BigCommerce email marketing: 5 types of plug-ins to add to your ecommerce store today
When you’re lining up plug-ins for your BigCommerce store, Mitch McKay, manager of marketing technology partnerships at BigCommerce, says one consideration should be paramount: integrations.
“Having a centralized data hub for all your communication touchpoints is crucial when you’re looking at integrations in the ecommerce space,” McKay says.
In order to give BigCommerce merchants access to “the most innovative, best-in-breed technologies in the industry,” McKay says, the ecommerce platform has an “open API philosophy” that “gives our tech and agency partners the ability to innovate.”
But which technologies are most important for high-quality email marketing on a BigCommerce-centered tech stack? McKay considers these 5 elements to be “core pillars”:
- Marketing automation plug-ins for BigCommerce
- Search and merchandising plug-ins for BigCommerce
- Loyalty, reviews, and user-generated content plug-ins for BigCommerce
- Customer support plug-ins for BigCommerce
- Store back-up plug-ins for BigCommerce
1. Marketing automation plug-ins for BigCommerce
As a brand, BigCommerce prides itself on being built for ambitious growth. “BigCommerce equips you with a complete, composable foundation and removes the ceiling from what’s possible,” McKay says.
That’s why an email marketing platform like Klaviyo might be a good fit for BigCommerce merchants.
One of the most important things an ecommerce retailer needs to do, McKay believes, is communicate with customers. “That’s what the integration with Klaviyo unlocks,” he says.
First, McKay praises Klaviyo’s “brilliant automated email flows” for solving a major problem for BigCommerce merchants: time.
“Time is everyone’s biggest challenge. We all have limited resources,” McKay points out. “One of the big things our brands are looking for is a way to convey their message to customers in an automated fashion.”
Klaviyo’s email marketing software enables BigCommerce merchants to:
- Create and deliver email marketing campaigns, SMS marketing messages, and on-site sign-up forms, including pop-ups and fly-outs.
- Build marketing messages from scratch or choose from 200+ pre-built email templates.
- Send real-time email automations like abandoned cart emails, welcome emails, transactional emails, and post-purchase product recommendations.
- Segment their email list and personalize communications to subscribers based on factors like:
- Purchase history
- Browse history
- Customer engagement
- Predicted lifetime value
- Use advanced A/B testing functionality to test email subject lines, CTAs, content, images, and more.
- Easily track and optimize key performance metrics like open rates, click rates, and conversions.
“That’s the beauty of the BigCommerce x Klaviyo integration—you can push out your compelling messages to the world in a way that’s automated, low-lift, and trackable,” McKay explains.
That last part is important. Klaviyo’s reporting and analytics dashboards make tracking performance easy—something McKay calls “powerful” because it “lets merchants know what’s working and what their customers are responding to, giving them the ability to stay agile and pivot when necessary.”
But what McKay loves most about the BigCommerce x Klaviyo integration is the wealth of data Klaviyo contains—crucial for developing a marketing strategy that drives conversion rates.
Because Klaviyo updates individual profiles in real time, based on customer data collected across other platforms and channels, it helps your online business deliver more relevant ecommerce marketing messages that make customers feel seen, heard, and valued.
“That’s impactful,” McKay says. “It’s truly improving customer shopping experiences, and creating a relationship between that customer and your brand.”
2. Search and merchandising plug-ins for BigCommerce
Once you’ve done the hard work of getting customers to your online storefront, “your conversions depend in large part on your on-site search experience,” McKay points out.
Consider a consumer who’s shopping for running shoes: They probably have a general idea of what they want, so they type a keyword into the search bar.
At that point in the shopping experience, “I want to see preview images because it allows me to add text until I see the item I’m looking for and then click through to the product page,” McKay explains. “Most often, I’m looking for a specific color or design. The sooner a shopper finds the correct item, the higher the conversion rate.”
