point summary sent to the customer. Any additional tasks following the meeting should be submitted through the task system (this can also be done during weekly reporting)

Hourly tracking at SoftwareSupp:

For projects with hourly tracking, we do hourly tracking for every completed job and item, reporting the time spent in the dedicated project board.

Quality monitoring guidelines:

A customer is sent a weekly questionnaire checking on the customer’s NPS score (how likely he/she is to recommend our services to a friend).

Link to the form is available in the dedicated project board.

Payment guidelines:

Payments for services are made based on reported hourly time and freelancer's hourly rate every 2 weeks to the freelancer's safe balance account.

To receive payment for your services to your bank account, please send the payout request to payments@softwaresupp.com, together with the bank details and/or invoice.

The payments to the bank accounts are made in 24h time.

Processes guidelines at SoftwareSupp

1. Expert lead acquisition

SoftwareSupp experts can participate in lead acquisition process.

By participating in lead acquisition process expert can earn:
- 25% of the customer's lifetime value if the lead is passed to the pool of other certified freelancers (e.g. no work capacity)
- priority in handling the customer as an expert

This process involves:
1. Introduction of SoftwareSupp network (SoftwareSupp’s values, mission and the kind of benefits SoftwareSupp customers get once they become the customer including network access, platform, etc.)
2. Presentation of the SoftwareSupp offer, pricing.
3. Planning and project drafting

The sales process involves 30-60 minute meeting showcasing how SoftwareSupp works and presenting the next steps in the process.

SoftwareSupp provides leads to be acquired through SoftwareSupp platform.

To launch the work with SoftwareSupp and hire a Certified SoftwareSupp Freelancer, the first step is always getting an hourly plan (up to specific amount of hours depending on the expert’s hourly rate), which starts at $300.

The minimum hourly rate is $50/h and the customer will always get the person with the right tech/software stack within this rate from EU / Asia, ready to start work in 24h time. In case the customer requires a US-located or Western Europe located person, the minimum hourly rate might rise to $100/h.

The minimum hourly rate is non-negotiable.

Every lead needs to receive a summary with planned work through SoftwareSupp Project system (expert creates an account for the customer if this hasn't been created by the customer and builds the project in the system), this acts as tracking for commission and remuneration purposes.

Once the hourly plan is launched, a customer instantly opens the communication with a certified freelancer, having access to the project board allowing to submit any tasks or items for realization.

Once a customer has an hourly plan active, they might decide to realize a larger project or regular engagement, get an offer and estimate for their project. For this a similar process applies (planning work through project system).

Expert should notify SoftwareSupp about every lead's outcome, both in case of success or loss.

SoftwareSupp notifies expert about the outcome shall it arises on the SoftwareSupp's side.

Important! Experts can earn by acquiring and processing SoftwareSupp leads but can also refer SoftwareSupp externally through SoftwareSupp Partner Program, earning 25% lifetime commission with the use of built in affiliate link system.

2. Expert matching

The information about the project is shared with the available pool of certified experts based on experience and skills in selected technology. Typical information indicated in the project include:

  • Job information/tasks
  • Budget (this is typically an initial budget for the work with most of the contracts set as hourly engagement)
  • Any other information on the job required

Experts can sign up for the the project providing most important information about their offer, including:

  • Remuneration for the service (you always get a full price indicated in your quote) - still most of the SoftwareSupp projects are hourly-based
  • Scope of the service
  • Any additional information like the project's schedule

Important aspects of sending your offer at SoftwareSupp:

  • The offer you send to the customer is valid and represents the final quote or hourly rate (you always get the full price quoted)
  • Please do not provide your direct contact information or pricing issues in the additional information field (direct contact is provided to the customer by SoftwareSupp on signing the contract with the customer)
  • If you're not able to provide exact price for the work/project, please provide the estimated price based on the provided scope or for hourly projects your remuneration for the indicated hourly work

The expert is then selected by the customer or suggested by SoftwareSupp team based on:

  • Matching the customer's needs
  • The availability and budget
  • The speed of response

The ultimate decision on the expert's selection/choice is always made by the customer.

Important! Contracting SoftwareSupp customers/projects outside SoftwareSupp and discussing the expert's remuneration issues between expert and SoftwareSupp without SoftwareSupp engagement/approval is forbidden and can result in immediate termination of co-operation between SoftwareSupp and the expert.

3. Project launch

After the customer's decision and start of the project, a customer and expert receive a welcome email that contains:

  • A welcome message with more information on the service
  • Introduction to the dedicated expert/freelancer at SoftwareSupp
  • Information on the next steps in the project (tasks shall be planned through SoftwareSupp project system)

4. Platform onboarding and collecting information

Once the customer is onboarded to the project, he/she is requested to share access to software tools through a secured password submission form. Together with the password, the customer should also be requested to deliver information about the company’s stakeholders (email addresses, phone numbers).

https://www.cognitoforms.com/SoftwareSupp/SecuredAccessUpload

5. Expert onboarding

An expert/freelancer is onboarded to the project, following the below process:

  1. Providing access to the SoftwareSupp application/marketplace.
  2. Presenting with the customer service guidelines we follow here at SoftwareSupp.
  3. Introducing the expert to the customer and planning the execution in SoftwareSupp project system.

Matt Pliszka

Consultant at SoftwareSupp

How to integrate Pipedrive with SendGrid

If you’d like to integrate your SendGrid mailing campaigns with Pipedrive, there are 2 ways to do this.

If you don’t know what is Pipedrive, yet, you can test Pipedrive CRM for extended 30 days (normally it’s 14) using this link.

If you’d like to integrate your SendGrid mailing campaigns with Pipedrive, there are 2 ways to do this:

  • Zapier integration
  • API integration

Let’s look into the ways Zapier could be integrated with SendGrid:

  • Zapier integration

Within Zapier, SendGrid offers one action which is sending an email. That means that you will be able to send emails automatically from SendGrid once an action is performed in Pipedrive. How to trigger an email sent to your customers in Pipedrive?

  1. Set up a custom field (single choice) field “Add to SendGrid campaign” for a contact.
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2. Create a Zapier connection between Pipedrive and SendGrid to send email automatically once the custom field changes in Pipedrive.

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3. Test and launch the integration.

Still, you can select other actions to trigger the action in SendGrid (like a deal progressing to the next stage or an update in your company’s details.

  • API integration

Alternatively, you can use a Pipedrive & SendGrid API to create a more robust custom integration.

Matt Pliszka

Consultant at SoftwareSupp

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