What do Eric Clapton, scientists at the Giant Hadron Collider in CERN and the United States Armed Forces have in common? Besides, being the best at what they do, they also have the best darn equipment in their respective fields.
So while a bad workman may blame his tools, great tools often result in outstanding work. If you have your own business wouldn’t you want to give it the best possible chance at success? My guess is, you definitely would.
In that case, read on to discover the 5 must-have tools necessary to grow and succeed at your e-commerce business.
Probably one of the most comprehensive social media management tools today, Hootsuite is definitely the most popular.
Hootsuite lets you manage your content across a variety of social media platforms from a single, unified dashboard. Be it Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or more, the owl’s got your back.
- Manage multiple social media profiles with one Hootsuite account.
- Collaboration is a breeze as multiple team members can access and manage your social media. You can even set permission levels to regulate the extent of access each member has to your social presence.
- Preselect a time of day and schedule of post with Hootsuite’s Pre-Schedule feature.
- Schedule your posts across a given day with the Auto-Schedule option – simply upload a spreadsheet containing all your posts, and consider it done.
- Track your brand mentions across various sites and your social reputation.
- Measure and analyze the performance of your social media activities with impressive in-suite analytics and take action immediately.
- It has powerful iOS and Android apps that let you manage your social networks on the go.
- You can install a bunch of useful apps like Trello, Google Drive, Gmail, Sound Cloud etc. for a small fee per month.
Hootsuite’s popular URL shortening tool ow.ly is another hoot in its favour.
Show me the money
Hootsuite has a free plan that is great for hyper networked individuals, businesses and larger organizations are better off with paid plans as they come with a host of benefits like detailed analytics, more accounts that can be supported, collaboration with team members etc. Paid plans start at $8.99 per month and offer you a 30 day free trial period.
#2. Visual Website Optimizer
Good websites are those that care not just about conversions, but conversions made beautifully. Visual Website Optimizer helps you build (or tweak) your website for maximizing your conversions while keeping it well designed and aesthetically appealing.
It allows you to test every element on your site for conversions. Right from your menu bar to your sign up forms to your checkout process, no aspect is left un-analyzed by Visual Website Optimizer. The best part – it is so easy to use, that you’ll not need a specialist team of geeks to carry out the tests, you can point, click, run, analyse every test by yourself.
- Embed the Visual Website Optimizer code into your site once and carry out as many tests as you need.
- Use A/B Testing to test 2 different versions of your site.
- Multivariate testing for testing different combinations of individual site elements and seeing which combination works best.
- Heat maps and usability testing to give a more qualitative touch to arrive at recommendations for your landing pages.
- Set conversion goals and carry out tests for all visitors or specific visitor segments as per your choice.
- Run multiple tests on your site simultaneously.
- Set conversion goals and track performance on a daily basis. Get detailed reports regarding your conversion metrics.
- Link Visual Website Optimizer to your site analytics platforms like Google Analytics or Adobe SiteCatalyst to get the revenue repercussions of your design changes.
Creating website versions for testing
Show me the money
Visual Website Optimizer is a paid service that offers a 30 day free trial period. Plans start at $49 per month and keep going progressively higher, based on the number of visitors you choose to test in a month.
The more the merrier is usually true for most projects. However, more heads at work also means more ideas to capture, analyse and implement. This task gets even more complicated when there are multiple projects handled by multiple teams each with numerous members.
Basecamp brings sanity into chaotic situations with its famously simple project management platform.
Manage multiple projects
Discuss and collaborate
Show me the money
BaseCamp like most tools offers a free trial period – in this case, it’s 60 days. The paid plans start off at $20 for 10 projects and 3 GB of storage space. This number gets progressively higher as the number of your projects and storage requirements grow.
Managing an online business is hard enough. Throw in a bunch of more channels to the mix and juggling them all becomes well-nigh impossible.
Agiliron is the answer to the woes of multi-channel retailers. With this comprehensive enterprise management suite, you can easily roll out, control and make a success of your e-commerce platform, traditional physical stores, eBay & Amazon stores, direct sales channels and more.
- You don’t have to alter your website code or install any software to run Agiliron, it’s completely web based on the Amazon cloud servers, so you can simply log in from anywhere and get going.
- Agiliron allows you to set up various retail channels with great built-in tools like e-commerce platforms and POS systems.
- Agiliron’s dedicated modules help you master your customer facing activities like marketing and customer service, while simultaneously keeping a tight grip on back end processes like inventory, accounting and more.
- Modules available include:-
- Product Catalog
- Email Marketing
- Pricing Tools
- Lead Management
- Order Management
- Vendor Management
- Inventory Management
- Customer service
- QuickBooks integration
- Business Intelligence and reporting
- You can even integrate Agiliron with Google Analytics and track your conversions
Show me the money
Agiliron is surprisingly cost effective in view of how comprehensive and user friendly it is. It is a paid platform with a 30 day free trial period. Paid plans start at $49 per month and go up to $199 per month for the most high-end enterprise package with a lot more functions and service options.
E-commerce is a 24 X 7 X 365 job. While customer care in traditional businesses can be confined to 9 hours a day, in the online domain, customers expect resolutions to their problems instantly, or else. An angry customer is an ugly thing. They view your brand negatively, do not buy from you, spread the negative word of mouth and even prevent potential sales.
Achieve customer service Zen with Zendesk – a complete customer service tool that also integrates with your marketing automation systems like SalesForce or Sugar CRM to complete the feedback loop.
- Create customer support tickets each time you receive a customer service call and it gets added to the queue of open tickets.
- Resolve tickets through various platforms like email, social media, phone, chat or even your website itself.
- Use templatized solutions for customer issues wherever needed and share information easily within the customer support team.
- Track your performance on customer service through detailed statistics about the number of calls received, number of complaints resolved, resolution time, open tickets etc.
- Create self-help sections in the form of guides and tutorials that allow customers to resolve their queries by themselves, get information quicker and eventually reduce the load on your customer service team.
- Pick from the huge range of apps (free and paid) that you can integrate with Zendesk to create a more rewarding customer experience.
Show me the money
Zendesk offers monthly and annual billing plans, with its starter plan costing just $1 per agent per month, which scales up to a maximum of $195 per agent per month, depending on the complexity of services that you choose to offer.
If there is one area of business that you should never scrimp on, it’s on resources that make your business function better.
Don’t take my word for it. Simply take any one of these cool tools for a spin and let me know what you think about them in the comments section below.
Images: “African Businessman Holding Digital Tablet With Online Shopping Application On A Screen/ Shutterstock.com“
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