Here is a collation of ecommerce tools I have used and see it work for my digital marketing peers and clients. This is a long list and something you want to come back to repeatedly. I suggest you bookmark this blog post for future reference.
Ideas by themselves don’t hold much value. The work is to bring them to life by making it concrete. These apps help you put your idea on paper and communicate it better with your team.
Milanote – Milanote is a tool for planning creative projects. You can collaborate your ideas, notes, and research with your team in a single place. If you are brainstorming about your online store design or your latest marketing campaign or creating your own new product then you can use Milanote as a place to brainstorm your ideas and give shape and structure to your creative research process. Milanote is a free tool.
Curator – Curator lets you collect visuals, graphics, websites, sketch intro text. Once you have all the necessary information you can organize and present your data in the form of a PDF presentation. You can even share your ideas with your team and client if you have their email ID. Curator has an IOS app if you want to ideate on the go. Curator is a great option if you are planning the launch of a new collection of products on your online store.
Xmind – Xmind is the perfect mind mapping tool. If you have a vague idea of a concept then Xmind helps you make it concrete by means of a mental mapping structure. You can pick a mental map template from the library and start putting your thoughts along with rich clipart and text. You can export your ideas in the form of PDF, PPT, Word and HTML documents. If you are writing a business plan or an article on your blog and still in the ideation stage then Xmind is a good tool to get started.
Skitch – Skitch is my favourite tool and I use it often for my blog. Skitch is the best tool to capture screenshots and annotate and give commentary in the form of text, sketches, shapes, and pointers. You might get many ideas for your online store while browsing your competitions online store or reading blog articles. You can take a screenshot of all such ideas, annotate and share it with your team or explore the idea at a later date. Skitch integrates with Evernote so all your notes are stored in a single place.
The design is a critical aspect of an online store. As an online store entrepreneur or marketer, you might want to communicate certain aspects of design to your implementation team. You might want to provide all the necessary resources possible to your design team to execute on your idea. Following are few tools which will help you with the same.
UI Cloud – If you are designing anything on the web then you will need a bunch of UI elements like buttons, breadcrumbs, dropdowns, forms, navigation, and menu. UI Cloud is a search engine for all such elements. UI elements are also available for mobile and desktop apps, HTML5 and Vectors. The best part is these UI elements are available for free download as long as you give credit to the original work.
Invision App – Getaway with fuzzy sketches to communicate your web and app design ideas. With InvisionApp you can use create a prototype of the website or app design with all the detailing with ease. You can give and gather feedback on design in the form of comments from your team within the app itself. Once there is consensus on the design you can even generate real code for the design. Invisionapp is a free tool.
FeedBag – Just drop your files here and share them with your team via email. Your team can sign in and make comments on the design. Great tool when you are designing your online store and you need a lot of brainstorming and feedback to get your design right.
Ecomm.Design – I visit ecomm.design often to get online store design inspiration. This site has made a hand-picked collection of the most beautiful e-commerce websites out there. You can even segment e-commerce sites based on an e-commerce platform, industry, and traffic it generates. If you are planning to redesign your site then this is a starting place to generate ideas and feel inspired.
Finding the products which bring in profits is a critical aspect of e-commerce selling. Finding such products takes effort and there are few pages to keep an eye on to find them good product ideas.
Amazon Best Sellers – Amazon has a section where they list the best selling products by category/subcategory. Just go to the category relevant category under the best sellers section and see which products people are most willing to buy.
Explore Ebay – Use this eBay search tool to find how certain products have behaved in popularity. If you see any product in your niche picking steam then you might want to add that to your inventory. Just enter the product in your niche in the search bar provided and eBay will give you a number of searches and the trend over the last 6 weeks.
Amazon Movers and Shakers – This category shows the products which have seen a significant increase in sales in the last 24 hours. All trending products in a niche are listed here. See if you can pick few product ideas for your online store.
Etsy Trending Now – Etsy lists the trending products on this page. If you sell crafts and art then dig into this collection. These products could also give you the inspiration to make few of your own.
AliExpress Hottest Products – If you are drop-shipping Aliexpress products then this section is a must visit before picking up products to dropship. Just go to the niche which you are selling products under this section and you will get ideas on what are the hottest selling products.
No matter how small your e-commerce team is you will need to coordinate and handle your daily operations without hassles. The best way of doing this is by using a project management tool which is cheap and easy to use.
