Ecommerce Tools To Get Your eBusiness Started In 2020

By: Ryan Velez| @ Article-Writing.co
Posted On: June 17, 2020

It’s easy to make the argument that now is one of the best times to start up your own ecommerce business. 

Global ecommerce sales are expected to top $4 trillion in 2020, and it’s not just the mega-companies getting all this business, either. 

With the many issues conventional retail is having, there is a greater and greater opening for small-to-medium ecommerce businesses to get a foothold. However, to build a successful ecommerce business you need to invest in various tools. 

We created a list covering the basics but to stay ahead of competition you need to be on top of new trends in the content marketing and ecommerce space.  

What Do We Mean By Ecommerce Tools? 

Look at it this way: there are many people who may want to learn how to open an ecommerce store, but aren’t fully aware of the work involved. 

Yes, you may not need to maintain a physical building, but you still need to manage inventory, finances, legal concerns, marketing, and other areas, just like any other business. On top of all this, your website is your storefront; you need to make sure that it’s running properly and easy to navigate to get any traction at all. Ecommerce tools make these processes easier to initiate and more effective overall.

So, with this in mind, here are the tools, apps, and services that can help you get an ecommerce business off the ground.

How To Start An Ecommerce Business-The Path To Follow

Before we talk about all the ecommerce tools available, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of an early ecommerce store strategy roadmap. This is essential for a few main reasons:

  • It makes sure you have all the bases covered for a potential launch.
  • It gives you an idea of potential weak spots in your business strategy.
  • And shows areas where ecommerce tools will be most useful.

With that in mind, here’s how to get started:

  • Find a niche. The classic adage is that every business needs to start with a problem. For ecommerce success, you need to find a solution that another business hasn’t already presented. For example, are you able to offer a given product at a lower price point due to a special sourcing opportunity? Are you marketing something that you’ve created yourself? Do you know of a market that’s being underserved in terms of ecommerce? Whatever the niche is, it needs to be unique in some way.

 

  • Legally become a business. This includes picking a name, legal structure, and getting an employer identification number. Be sure to scout out domains while you are thinking of a business name and buy an appropriate one right away. Some people look for new business name registries and buy out the domain name right out from the person’s nose. Also, make sure you get any relevant permits before you start business operations.

 

  • Create your website. One decision that you need to make early on is whether you are going to create your own ecommerce website or work on one of the major existing ecommerce website providers. There isn’t a right or wrong answer to this question. Having your own custom ecommerce website means you don’t have your store competing against others on that platform, but you have to deal with the added work of maintaining a site on your own. Going on one of these platforms means more competition; however, you will also have built-in support, website templates and more streamlined onboarding.

 

  • Develop or source the products you will sell on your ecommerce website. There are a few ways that you can go about this, and chances are you already have an idea of what to do. Some people source their products from distributors before selling, others make their own, and those selling services (consultants) can simply list their services on their site. Make sure that you have a plan to store and sort your initial inventory, so you are not overstocked or understocked.

 

  • Now you have to invest in marketing for your products/services. With your site and inventory ready to go, it’s time to spread the word. Marketing is made up of various sections: content marketing, SEO, email marketing, Pay-Per-Click ads, among others. Make sure that you think about the platforms your potential customers use and start investing your marketing efforts for said platforms. There are ways to start implementing marketing efforts that are cost effective. You want to improve your site’s search engine optimization (SEO) to start getting more organic traffic. In contrast, you can implement Google Ads/ Facebook Ads to your potential customers. In both cases, you want to invest in tools/resources that can track your marketing progress, so you know whether things are working or if it’s time for a marketing change.

Should You Stick To A Free Ecommerce Website Platform?

Naturally, in the early stages of a business, one of the top questions is going to be how much support you can get for free. Looking for the best free ecommerce platform/software is great, but you want to be mindful of what that gets you. 

Some products offer free and premium tiers, but the free tier doesn’t offer enough functionality to actually sustain your ebusiness. Other products may be a perfect match for your business, but don’t have a free option. 

Our goal is to make sure that you have all the tools to run a successful ecommerce business, so while you want to be prudent, you don’t want to be cheap. This means that blowing your budget on a single platform you haven’t tested isn’t wise. However, using a patchwork of free trials is no good if you don’t have a game plan after your needs exceed their capacity. We are going to be recommending a combination of free and paid resources to make sure there is something to suit everyone’s needs. 

