Have you started to gain a profit with your online business? According to Forbes, over 23,000 online stores make at least $100k in revenue, and this number is growing every year.
Fortunately for you, this gives you a chance to catch up with the big dogs and make some solid cash from your online business. It really just takes some hard work, the right tools and even a little luck. It all starts with a solid ecommerce platform which helps you get your products uploaded onto a storefront and presentable for your customers.
After that you can integrate various other tools to help make your processes more fluid and your workforce more productive. You obviously can’t get everything with one platform, so it’s important to find options for things like accounting, analytics and graphic design.
Take a look at the most useful tools for online store owners to take your business to the next level.
Google Analytics integrates with just about every ecommerce platform, and it gives you a direct look into who is coming to your website. Do you have any idea when people leave your site and why? Is there a certain demographic that you should be catering to?
These are all questions that you can answer with Google Analytics, and the Enhanced Ecommerce features make it even more worthwhile.
Every online store needs a payment gateway, and Authorize.net certainly gets the job done. Allow your customers to pay with credit cards or even through something like PayPal. Checkout our Authorize.net review if you are interested in learning more.
Not everyone knows how to design nice-looking images for their website, so that’s where Canva comes in. It’s a remarkable platform that helps you quickly put together professional images for your blog, website and social media accounts. There’s no need to pay a pricey graphic designer once you learn to work with Canva.
Wave is the go-to solution for handling your accounting through your ecommerce site. It provides detailed and integrated reports so you know your whole financial situation. You can quickly send out invoices and handle receipts from your customers. The tool even includes an area to manage your payroll if you have people on staff.
One of the best ways to improve customer retention is to send out email newsletters. With MailChimp it becomes quite easy, since you can put an email signup form on your site and then design striking emails that prompt customers to come back and buy more product.
If you just need a quick photo to put on a blog post or on your homepage it’s tough to always pay for this content. With Flickr Creative Commons you can grab a photo for free and give the attribution that the artist deserves.
This works best for blog posts, but if you are willing to credit the artist on your website then you can do that too.
GraphicRiver is your best option if you don’t want to credit an artist for a photo. This is a community of artists who upload their original content and sell it to companies for a small price. The search features are excellent, and you never have to worry about running out of photo options.
ZenDesk is all about improving your customer relationships. The package offers customer support chat modules along with voice support and various other apps and extensions to reach out to your customers and get feedback from them.
Another wonderful way to get feedback from customers is by creating surveys. SurveyMonkey is the leader in making free questionnaires that you can embed in your online store.
After a certain amount of responses you have to start paying, but it gives you a chance to ask customers which products they enjoy and what they are looking forward to from your company.
You’re sure to build up a nice list of contacts during your ecommerce adventure, so use HighRise to manage them all, share them with your team and create tasks to improve your sales and distribution leads.
Pingdom is a simple, yet essential tool for checking on the speed of your site to improve SEO and the overall customer experience. Paste in your site URL and see where your site needs improving in terms of speed.
Once you get on social media you start to realize that it takes lots of time. Hootsuite helps you manage all the accounts in one place while scheduling all of your posts for the future. I’ve always found that it’s easier to schedule a week’s worth of social posts as opposed to thinking about it every day and wasting your time.
SEO is crucial with online stores, so the Google Keyword Planner lets you punch in keywords you want to target and see what people are actually searching. It gives you related keywords that you can put on your blog posts and product pages. Filter based on location, demographics and more.
Google Webmaster Tools is somewhat like Google Analytics, but it’s mainly for helping Google index your site and seeing what problems are floating around on your online store. Check to see if you have any broken links, check commonly searched keywords and more.
Security is nothing to play around with on your online store. If someone gets ahold of your passwords they could destroy your site and make your business look really bad.
Secure your passwords (and remember them) with the help of LastPass. It password protects your entire list of passwords and can autofill whenever you type in the master password. It works on just about any device, and protects your site from troublemakers.
Every business needs a project management tool, and Trello has recently emerged as the go-to option. It’s clean and interactive, helping you and your staff understand what tasks need to be worked on for the future.
You can even integrate with other apps like Harvest to track your time and send out invoices after moving around your tasks in Trello.
Google Drive is typically a no-brainer, but it’s certainly worth a mention. Store all your media in a safe place so you don’t lose anything important. It’s also wise to look into Google Apps to get a nice, professional email account and gain access to document and spreadsheet editors.
Are you planning on selling digital content instead of tangible items on your online store? This is the best option for you. Easy Digital Downloads makes it rather simple to upload music, books, software and other items so that people can download them, and you get the money in your account within minutes.
Share your thoughts in the comments section if you have any questions about these useful tools for online store owners. Can you think of any other tools that every ecommerce store needs to have?
Feature image curtsey of FireArt Studio