Trello – Trello is a free project management tool which lets you organize and prioritize your projects. I use Trello to work with my remote team. You can create boards which list all the to-dos, priorities and timelines. These boards can be shared with people across the organization or can be kept private to a team. You can even create a personal board to keep a tab on your daily tasks.
Slack – If you are running online store chances are that you have a bunch of people working remotely. I use slack to communicate and collaborate with my remote team. Slack makes it very easy to share rich files and documents on boards across the organization or between 2 people.
BaseCamp – Basecamp is my favourite tool for running projects. Basecamp makes it very easy to discuss projects, list tasks, files, chat in one place. Basecamp helps you assign tasks to certain people, communicate faster and get a birds-eye view of the entire project. Basecamp has a free 30-day trial and comes at $99 per month.
Naming Your Online Store
Successful brands live in the head of the customer. And a great name can help you make your brand memorable for your audience. These tools will help you ideate and acquire great domains names for your online store.
TradeMarkia – If you are using a trademark name in your domain name then things could go ugly. Using a trademark in your domain and investing all marketing efforts only to get a notice from a lawyer on trademark infringement can be harmful to your business. Trademarkia is a repository of all the trademarks. Just search for your domain name you are planning to buy for your online store before placing the purchase to steer clear of trademark issues in the future.
BrandBucket – If I want to buy a premium brandable domain name then I head to BrandBucket. BrandBucket is a marketplace for premium brandable domain names buyers and sellers. If you have the money to invest in a strong brand name which is both memorable and relevant to your brand then BrandBucket is a great place.
Brandpa – Just like BrandBucket Brandpa helps you pick a brandable domain name. If you have the money then investing in a memorable domain name gives you a marketing advantage. Brandpa has options to pick retail domain names and also domain names by industry.
NameChk – Getting the right domain name is half the task. You want to create social media profiles on Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube and the like using your brand name. Using NameChk you can see in which all social networks your brand name is taken and where all you are yet to leave your footprint.
Shopify Business Name Generator – Shopify has this cool tool which you can use to generate a business or a domain name. Just enter a query relevant to your niche and this tools gives you a bunch of suggestions you can consider for your business name.
NameCheap – Once you decide on a brand name and make sure it is not infringing any trademark you can go ahead and register your domain with a reliable domain name provider like NameCheap. I have been a NameCheap customer for 7 years and had no issues with them yet.
GoDaddy – Godaddy is another popular domain registrar. Along with domain registration, it has a bunch of other website building tools but you might not need them if you are using an ecommerce platform.
A powerful and robust hosting can have an enormous impact on your profits. It can improve your site performance leading to a better experience for your user and long-haul brand building. If you are planning to use self-hosted ecommerce platforms like Magento or WooCommerce or OpenCart then you will need to host the software on an equally powerful hosting server. Here are few best hosting providers currently on the market.
BlueHost – Bluehost is a popular web hosting service. You can start with a low price and upgrade your plans as per demand. I use BlueHost for one of my blogs but you can use it to build an ecommerce site too. They have VPS, cloud and dedicated hosting plans.
SiteGround – The reason I use Siteground is it is cheap and provides all the features needed to run a safe and reliable website. Siteground plans start from as low as $5 per month. Once you buy a plan you can easily install ecommerce software like Magento, WooCommerce and OpenCart within few clicks.
HostGator – Hostgator has been the leader in the hosting space for many years. It has budget-friendly pricing and an easy to use Cpanel. Get a plan and install any ecommerce platform with ease within few clicks. Plans start from $2.75 per month. They have plans for VPS and dedicated hosting for website owners who are serious about bandwidth, safety and delivery.
UptimeRobot – Website downtimes can have an impact on your ecommerce revenue. Uptime robot runs a series of checks every 5 minutes on your online store and notifies you if your online store is down. Uptime robot helps you understand your server and hosting performance. Uptime Robot is a free service.
Content Delivery Network
A content delivery network helps you deliver content to your audience faster. If your servers are in the USA then a user in India might not experience your site with the same speed and performance as the user in the New York. When you store your content on CDN the content is served from the nearest server to the user leading to improved performance.
StackPath – Stackpath previously MaxCDN were the early players in CDN. Stackpath provides secure CDN to website owners. It has the presence in North and South America, Europe, South East Asia and Australia. So if you have customers in close proximity these areas then Stackpath is a good option. Plans are based on bandwidth consumed and start at $20/month.