Essential Ecommerce Site Platforms

As mentioned before, the website is the nexus of any successful ecommerce business. This is the part that faces the customer, and any difficulties with navigation or purchasing are going to directly hurt your chances of ebusiness success. With this said, here are some additional key tools that can improve your ecommerce website.

Shopify

We should start this conversation with the major ecommerce website builder provider. As mentioned before, this is the preferred choice for a lot of businesses due to the ability to skip over a lot of the additional work of maintaining your own custom ecommerce website.

Purpose

  • By creating a Shopify storefront, you can skip a lot of website design steps. This ecommerce software allows you to set up an ecommerce website from prebuilt templates, buy a custom domain, plug in stock images and write interactive content all in one place. 

Features

  • You don’t need to invest in a lot of added ecommerce website design, as you can simply use one of the over 70 free website themes. Making it a trusted resource for a lot of  small ecommerce website companies.  
  • The in-house shipping company can be used to stock and ship without added inventory.
  • Shopify has an accessible point of sale system. This gives you a brand name customers already trust for CX and security, and added tools to manage your payments/insights. 
  • Even if you already have a website, you can code in a Shopify-based checkout.

Pricing

  • Free trials are available
  • You will need to eventually sign up for a membership, starting at $29 a month.

3dcart

3dcart is a potential alternative if you don’t want to use Shopify.

Purpose

  • 3dcart is another ecommerce platform designed to make it easier to start an online store rather than creating a website from scratch. 

Features:

  • You can start by choosing from over 50 free themes and 100+ supported payment processors so you can keep with branding and tools you are already comfortable with. 
  • The ecommerce website builder is the main attraction of this platform, making it easy to put together categories, sections, and additional features, even for a web design novice. 
  • You can also make use of built-in analytics and ecommerce marketing tools to refine your target audience reach.

Pricing:

  • There is no free way to get started with 3dcart, but the Startup Store option begins at $19 a month. 
  • Higher tier subscriptions allow for more staff users and email accounts, as well as CRM, product comparison/Q&A sections, and a delivery estimate preview.

 

UltraCart

In some cases, you may have an existing site and simply want to add on some ecommerce functionality, rather than starting from scratch. UltraCart is a good fit here.

Purpose:

  • To create an online storefront that allows you to share from an existing website.

Features:

  • Has fully customizable themes to create a responsive custom ecommerce website with minimal coding/design skills.
  • Analytics dashboard allows you to track your marketing and sales targets.
  • Multi-language support.
  • Mobile-friendly.

Pricing:

  • The cheapest price band is $49.95/month.
  • However, a lot of the more useful add-ons are either cheap or free, including payment/fulfillment integration

 

BigCommerce

Compared to the other platform options we’ve discussed, you should be prepared to go into using BigCommerce expecting more for your money. A lot of the best options are for premium buyers only, but the benefits you get may be enough to sway you either way.

Purpose:

  • Like Shopify and 3dcart, these services enable you to set up an online store without any knowledge of coding.

Features:

  • What sets BigCommerce apart is the top-notch design options and lack of transaction fees. 
  • In addition, there are features like multichannel integration and full control SEO tools to maintain a larger ecommerce brand.
  • With this said, a lot of the benefits you see here don’t necessarily really kick in until you have a larger ecommerce business to work with.  As a result, to get the most for your money, it may be best for smaller stores to look at some of the other options, and possibly consider converting over later if they want to take full advantage of the features. 

Pricing:

  • The lowest tier option is Bigcommerce Standard at $29.95 a month.

Magento

Magento is Adobe’s foray into the world of ecommerce, and as platforms go, it has a lot to offer. 

Purpose:

  • Another ecommerce platform that saves you the frustration of coding on your own.

Features:

  • An accessible drag-and-drop page builder.
  • Adobe Sensei analyzes shopper behavior to provide customized recommendations for each potential customer. 
  • On the back end, you can use segmentation and personalization tools to display specific content, prices, and promotions to sets of customers, and stage content without the need to get your IT team involved. 

Pricing:

  • The base platform is free and open source.
  • However, paid/enterprise plans are substantially more expensive than the other platform options, starting in the thousands of dollars.

WooCommerce

Many people looking to start in ecommerce may already have some familiarity with WordPress from other website work. WooCommerce is a customizable, open-source platform to take your WordPress site to the next level.

