10 social ecommerce tools for online retailers

The more popular social media gets, the harder it can be for online businesses to stand out enough to find new customers or reach existing ones. These 10 ecommerce tools will help.

10 Social Ecommerce Tools for Online Retailers
lattesmile and Bordei Liana Monica

Social commerce is a way for any online business to leverage trendy social networks to drive sales, improve customer relationships and enhance business branding. How important is social integration with the shopping experience? According to a recent report from Reevoo, consumers spend more than twice the time on e-retail sites that provide social content compared to ecommerce sites lacking social integration. This slideshow looks at 10 social ecommerce tools to help small business retailers go beyond "Like" to reach more customers and increase sales on the most popular social networks.

Based in Nova Scotia, Vangie Beal has been covering small business, electronic commerce and Internet technology for more than a decade. You can tweet with her online @AuroraGG.

Storefront Social

Storefront Social: Create Facebook Stores

The Storefront Social app creates a Facebook storefront for fans to shop. You can customize the store and import products from your site directly to Facebook using the built-in Facebook Connection Wizard. Storefront Social offers language options to reach a larger audience on the Facebook platform; likewise, customers can pay for items in multiple currencies using PayPal or Google Checkout. Basic plans start at $9.95 per month with a 7-day free trial included.

Noteworthy features: Create a Facebook store; customize every aspect of the layout; no transaction fees.

Tips: How to Sell on Facebook: Promote, Personalize and Engage

AddShoppers Social Shopper Login

AddShoppers Social Shopper Login: Let Customers Register Using Social Accounts

Designed to increase registration rates and shopper engagement by reducing registration to a couple of clicks, the AddShoppers Social Shopper Login lets ecommerce merchants allow logins and acquire customer details from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Amazon and PayPal. With social data in hand, you can then customize your ecommerce store based on your shoppers' likes and interests. Subscription plans start at $99 per month with a free 30-day trial included. There's also a free community plan option.

Noteworthy features: Integrate Facebook and other social log-in data; create personalized shopping experience; streamline workflow with social data.

More: 6 Ways to Add Social Media to Your Web Design


Chirpify: Use Twitter Hashtags for Ecommerce

The Chirpify social conversion platform activates #hashtags in Twitter streams for ecommerce conversions. Brands simply create an offer and tweet to followers with a picture. Shoppers can reply with #actiontags — like #buy, #donate or #enter— and the transaction is automatically processed. Chirpify can be used for direct sales, charity donations, contests and other actionable events on Twitter. Businesses can license the Chirpify platform for a single campaign or on an ongoing basis with a variety of packages available to meet specific social goals.

Noteworthy features: Leverage Twitter-based social commerce; capture social profiles and customer data; view campaign analytics.

How-to: 16 Tips for Ecommerce Success


Ecwid: Add Social Shopping Cart to Websites

The Ecwid online shopping cart integrates with an existing website or can be added it to your business page on social media networks, including Facebook. From the cart dashboard, merchants copy a few lines of code and paste them onto any page on your website or public profile page. Ecwid subscription plans start at $12.50 per month. This ecommerce service is free for up to 10 products.

Noteworthy features: Embed a store on any website or social profile; support multiple payment solutions; integrate Facebook Like and Comment buttons.

More: 6 Easy Ecommerce Shopping Carts for Small Business Websites


Soldsie: Sell Through Comment, Shared Photos

Soldsie can be integrated alongside existing ecommerce to sell directly to your Facebook fans by leveraging popular commenting and photo-sharing features on social networks. Simply connect Soldsie to your Facebook page, upload photos, add creative product descriptions and run a Facebook sale. Customers can type "buy" in the photo comments to purchase.

Noteworthy features: Create unique Facebook sales; leverage Facebook Comments to convert sales; use Soldsie Dashboard to sell on both Facebook and Instagram.

How-to: Use Facebook 'Offers' to Market Your Business

Sociable Convert

Sociable Convert: Get Recommendations from Friends

From inviting friends to share their purchases to personalizing the shopping experience, Sociable Labs has a large offering of applications that makes use of the social graph — that is, information people provide about themselves on Facebook. The Sociable Convert applications can help you personalize the user's site experience, with recommendations and advice from friends. Sociable Labs offers different plans, allowing you to choose from a range of social applications to suit your needs and budget.

Noteworthy features: Quick site registration using Social sign-in, personalization with recommendations and advice from friends; dynamic displays of the latest trending products.

Also: 35 Open Source and Free Tools to Manage Your Online Store

Pinterest for Business

Pinterest for Business: Create a Bulletin Board of Products

Using the power of pictures, Pinterest for Business helps people discover your business and share what they like with friends. Simply create a business account on Pinterest, verify it and add the "Pin It" button to your site to create your own visual collections of products. Retailers can interact with the boards pinned by shoppers, and your boards can be shared on Pinterest and other social platforms.

Noteworthy features: Create a business account to help people find your business on Pinterest; add the Pin It button to products you want to share; use Web analytics to see what's most popular on Pinterest.

Analysis: Pinterest Steps Up its Game, Improving Mobile Apps and User Experience


3dcart: Integrate Social Sites Into Your Online Store

The latest version of 3dcart offers much more than your average online shopping cart. You can setup a Web store and integrate your business Twitter feed, incorporate social bookmarking tools and sell directly on your Facebook Fan Page. As an added bonus, your Facebook fans can resell your items with a built-in affiliate feature. 3dcart is a good choice for any business looking to invest in an online store with full social integration. Plans start at $19.99 per month.

Noteworthy features: Create a new online store, integrate Facebook store; review individual product performance.

More: 10 Open Source Shopping Carts to Run Your Ecommerce Business


ToldYa: Put Your Online Store Anywhere

A ToldYa store gives retailers all the features needed to set up an online shopping site. This portable ecommerce Web application lets you copy a store directly to any website, blog or social profile. Customers purchase using any major credit card, all without leaving the page they're currently visiting. ToldYa also integrates with PayPal or with any existing payment system. ToldYa charges a 6.99 percent processing fee on each order.

Noteworthy features: Copy your store directly to your profiles; sell products, services among friends on social networks; send Tweets automatically to keep your followers informed.

More: 5 Best Ecommerce Software Platforms for Small Business


Beetailer: Port Your Web Store to Facebook

Beetailer's software ports an existing Web store onto Facebook and provides detailed analytics so you can track your social sales. Simply connect your store to Beetailer (a step-by-step wizard is provided) and customize it — your store will now be live on Facebook using your existing ecommerce checkout system. Social analytics provides insights to your campaign results, historical data and detailed visitor information. Pricing starts at $50 per month. A free trial version and free limited accounts are also available.

Noteworthy features: Import an existing Web store to Facebook; customize the social store to your liking; design specific campaigns to increase fans, comments or social sales.

Analysis: Can Facebook Replace Traditional Business Websites?

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.