“When I click on the preview image, if there’s multiple options, it should take me to that exact design I saw in the preview, because now I’m 3 clicks away from checking out,” McKay adds.
Every single touchpoint in the on-site search journey, McKay says, “is another opportunity to convert somebody quicker and at a higher rate”—and it also opens up cross- and up-sell opportunities.
“That’s where your merchandising rules come into play,” McKay explains. “Having good merchandising rules set up is crucial. You can choose what product recommendations are made based on the page a shopper is on and build out a persona of that shopper as they browse to offer personalized recommendations.”
Integrated plug-ins that handle all of this, such as Searchspring or Klevu, McKay says, “reduce the work that’s required from a merchant’s dev agency or internal team—which speeds up their time to launch so they can see ROI quicker.”
3. Loyalty, reviews, and user-generated content plug-ins for BigCommerce
One of the most powerful trends McKay has noticed in recent years: “Consumers want to see a real person using a product, living the life they aspire to.”
It’s pretty simple: People buy from people. Many BigCommerce brands, McKay says, are seeing “awesome ROI” by moving away from stock photos and “static, cookie-cutter images” and investing, instead, in user-generated content (UGC), reviews, and loyalty programs.
“What’s cool about loyalty, reviews, and UGC apps is they typically integrate with your marketing automation platform,” McKay points out—which means “you can include UGC in your marketing messages.”
“This boosts conversions because it’s truly what people want to see,” McKay adds. “What does it look like? What does it feel like? How do you use it in a real-world setting?” Similarly, with a well-built integration, “you have the ability to send out messages that include reviews from a cohort that specific customer fits into.”
McKay encourages merchants to seek out a tech partner like Stamped.io or Yotpo—both of which combine loyalty, reviews, and UGC in a single platform.
“You can piece them together,” he says, “but if you have one unified platform, the data is uniform as well. Then you can use all 3 in tandem to create customer loyalty and drive repeat purchases.”
4. Customer support plug-ins for BigCommerce
A plug-in that gives you “a centralized hub for all your communications with a customer,” McKay says, is “crucial to making sure that they feel like they have a personalized experience with your brand.”
McKay is a big fan of plug-ins that offer chatbots for customer support, and notes that BigCommerce has several “exceptional partners” with one-click integrations.
“They’re going to help you funnel inquiries to sales or support,” he explains. “It’s awesome for businesses that are growing fast, because when site traffic and order volume pick up, it’s not possible for a solopreneur to have 1:1 communications with everyone. As a team grows from 1 to 10, 10 to 50, streamlining the customer support funnel helps a team stay lean, mean, efficient, and responsive.”
With a helpdesk plug-in like Gorgias or LiveChat, you can set up your online store so that when a shopper visits, a chatbot pops up and asks if they need any help.
“I might initiate a conversation with support for a shipping update on an item I purchased,” McKay says. “But then as we’re going back and forth and I’m close to getting the information that I need, I’ve got to step out. While I’m out walking the dog, I can use my phone and pop back on with support through my conversational commerce channel of choice, and continue the conversation where I left off.”
5. Store back-up plug-ins for BigCommerce
Finally, McKay cites store back-up as a type of BigCommerce plug-in that’s underrated and underutilized. “It’s not even necessarily about the fear of losing something,” he explains. “When you’re a merchant, it’s the fact that you may have had something that was absolutely brilliant for a specific time of year, and you want to be able to go back to it.”
Here’s an example: Let’s say you had a Black Friday sale that crushed all your performance expectations. With a store back-up plug-in like Rewind, “you have the ability to rewind to that storefront and that exact set-up that worked so well,” McKay explains.
Essentially, this kind of plug-in “backs up your ecommerce storefront in real time, saving individual items and allowing you to restore a single product or the entire store across different versions over time,” says McKay, who notes that BigCommerce merchants are often shocked to learn that this kind of technology even exists.
“It’s something literally everybody, regardless of size, should use,” McKay adds. “It’s table stakes.”