Getting started with ecommerce? Read the Hitchhiker's Guide to Making Money Online
Running a business in the modern era of information technology means online shopping and ecommerce is a must have. The virtual world of shopping has amplified how businesses can reach customers, locally and internationally, with their products and services.
The importance of having an online presence is so much more than posting regularly and having a website. Learn about your customers, and maximise visibility, all while selling products online, using key plugins and tools. Whether your small business already has an online store, or you are new to launching an ecommerce site, be sure to keep up to date with the latest plugins and tools that will help maximise your customer reach, whilst obtaining market research amongst other goodies.
There are a myriad of plugins, tools and websites to choose from, and finding the right one for your business is as easy as reading a list. Here are the best ecommerce tools and plugins for South African businesses to consider for their website’s store.
Must-have Ecommerce Website Builders to Try
Durban web developer and graphic designer Sanele Balintaba says, “The most groundbreaking plugins are Elementor Pro, WooCommerce and Shopify.” When he is working on a site for a client, these are his go-to plugin software to use.
Imagine having a Squarespace website, which is user friendly with templates that enable quick, easy website design, without the hassle of coding; and apply that with Elementor Pro on your WordPress. This plugin offers small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) with drag and drop features, designer-ready templates and promotional features. “Create an online store that showcases your products in the best light, turning viewers into active customers,” is the goal for Elementor Pro.
This open-source eCommerce plugin for WordPress, is designed for small-to-large sized online merchants who use the popular content management system (cms). This plugin is simple to install and customise. This plugin offers useful features such as tracking, customer engagement, delivery status updates, and inventory management. WooCommerce is said to be besties with WordPress, as its integration allows for impressive search engine optimization (SEO) value and eCommerce ability.
iKhokha’s Payment Gateway is available on WooCommerce-enabled WordPress websites. Accept card payments online with the iKhokha Payment Gateway and get low transaction rates that drop as you sell.
The must-love ecommerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale (pos) systems, is highly popular, and easy to use. When embedded to your website, Shopify has a superb ability to connect to your Social Media channels, and tag products for customers to explore and return directly to your website’s check out. You can customise your experience with Shopify when you use this software as an ecommerce plugin. If you use Shopify as your main website, the Shopify app store has a selection of free and premium plugins that extend the functionality of any online store. It is a great way to add more specialised features to Shopify.
Weebly is a web hosting service and offers a complete ecommerce website builder. Weebly’s software provides your shoppers with the convenience of a fully integrated shopping cart and a secure checkout experience directly from your ecommerce website. The shopping cart software will automatically be set up, letting you start selling online immediately, with no technical skills or coding needed. With Weebly, you can track your inventory, provide an extensive product filter search, and sell digital goods, like non-fungible tokens (NFTs), as well as physical products, and services. Weebly has flexible options for selling a wide range of products directly from your eCommerce website.
If your website is designed with Wix, you might be familiar with this ecommerce site. The Ecwid WordPress plugin creates simple checkout pages that include all the necessary features you will need for an ecommerce website. Ecwid supports over 40 international payment gateway options, real-time shipping integration, and 45 languages. This feature is superb for SMB’s looking to sell items to an international audience.
Must-have eCommerce Tools for a Business Website
WordPress has a wide range of plugin’s that can simply be installed to the backend of your personalised website. These extra tools are great for helping your business stand out with SEOs, and add extra customer support for your website’s visitors. Installing plugin tools can help with your website's user experience.
This popular WordPress plugin helps optimise your website for search engines and improves your website’s visibility to key audiences. When a customer ‘Google’s’ terms related to your SMB’s product or service, this SEO will rank your website higher on the search engine.
Yoast features meta tags, which will help you improve your website’s SEO ranking. The interface is user-friendly, and really does help people find you!
Never lose sleep over the loss of your work with BackupBuddy. This WordPress backup plugin allows you to schedule website backups. It also lets you direct backup files to other offline storage services like Dropbox, File Transfer Protocol, and the like. This tool allows you to migrate your website to another domain simply and securely!
Shopify Connect for WooCommerce
If you liked the sound of WooCommerce, but also want to dip your toe in Shopify, a solution is here: Shopify Connect for WooCommerce. You can use the Shopify and WooCommerce systems together. You will have the benefits of WordPress such as flexibility and customisability. This will enable you to sell products directly on social media platforms using Shopify’s connections (which is Shopify’s greatest pull factor).
Chatfuel is considered one of the best chatbot plugins for your WordPress site. Create a bot that automatically answers your customers’ queries, and save time having to reply, or losing a potential shopper because you were not available to respond. Chatfuel is also considered a leading no-code chatbot platform for Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. A great tool for covering all the bases.
SEMRush is used for keyword research and online ranking data, including metrics such as search volume and cost per click. The platform also collects information about online keywords gathered from Google and Bing search engines. Essentially, it is an SEO tool.
You have a beautiful online shop, and you want to understand how your customers are spending time on it. Tools like Crazy Egg have features, such as their heat maps, which highlight the parts of your site that are receiving visitor attention and which sections are neglected. Site recordings that show the entire user experience from the moment someone clicks on a page to when they leave. You get to review each visitor’s cursor movements along with everything they click on.
These ecommerce analytics tools really help business owners with data-driven insights, allowing you to measure your business’s progress. Data reports and user information are useful when you want to sit down and analyse what is or is not working for your ecommerce website.