KeyCDN – KeyCDN gives it’s users a free secure SSL. KeyCDN is popular for its easy integrations with popular platforms like WordPress, Magento and PrestaShop. It has over 20 locations around the world including Africa and America. Its pricing varies based on the geography and bandwidth consumed.
CloudFlare – Cloudflare has a free version if you want to explore its features before making a financial commitment. Pricing is straightforward with CloudFlare and it starts at $20/month. They give away a shared SSL, website firewall and global CDN from 151 data centres with every purchase.
Ecommerce platforms are often the core of your online store technology. A good ecommerce platform should help you through various stages of your ecommerce entrepreneurship journey. Below are the best 6 ecommerce platforms available right now.
WooCommerce – An ecommerce platform which sits on WordPress. This is the most used ecommerce platform currently. It is free and self-hosted and comes with a bunch of free plugins and themes.
Shopify – The most popular hosted ecommerce solution ideal for small, mid and few large ecommerce sites. Loads of features to build and promote your online store. Has a starting plan of $29.
Magento – Built for mid and large ecommerce sites. It is a free self-hosted ecommerce platform. Has strong ability to customize and add sophisticated functionality to your online store.
BigCommerce – Second best ecommerce platform ideal for ecommerce entrepreneurs who are focused on growth. Plans start at $29.95.
Volusion – An ecommerce solution with plans starting at $15. Been around for a decade and a robust ecommerce platform with functionality to build and promote a modern online store.
PrestaShop – PrestaShop is an open source ecommerce platform with a number of themes and plugins to upgrade and beautify your online store.
Stealing ideas which worked for your competition is the fast way to get a headstart. You have to be aware how your niche is trending in your geographic area in order to understand it’s market potential and profitability. The three tools below help you in benchmarking against your competition.
CrunchBase – Look up your competition and industry leaders and find their company numbers like employees, investor rounds, investment raised, acquisitions, and founders. Crunch these numbers to understand investors in your niche, the possibility of investment and competition numbers to benchmark against.
SimilarWeb – Similarweb is the best tool to find your competitor’s website traffic and engagement numbers. Spot the trend of traffic last 6 months and see which of the channels are driving traffic to the page. Emulate your competition keyword channel strategy using SimilarWeb.
Google Trends – Find trending products and topics in your niche and spot opportunities for business expansion using Google trends. Compare up to 5 topics or products across geography and varied timelines.
Customer And User Feedback
Customer and website feedback plays a massive role in improving your online store value proposition, online and offline customer experience. Taking feedback from your audience will uncover opportunities, points of friction and strengths you and your team wouldn’t have figured out otherwise.
HotJar – Using Hotjar you can see how users browse through your website like where they are clicking and how deep they are scrolling through a page. More importantly, you can take real user feedback in real time when they are on your website. This feedback helps you uncover the biggest points of friction your customers face while buying your product.
Qualaroo – Qualaroo helps you ask user questions based on a set of rules like the landing pages, traffic channel, exit intent, geography and website behaviour. The feedback collected goes through keyword analysis to reveal pressing problems on your site instantly.
SurveyMonkey – Create professional surveys for your customers. SurveyMonkey platform helps you understand how well the survey might go, share the survey on multiple channels, have customized branding on your surveys and get meaningful insights from survey answers. It has a free plan with a pricing plan for an unlimited number of questions.
Fieldboom – You can use Fieldboom to create surveys, quizzes, and beautiful online forms. Fieldboom is a tool for those who are looking to understand their market before launch, grow email list, generate and convert more leads, and decrease leads attrition rate. Inparticular, Fieldboom offers different solutions including feedback collection, Net Promoter Score calculation, engagement improvement, audience assessment, leads registration and more. You can choose from a wide range of customisable designs along with such features as skip logic and scoring, answer piping, redirects that make it possible to create a powerful form in minutes.
Google Survey Forms – Create a survey and send the link via an email to your most recent customers for answers. Might not look as professional as SurveyMonkey but it gets the job done at zero cost.
PR And OutReach
Hey Press – Enter your industry or niche keyword or popular products in your niche in the search box to uncover popular journalists who wrote about the topic before. You can create a free account for more than 2 journalists and send an outreach email to those journalists for a price.
Startup Lister – If you have launched your online store and your operations are steady and hitting decent sales volumes you will want to get your word out there. This can be in the form of links or PR. Either way, StartupLister will help you pitch your launch to directories, blogs and reviews sites for a cost of $69.
Hunter.io – You can find the name and email addresses of everyone in an organization just by entering the domain name in the search box. The free plan allows you 100 requests per month. Paid plans start at $39 for up to 1000 requests per month.
