Seven tools you need to build an ecommerce site
Planning to build an ecommerce site for your online business? Here are seven tools that can help to make life easier.
Launching an commerce site from scratch can be a daunting prospect. Once you’ve picked your products or services and written your business plan, you still need to actually design and build a functioning site.
And that’s not all. Your ecommerce site can’t work in isolation; it needs to be able to connect with a wide range of online tools and apps to help you run your business efficiently.
(Love to read more about ecommerce? Read this guide into the future of ecommerce.)
Seven tools you need to build an ecommerce site
To help you get your ecommerce site off the ground (and stay sane!) here are seven handy tools and resources that can help.
If you’re marketing a product or a service online, you need attractive visuals. And unless you’re a graphic designer, mastering programs like Photoshop can take a lot of time, effort and frustration.
So what’s the solution? If you have the budget you can hire a designer to create your visuals for you. But what if you don’t have the budget, or need to create visuals on a regular basis?
Canva is a free online tool (they do have a paid version but you can access the basic features of free) that helps both professionals and newbies create beautiful posters, logos, presentations, and other digital assets.
Aside from its intuitive drag-and-drop functions, ready-made templates, and extensive library of elements, you are also able to upload your own graphics and photos to play with.
Perhaps one of the most used ecommerce platforms, Shopify has helped change the ecommerce industry.
Whether you have a fully online store, or you’re selling in a bricks and mortar setting, Shopify has you covered. It doesn’t matter either if you’re just getting started with web design or are already knowledgeable in commerce programming – the end product (your website) won’t look like it was built on a Shopify template.
Shopify will also help you in other important aspects of your business, such as inventory management, SEO, payment processing, and more. With its reasonable pricing and excellent customer support, you’re also getting more value for your money.
While you can use your home phone or mobile number for business, neither comes close to a professional phone service. Ideally, your phone should serve as your clients’ doorway to your business. And by limiting yourself to the usual phone options, you may miss out on opportunities.
A small business phone plan such as RingCentral Professional can help. With a subscription, you’ll get a business number (toll-free, local, or vanity), auto receptionist, answering rules, call forwarding, and other advanced call management features such as setting your business hours or time zones.
With these communication features, you’ll leave the impression that your small online store or organisation functions like a Fortune 500 company.
4) Google Analytics
Tracking all the movement happening across your website can provide you with data that can eventually help you grow your business.
If you want to monitor how much traffic you’re getting or if you want to determine which places your visitors are from in order to target customers better, Google Analytics is your go-to tool. With the right configurations, you can set your account to see whether visitors leave or stay on your site, which pages are getting the most views, and so on.
Now that your website and business number is set and you’ve successfully opened up shop, you might want to move forward with growing your audience. And for that, you need an email marketing tool.
Drip is a brilliant way to grow your audience and send out communications they’re genuinely interested in. You can use it to write emails, communicate offers, and create campaigns and workflows.
Drip allows you to tag emails so you can track who opens what, where they came from, and what they’re interested in. So you can target your communications to the right people. You can also design your own workflows to automate your email sequences.
6) Social Jukebox
No business today can afford to completely ignore social media – and the savvy businesses are using it to grow their brands and sales.
The most effective way to grow your social media following and still have time to actually run your business is to use social media management tools. And our favourite is Social Jukebox.
Social Jukebox enables you to create ‘jukeboxes’ of evergreen content you set to go out on rotation at regular intervals. So once built, you don’t need to touch again if you don’t want – they’ll keep gong until you stop them.
You can also set up targeted campaigns with updates going out at set intervals for a particular timeframe.
Some startups automatically turn to QuickBooks for their small business accounting needs, without realising that there are far cheaper yet solid options out there such as Billy.
Billy is focused on invoices, and the majority of its client base is made up of artists and creatives, so could be ideal for your home-based business or ecommerce website.
As well as the simplicity of its platform, clients praise it for letting users add images to invoices and for its excellent tools for recurring invoices and processing discounts. The customer service is also reportedly excellent.
Klaris Chua is a newspaper reporter turned digital content marketer who has written many pieces on startups and small business communications. You can connect with her on Twitter.
Photo by Arnel Hasanovic