What Tools Do I Need to Run an Ecommerce Business?
To run an ecommerce business, you need the right tools.
The more technical term for this set of tools is your “technology stack.”
In these short interviews Ezra Firestone, an ecommerce marketer with over a decade of experience and multiple 7-figure ecommerce businesses, shares the tools you’ll need to run your ecommerce business.
Watch as Ezra gives his expertise on…
- How to use Live Chat effectively if your company doesn’t have the resources to man it.
- The platform Ezra uses for one click upsells.
- The role of email and what it should mirror to positively impact your sales.
Let’s start with…
Ezra Firestone on Platforms, Help Desk, and Live Chat
|Russ Henneberry:||Now, I know you don’t like to brag about yourself, but I want to give you a chance to just take a second here. Tell us what you’re working on. I know you’re working on some big stuff. Let everyone know that this guy knows what he’s talking about.|
|Ezra Firestone:||Yeah, and, in this industry, the way that people know you’re credible is if you’re actually doing it. So, we have a brand called BOOM by Cindy Joseph. It’ll do between 20 and 25 million in revenue this year. I’ve got another couple brands that’ll do a couple million, so I’m actually out there every day. My team is 40 people. I’m doing this stuff, and similar to what you guys do at DigitalMarketer, we found it to be really enjoyable and profitable to share what we’re doing. Lately, what we’ve started doing is building software. It’s really hard if you’re an ecommerce business owner to get your technology stack correct.|
|Ezra Firestone:||There are just so many things going. So, we’ve started to build things for our own business and share that with the community as well.|
|Russ Henneberry:||Well, let’s jump into that. The technology stack is something that confuses people, especially when they’re getting started. Or maybe they did get started and they’re like, “Wow, I’m kind of outgrowing the technology stack I’m on.” So, what are you recommending right now especially in terms of the ecommerce platform?|
|Ezra Firestone:||Yeah. Well, I think the only platform to use at this point is Shopify. Now when I got into the game, there was osCommerce, X-Cart, Zen Cart, Magento, Yahoo Store. It was all the platforms. Now, they’re like legacy platforms, right?|
|Ezra Firestone:||The way the electrical grid in the United States is built compared to some other countries who built it after—it’s really outdated and not done super well. There are just things that people learned and did better. So, Shopify, BigCommerce, and Volusion—those were the three platforms that came after the legacy group and made things better. Over the last couple of years, Shopify has really won that race. Their user interface is really simple. The payment integration is really simple. What makes them the best is that they have the most users. Having the most users means all the developers who develop cool stuff, like my company, want to do it for the platform that has the most users. So, because they have the most users, they end up getting the most integrations and third party apps. They’ve really, really won this race.|
|Russ Henneberry:||Yeah, it’s kind of like with us on the content side—I’m on the content side—with WordPress. You just had this giant base and everybody’s developing around it. WordPress is just the clear winner.|
|Ezra Firestone:||There’s nothing like it, you know?|
|Russ Henneberry:||All right, so what about the help desk? So, I’ve heard you say a lot of times customer service is important. You’ve got to pay attention to it. What are you recommending right now with the help desk?|
|Ezra Firestone:||Okay, so help desk is kind of tough, right? There’s one out there now called Help Scout. That’s like what everyone’s using. That’s the new version. There are some old legacy platforms like Zendesk and things like that. We are still on Zendesk. The reason we’re still on Zendesk is because Help Scout, which is the one everyone’s using now, doesn’t have all the integrations Zendesk has. Zendesk is a little complicated and it’s not as pretty to use, it’s not as easy to use, but it has the most integrations. For example, if someone Facebook messages me, if someone calls me, if someone emails me, if someone live-chats me—any one of those inbound communication channels—it all goes to this one platform at Zendesk.|
|Russ Henneberry:||They all create a ticket.|
|Ezra Firestone:||They all create a ticket.|
|Russ Henneberry:||Everything creates a ticket.|
|Ezra Firestone:||Not only that, when someone calls. My customer supporting agents, they have headsets. They log into Zendesk and they say I’m online. The call doesn’t come on a phone, it comes through the voiceover IP. They just see it coming in. They click accept and they’re connected. Everything is in this one place. There’s not really any other customer support system that I know of that’s as easy to use and affordable for small business owners. There’s stuff out there, you know, there’s Desk.com. There’s a bunch of stuff, but it’s not affordable the way Zendesk is.|
|Russ Henneberry:||Right. So as far as Desk.com, all that stuff—it’s just too enterprised. What about live chat? I know every site I’ve been that you own, I see live chat enabled. How important is live chat and what are you recommending right now?|
|Ezra Firestone:||People expect to be able to talk to a human being. When it comes to retail today, they expect that they can get somebody in some kind of digital communication before they make a purchase decision. So, live chat’s huge. I will say that for many years, we didn’t have the staff necessary. We didn’t have the money to have someone on live chat. So, what we did was we had a little chat box that said, “Hey, chat with us.” And when you popped it up, it said, “Hey, submit your message here. We’ll get back to you in 24 hours.” So that’s a way you can have live chat without actually having someone on. Again, there’s a new live chat out there called Intercom.io. It’s cool. The interface is cool. You can do a lot of stuff with it. You can push messages. It’s amazing. But it still does not have the ease of integration like a legacy chat platform. I use a legacy chat platform called Olark. I’ve been using Olark chat since 2007.
|Ezra Firestone:||That’s how long I’ve been using them. However, I do suspect that at some point, we will switch to Intercom. I do suspect that, at some point, we will switch to Help Scout. So, I think we’re going to make that jump the same way we jumped from Magento to Shopify. But we’re not quite there yet. It’s going to be a couple years.|
Zipify: High-Converting Landing Pages and the One Click Upsell
|Russ Henneberry:||Just like in anything in digital marketing, landing pages are super important. You’ve got to be able to build beautiful landing pages. High-converting landing pages. What do you have in the landing page department?
