Deciding to start an online store is exciting but can be a stressful and difficult undertaking. There’s generally a lot more that goes into it than you may think. What’s more is it requires you to become pretty well acquainted with things you may not have any interest in, like accounting or coding. Fortunately, there are quite a few useful tools for starting an online store out there to help bring your idea to life.
First thing’s first, you need a website. A far more complicated process than a lot of people realise, building a website is tough. Don’t let this set you back, though. There are some services out there that make creating a website as easy as dragging and dropping images around – no coding required! Squarespace is a great tool to use as a first step to starting your online store. Their templates are beautiful and customisable, so you can create something unique to you and your brand. Shopify is another great one. They provide really insightful analytics to help you grow your business, as well as the ability to easily manage your store from your smartphone.
Your customer will abandon their purchase if the process of checking out is too complicated, so you’ll want to ensure you have a really stellar online shopping cart, like one from PayPal. They’re generally quite easy to set up too so don’t require too much technical know-how. Implementing a good shopping cart into your online store is fairly non-negotiable. If a customer only has to go through one or two steps to complete their order, there’s a higher chance they’ll complete their purchase and shop with you again too. Furthermore, it can be pretty simple to include things like pre-populated forms to make the process even quicker.
Accounting & Inventory
Dealing with the admin part of a business isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Unfortunately, there’s generally a lot of it. Xero is an indispensable tool that makes everything from accounting, invoicing, payments, and payroll management super simple. The website’s clean interface makes it easy to use, which is ideal if you’re not a numbers person anyway.
Xero also has a great inventory management system that will save you time when it comes to quotes and invoicing. Time is something you don’t have a lot of when you’re running a business, so getting all the help you can is essential.
You’ll need to e-mail your customers at some point, whether to confirm their purchase, send them a receipt, or just to let them know about your latest offers and products. Mailchimp is one of the best platforms to use for e-mail marketing. You can connect it with your store if you use tools like Shopify, and this allows it to gather data on your customer’s buying habits. This, in turn, allows you to better target your communications, which can lead to more sales. Mailchimp also creates detailed reports so you can learn from and improve each campaign you send out.