As Kannan has written, e-commerce platforms are starting to take off around the world, particularly in India. As he also wrote, this provides opportunities for people to get in on the selling side. Never has it been easier to make money on the internet. But just because it’s easier than it was before, doesn’t mean that it’s easy overall.
While you won’t need an inventory of products, you will need a few tools that will help you manage sales and marketing. These tools will cost you money, of course, but they also provide opportunities for return on investment. They’ll pay for themselves as your sales ramp up. Some of them only collect when you get paid yourself.
Which are the five most crucial tools for e-commerce startups? Here are five that will change the life of any budding entrepreneur.
1. Raven Tools
Every company needs to market itself. Without marketing companies can’t attract attention and align their values with those of potential customers. Marketing on the internet is a difficult discipline. There are many aspects to it, and each requires attention and tracking.
Raven Tools provides businesses with a powerful internet marketing solution. Developed by internet marketers, it allows you to easily create, maintain, track, and analyze marketing campaigns that can make a difference for your company. It includes:
- Link building tools
- Keyword research
- Social campaigns
- Content analysis
- PPC tools
- Analytics and insights
If you want to take your marketing into your own hands, Raven Tools is a good start. You can check out the pricing of Raven Tools marketing software and find a plan that works for you.
Keeping track of expenses is one of the most crucial tasks for a small business. Money doesn’t come easily, so small businesses have to manage every dollar. There are many programs that can help you achieve this, but they themselves will cost you money.
The beauty of Expensify is that it doesn’t cost you money up front. No subscription fees, no lump sum payments for software licenses. It just provides you with the tools to run expense reports that will keep you on top of your company’s finances.
Make sure to check out Expensify’s expense reporting tools, at no up-front cost.
3. Intuit Payments
Accepting payments might be the biggest hassle for any e-commerce site. Because of that hassle, many companies go with PayPal solutions. The problem is that many consumers no longer trust PayPal. The other problem, perhaps bigger for businesses: they take a fairly large portion of sales. Companies that want to offer easier solutions while paying a lower commission will have to find a real alternative.
Intuit has been in the mobile payments business for years, and they provide many tools that can help e-commerce entrepreneurs accept payments — and get paid. They offer quick delivery of funds to your bank account, and they offer multiple ways to accept payment, including via your mobile device. Combined with their QuickBooks accounting software, Intuit’s tools provide solutions that any e-commerce entrepreneur needs.
You can even grab a free trial of QuickBooks software when you try Intuit’s merchant processing services.
The best connection with a customer is a direct connection. When someone visits your website, they might stay for only a second before leaving. That’s not the kind of attention that a small business needs. What small businesses need is a way to contact prospects directly. You know who your best prospects are? Customers who have already bought from you.
Entrepreneurs can leverage their email lists by sending out newsletters to willing customers. If customers liked your product, they’ll surely receive communication from you, especially if you have another useful offer for them. MailChimp provides solutions for mailing lists of any size. It works, for free, when you’re just starting out, and will grow as your mailing lists increase in size.
Make sure you take full advantage of your email list by signing up for MailChimp’s newsletter services.
5. Skype Premium
Communication has change drastically in the last decade. We can now meet with people halfway across the world in an instant. Thanks to communications tools like Skype, we can do so cheaply. Skype is free software owned by Microsoft that allows users to make free video calls to other Skype users. But it is the premium tier that will help businesses the most.
Need to meet with multiple people? Skype Premium offers group video calls, so you can bring your whole team in on the meeting no matter where they’re located. You can also share your screen with the group, which is a great training tool. Furthermore, you get unlimited calls to a country of your choice. Imagine being able to call all Indian phones, from your computer, for free. It would sure save you a lot of money.
Skype Premium costs just $5 per month, meaning it’s an affordable solution for anyone. Make sure to check out Skype’s superior communication tools.