Purpose:

  • A free platform built on WordPress that enables you to add necessary features and structure to create a fully functional ecommerce site.

Features:

  • Exclusive payments system accepts both credit and debit cards securely.
  • Can implement coupons and loyalty programs to reward repeat customers.
  • WooCommerce app lets you manage your store from your mobile device.
  • Massive store of extensions and themes to customize your ecommerce store to your liking.

Pricing:

  • WooCommerce as a platform, is completely free.
  • Certain themes and extensions may be paid, though.

Prestashop

Prestashop is a free ecommerce store builder that has a feature list comparable to many of the bigger names in this category.

Purpose:

  • A free ecommerce builder that allows you to set up and customize your own store.

Features:

  • Allows you to fully create a product selection, navigation, and customization feature set.
  • Has features to configure taxes based on location and comply with laws relevant to your market.
  • Lets you create discounts and product spotlights to drive engagement.
  • Gives you access to the Prestashop marketplace for a whole set of apps to use.

Pricing:

  • Prestashop is completely free.
  • Just understand that scaling a store can be harder with this platform compared to the others we’ve discussed.

Once you have picked an ecommerce website builder provider selected. It is important to know which KPI’s to monitor. We have written a blog post going over important KPI’s to track for your ecommerce store as we thought it would be important once you have a website set up.

Quality Ecommerce Tools For Website Development And Management

Ecommerce management platforms like the options mentioned above may be the favorite for a lot of newcomers, but there’s something to be said for starting your own ecommerce site using WordPress, Weebly, or Squarespace. In these cases, or even to enhance your existing website, there are a lot of tools and resources available. Here’s a closer look at some.

 

Instapage

Whether you’re on Shopify or Squarespace, having a strong landing page is essential. This is where your customers are going to be led after clicking a link you leave in:

  • Email marketing 
  • Ecommerce blogs
  • Social media posts
  • Any other marketing you can think of

As the bridge between your marketing and your conversions, a bad landing page can sink your business.

Purpose:

  • Instapage is designed to help you build customized landing pages without a developer that will help get you more conversions from your advertising.

Features:

  • There are over 90 different post-click templates you can take advantage of.
  • The combination of heatmaps and A/B testing is the most unique feature. 
  • You can use heatmaps to actually see the number of scrolls and clicks that given parts of your landing page are getting from customers. 
  • Combine this with A/B testing, and you have a complete understanding of how your landing page changes are being received by your customers. 
  • You can also integrate features like digital asset delivery for more lead generation. 

Pricing:

  • Instapage is not a cheap service, despite all the benefits. 
  • The core package is $68 a month, but will need to go up to $119 a month to get the heatmaps and A/B testing.

JungleScout

For many ecommerce sellers, rather than trying to go on their own, they may try to set up their business on Amazon. This is a viable option, but you need information about your niche on the platform to deal with the heavy competition. JungleScout is designed to help here.

Purpose:

  • JungleScout is a suite of tools designed specifically to support ecommerce sellers on Amazon.

Features:

  • Implement product research to figure out what products are in highest demand.
  • Optimize your listings with keyword research.
  • Track sales, revenue, and other metrics with an analytics tool. 
  • Put together targeted email campaigns.

Pricing:

  • Jungle Scout costs $49 a month as a baseline, but will cost you $69 a month if you bundle it with the accompanying Google Chrome extension.

 

Hubspot CRM

When your business starts to take off, you want to make sure the customer experience isn’t lost as your business grows. A CRM (customer relationship management) system is key here, and Hubspot CRM is one of the most popular and comprehensive.

Purpose: 

  • To help manage and chart your interactions with customers, leads, and prospects.

Features:

  • By pairing the CRM with your email provider (Gmail or Outlook), you can get rid of the need for large spreadsheets for your sales team and start lead generation faster. 
  • The automated logging feature for all customer interactions makes sure those emails/chat logs don’t get lost. 
  • The CRM also logs all your leads in a single location, keeping you from needing to sift through old email chains for contact info or to figure out where a conversation left off. 

Pricing:

  • You can get started for free, with both the marketing hub and sales hub having free options. 
  • Hubspot is going to upsell you often, and depending on the size and scale of your business, you may need to upgrade to take full advantage of what the platform has to offer. 
  • For more insights, integration, or higher contact storage, expect to start paying more. 