BuzzStream – Buzzstream is a suite of online PR and outreach tools. If you have an amazing piece of content you want to promote among influencers then BuzzStream makes your job easy. Find influencers and their emails IDs, send email, track conversation and follow up all from a single dashboard.
BuzzSumo – I use BuzzSumo for my content marketing research. I enter the topics for my niche and uncover the best content in terms of social shares and backlinks acquired. I then try to emulate their content strategy or find influencers who have covered these topics extensively to share my content.
To convert your online store visitors into buyers you need conversion research and a bunch of conversion optimization tools to help your onsite user behaviour.
CrazyEgg – Crazyegg helps you understand how users are browsing your site. You can track where users are clicking, how deep they are scrolling and take detailed recordings of each step they go through on your website.
VWO – Visual Website Optimizer is an AB testing and personalization tool. You can run tests across various elements on your website without any technical assistance. Find where users are clicking, how deep they are scrolling, collect feedback and view customer journeys using VWO conversion optimization platform.
UserTest – With Usertest.io a tester is given a set of tasks to accomplish on your website and their browsing journey is recorded. The tester should belong to your target audience buyer persona. You can pre-screen the user persona before running the test. Usertest.io is cost-effective and starts at $13 per tester.
Five Second Test – Take bias out of your design by sharing it with people who don’t know you or your brand. People are shown your web design or site for 5 seconds and their responses are recorded. Repeat the process for your category, product and HomePage.
Conversio – Conversio helps you send abandoned cart emails, collect reviews and feedback from your customer, follow up with your customers and create newsletters.
Beeketing – Beeketing tracks a user’s behaviour on your online store like subscription, purchased or added to cart and based on those actions it recommends products. It pushes your online store visitors down the buying cycle. It does so with a bunch of smart apps which understand behaviour and triggers a response at the right time
Measuring your marketing and customer behaviour is key to know what you are doing right with your ecommerce business and do more of it and also stop doing stuff which is not working. Following tools have inbuilt functionality which measures all key ecommerce metrics.
Google Analytics – Google Analytics with the power of enhanced ecommerce tracking you can find important information regarding your online store like cart abandonment behaviour, internal promotions data, coupon campaigns performance, products lists report and category list reports. Google Analytics is free and the most popular web analytics tool.
Woopra – Every person who has created an account with your online store is assigned a profile. Once the profile is assigned it tracks the user’s journey based on a set of actions performed like “last login”, “read the blog post”, and opened email”. This allows you to personalize your ecommerce promotional emails much better or even personalize the on-site experience in real time. Woopra integrates with popular ecommerce platforms like WooCommerce, Shopify, and Magento.
Glew.io – Glew is an analytics tool built for ecommerce. Integrate ecommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, Bigcommerce, Magento, with advertising data from Google and FaceBook at one place to discover ways to improve your profits. Mpa customer data to purchase behaviour and target campaigns accordingly. Find products which are selling best and discover product bundles which could increase your average order value.
RJMetrics – RJMetrics is an analytics tool specifically designed for ecommerce businesses. It reports data on all aspects of an ecommerce business like customer acquisition, customer retention, and customer loyalty. RJMetrics is a Magento company but has integrations with major ecommerce platforms like Shopify.
Ahrefs – Ahrefs is a powerful tool to analyze your competitor’s keyword and link building strategy using Ahrefs Site Explorer. You can find high volume keywords with moderate difficulty to target for your blog and category pages using keyword explorer. Monitor brand mentions and that of competition for link opportunities with Ahrefs Alerts.
ScreamingFrog SEO Spider – I use ScreamingFrog to crawl websites for SEO issues. You can uncover link structure issues, errors pages, anchor texts, directives and other technical issues. For a free download, you can crawl up to 500 URLs on your site.
SEMRush – SEMrush is a marketing tool with a strong suite of tools for SEO and PPC. You can run complete SEO audit of your site, track ranking, steal competitor links and find high volume keywords. Plans start at $99/month.
Google Search Console – Google Search Console gives recommendations to your online store based on what the Google crawler sees. Once you verify your site you can submit your sitemaps, use data highlighter for rich snippets, find technical SEO issues as spotted by Google crawler.
Customer support is the backbone of a successful online store. But hiring a huge team of customer support executives might not be ideal for a bootstrapped ecommerce company. A better way of making your customer support more efficient is by using a tool which helps you streamline your support and operations.
