Apps or modules are incredibly important for any eCommerce platform’s ecosystem. Without them, it’s extremely difficult and expensive to add new pieces of functionality to your site.
In other words, you can oftentimes get a lot more functionality for a lot less money than hiring a developer. Apps can range from tiny little pieces of functionality to full blown SaaS platforms providing complimentary services to your eCommerce platform.
With so many out there, it can be overwhelming to weed through which ones you should be looking at implementing to make your eCommerce program that much more effective.
So, here are 5 apps that I think you should be running on your BigCommerce store. These are not in any sort of order of importance, but we’ll start with the obvious ones and work our way to some you may not have considered.
The first app I want to talk about is Klaviyo: Email is still an important revenue generation tool for businesses that are using it properly. This seems obvious to folks that are doing it but I keep running into businesses that aren’t. It’s important for you to squeeze every dollar out of your traffic. Every eCommerce platform, including BigCommerce, is limited in it’s email functionality. Sure, it may have the basics but you are quickly going to hit the limits of those capabilities if you start actually using them.
There are a lot of great email marketing automation platforms out there and if you are using and happy with one of those then good for you. We like Klaviyo on BigCommerce because Klaviyo’s pricing is more small business friendly than the big enterprise platforms and has no long term commitments if it doesn’t work out for you. It also has been built and grown via SaaS platform customers on Shopify and BigCommerce so it plays well with the most popular apps and services in those spaces.
Sales Tax Automation
The next app I want to discuss is sales tax automation. Yeah, I know, sales tax automation sounds like a category not an app. There’s a reason for it, depending on your needs there may be a different solution for you.
I think we can all agree, taxes suck. I feel like I’ve paid more than my fair share of taxes. You know what’s worse than paying taxes? What happens to you if you don’t pay your taxes. You don’t want to be that guy. Nobody looks good in an orange jumpsuit.
I feel like tax automation should be a requirement for an eCommerce business at this point. Each state is slowly rolling out their own tax requirements for selling in their state.
Tax automation is absolutely critical. There’s several of them that our customers use depending on their needs. Avalara bought their way into being the default sales tax automation app on BigCommerce. We have a great partnership with Vertex and highly recommend them to our customers. You also have Taxjar that can oftentimes be a little more small business friendly in their pricing.
I don’t really care which one you choose but you need to have one of them.
ShipperHQ comes pretty much out of the box with Bigcommerce so you have it even if you don’t want it. You might as well use it. Also, look into what else they have to offer other than just
their default plan. They really enable some fairly complex logistics with just the click of a few
buttons plus they have some basic buy online pick up in store functionality that can be useful if you need that capability.
Even if your shipping needs are basic, the carrier’s APIs go down all the freaking time. Much more often than most people realize. That can wreak havoc on your website and cost you sales, especially if it happens at an inopportune time. ShipperHQ buffers you from that mess and keeps your site moving right along despite what’s going on with your carriers of choice.
Customer acquisition costs are increasing every day and it’s not going to get better. Organic SEO is vital for healthy margins. You need to invest in content and techniques to grow your organic reach because you don’t have all the money in the world to keep up with those skyrocketing ad costs. If you did you wouldn’t be here watching this video. It’s ok, I don’t think less of you. I do wish I had some viewers with deep pockets though. I feel like we are getting sidetracked again.
Answerbase is a Q&A and content tool that has a unique approach that can help you build a library of high ranking content around your products and related topics while also providing content that can help increase your conversion rates.
If you haven’t considered Answerbase, give them a hollar, tell them I sent you, take a demo and let me know your thoughts in the comments.
The next app we need to talk about is Fast. You like sales, don’t you? I thought so.
I see this a lot on Twitter from the Shopify folks. And while the Shopify-Twitter crowd can come across as a bit cult-like, they do have something going for them.
Once you have ordered with Shopify payments it’s really easy to do it again on another website. Fast has the capability, with widespread adoption, to have this same effect on every other platform, except Shopify.
The equation for its benefit is fairly simple. Once a customer uses the service, their future checkouts are easier and thus they should convert at a higher rate. So, the more businesses that use it for their checkout, the more customers it gets into its system. The more customers it gets into its system, the more incentive there is for other businesses to use it because it increases conversion rates for those customers in the system. Does that make sense? Maybe.
There are other services out there like Bolt that are doing similar things but Fast seems to be on that Shopify level when it comes to mastery of hype. They are still extremely new but hopefully they can actually deliver on that hype. The jury’s still out so we’ll see.
That’s it, a quick and dirty 5 things you should be using on your BigCommerce site.
If BigCommerce doesn’t seem to tick all the right boxes for you, check out our comparison of BigCommerce vs Magento. Adobe Commerce is Magento to the max, so you might find more features there.