Here Are Four Must-Have Ecommerce Tools for Starting Your First Online Store
Starting your first online store isn’t as daunting a task as you might think. With proper planning, a little bit of effort, and a few helpful tools, you can be well on your way to making sales. We’ve put together a list of the 4 must-have ecommerce tools for starting your first online store. Together, these tools will help you lay a foundation, manage inventory and payments, and grow your business.
Build a foundation with an ecommerce platform
As with a physical store, you need a foundation and framework upon which to build your business. An ecommerce platform creates a customizable structure with all the functionality you would expect from an online store — such as a product catalog, a shopping cart, and marketing analytics. Most online stores are powered by one of two popular platforms: Shopify or BigCommerce.
Use Oberlo to stock your digital shelves with inventory
Any online store needs a sizable inventory of products that appeal to your target customer.
Oberlo is a tool to help you find and import hundreds of products to your online store in minutes. Oberlo leverages the power of dropshipping to easily import products into your catalog and automatically fulfill your customers’ orders. A powerful and intuitive management system gives you the ability to customize product descriptions, automate price changes, and track sales.
Oberlo offers a free starter plan (to test the waters) that helps you quickly populate your store with inventory. As time goes on and your business needs grow, you can upgrade to a paid plan to remove some of the limitations of the free starter plan.
Shopify powered over 500,000 businesses in 2017, according to statistics. Much of this popularity can be credited to Shopify’s feature-rich platform, which gives business owners a wealth of options to take away most of the guesswork and heavy lifting from running an online store.
Shopify will help you create an online store with a fully-customizable website, storefront, and blog. Shopify’s included payment functionality accepts credit card payments as soon as your website comes online. A number of apps — including tools included in this post — can be synced with Shopify to further enhance management of your online store, creating additional functionality for everything from tracking conversions to building a mailing list.
In contrast to Shopify, WooCommerce is a modular plugin that adds an online store platform to your existing WordPress-powered website. The WooCommerce plugin powers over 28% of online stores — a boast that makes it the world’s most popular ecommerce platform. Its modularity means you can customize your WooCommerce installation with thousands of extensions to build a truly unique and powerful online store that functions in the exact manner you want it to.
Accept payments securely and responsibly
In this age of hacking and data breaches, it’s imperative to handle financial data securely and responsibly. Stripe is a payment gateway that interfaces with your chosen ecommerce platform to provide PCI-DSS compliance. This is accomplished through “tokenizing” the contents of a customer’s payment method. As a result, no sensitive financial data is stored or transmitted to your platform and server, removing a large chunk of your potential liability.
Stripe accepts over 135 currencies and major credit cards from every country. You’re also given the option of accepting other forms of payment, such as ACH Debit and even Bitcoin. There’s no monthly cost or fee associated with Stripe, either. Instead, Stripe receives a small portion of every successful transaction made, so you only pay Stripe when you make a sale.
Introduce a mailing list to increase sales and engagement
According to data compiled by HubSpot, 86% of consumers prefer receiving promotional emails on at least a monthly basis from companies they do business with. Additionally, according to the same data, most companies that utilize email marketing consider its ROI to be “excellent or good.”
When starting your first online store, you can’t afford to overlook the potential upsides of a mailing list. Effectively implementing a mailing list for your customers to opt into will help you share information about new promotions, deals, and sales — generating repeat customers and continued interest.
MailChimp is a marketing automation tool that allows you to connect with target customers of any demographic, behavior, or preference. MailChimp’s analytics help you improve upon your campaigns and understand the ROI of each email you send out. Most importantly, MailChimp integrates smoothly with most ecommerce platforms, including Shopify and WooCommerce.
Use tools effectively to start your first online store
Combining each of these ecommerce tools will give you a solid start to launch your first online store. The tools work in tandem to create an all-encompassing package that aids you in not only starting your first online store, but supporting it with an extensive catalog of products, trustworthy checkout and shopping cart, and an effective growth strategy. With these must-have ecommerce tools powering your first online store, your business will be well on its way to growth — as will your bank account.