Buffer Reply – Buffer has built this tool for social customer service. Your audience might not be happy with your service or offering and can take to social channels like Facebook and Twitter. Buffer Reply lets capture all such mentions in a single team inbox. You can assign team members, track past conversations with the customer and measure your team performance.
Live Chat Inc – Live chat inc helps you eliminate customer anxieties and friction points which are keeping them from finishing their purchase. When you give users a way to reach out immediately you can solve their concerns and help them finish their purchase. Live chat starts at $16 and has integrations with all popular ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Bigcommerce, Volusion, Magento and WooCommerce
Olark – Olark is a live chat software you can place on your online store to give users a way to reach out if they are unsure about their purchase. It has integrations with Bigcommerce and Shopify and starts at $17 per agent per month.
ZenDesk – Zendesk is a complete customer service platform. Using Zendesk you can place a live chat, have a knowledge base of how to articles on site, create tickets and track status till the issue is resolved. Zendesk has a 30-day free trial and it’s paid plans start at $5 per month per agent.
FreshDesk – Freshdesk Is a customer support software. Freshdesk integrates with Shopify, Bigcommerce, Magento and WooCommerce. They have a free version you can avail. Paid plans start at $19.
Build A Team
If you are running an ecommerce business of any size you will need to hire full time or contract workers to help you out. There are many sites which can help you hire freelancers and contract workers but below are few high-quality ones with a sound vetting process.
99Designs – 99Designs is a marketplace where clients and designers meet to get design projects done. You can find designers based on skill sets like logo design, web design, app design, and book design. Once you narrow down your choice to a few designers you can ask for a quote by explaining your project.
Toptal – Toptal has a very stringent process while qualifying freelancers listed on its site. Of all the applicants it lists the top 3% on its website. If you are looking for high-quality designers, developers or finance experts then Toptal can help you find them.
Gun.io – Gun.io has a 25,000+ highly qualified software development professionals. Ideal if you are looking for developers who build a high-quality ecommerce app or website.
Fiverr – Fiverr is a website I visit often to get my errands done. You can avail services like proofreading, copywriting, video creation, social media marketing, SEO, graphic design, logo design and many other services. Fiverr also has a Pro section which lists all the top professional in the space.
We Work Remotely – Using WeWorkRemotely you can list your job or contract position opening for $299/month. Remote workers across the globe apply for the position and you get to interview and select them. You can hire a remote worker to work on your business so you will not have to pay for office space.
GetCredo – GetCredo helps you find digital marketing freelancers and marketing agencies to help you promote your online store. Credo uses a very strict vetting process before listing freelancers and companies. Once listed you can go to their directory and pick a company you want to work with or create a project and Credo reaches out to a list of agencies.
Graphics are an integral part of visual marketing. Here are few tools which are easy to use yet can make high-quality graphics without relying on a professional graphic designer to save costs.
GetStencil – I use getstencil to create graphics for my blog. You can add imagery with beautiful texts and interesting layouts on Stencil and download them at free cost. Create social media and blog content quickly using imagery of 41 different sizes.
Canva – Canva is my favourite tool for creating graphics. You can create all forms of visual marketing content like eBooks, Banners, Brochures, social media content, infographics, blog graphics, logos, Ads and video thumbnails. Canva is free to use and a $13 per month plan if you want more features like the brand kit, magic resize and brand templates.
Abetterlemonadestand Logo Maker – If you have just started your online store business you might not want to invest a huge amount of money in logo creation and keep things simple. Using this logo maker you can quickly make a high-quality logo with a tagline for your online store.
DropShipping is a method where you run an online store without having an inventory. The customer places an order on your online store and the dropshipper ships the product to the customer’s address. For this to happen you have to have a partnership with reliable dropshippers like the ones below.
Oberlo – If you are using Shopify then Oberlo is a great option for dropshipping. You can easily import all the products you want to sell via Oberlo on to your site using the Oberlo app and keep the inventories synced. Oberlo takes care of the shipping and lets you track shipment via its dashboard. You can get started at zero cost with the paid plans starting from $30.
Salehoo – Using Salehoo you can find trending products and reliable suppliers within few minutes. Salehoo directory has a list of 8000 local and global suppliers. You can use it’s market research section to find products which can give you the highest profit margin. They have a flat pricing of $67 for a full year access.
AliExpress – Aliexpress has the world’s largest collection of products. You can pick any product and ship to any part of the world. Integrate the app with your ecommerce platform and import products on to your online store.
