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9 Crucial Ecommerce Tools Your Small Business Needs In 2021

Editor’s note: this is a guest post from Vaibhav Kakkar, Founder and CEO of Digital Web SolutionsDo you have digital marketing or software expertise? Pitch your blog idea using our contact page.

The way eCommerce stores are growing, there is no way it is slowing down in the near future. If you are planning to get on board or if you already have an online store, you must leverage the ecommerce tools that are easily available in the market to be a part of this growing industry in the long run.

When you run an eCommerce store, it can often get overwhelming to manage different overlapping processes. You are not just creating and selling. You also have to manage your inventory, packaging, shipping, payments, and promotions. In fact, one of the major things that you cannot overlook is your customer relationships. Too many operations can get a little too much.

Digital tools make the entire eCommerce process easily manageable even for those who have just started out. They help simplify the operations and ensure transparency among the team.

From a range of top-rated inventory management systems to the best SEO tools, you will be spoilt for choice once you start your research.

Just make sure you are selecting the tools that will work for your business by creating a list of features that you require. Also, make sure you have a budget in place.

To make things more convenient for you, we have a checklist of all the tools that you can look into (with examples) before you start building your eCommerce store.

Most Important Ecommerce Tools for 2021:

1. eCommerce platform

bigcommerce dashboard
Source: BigCommerce

The most important tool for your eCommerce business has to be an eCommerce platform.

There are plenty of such platforms that are now available at your disposal. The main aim of such platforms is to make eCommerce easier for you.

eCommerce platforms often come well-equipped with various tools and features that you can use to create your website, irrespective of whether you have tech knowledge or not.

You can easily create an online store, choose your theme, and create your distinguished website using these platforms. The best thing about such platforms is that they make sure your payments are safe and secure; resolving a major doubt that refrains most customers from shopping online.

One of renowned eCommerce platforms that is in the talks nowadays is BigCommerce. The features, SEO-friendlines, security, and ease that it offers have made it a popular choice among both beginners and advanced users.

2. Inventory management tool

inventory shipment zoho
Source: Zoho

Good inventory management practices form the foundation of every successful retail business.

As you grow, the level of your inventory will fluctuate within seconds. That is the time when relying on manual processes can turn out to be a reckless move. Thus, it is preferred to invest in an inventory management system that can easily get integrated with your platform.

Such tools come loaded with plenty of features. For example, when the last item in your stock gets sold, they will keep displaying an out-of-stock notice till it gets restocked. You also get an option to sync offline and online channels. This gives you more flexibility to try your hands on omnichannel selling.

One platform that offers the above-mentioned benefits and more is Zoho Inventory. It was designed especially for those just getting started with an eCommerce store.

3. Payment processing systems

payment processing system
Source: PayPal

If you have an eCommerce website, it means the products available on your website are purchasable. Unlike a brick-and-mortar store where you have an option of offering cash or card payments, online payments can become a topic of discussion for many.

Being an online store, you need to tackle challenges like security, reliability, and credibility. Thankfully, there are now several reliable third-party tools that you can choose from.

These tools make it easy for you to manage payments and most of them are also trusted by the consumers.

One of the most famous digital payment processing systems is PayPal. Using this tool, you can easily offer card payments to your customers. PayPal also makes refunds easier, which is an important aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked. This is because easy refunds will help you gain trust and bring back the customers, no matter how their experience was earlier.

4. Digital marketing tools

semrush dashboard 1
Source: SemRush

When you start an eCommerce store, it is best to go digital with your marketing efforts. You will find your audience where your store is – on the web.

There is no dearth of digital marketing tools. From all-in-one tools for improving your SEO to social media scheduling tools, these tools make digital marketing a bit more manageable.

Digital marketing is what will help you distinguish your brand from the crowd. In the eCommerce world, the competition is overflowing. With every turn you take, you will be facing plenty of competitors.

Using digital marketing tools make sure you don’t fall back in the race. These tools ensure you are being consistent and always putting your best foot forward. You can create content, schedule your posts, understand what SEO practices will help your website rank better, and even find the best-performing websites for backlinking by using a few tools.