LiveChat

One of the major areas where brick-and-mortar still has a bit of a leg up on ecommerce is customer-to-staff interaction. It’s hard to completely mimic the feeling that a customer gets when they have one-on-one time with an experienced member of your staff.  One way to get around this is by using chat platforms, and Livechat is among the best.

 

Purpose: 

  • A chat platform allowing interaction between agents and customers through your ecommerce website.

Features:

  • This application allows you to provide real-time support for customer questions, as well as custom greetings. 
  • In addition, the platform comes with insights to make sure your team is responding to customer questions in a timely fashion.

Pricing:

  • LiveChat’s most basic starter package is $16 a month, which gives you access to one agent, a ticketing system, and data security. 
  • More features/agents come with more expensive packages.

Namecheap

What’s in a name? Everything if you are a website. You need something that will be easy to remember and associate with your brand, and that’s not the simplest task. Namecheap allows you to get a domain name and hosting for your site to get operations started.

Purpose:

  • A platform to buy domain names so people can create their own ecommerce websites.

Features:

  • You can buy popular domains at competitive prices through the marketplace.
  • When you register a domain, you also get several other side services, like privacy protection and free support.
  • Namecheap also offers apps, WordPress tools, and security tools for their customers.

Pricing:

  • A typical .org or .net domain costs you around $10 to $15 annually but this can vary wildly, especially for custom domains.
  • Most of the other services Namecheap offers are free if you have a domain with them.

Tagalys

For many customers, if they don’t find a product they like on a given listing page in 25 seconds, they are going to look elsewhere. Tagalys works to organize your store to make sure that this doesn’t happen.

Purpose:

  • Tagalys is a sorting merchandising engine that analyzes existing visitor action on products to determine what will sell.

Features:

  • The site search feature lets you sort your search results for products on your site based with what will sell.
  • Use the visual curation tool to organize your pages based on business needs.
  • Conversion analytics will show what your visitors look for and purchase, but also what they look for and can’t find.
  • Data APIs can connect with visitors who have searched, but haven’t purchased yet.

Pricing:

  • Starter pricing band is at $129 per month.
  • Custom pricing is also available if you want a specific feature suite.

The Top Marketing Ecommerce Tools

Ecommerce marketing is every bit as important as it is for other forms of business. In fact, with the many different sellers out there, you could make the case that it’s even more important. Ecommerce marketing takes a variety of different forms, and here are some of the tools that will help you find success.

SEMRush

Whether your site is part of a greater ecommerce marketplace or on its own, search engine optimization (SEO) is king. You can have dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of product listings competing for consumer attention, and mastering your ecommerce SEO is the best way to manage this. Understanding keywords can improve how content is added to a product page to improve its ranking.

 

Purpose:

  • An all-purpose SEO platform to analyze both your site’s performance and the sites of your competitors.

Features:

  • SEMRush lets you get fully detailed reports on your competitors’ search engine optimization (SEO) profiles. 
  • Simply enter their web address, and see what traffic they are getting, what keywords they are optimized for, and what their backlink profile looks like.
  • SEMRush also comes with analytics tools for advertising and landing pages, helping you improve your market and work around what your competitors are doing.

Pricing:

  • Premium plans for SEMRush start at $69.95 a month. 
  • Considering the huge role SEO plays in ecommerce marketing success, it’s well worth the money for many companies.

Ahrefs

For many newcomers to the ecommerce space, understanding the SEO marketing strategy your competitor uses can be quite useful. Ahrefs is designed to make this possible by looking at the backlink profiles of other websites. This platform can be used to support your ecommerce content marketing strategy through blog posts, email marketing and other content marketing areas.

Purpose:

  • An SEO research tool that allows you to analyze your own site as well as your competitors.

Features:

  • Keyword research lets you figure out easy options that your site can rank for quickly, as well as their search volume. This can help you create quality content that will get the organic traffic you are looking for.
  • Use competitor analysis to see the backlink profiles of other sites in your niche.
  • Web monitoring will alert you when your site and products are mentioned.

Pricing: 

  • The lowest price tier is $99 a month.
  • More expensive tiers allow for larger-scale results and more users.

Mailchimp

When it comes to your ecommerce email marketing ROI, email marketing is one of the strongest options. However, you want to make sure you have a smart email marketing strategy and effective email copy to keep your materials out of the Trash Bin. Mailchimp helps in both areas. 

