Although sales took a global nosedive in March and April of 2020, eCommerce maintained strong overall growth. As we navigate to a new normal, it’s clear that more customers want to skip brick and mortar experiences in favor of eCommerce.
If you’re a retailer, you’re leaning into the online space for boosting sales. But, while digital marketing strategies will take you far, the functionality of your eCommerce site is just as important.
Shopify is one of the most common eCommerce website platforms. Thanks to Shopify apps, this platform gives shop owners the versatility and flexibility of having a developer on staff—without having a developer on staff.
Our 7 best free Shopify apps for 2020
If you’ve created a new Shopify site to sell eCommerce products, now’s the time for optimizing your site. Push through the COVID-19 downturn by boosting your site’s performance with the right Shopify apps.
These apps work like WordPress plugins: simply download the code, apply it to your website, and enjoy the new functionality.
While some apps are paid, there are many useful free apps in the Shopify marketplace. Here are our team’s 7 favorite free Shopify apps to get your eCommerce site on the right foot.
While some retailers sell their own products, others go with a dropshipping model. You can hire a dropshipper, like Oberlo, to sell other people’s products on your Shopify store. This is an attractive model because there’s no need to manage your own inventory or worry about sourcing product.
While the Shopify app is free to install, they’ll start charging you after selling 500 products or fulfilling 50 orders, whichever comes first. After that, you can expect to pay $30/mo.
2. Plug in SEO
Sure, Shopify is a great website platform, but you still need to optimize it for search engines. Our favorite free SEO app is Plug in SEO. The free version will help you improve the back-end information on your site, ranking better in search engines over time. Plug in SEO also checks your site for speed issues, sends email alerts, and recommends SEO fixes.
You can always pay the $20/mo fee to get advanced features like how-to videos, free installation, and automatic SEO improvements, too. Since SEO is so important to your bottom line, this app could be worth the upgrade.
3. SEO Image Optimizer
You aren’t done optimizing your site at this point, though. Every product image on your eCommerce site needs SEO help. The SEO Image Optimizer app is a free tool that helps you optimize these images without digging into your website code.
This app lets you change your image alt-text, which is critical for a smart keyword strategy. You can upgrade to the $25/mo option to get more hands-on help if you need more guidance for SEO (or you could skip the hassle and work with Logical Media Group).
eCommerce stores thrive on repeat orders. But how do you convince shoppers to keep buying?
Rewards programs make this possible. Fortunately, you don’t need to hire a developer or buy pricey software to do customer loyalty right.
Smile offers a free customer loyalty program for Shopify businesses. This encourages people to shop more regularly with a VIP program and points tracking. It can even integrate with your email marketing software or CRM for better customer analytics.
When you’re selling physical products through eCommerce, you have to work even harder to earn customer confidence. Reviews are the best way to do that.
94% of customers read reviews before buying anything. Encourage customers to leave more honest reviews on your site with the free Yotpo app. Yotpo automatically collects reviews and photos from your past customers.
Simply collect customer feedback, review it, and let it go live. But resist the urge to censor relevant reviews. You might not like a two-star review, but if it’s relevant and honest, it should go on the site. Take that feedback to heart and let your customers make informed decisions with honest reviews.
Email marketing is the lifeblood of eCommerce. For example, most customers will add items to their cart and then leave without making a purchase. But with the right email strategy, you can increase sales by over 6% with an abandoned cart series.
Use the free MailerLite Shopify app to stay in touch with your shoppers. Send automated trigger emails to prevent abandoned carts. You can also boost customer lifetime value with “recent purchase” emails.
7. Announcement bars
- Free shipping: Shoppers love free shipping! Draw attention to your free shipping policy (if you offer it) to boost customer conversions.
- GDPR: Stay compliant and sell to a global audience with this announcement bar.
- Announcements: Tell customers about special sales, news, or discounts with this customizable bar.
The Bottom Line
Shopify has endless customizations and options. Make this platform work for your business as you grow eCommerce sales. Start with free tools and upgrade as you can afford it. Over time, this will not only increase sales, but make a name for your brand in the eCommerce space.