- How can the right tools for e-commerce help your business?
- What are the best direct tools for e-commerce?
- What are the best indirect tools for e-commerce?
Q: What are the best e-commerce tools?
A: There are several indirect and direct e-commerce tools that will help your business run smoothly. The best e-commerce tool for your business depends largely on what your business is trying to accomplish. Below, we’ll look at the most effective tools for e-commerce, ranging from virtual offices to payment processors to tools that help you build business credit.
In 2020, the world was rocked by Covid-19 and the ensuing stay-at-home orders that affected the entire world.
During this pandemic, traditional businesses and brick-and-mortar retailers were hit incredibly hard. Even with assistance from the government in the form of PPP loans, many businesses were forced to close their doors.
Although the e-commerce market had existed for decades, the pandemic forced consumers who regularly used brick-and-mortar stores and other traditional businesses to find new ways to shop, while traditional businesses turned to e-commerce tools to stay afloat.
The results were astounding. E-commerce sales increased by 43% in 2020, topping out at $815.4 billion, almost a trillion dollars in sales solely through e-commerce businesses.
With numbers like these and no end to the e-commerce boom in sight, it makes sense for business owners to build effective e-commerce platforms that capture as much of the market as possible.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most generally effective tools for e-commerce and other methods to help your e-commerce platform be as successful as possible. Keep reading below!
- How can the right tools for e-commerce help your business?
- What are the best direct tools for e-commerce?
- What are the best indirect tools for e-commerce?
- More about tools for e-commerce
How can the right tools for e-commerce help your business?
E-commerce is constantly evolving. The internet inherently incentivizes change and innovation, so it makes sense for e-commerce to evolve similarly.
Due to this constantly changing environment, business owners must keep up with the latest tools for e-commerce to stay competitive in a market with millions of other businesses.
So how can the right tools for e-commerce help your business thrive?
The answer lies in finding the right tools for your business. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, but we’ll look at some of the most widely used tools and examine how they could help your business.
A good tool for e-commerce will provide you with market insight and a way to make your tracked metrics easy to understand. Each business will have slightly different tracked metrics, so it’s important to find tools for e-commerce that cater to the specific metrics you’re tracking.
The idea is to find tools for e-commerce that will give you an edge over your competition. The e-commerce market is massive, and it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll be directly competing with other businesses.
The best way to overtake these other businesses is by being informed and using this information to help your business evolve organically.
Additionally, tools for e-commerce can help you develop the most effective marketing strategies. These tools can show you what is and isn’t working, help you create stronger marketing materials, and allow you to distribute those materials to your target audience.
So, what marketing metrics should you be tracking with these e-commerce tools?
- Customer acquisition costs (CAC)
- Just like it sounds, CAC refers to the cost of acquiring a new customer.
- Bounce rate
- The bounce rate refers to the percentage of your website’s visitors that immediately leave before looking around.
- Website traffic
- Similar to the bounce rate, this metric tracks the volume of individuals visiting your website.
- Average order value
- Average order value, or AVO, is a way to track the average amount spent by each customer that uses your website.
- Sales conversion rate
- The sales conversion rate refers to the number of visitors to your site that purchase something. For instance, if 1000 individuals visit your site and you make 200 sales, your sales conversion rate is 200/1000 or 20%.
- Customer lifetime value (CLV)
- CLV tracks the complete worth of any customer over the entirety of the relationship.
Although these are just a few of the various metrics that tools for e-commerce can help you keep tabs on, there are even more marketing metrics or KPIs (key performance indicators) that these tools will allow you to track.
Remember, staying informed is paramount to the success of your business. Tracking these metrics allows your business to know exactly how effective your marketing is, how effective your website is, and where you might need to allocate additional resources.
Independent of these more direct applications, several indirect tools can be used to free you from other obligations so you have more time to focus on your e-commerce.
Software that covers your accounting, HR, or payroll responsibilities allows you to dedicate more time to selling online, resulting in more income.
The recent e-commerce boom has resulted in many new metrics to track, so the proper use of e-commerce tools to stay competitive isn’t a luxury; it’s a requirement.
What are the best direct tools for e-commerce?
Direct tools for e-commerce are tools that are intimately involved with the operations of your e-commerce business. These include tools for e-commerce sites and even tools for e-commerce security.
Essentially, without these e-commerce tools, your business wouldn’t be able to function properly.
A few examples of the best direct tools for e-commerce include:
- Virtual offices
- Email marketing management
- Website builders
- Payment processors
A virtual office is among the best direct e-commerce tools.
A virtual office not only supports your virtual operations, but it adds a layer of privacy and professionalism to your business too.
Privacy comes from the actual address used to register your business, and professionalism comes from using a well-known address to improve consumer perception.
All too often, business owners simply use their home address to register their LLC, which is a practice that should be avoided at all costs.
All of the information used to register an LLC is added to the public domain, which means that any disgruntled customers or incessant spammers have easy access to your home address to do with as they please.
On the flip side, using a well-known physical address is one of the quickest ways to build legitimacy. If your business specializes in financial services, an address in upper Manhattan would likely be more exciting to potential consumers than an address in rural Kansas.