Purpose:

  • A one-stop-shop for email marketing, with both design and analytics elements.

Features:

  • Mailchimp has a useful, but accessible, template editor to help put together your email copy and visuals.
  • Email Marketing Automation is available for mass emails among all your segments. 
  • Mailchimp has amazing email marketing analytics built into the platform. You can also use geotracking and integration with social media and Google Analytics to see how your marketing emails perform.

Pricing:

  • Mailchimp has a robust free plan, which allows for 10,000 emails to 2,000 of your subscribers. 
  • This can cover what many startups or niche stores need, but you may want to upgrade later.

Campaign Monitor

Think of Campaign Monitor as the premium option compared to the baseline Mailchimp for email marketing services. It is more expensive, but gives you some additional features to work with.The ouch point? This email campaign automation SaaS is MUCH pricier than competitors like MailChimp. There are fewer templates to use than most competitors, too, but the email design quality is higher. Sticking with the theme of great design, the UX is amazing, and the drag-and-drop editor is beautifully simple.

Importing data is a snap, and you can target and segment your list in beautifully complex ways. The email marketing tools include a landing page creator, but it can be clunky to use. Support options are also limited. If you’ve got the cash and list size to opt for the unlimited plan, it might be worth your while. Otherwise, there are better tools available for less.

Purpose:

  • An email  marketing automation platform.

Features:

  • Has incredible UX with the drag-and-drop editors, making it easy to create quality-grade email marketing campaigns.
  • Importing data from other platforms is incredibly easy.
  • The bonus landing page creator lets you integrate the next step of your sales funnel after the emails.
  • Personalization lets you add a more customized touch to your email campaigns.

Pricing:

  • Offering seven levels of pricing ranging from $9/month-$899/month, Campaign Monitor offers a lot of price points for customers, but no free plan. The cheapest price band is $9 a month, giving you access to core email marketing automation and analytics tools.
  • More expensive price tiers unlock functionality like timezone testing and advanced link tracking.

Hootsuite

Social media is an essential tool for any digital marketing, but managing several different channels can be a major time toll for a lot of ecommerce shop owners. Hootsuite is a social media marketing tool that helps take some of the difficulty out of this by managing several social media platforms in one place.

Purpose:

  • To allow management and scheduling of multiple social media platforms from one dashboard.
  • Hootsuite has also expanded to provide more support and analytics for social media marketing as well.

Features:

  • You can integrate multiple social media accounts and platforms into one greater dashboard, letting you schedule future posts as well as interact with respondents to your existing posts.
  • Assignment and approval workflows allow multiple team members to easily manage company social media accounts.
  • Social Media monitoring and analytics let you chart the performance of your social media.
  • Over 250 apps available to improve and customize your experience. 

Pricing:

  • There is a free Hootsuite option, though you are limited to 30 scheduled posts at once and 3 connected social media accounts.
  • Paid plans start at $29 a month, and as you go up, you are able to integrate more social media accounts and more users.

OptiMonk

Statistics show that even after your marketing successfully draws in a potential customer, you may lose the final conversion due to things like cart abandonment. OptiMonk offers a series of tools to cut down on this and support your store.

Purpose:

  • Help better engage and support your existing customers to guide them to conversion, while also forwarding your lead generation efforts.

Features:

  • Install popups for when your customers leave your site to remind them that they still have items in their cart.
  • Time messages to appear after a certain amount of time that a customer browses a page.
  • Trigger messaging after inactivity, scrolling or on certain clicks.
  • These features can apply to mobile platforms as well.

Pricing: 

  • Free option covers 3,000 page views for one domain
  • Lowest paid tier is $29 per month.
  • Higher paid tiers include features like A/B testing, cart rules, and linking OptiMonk campaigns.

AdEspresso

Properly managing your paid ads is key for long-term success, but many ecommerce stores are spreading their attention across multiple areas, like Facebook Ads and Google Ads.

 

Purpose: 

  • To provide management on ad campaigns across multiple channels on a single dashboard.

Features:

  • The user-friendly creation process also makes it easy to create dynamic ads to reach the potential customers you want. 
  • You can use the asset manager that allows you to store all assets in one place, then distribute them by customer segment, saving money on creative.
  •  After a campaign ends, print a free PDF report to show your team how it performed. 

