Making your e-commerce business stand out is a bigger challenge every year. More e-commerce sites crop up all the time, Amazon constantly evolves into a more powerful behemoth, and the competition always gets tougher and smarter.

The e-commerce businesses that succeed are the ones that know how to use the latest tools, technology, and digital marketing to their advantage. Yes, there’s more competition than ever, but there are also many more resources to help you gain an edge.

Here are our recommendations for essential tools every e-commerce store should have.

1. Reliable Email Marketing Platform

Acquiring customers is only a small part of your battle as an e-commerce business. When you get down to the numbers, it’s arguably even more important to retain your customers after you’ve acquired them. Email marketing is a fantastic way to show your customers that you’re alive, innovating, and offering new deals and/or solutions constantly.

An email marketing platform is also great for rewards programs. By rewarding your loyal customers, they’re more likely to feel personally cared for and come back to your business.

There are so many email marketing platforms out there that it can be overwhelming to decide between them. We recommend MailChimp or Constant Contact. As major platforms serving tens of thousands of companies or individuals, their technical reliability is near guaranteed. They’re also user-friendly, allowing you to import and manage your email list very easily.

There are many other email marketing platforms out there, so if you have specific needs in mind (easy, premade designs or detailed subscription options) make sure you hunt around and do your research. Email marketing is a critical part of any e-commerce business, and you shouldn’t neglect it.

2. Multiple Payment Processing Options

If you’ve been operating an e-commerce business for a while, you know that abandoned shopping carts are to be avoided at all costs. They cause inventory management skewing, poor conversion rates, and a sense that you’re doing something wrong at one of the most critical moments.

One of the best ways to improve conversions after the product is in the shopping cart is by providing a variety of flexible payment options. Many customers abandon a product because they don’t want to have to create yet another account or go through a tedious, cumbersome process to fill in their payment details. Seeking out payment processing solutions that cover multiple payment options is increasingly important in this competitive age of e-commerce. If your competitor offers ACH payments but you don’t, for example, that could be the sole factor that causes your customer to choose them instead.

The more small business payment processing solutions, the better—to a point. Yes, it’s important to have a large number of options for your customers to pay with, but you shouldn’t have to pay a hefty credit card processing fee if only 0.1% of your customers use that specific credit card. Invest in payment processing software that covers the most widely accepted payment processing options without charging you exorbitant fees.

And make sure you get a system that integrates with your accounting software—this will save you countless time and avoid critical errors. Your business accountant will greatly appreciate this.