Making your shipping process hassle free and flawless add to your company’s revenue, reputation and customer service. The tools below help you make this process easier.
AfterShip – From the time when a customer places an order, she would want to know the whereabouts of her product. Communicating timely updates will remove customer anxiety. Aftership does this by informing customers with proactive delivery updates. It syncs with 453 courier providers worldwide and integrates with ecommerce platforms like Magento, Shopify, Bigcommerce and WooCommerce, 3D Cart and OpenCart.
EasyShip – Easyship is a tool you must have if you are into shipping your products internationally and use multiple courier services to ship your products. Using Easyship you can calculate taxes and duties for worldwide shipping, calculate shipping rate at checkout and track your inventory and shipments in real time.
ShippingEasy – Using ShippingEasy you can print labels fast, find the lowest shipping rates and communicate automated shipment tracking updates to the customer. It integrates with all major ecommerce platforms and has a free plan to get started.
Veeqo is an advanced shipping software for fast-growing commerce brands that allows retailers to sync orders from every sales channel, and manage your entire shipping process in one easy-to-use platform. Veeqo allows you to generate shipping labels in bulk for any of your orders from any of your channels – designed to save retailers selling on multiple channels valuable time. Veeqo also allows you to create automation rules to easily customise your shipping and order fulfilment processes, view a range of shipping quotes on a single screen, and track the status of any order and package without ever having to log in to carrier accounts.
You might be selling multiple products from multiple suppliers, warehouses and dropshippers on multiple online channels like Amazon, eBay and your own online store. Syncing inventories and keep things in order is a must and should be automated. Here are few tools which will take care of this critical aspect of omnichannel retail.
A good payment system should have low transaction failure rate, high levels of reputation in the eye of the user and should be easy to use. Following payment systems are modern and are easy to integrate with popular ecommerce platforms.
Stripe – Stripe gained popularity in the online payments world for its simplicity. By integrating Strip you are collecting all shipping and credit card details on a single page and finishing the purchase. You can integrate Stripe easily with major ecommerce platforms.
Paypal – Paypal is the most common mode of payments between peers and business to peers. Paypal is trusted by many people across the globe and integrating a PayPal express checkout on your online store can increase your chances of conversions.
Apple Pay – You can integrate your online store checkout with Apple Pay and give users a chance a chance to may payment with their Apple Wallets.
Product Photo Editing
Doing a shoddy job at photo editing will show up as loss of revenue. Your product photos should be transparent in order for it to have moderate file size and look appealing.
Pixloom – $1 per image background removal. You can apply drop shadow and reflection to your images at additional costs.
ClippingMagic – Tool to remove the background, refine edges, control colour, resize and crop images. $0.27 per edited image download.
RemoveMyBackground – $1.2 per image background removal.
You need a network of successful entrepreneurs in order to learn and grow. You need access to the right contacts, capital and advice at various stages of your ecommerce journey.
Gust Startups – Using Gust you can run your company confidentiality with startup legal, ownership, taxes, financial and accounting tools in a single platform. You can apply to popular accelerators across the world and raise capital from top angel investors and VCs.
F6S – F6S is a community of 2 million founders and startups. You can join the community and post job openings, take help from other entrepreneurs and gain exposure for your startup. You can even connect with accelerators and investors in the ecommerce domain.
SeedInvest – Once you register yourself at seed invest you will get an opportunity to open yourself for investment opportunities from about 200K investors across the world.
Angel Co – Using Angel.co you can list your company and post your job in front of an audience looking to work at a startup. You can also get noticed by investors by being part of Angel.co.
Finance and Accounting
Getting your accounts in place helps you fret less during tax season and also gives you an understanding of business expenses and revenue. With money rolling in and out of your ecommerce business every day you need to have tools which integrate with your ecommerce platform and organize your accounts.
FreshBooks – FreshBooks is a small business accounting software to create professional invoices for your vendors, organize expenses meaningfully, track time, collaborate on projects and get a birds eye view on all your startup expenses. Plans start at $15 per month for 5 clients.
Xero – Xero is an online accounting software which helps you create and send recurring invoices to your vendors and customers. You can accept payments, build a list of contacts and use multiple currencies while creating an invoice.
TaxJar – Using TaxJar you can automate your sales tax calculations, reporting, and filings using one-click integration with your ecommerce platform. Plans start at $17.
You should abide by all the legal formalities to be fulfilled by an ecommerce startup. This helps you hit roadblocks in your business operations in the future. Following resources help you incorporate your business as per legal norms and keep all your legalities in order.