|Ezra Firestone:||Thank you for asking. My company, Zipify, produced an application called Zipify Pages. It’s a drag and drop sales funnel builder and landing page builder. If you’ve got a landing page that you want to send to someone after they buy, a post-purchase landing page or we use one called an incentivize video review generator and what that is, is like someone buys from us. We want to get a video testimonial from them. We’ve got a specific email and landing page that we send them.|
|The problem is that with Shopify, it’s a wonderful platform, but you still need a designer and a developer to build stuff, or you did before we built this landing page builder. We built this thing for ourselves because even with a development team and a designer and a copywriter, it was taking us like a month to produce a landing page. We’ve got a plug and play landing page built in for Shopify. Now if you’re not on Shopify, if you’re using a Magento or a BigCommerce or something like that, then you’re going to want to use a WordPress based landing page builder. Something like ClickFunnels or Leadpages.|
|The reason we don’t like to use those is, number one, they weren’t built for ecommerce. The pages are not really designed for ecommerce and having to track across platforms because if you’re using one of those it has to be on WordPress, so it’s going to be like blog.yourstore.com, then you need to set up the analytics to track across the platform. It’s just like a bunch of extra steps. I think, obviously, that my tool is the best. There’s nothing else out there at the moment and I think it is an important part of your business, having direct response pages.|
|Russ Henneberry:||If you’ve been hanging around DigitalMarketer long enough you know how important we consider the upsell to be, right? You’ve got somebody that purchased something, why not try to sell them something else, right there in that session. Your application company’s also handling one click upsells as well, aren’t they?|
|Ezra Firestone:||I think that for ecommerce business owners, they don’t quite yet get digital marketing the way that you guys do, the way that information marketers do. It’s just not really, I don’t know why, but none of the platforms allow you to do it natively. Not Shopify, not Magento, not BigCommerce. No sort of scale ecommerce platform that has a bunch of people allows you to do one-click upsells natively. I’ve got to imagine that at some point, they’re going to have to.|
|Russ Henneberry:||Before we move on, what is a one-click upsell? What does that mean that I can one click and upsell? Why is that important?|
|Ezra Firestone:||Here’s what I mean. Someone buys something from you. Okay, they go to your store. They find your product. They like it. They add it to their cart and they buy it. Most people, just say, “Hey, thanks so much. Great doing business with you. It’s going to come.” They send them to a thank you page. A one-click upsell is a page, or a series of pages, before that final Thank You page that makes additional offers, based on what they bought initially, where they can add to their order with one click. No credit card information, nothing. If they buy a watch, you can say, “Hey, would you like an extra watch band?” One click. Add it to my order. It’s extremely powerful and, as you know, you guys talk about it a lot, lifetime customer value and average order value are huge. The more that you make per order, the more you can afford to spend on advertising to acquire customers.|
|Russ Henneberry:||Right, and you guys we’ll link up some things below this video, whether you’re on YouTube or on our site, we’ll have some things about more about optimizing for average order value, but where can they find out more about Zipify and Zipify’s applications?
|Ezra Firestone:||You can go to Zipify.com. We’ve got all kinds of cool stuff. Check it out. I think you’ll like it.|
And then how do you promote your ecommerce business?
Thirty-three percent of Ezra’s sales are a direct result of email.
In the video below, I asked him about…
Email and Ecommerce
|Russ Henneberry:||Another super important part of your technology stack for ecommerce, email. What do you recommend these days?|
|Ezra Firestone:||We talk about what good email does, right? Good email communicates with each individual user based on their behavior. That’s how you do email well is you’re not just broadcasting everyone the same stuff. You’re communicating with people based on how they’ve engaged with you. The key is to have an email service provider that integrates with your ecommerce store in such a way that you can tell what each user has done and communicate with them appropriately.|
|Hey, they visited this page and not this page, put them on this email list. Hey, they bought this and not this, put them on this email list. In my opinion, the best one for Shopify is Klaviyo.|
|Ezra Firestone:||They’re so good because all of the behavioral data points, what people bought, what pages they visited, where they’ve been on the site, what they didn’t buy, it’s all appended to their profile and you can very easily build automations based on what they’ve done.|
|Now, there are other good email service providers out there. ActiveCampaign, GetResponse, MailChimp, Infusionsoft. None of them allow you to as easily sort of integrate that behavioral data into the ability to communicate with them.|
|Russ Henneberry:||I know from going through your ecommerce certification at DigitalMarketer, you use a lot of email. Talk about the opportunity in email. I mean, I know you’re excited about Facebook, right? You’re spending 75 cents out of every dollar on Facebook advertising, but how important is email and what role does that play?|
|Ezra Firestone:||Thirty-three percent of our total sales, of that $20 million dollars, comes from email.|
|Ezra Firestone:||Email’s incredible. We’re always trying to get leads. Anytime someone makes it to our platform, we are trying to acquire a lead. Look, you’re in the business of building groups of people, and you know the way you build groups of people? Facebook. Right? You get them on a retargeting list so that you’ve pixeledthem. You guys talk extensively about this, or you get them on an email list. Those are really the only two ways you can build a group of people to communicate with. You know, and so we’ve talked a lot about using advertising to communicate with people at different stages of the funnel. Email should mirror advertising. You should be having emails that go out to people at different temperatures, the same way you have ads. Those are your two communication devices. It’s imperative.|
Note, this post orignially appeared on Digital Marketer.