Using a traditional space for e-commerce operations is costly and largely ineffective. A virtual office gives you access to a physical workspace, when necessary, but doesn’t require you to sign lengthy leases or pay exorbitant monthly fees.
Alliance Virtual Offices offers virtual offices across all 50 states, so no matter where you’d like to incorporate, we’ve got you covered. In addition to the wide variety of locations, Alliance’s virtual offices provide entrepreneurs with access to a physical workspace and helpful onsite staff.
Overall, a virtual office is one of the greatest tools for e-commerce imaginable. The affordable cost associated with a virtual office paired with the privacy, professionalism, and access to a workspace makes this an incredibly worthwhile investment.
Email marketing management
The bane of many business owners’ existence is email management.
Email marketing management is incredibly difficult, and it becomes even more so if you’re not using any e-commerce tools to automate the process.
AWeber is an excellent tool business owners can use to manage their email lists. You can easily create multiple marketing campaigns, while monitoring KPIs and other metrics.
A robust email marketing system allows you to build even more leads while converting more of these leads into paying customers.
It’s possible to do these email marketing lists manually, but the amount of time required to send hundreds or thousands of emails regularly would take incredibly long.
One of the most important aspects of running a successful e-commerce business is knowing what to automate, and email marketing lists are close to the top of the list when it comes to AI tools for e-commerce.
Unless you’re an expert programmer with a great deal of extra time on your hands, building out an entire website is going to be a difficult and time-consuming process. Add in a way for customers to purchase items, and who knows how long it’ll take you.
HostPapa is marketed mainly as a web hosting company that caters largely to small businesses. That said, the website provides several different tools for e-commerce.
Not only does HostPapa provide shared hosting options for incredibly low prices, but they utilize SSDs, or Solid-State Disks, for data storage. This means that your hosted websites will have an incredibly quick loading speed which translates into a better UX, leading customers to spend more time on your website.
In addition to the website hosting options and impressive data storage, HostPapa also has an easy-to-use website builder that requires no coding knowledge to use.
A search bar on the homepage also allows you to find domain names for your business without having to travel to an additional website.
Domain names, website hosting, a website builder, and other tools for e-commerce make HostPapa an excellent choice for any entrepreneur looking to expand their online operations.
Just like HostPapa mostly advertises its website hosting, Webflow’s most prominent selling point is its easy-to-use website builder.
Also usable with no programming knowledge, the on-site builder will easily walk you through the process of setting up a fully functional website.
Another benefit is users can access over 400 free lessons available that can help you learn how to use the website builder to the best of your abilities.
One of the best aspects of Webflow is that the entire process is free to start. You can build the site and take however long you deem necessary without feeling rushed by a never-enough-time free trial.
Webflow allows you to operate free of charge until it’s time for your site to launch. This is a massive benefit for new entrepreneurs looking to break into the e-commerce world, as well as individuals looking to ramp up their e-commerce operations.
With services ranging from SEO (search engine optimization) to high-quality security practices, Webflow is one of the key tools for e-commerce.
A robust payment processing system is far and away one of the most beneficial tools for e-commerce available.
There’s nothing worse than spending countless hours getting your website set up and operating smoothly, only to run into problems with the only part that matters: getting paid.
When using payment processing, you can use either hosted payment gateways or self-hosted payment gateways, the distinction lies in where the transaction is completed.
Hosted payments finalize through websites like PayPal and take the customer from your site to theirs, while self-hosted payments happen exclusively on your website.
When searching for a payment processor, the most important aspect is how well the processor integrates with your website.
If you’ve used one of the website builders and the provided processor isn’t functioning the way you’d like it to, then it’s worth finding a smoother processing option.
Regardless of your personal goals, the long-term goal for any business is to make money. Taking the time to ensure your website has a functioning payment processor will allow you to convert as many site visitors as possible to customers.
Overall, these direct tools for e-commerce are designed to make your life as an entrepreneur as simple as possible. The less time you spend worrying about leases, lengthy email lists, building websites, and payment processing, the more time you can worry about the actual operations of your business.
What are the best indirect tools for e-commerce?
Indirect tools for e-commerce are tools that you can use to make the actual day-to-day operations of your business easier to manage and less time-consuming.
These include tools for e-commerce management, AI tools for e-commerce, and other interesting ways to automate aspects of your business.
Below, we’ve listed some of the most common problems entrepreneurs have with their e-commerce businesses, as well as the tools you can use to avoid them.
- Accounting and bookkeeping
- Building business credit
- Business phone calls
Accounting and bookkeeping
Accounting and bookkeeping can take up massive amounts of time. Even in traditional businesses, making sure the books are up-to-date and properly reflective of the happenings within your business is a Herculean task.
Using bookkeeping software takes these tasks off your plate and leaves you with ample time and energy dedicated to market research and online store development.
This accounting software package is among the oldest of its kind.
Introduced in the 80s, Quickbooks focuses on smaller to medium-sized businesses and offers ways for entrepreneurs to track income and expenses, handle payroll, and even help when it comes time to pay taxes.