UpCounsel – If you want to hire a lawyer for legal advice or to work on your documents then head over to UpCounsel. You can consult lawyers for varied reasons like business formation, agreements, trademarks, patents or general counselling.
Stripe Atlas – Using Stripe Atlas you can establish a registered business, stripe account and a bank account in the USA within few days. You will also have chat support for legal, tax and accounting advice in the Stripe Atlas Network.
LawTrades – You can get legal service from a certified lawyer using law trades. You can take legal advice and service for any business related activity like incorporation, trademarks, patents, fund raising or sales agreement.
Stock Photos And Videos
If you are writing a blog post you might need few stock images to improve it’s quality. Using the websites below you can get access to millions of stock images with thousands of them completely free.
Pexels – Pexel has over 40,000 free stock photos with at least 3,000 new high-resolution photos added every day. All pictures on pexel are for free personal and commercial use. You can use the photo without even a link to the source.
ShutterStock – On the expensive end but you can find about 201 Million royalty free stock images, vectors, icons, videos and music tracks. Plans available for individual photo download and monthly subscription.
123RF – Like Shutterstock with millions of stock photographs, vectors, videos and sound clips. Using it since a month. No hassles yet.
UnSplash – Unsplash is a repository of high resolutions photos for free download. These are photos given away by photographers around the globe. You are free to use these photos without even providing a link attribution.
Envato Elements – Envato is known for providing all the code and design elements needed to build a great website. You can get access to half a million stock photos with their $29/month monthly plan.
As an online store business, you will need content for product description and writing blog posts. Here are few content tools and services to make your life easy.
TextBroker – Textbroker is a service using which you can get standard to premium level content based on your need. You can either post your requirement within a team of writers you pick or you can post it as a requirement and TextBroker will find a writer for you. You can get product descriptions written for your online store or get blog articles published using Textbroker.
Grammarly – I use Grammarly to correct my spelling and grammar while I am writing online. It is a free chrome plugin. Once you install this plugin it corrects your grammar with a set of real-time suggestions while you are writing an email, adding product description to your online store or setting up a social media update.
Hemingway App – I use the Hemingway app to clear the clutter off my writing and keep it simple. Once you enter a bunch of text the app tells you if you are using too many long sentences, adverbs or using a passive voice instead of active.
Email Marketing And Automation
Email is the highest ROI delivering channel for ecommerce businesses. Email automation and powerful emails can help you get repeat purchases on your orders and a way to reach out to your audience when you launch a new collection or planning a new promotional campaign. These tools help you write great contextual emails and set up smart behaviour based emails which sell your products on autopilot.
Optinmonster.com – You can reduce shopping cart abandonment by using OptinMonster time-sensitive behavior based offers to capture email addresses before they leave the site.
You can use onsite targeting to show targeted website messages to your existing newsletter subscribers, customers, and returning visitors. You can use Exit-Intent popups, Fullscreen Welcome Mats, and Scroll boxes to drastically increase your email subscriber rate.
Sumo.com – Apart from a suite of other tools using sumo.com you can capture a user’s email address using pop-ups, full-page welcome note and smart bars. You can target people who are exiting your site using the exit pop up.
ReallyGoodEmails – Really Good Emails is a directory of all the best emails categorized by context. You can find the best retailer emails for abandoned cart, customer service, the recent purchase, product feedback, Newsletters, Holiday sales and every occasion in which an online store sends an email out.
MailChimp – I have been using MailChimp for 5 years now to send emails. The best part about MailChimp is the ability to send beautiful emails and integrations with numerous ecommerce platforms and marketing channels like FaceBook, Google and Instagram. They have a free plan for up to 2000 subscribers and $10 and above from there on.
Aweber – Aweber is a popular email marketing platform used to send newsletters, set up email autoresponders, segment subscribers and track results. Plans start at $19/month.
Drip – Drip is known for its powerful email automation. You can trigger emails based on a visitor’s behaviour. For instance, if you see a user has visited certain products or categories you can send a targeted email with those products to help them finish a purchase. A free plan is available for up to 100 subscribers and $41 from there on.
GetResponse – Getresponse is comprehensive marketing automation suite. You can use it to set up email, autoresponders, landing pages, webinar pages, event tracking and cart abandonment.
Social Media Management
There are many tools to handle and streamline your social media efforts. Following tools help you monitor, schedule, measure and analyze all your social media efforts from a single dashboard.
