Making a successful e-commerce business costs money, but did you know that there are literally hundreds of free tools out there that can help you run your business more efficiently?
From measuring website performance to creating eye-catching images, there are lots of useful tools for online retailers. Some you probably know already, and others you might not.
We’ve collected some of the best free e-commerce tools that you can use to grow your store and increase sales and grouped them into four different categories: site performance, site optimization, marketing, and customer engagement.
This blog builds on a previous post which featured 11 of the top e-commerce tools, which included both paid and free.
Note: Most of the tools mentioned below offer paid plans too. But if you’re just starting out, the free versions offer more than enough.
Looking to discover more about your webstore and its visitors? Check out the best e-commerce tools for measuring site performance.
1. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the most popular tool for analyzing website traffic. It’s usually the first port of call when it comes to understanding how your online store is performing.
With Google Analytics you can get a very detailed picture of how users interact with your site and where they are coming from. As such, it’s an invaluable tool for all e-commerce merchants.
Getting familiar with Google Analytics is one of the most useful things a website manager can do.
When up to speed you’ll be able to find out things like how many people visit your site every day, where those visitors come from, and how they got to your site. You can also go more in depth and learn when and where people bounce from your site (a bounce is when someone views one page and leaves your site).
You can also set up detailed conversion tracking so you can monitor which traffic sources are responsible for the most purchases, allowing you to determine where to focus your efforts.
The best thing about Google Analytics? It’s completely free! Simply put, it might be the most essential e-commerce tool aside from your platform. You can get started here.
If you’re trying to improve your site’s rankings on Google search engines through SEO optimization, it all starts with Google Analytics and the next tool we’ll talk about.
2. Google Search Console
Another vital Google resource for online sellers is the Google Search Console.
The Google Search Console will help you understand how your site is performing and showing up in search engines. You can also see if your site has any issues related to page experience, core web vitals, or mobile usability.
You can also find data on keyword search rankings so you can understand how your site performs against the competition.
If you’re trying to improve your site’s SEO performance, the Search Console is a must.
Bitly is a URL shortening service letting you quickly create shortened links and analyze how they perform. You can also create customized brand links for each page of your site.
Bitly is free to use, but if you want to use branded links you’ll have to pay a subscription starting at $29 a month.
However, it’s completely free to start shortening your links for use on social media or elsewhere.
Looking to make your site faster or more user-friendly? Check out the best site optimization tools below.
One of the biggest drags on site speed is image size. Uploading images with big file sizes will slow your site down and anger customers.
It’s also free to start using and will be fine for most use cases. The Pro version lets you upload bigger images.
2. Google PageSpeed Insights
Another great tool from Google is PageSpeed Insights. This tool lets you analyze page speed and performance across both the mobile and desktop version of your site.
This is great because the shoppers of the future expect a seamless shopping experience, whether they shop on mobile or PC – having a similarly smooth experience on both is essential.
Apart from measuring page speed, you’ll also get tips on making your site faster and how to deliver a better page experience for both mobile and desktop visitors.
One of the best way WebSell retailers can avoid running into site speed issues is by upgrading their site to Next Gen. Read more about our hyper-fast webstore designs here.
Check out PageSpeed Insights here.
Hotjar allows you to go deeper into how users interact with your e-commerce website. They specialize in creating heat maps that show where users move their cursor and when they click on areas of your site.
Hotjar can help you understand user behavior on your site and help you identify where you can make improvements? Do customers keep clicking on something which isn’t a link? Maybe you should place a button or hyperlink there.
Hotjar’s free version gives you a limited number of recordings and heatmaps, but it’s a great way to start understanding how your visitors use your site.
Discover more about Hotjar here.
4. Google Mobile-Friendly Test
If you want to find out how mobile friendly your site is in a matter of seconds, then Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test is for you.
Paste your site’s URL into the test bar and Google will return suggestions for fixing any issues it has detected.
Common errors include having clickable errors too close together. You can uncover these issues and more by using the Mobile-Friendly Test.
You need eye-catching graphics to deliver your marketing messages, but most retailers don’t have graphic designers to hand.
With Canva you can create your own branded images and graphics to place on your site or social media channels.
You don’t need to have graphic design experience to get started either. Canva can be used by anyone.
Check it out here.
To get even more assistance and material for your new graphics, Pexels is a royalty-free library of stock photographs that you can use on your e-commerce store.
Different images do have different attribution parameters, but as long as you stick to their requirements you can find a wealth of resources for building out your site’s pages.
Check out Pexels here.
3. Google Drive and Google Docs
If you plan on blogging with your e-commerce store (and you should!) then Google Drive and Google Docs could become an essential free tool for you.
Part of the Google Workspace, both tools are perfect for when multiple members of your team are working on the same document.
Google Drive lets you organize and store files in the cloud and lets you assign permission levels to members of staff. That means you can have writers, commenters, editors, or just viewers all within the same document.
With Google Docs multiple people can work on the same text file at once. You can review and edit as a team as you go along which could be useful for meeting notes or writing timely blog posts. If your staff has different sets of experience across the team, this can be the most effective way to get content out quickly.
You can reduce back and forth emails and just work smarter with Google Drive and Docs.
Do you want to know how your competitors are getting traffic to their site? Want to know what their top traffic sources are or what technology they use on their site?
SimilarWeb lets you do exactly that.
Using SimilarWeb you can get detailed information about your competitors. You can also compare sites against each other and see info like where the sites rank globally in specific categories.
Check out SimilarWeb.
Email marketing is still the number 1 tactic for marketers when measured by ROI. If you’re an e-commerce business that isn’t sending emails then you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.
There are also many different platforms for sending emails.
For small businesses that are getting started, Mailchimp is the best choice. There are a number of pre-built templates that let you start emails straight away. Or you can code your own if you’re familiar with HTML.
Planning your social media posts in advance is often a better strategy than coming up with ideas on the spot. It keeps your channels active and doesn’t rely on your having new ideas every day.
Buffer is a social media scheduler that lets you compose, post, and schedule your updates for all your social media profiles from one calendar dashboard. You also get access to analytics on your posts so you can see how your channels are performing.
The free version of the tool lets you do all this across 3 channels. There’s a paid version if you want to expand even further.
If you want some help on creating your social media strategy, download our free Social Commerce ebook.
Another social media scheduler is Hootsuite. here you can manage and schedule from all your social media accounts including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more.
Hootsuite is one of the most widely-used social media schedulers and as such has a very easy-to-use interface.
With the free version you can connect up to 3 social media profiles. You can also download the mobile app, letting you manage your social profiles from your phone.
Check out Hootsuite.
With SurveyMonkey you can find out what your customers think about your site, products, and brand for free.
One of the best ways to understand your customers is to ask them questions. SurveyMonkey comes with survey templates so you can get up and running quickly.
Their free version lets you run unlimited surveys, but you are restricted to viewing just 40 responses per survey. For a small business just getting started, this might be all you need.
Find out more on SurveyMonkey.
Chatify is a live chat software that you place directly on your WebSell webstore.
Chatify’s free plan lets you have 100 conversions per month. Perfect if you’re just starting to test a live chat service on your site.
You can also set up automated messages to send to your customers when your staff are busy.
Learn more over on Chatify.