Pricing:

  • AdEspresso has a free 14-day trial, and then you have the option to upgrade to the Basic tier at $58 a month. 
  • This allows you to manage a maximum of $3000 of monthly ad spend.  

BuzzStream

A personal touch matters a lot when it comes to ecommerce, and Buzzstream helps to maintain the personal relationships that can help power your business.

Purpose:

  • Creates a centralized database for your team to build up their marketing efforts from, with an emphasis on personal relationships and customer engagement.

Features:

  • Targeting influencers directly helps you partner with people who can help grow the audience of your business.
  • Promote your store’s existing blog content for more engagement and traffic.
  • Track conversations regarding sales and conversions to help manage possible clients.

Pricing:

  • Free trials for some parts of the Buzzstream suite are available.
  • Pricing ranges from $99 to $999 a month, with higher tiers unlocking greater amounts of functionality.

Canva

The visual side of things is a key part of ecommerce success, but not everyone has design skills or is willing to outsource them. You should learn how to capture the best images for your ecommerce store. Canva can be a great and easy to use tool.

Purpose:

  • A full-purpose visual design tool for all businesses and websites, ecommerce included.

Features:

  • Lets you create just about any web artwork you can think of, from banners to product images to social media content.
  • Templates allow you to get started without having to do everything from scratch.
  • Platform allows multiple people to offer input and changes on a single project.
  • Also comes with an enormous stock photo library.

Pricing:

  • Canva does have a free option.
  • Canva Pro unlocks features like one-click resize and transparent backgrounds.

Article-Writing.co

At the risk of a little self-promotion, mentioning ourselves here gives us the chance to make a greater point about ecommerce marketing. Successful marketing strategies tend to use multiple channels to reach a wider span of customers. You may be putting together social media content, ecommerce blogs, and video scripts all at once. This is a tall order, and it’s not going to be feasible to write these all the same way. To have a properly integrated marketing plan without compromising on quality, an outside agency is your best option.

Purpose:

  • A full-purpose content marketing agency with skilled ecommerce writers ready to enhance your marketing at all levels. Get a free consultation today. 

Features: 

  • Email marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Product description writing
  • Web copywriting
  • SEO writing
  • Blog writing
  • Social media writing

Pricing:

  • Varies based on the nature of the project.
  • Reach out to us for a consultation today!

The Best Ecommerce Tools For Finance/Inventory Management

No business is successful without properly managing its financing/supply chain, and this is something that can be challenging to newcomers. Fortunately, there are a variety of different options that can take some of the difficulty out of this process.

TradeGecko

Inventory/order management is essential for ecommerce business success, and TradeGecko is a powerful asset in this regard.

Purpose:

  • A software suite designed to help ecommerce companies better manage their inventory.

Features:

  • The automated inventory control suite makes sure that you don’t have to deal with stockouts, and get instant notifications when sales or purchases are made. 
  • TradeGecko can be integrated with some of the most popular platforms on the market, like Xero and Shopify.
  • By using TradeGecko Connect, you can also bring automation to your supply chain, putting your orders into premade workflows to save time and keep things always running. 
  • Automated confirmation emails mean that your customers and suppliers are always aware of what’s going on. 

Pricing:

  • The Founder price is $39 a month.
  • Upgrading allows you more sales channel integrations and sales orders per month.

Xero

Accounting software is essential for any business to succeed. While Quickbooks is the favorite for a lot of brick-and-mortar businesses, Xero has a few unique applications for the ecommerce world.

Purpose:

  • Accounting software to help companies manage their finances.

Features:

  • The cash flow module gives you a basic dashboard that you can base your future budgets on. 
  • The expenses section is also extremely useful for ecommerce businesses, making it possible to batch pay your manufacturers or suppliers.
  • Timesheets and exporting tax info are available for all price tiers.
  • If you are converting from Quickbooks to Xero, you can move your existing information over with minimal issues.

Pricing:

  • Xero comes with a 30-day free trial. 
  • After that, you can upgrade to the $30 a month plan for unlimited invoices, bills, and bank transactions. 

Wave

If Xero or some of the other accounting software options are a bit too much for your budget, Wave makes for a free alternative.