HootSuite – HootSuite is a popular social media management tool to schedule social posts, manage social content and monitor brand mentions. You can even track success and prove ROI of your social media efforts.
Buffer – Comes with a free trial. I use Buffer to schedule my social media posts on Twitter and FaceBook. With a free version, you can post to up to 3 social media accounts. It comes with a browser extension and a mobile app to schedule updates on the go.
Brand24 – Ideal for established ecommerce brands. This tool tracks a set of keywords across the web and measures sentiment, influencer score and discussion volume and trend. Plans start from $49.
SocialMention – Track your competitor and your brand name across the social web including blogs and microblogs. Identify PR and social chatter opportunities be set up daily alerts. Free tool.
Coschedule – Coschedule is a must-have tool if you are running a full-fledged marketing campaign for your online store. You can schedule your social media posts, schedule and plan your blog post calendar, create campaigns and workflows and assign tasks to your team members.
Referral marketing can be a great system to make your online store viral. The best part is you need not fret over templates, code and planning. Using the tools below you can start generating attention to the products you sell or represent.
FameBit – FameBit by YouTube is a marketplace for brands and content creators. Using FameBit you can approach influencers to create content around your brand. Create a campaign on FameBit, receive proposals from creators and once you review the content the influencer can share the content with their audience.
WooBox – Using WooBox you can create giveaways, coupons, and Instant Wins, Photos, Video, and Hashtag Contests, Polls, Quizzes, and Games. So if you have a decent size of customer pool or audience on your online store you can leverage that to keep them engaged and get more people on your website using referral marketing on WooBox. Plans start at $30.
Viral Loops – Using viral loops you can create an ecommerce referral program. All you have to do is install the widget so that customers who log in to your ecommerce store gets a referral link. Once a purchase is made through the link the referrer is given a reward in the form of discounts, offers or credits. Viral Loops works with all major ecommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce and Squarespace. Plans start at $39.
I often hit these podcasts while I am driving and working out. It has wealth of information on ecommerce and entrepreneurship. This is massive value at almost zero cost.
- The Fizzle Show
- Build My Online Store
- Ecommerce Evolution
- Ecommerce Pulse
- Side Hustle Nation
- Shopify Masters
- Ecommerce Influence
- My Wife Quit Her Job
- Garyvee SoundCloud
Here are few blogs I follow and recommend to ecommerce entrepreneurs. These blogs have the best resources for building an ecommerce business, running a day to day operations and ecommerce marketing. If you are running an online store or working in an ecommerce industry then subscribe to these blogs to learn tactics which deliver results.
Practical Ecommerce – A blog with more than half decade worth ecommerce resources. The blog is helpful both for enterprise ecommerce owners and SME businesses.
AbetterLemondadeStand – Head over to this blog to find the best ecommerce articles related to starting and growing an ecommerce business.
Shopify Blog – Shopify has the most comprehensive set of resources for an ecommerce entrepreneur right from naming the brand to scaling it to a million dollar business. It’s long-form content, eBooks and in-depth articles is a blueprint for all new online store owners.
BigCommerce Blog – I read the BigCommerce blog to get the best advice on ecommerce marketing and analytics. While most ecommerce blogs are focused on starting an online store Bigcommerce blog caters content to ecommerce entrepreneurs who are making a 5 figure income to scale their business to a seven-figure income.
SelfStart – Darren DeMatas blogs at Selfstartr a blog dedicated to helping ecommerce entrepreneurs at every stage of their business from start to scale. I like reading this blog for the in-depth well-researched articles on ecommerce marketing, tools and tips.
EcommerceGuide– A professional review site which lists a thorough review of all the popular ecommerce platforms and web hosting sites. The blog also has detailed guides and covers ecommerce industry news extensively.
EcommerceFuel – EcommerceFuel is a private forum for 6 and 7 figure income ecommerce entrepreneurs. Membership starts at $49 but you can access a lot of good free content at their podcast and blog.
Ecommerce Platforms – A starting point for new ecommerce entrepreneurs. The blog has the best comparison review of ecommerce platforms. It has a quiz which you can take to help you uncover the right ecommerce platform for your business.
Ecommerce Yogi – EcommerceYogi is the blog which you are reading this article right now. I am Arun Kothapally, after working 7+ years as a digital marketer for startups and large enterprises I quit my job to start EcommerceYogi. Here I share the exact same tactics which I have used to drive millions of users per month to e-commerce stores.