There was once a time in the automotive industry when people managed every part of automobile production. There would be a guy who does the paintwork and a team of people to assemble finished auto parts by bolting them on manually.
Then, robots came along. Production work for automobiles is now faster, more accurate, and much more efficient.
Today, we see something similar at the intersection of technology and business. Technology promises to revolutionize the way you do business. You could send emails the way Amazon does and ship your products with precision. You could keep track of data just like large businesses do and send personalized responses to every mention of your business on social media.
That’s the power of apps and tools available for the cost of a latte. Here are some of those super cool tools you should be using for your eCommerce business today:
There was a time you’d have to hand down truckloads of cash to get an eCommerce site developed. Today, things have changed. Most major platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, and others already give you ready made templates (you can customize those) and you can be up and running in minutes.
Meanwhile WordPress already has plenty of popular plugins such as WooCommerce to make your WordPress eCommerce ready. Even DIY website tools have eCommerce enabled. You might need developers for customize your site and work out kinks but not to develop a site from scratch.
It’s no longer hard to build a site.
Content marketing is the way to go today for your eCommerce business. For that, you’ll need a Content Management System (CMS). Depending on the platform your eCommerce is on (or is likely to be on) you’d have to decide the engine for your content marketing. Adam Heitzman of inc.com lists out at least 6 reasons why your ecommerce business needs a blog. You could provide more value for your customer, build a community around your products, gain some SEO juice, and address common concerns your customers might have.
While your choice of CMS depends on the eCommerce platform you could be using since some platforms include CMS in their package, some of the popular standalone choices are WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and even Tumblr.
Find a way to get that blog up and running. Establish a frequency and woo your customers.
Social media gets you traction. It allows you to interact with thousands of customers on a one-to-one basis. It’s the media that breeds conversations about your products, brands, or services.
Since you can’t flood your social accounts with updates at once, schedule your updates well into the future. Save time by managing multiple networks for each business (and even multiple businesses, each with a set of social networks).
Using either of these social media management tools, you can also find content, batch curate content, respond to comments, leave comments, and engage with your customers more effectively.
Each of these tools is built to make shipping easy, hassle-free, and effective. Each of these tools also consolidates your shipping requirements across various channels you could be selling on, including giants like eBay and Amazon.
Always keep shipping. Just let technology take care of the grunt work.
You are selling on your eCommerce store. You are also selling on eBay and Amazon. Maybe you are also on Best Buy and other such channels. You’d see that it’d be a nightmare just to manage your product lineup, stock availability, order processing, etc. across these channels. That’s where multi-channel eCommerce management solutions come into play.
With products such as Agiliron, you’d never have to worry about multiple channel management. Configure your sales channels, view your business off a dashboard, track orders, stay on top of shipping, integrate your retail POS and mobile POS systems, streamline your back office work, and more.
Your team is an important part of your eCommerce business. Whether you manage your team completely virtually or in-house, you’d need a better way to manage your projects, tasks, people, files and deadlines. Lose no time in meetings and don’t live through the trouble with file versioning, multiple emails, and drowned or lost information.
Stay on top of your projects, let team calendars put everyone on the same page, know when tasks are completed, and have conversations related to work. Imagine how much time you’d be saving with not making multiple calls, endless email chains, scheduling meetings, and moving from one place to another.
Data is boring. Going through reams of data can be a daunting task. Yet, it’s critical for your business. Simply put, without analytics, you’d never know where you are going with your business.
Using technology propels your business. It makes the hardship of being an entrepreneur a far easier one to live with. Systems, streamlining processes, and getting things done doesn’t have to be frustrating like it was earlier.
What tools make you want to do business more? What are some of those tools you swear by? What are those tools your business can’t survive without? Tell us all about them.
Tracy Vides is a content strategist who likes to keep her finger on the pulse of the latest small business products, services, and apps. Hit her up on Google+ for a chat. She’s @TracyVides on Twitter.