A free alternative to apps like Xero and Zoho Books, Wave is a fast-growing accounting and invoicing platform for small and online businesses. Enterprise pricing is also available. Internationally supported and based in Canada, Wave integrates with Stripe, Workato, Paypal, Shoeboxed and Google Drive, among other apps. Features include direct depositing, payroll, yearly record keeping, invoicing, tax calculations, tax deductions, and receipts management. The interface is a little slow and the UX could be better, but this is a solid free app for ecommerce stores with small budgets.

Purpose:

  • A free accounting/invoicing platform for small businesses.

Features:

  • Take advantage of unlimited expense and income tracking.
  • Reports on cash flow, bills, profit, and loss allow you to really understand the financial health of your business.
  • Can send unlimited invoices to clients and suppliers.
  • Full mobile functionality.

Pricing:

  • Wave is completely free for accounting, invoicing, and receipts.
  • Paid options include credit card processing and payroll functions.

Oberlo

For many smaller ecommerce businesses, holding onto your own stock isn’t really reasonable. The solution here is dropshipping, purchasing the item from a third party and having it shipped right to the customer. This requires an extra layer of logistics, and the Oberlo extension is specifically designed to fulfill that need.

Purpose

  • An extension that facilitates dropshipping for ecommerce stores.
  • Note that Oberlo is directly integrated into all Shopify accounts.

Features

  • Oberlo connects your storefront to thousands of different suppliers and manufacturers. 
  • The easy-to-navigate dashboard makes it simple to search for products you need, set the products you want featured, as well as import lists from your storefront. 
  • You can also automatically fulfill orders. All you need to do is locate the item from the order in your inventory and click. 

Pricing

  • There is a free option to get started with Oberlo, allowing you 500 products and 50 orders a month. 

Pacific Customs Broker

In some cases, sourcing goods from overseas are necessary to fill your inventory or provide competitive prices. However, you need to follow customs regulations in order to do so. Customs brokers act on your behalf to bring these goods into the country. Pacific Customs Broker is one of the best examples.

Purpose:

  • To complete the licensing and necessary paperwork for you to import goods from abroad into Canada/the U.S. for your ecommerce store.

Features:

  • Services all major industries from manufacturing goods to apparel to electronics.
  • Shipment tracking/trade concierge service let you know where your inventory is at all times.
  • Services the U.S. and Canada.
  • Gives you confidence about compliance while also saving you time.

Pricing:

  • Pricing is contingent on the size of your shipment, where you are shipping to/from and the timeframe that you have to work with.

Sourcify

Some ecommerce companies aren’t necessarily trying to resell other items themselves, but are actually looking to create their own product and market it online. This can be especially important if you have a piece of proprietary electronics you are trying to sell. In this case, having a trusted manufacturing partner is key, and Sourcify can help here.

Purpose: 

  • A combination of a marketplace and education hub that helps ecommerce professionals learn the ins and outs of the manufacturing world, while connecting them to potential partners they can trust.

Features:

  • The Become a Bestseller program teaches you about key factors like IP protection, choosing a factory, quality control, and other essential manufacturing steps.
  • You also have access to the Product Sourcing community, with exclusive insights, coaching, and assistance.

Pricing:

  • Free training and resources are available on the company website.
  • To enter the formal programs, you will need to schedule a consultation call with Sourcify.

Upcounsel

All businesses have certain legal regulations they need to adhere to, and for ecommerce, some of these issues are unique. Having legal support in your corner is essential to keep you and your business protected.

Purpose:

  • A platform allowing you to post the nature of the job you need and be connected to someone on Upcounsel’s network of legal experts.

Features:

  • Over 5,000 professionals are members of the Upcounsel network.
  • Can use e-sign and document management to handle your entire request remotely.
  • Time tracking gives you an idea of the expense your professional is incurring.
  • Completely safe and secure.

Pricing:

  • Using the site is free, but the actual price for professionals you find will vary based on the service you need.

Conclusion

Trying to pin down specific trends in the ecommerce sector is a bit of a tall task, but what is very clear is that things are only going to get better. As conventional retail trends downward, there’s going to be more and more interest in ecommerce. This includes products, services, and experiences that many may not associate with buying online, for now. 

Having the right ecommerce tools to simplify a lot of tasks and create a great customer experience on a low budget is going to be key for a strong business start. Be sure to check out all the different resources we’ve covered here to make sure that you are fully prepared for the challenges and demands of this exciting market.