12 Marketing & Logistics tools every e-commerce entrepreneur needs (and can try for free)

8th Sep 2015
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I’m 21 and I have three friends who have an e-commerce store up and running, two who have one in the pipeline and at least five who sell online in some way or the other. There’s no better way to prove that e-commerce in India is booming now, is there?

E-commerce is special to me because of how much money I shamelessly spend on its success as an industry. So I was absolutely thrilled to be asked for advice on how an upcoming and established e-commerce entrepreneur alike can promote and grow their business online. As I discovered from my own experience in consultancy and a lot of experimentation, there are certain brilliant, indisputably useful tools that every online seller must try that not only save time, but a lot of money. Here are 12 essentials you need to get your store up and running straight onto greener pastures:

A. Logistics

  1. To keep track of keeping track of revenues, profits, taxes, look towards adopting an online accounting software that simplifies the process of tracking costs and payments. It is more secure than a PC-based software, and is easy to access from mobile phones A smart, thrifty option is SoftCookies: they give a free 14-day trial and have no binding contract.

Freeness: 14-day free trial

Starts from: USD 10 (Rs 660) per month

  1. You will also need a delivery/shipping service that enables quick at-location check-in by deliverers to confirm deposit of the product to the customer. If a global courier service like FedEx and Shopify are combined, customers can track shipments as well as get the COD option they require. When choosing the right one, consider area covered (pin codes and States) and rates and reviews from fellow seller I’d suggest Zepo for Indian sellers because it’s economical and reliable.

Freeness: 14-day free trial

Starts from: USD 14.6 (Rs 949) per month

  1. An unprecedentedly useful messaging app for teams of the 21st century, Slack ensures all company’s employees- no matter what geographical zone or IP address they’re at- can keep in touch at all time All problems from a displeased customer to an over-eager advertiser are kept at bay but never ignored. You can open separate channels for different projects, share files with multiple team members and sift through your entire archive.

Freeness: Free plan as long as you want

Starts from: USD 8 (Rs 530) per month.

  1. If you’re on the lookout for a powerful way to promote products directly on the most popular social network in the world, you can sell your products directly through the Shopify Facebook Store page. Just sign up, upload a product photo, fill in the description, and set your price. Once you've finished, Shopify will automatically set up a store on your Facebook for Business page. Then, just let the world know your product is for sale by sharing your Facebook page.

Freeness: 14-day free trial

Starts from: USD 9 (Rs 594) per month

  1. You wouldn’t want to lose track of your customers now, would you? There’s a little wonder tool called Zoho that does a lot more than just CRM, but definitely aces CRM t It gives you a 360-degree view of your complete sales cycle and pipeline, and by the company’s own endearing self-admission, spends more on product development and customer support than sales and marketing.

Freeness: 14-day free trial

Starts from: USD 15 (Rs 990) per month

B. Marketing

  1. Social media is nothing if not visual. Since graphic designers and illustrators are the most sought after professionals in the world right now, they’re quite expensive. Piktochart,  a tool I’ve used myself to create beautiful infographics in under two hours, can help with creating shareable content for all your content marketing needs (i.e. the blogs and articles you must write to direct relevant traffic to your website). These handy websites can also beautify product shots to make them look more attractive in-store.

Freeness: Standard account 100 per cent free

Starts from: USD 29 (Rs 1920) per month

  1. No matter how big or small or lost in the middle you are as a brand, you need a blog. The easiest way to do it? Wordpress. Their blogs have an astounding number of themes (my suggestion, Customizr) and customisable settings to choose from and are also SEO-friendly. Not to mention the WordPress Forums, which are extremely active ensuring you get an answer to whatever query you have. When you do start blogging, remember to maintain a healthy balance of company updates, original research and insights, and commentary on industry trends, as well as a mix of humour and non-humour based content pieces using a conversational tone.

Freeness: A xys.wordpress.com domain is free

Starts from: Custom WordPress-hosted domain from USD 18 (Rs 1190) and USD 13(Rs 860) for others

  1. As a brand, you don’t want to miss out on getting your voice heard on important days in the month on your marketing editorial calen Buffer will allow you to schedule social media posting so you don’t need to find time to do it every day. This helps you reach your audience at the correct time and diverts more traffic to your site and saves time.

Freeness: Seven-day unlimited features free trial

Starts from: USD 10 (Rs 660) per month

  1. Nobody needs to exploit email marketing more than e-commerce seller It is a seller’s way to alert customers of upcoming sales and discounts and offers and to remind them of unbought items in the cart. In other words, nudging them to spend more money on a daily basis. The most important way to stand out from the crowd? Customised, informative, memorably designed e-mailers. A subscription to MailChimp which is ridiculously easy to use, is exactly what you need to stay on the top of your users’ minds.

Freeness: Standard account is 100 per cent free

Starts from: Upgrades begin at USD 10 (Rs 660) per month

C. Analytics and Growth

  1. Birthed by some of the world’s greatest modern marketers, Kissmetrics is built to optimise your marketing efforts. It delivers key insights and timely interactions to turn visitors into customers by doing an in-depth analysis of your website visitors and sending you reports to help fix your blind. It even helps you target and retarget customers by engaging them with website pop-ups and offers depending upon how they arrived at your website and certain other trigger You can expect a drastic increase in the users entering the checkout process and a steep peaking of the number of users making purchases.

Freeness: 14-day free trial

Starts from: USD 200 (Rs 13,200) per month

  1. A pioneer in many ways, Printvenue is great for personalisation and customisation of merchandise, which includes everything from card holders to notebook for employees to engraved coffee cups. Having branded giveaways at meetings with CXOs and customers alike can be the difference between being a forgotten e-commerce startup and the next big thing.

Freeness: Constant discounts

Starts from: USD 1.5 (Rs 100) for 100 business cards

  1. Do you have any idea the kinds of things Google can do? Send emails with Gmail. Find marketing ideas with Think With Google. Store all your files in the cloud so that they can be edited real time by multiple employees at the same time with Google Drive. Analyse traffic coming to your website, though quite elementarily when compared to Kissmetrics, with Google Analytics. Run paid advertisements with Google AdWords. I suggest you go to Google and use every possible service you can.

Freeness: Mostly free with upgrade options

Starts from: Contact its makers, Google

These 12 tools are your Everything Guide to Successfully being an E-commerce Entrepreneur. After you’ve tried them out, make sure you tell me what you thought of them so I can add your experience to my assessment in the future.

About the author:

Shrutika Nagpal works as a Content Specialist at Spiral Content Solutions, the Story Editor for a creative online+ print magazine, eFiction India and also freelances constantly.

(image credit: ShutterStock)

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