Quickbooks is one of the most widely used tools for e-commerce for a reason, and the multitude of services offered as well as the various plans make it an excellent tool for any business, e-commerce or otherwise, to get a handle on their books.
Similar to Quickbooks, Bench provides businesses with access to a team of small business experts that prepare financial statements each month.
Not only does Bench take care of the finances so you can focus on running your business, but by upgrading your plan, they’ll also help you with everything you need to file your taxes properly.
Based in Utah, Mazuma is a licensed accounting firm, and the difference between this firm and other accounting offerings is notable.
Because Mazuma is a CPA, they keep regular business hours from 8:00 am-5:00 pm.
While this decreases convenience, it also allows you to have an entire team of bookkeeping experts and certified public accountants (CPA) dedicated to helping your business grow.
Similar to Bench and Quickbooks, Mazuma also offers bookkeeping and tax filing, but the interpersonal aspect of the website makes Mazuma a great choice for entrepreneurs who truly don’t feel comfortable with a computer or might need some extra help.
Just like accounting and bookkeeping, handling payroll is a tedious and time-consuming process.
Tracking times and calculating each employee’s paycheck manually is nearly impossible when you’re only dealing with a handful of employees. Add in additional employees and the process will take you countless hours that could be better spent elsewhere.
Resourcing Edge is a PEO (professional employer organization) that essentially outsources your HR department.
This e-commerce tool can process employee enrollments, terminations, and handle your payroll with ease. If you’re an individual that doesn’t know much about employee administration, then this is a great option to explore.
With almost 750 million businesses using their services, Paychex offers both all-in-one payroll and HR services.
The service can track the time and attendance of your employees, making it so you don’t have to worry about keeping up with your employees outside of making sure they’re completing the tasks required of them.
Additionally, Paychex makes it easy for you to set up 401ks, retirement plans, health insurance, and other employee benefits.
Another full-service HR and payroll service, Gusto offers cloud-based software for businesses to use.
Gusto has a variety of different plans for your business to use depending on how large your operations are. With plans dedicated to contractor-only businesses to plans for large-scale operations, Gusto is an excellent option for businesses hoping to scale up.
Paying your employees properly and on time is paramount to the success of your business, and using these tools to ensure that you’re handling payroll properly takes yet another time-consuming process off your plate.
Building business credit
Building your business credit is a crucial aspect of expanding your online store. Strong business credit gives you access to loans you can use to launch new ventures and reach new markets.
Unfortunately, building your business credit can be a lengthy and expensive process.
Home to a vast network of lenders and investors, Creditsuite focuses on getting your business the loans and lines of credit necessary to properly scale your operations.
Even if your business credit is nonexistent, Creditsuite allows entrepreneurs to build business credit through their white label platform. An added benefit is that using the website gives you the chance to receive free business credit and loan consultation.
eCredable reports your utility accounts, which could help raise your FICO or VantageScore overnight. In addition, eCredable will match your credit profile to the financial offers you are likely to qualify for.
With two different main plans, eCredable Lift or eCredable LiftLocker, eCredable offers options to businesses with virtually nonexistent credit, as well as businesses just trying to consolidate and focus on growth.
Focused exclusively on small businesses, Nav is dedicated to matching your business with financial offers that you’re most likely to be approved for. By doing so, Nav can easily create customized experiences for small businesses.
Because Nav has a personalized marketplace, they’ve got easy access to over 100 financing options to match your business with.
Good business credit opens countless doors. Using these indirect tools for e-commerce will put your business in a position to secure bigger loans and stronger lines of credit through well-known financiers.
Business phone calls
Lastly, business phone calls can take up an inordinate amount of your workday, leaving you with little to no time to focus on your online operations.
Not only are you spending valuable time on the phone, but the customers on the other end are likely not getting the highest quality service possible either.
A virtual receptionist can free you from the constant influx of calls, helping you market and optimize your online business offerings.
Instead of struggling to answer phones and adequately deal with each customer, consider using a live receptionist to make sure each call is answered while personally screening the calls as well.
These indirect tools for e-commerce are quality-of-life tools. Properly utilizing them will give you far more time to focus on the core operations of your online business.
More about tools for e-commerce
Making the most of your e-commerce requires time, insight, and attention.
Several great tools can support your efforts in this area, both directly and indirectly. Adding these tools for e-commerce to your arsenal lets you build your business faster, all while reducing your workload.
Whether it’s tracking important marketing metrics, making your online store as functional as possible, or giving yourself the time necessary to focus on the core aspects of your operations, the proper use of these tools for e-commerce will result in a business that operates incredibly smoothly.
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Making use of these tools for e-commerce is a massive aspect of running a successful e-commerce business.
The competition is fierce. There is no shortage of virtual small businesses, and the proper utilization of these tools is a surefire way to put your business in a position to compete.
Alliance Virtual Offices offers several e-commerce tools that can help your business thrive in this market.
From virtual offices to live receptionists Alliance has tools for e-commerce available for businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re just now starting to explore the world of e-commerce or simply hoping to flesh out your operations, Alliance Virtual Offices has the tools you need to succeed.
Contact us today to see what we can do to help your business succeed!