There are also social media listening tools that can use. These tools are beneficial for you to engage with your audience in real-time. They help you find and tackle negative feedback, no matter where it was posted on the social platforms.

There are several popular digital marketing tools for you to choose from. These include SemRush, Canva, Buffer, Hootsuite, and more.

5. Email marketing tools

email marketing tool
Source: Sendinblue

Emails are great not only for promoting your eCommerce platform but also to build valuable relationships.

Email marketing software can be leveraged for sending automated promotional campaigns as well as educational content to the customers. Let me give you an example.

Suppose you are an online apparel store. You don’t only have to stick to discounts or sales emails. Instead, you can share information about trends or how your customers should style a certain piece of clothing.

To send such email blasts, you must have the right tools. Sending mails individually will be too time-consuming. Thankfully, there are plenty of email marketing tools in the market.

One of the most affordable ways to start with email marketing is Sendinblue. Using this tool, you can easily personalize your emails, schedule them, send different emails to different individuals based on their reaction to your previous emails, and more. Their free plan allows to send up to 300 emails a day without spending a dime.

6. Analytics & Tracking tools

5 ga 4 properties
Source: Bounteous

Analytics and tracking tools are essential for the times once your eCommerce platform is up and running. This is the time where you will need tools that can help you extract sales information.

By analyzing such data and metrics, you will be able to figure out the purchasing habits and behaviors of your customers. This is important to ensure customer retention.

Such tools are great to achieve plenty of goals ranging from increasing the number of sales to improving how your website is performing.

One tool that is popular for tracking such data is Google Analytics. This enables you to identify and test certain variables on the storefront. You can analyze the data received from these tests to maximize your business efficiency.

7. Shipping service integrations

easyship dashboard
Source: EasyShip

You simply cannot overlook the logistics front of an eCommerce store. This is because your customers are trusting you when they place an order. Messing up the post-purchase experience can deteriorate your reputation and make it difficult for you to run your store.

Thankfully, there are several shipping services that have platforms that you can integrate with your eCommerce platform. They help automate processes such as order generation and fulfillment, label generation, and shipping quotations. This allows you to let such companies do the heavy lifting as far as the shipping is concerned.

One platform that offers it all is EasyShip. You can easily integrate this with your website and you are good to go.

8. Project management tool

monday.com dashboard
Source: Monday.com

Running an eCommerce platform can become too daunting too quickly. This is because there are several processes and steps that you need to manage. From online presence to proper packaging, from meeting deadlines to business development, there are several stakeholders and processes that can easily overlap.

By opting for a project management tool such as Monday.com, you put all your business needs under one roof. This will help you streamline your processes.

With such a tool in place, you can easily manage every task while ensuring transparency among managers and their teams. This also makes it easy for the team members to understand their responsibilities and roles.

Project management tools are important to simplify your business operations.

9. Customer service tools

HubSpot Customer Service Software
Source: HubSpot

For any business, irrespective of the size and industry, customer service simply cannot take a backseat. As a brand or an online store, you should always be on your toes when it comes to customer queries and grievances.

The more time you take to resolve their queries, the more difficult it will get to retain them.

When you get a customer service tool on board, you make it possible for customers to reach out to you via multiple channels. You could use texts, calls, emails, live chats, or maybe social media platforms.

By communicating with your customers in real-time, you ensure that you are helping your customers make a decision quickly. Moreover, if they have already made the purchase, quicker solutions will help them use your product at the earliest. As a result, they will be able to find a solution to their problem more quickly, leaving a good reputation for your brand.

One of the best customer service tools is HubSpot. It offers a plethora of support and marketing automation features that make building customer relationships easier.

Conclusion

We can say that running an eCommerce store is not a cakewalk as opposed to what many believe it to be. But thanks to the introduction of digital tools in our lives, the burden of handling different processes manually has been loaded off. From inventory to shipping, from payments to marketing, everything can now get streamlined easily. All you need to do is find the best one out of the lot.

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Vaibhav Kakkar
Vaibhav Kakkar is the Founder and CEO of Digital Web Solutions, a globally trusted agency with a full suite of digital marketing services and development solutions. Vaibhav believes in building system over services, and has helped scale up agencies from scratch to niche leaders with million-dollar turnovers.

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