Services and tools all online merchants need

Services and tools all online merchants need

Services and tools all online merchants need

It might seem a bit daunting when setting up your online company as to what you need to get started. However, rest assured – here is a guide to all of the essentials that can help to keep your business ticking over.


Accounting & Billing:

Sage
This popular software company offers products for a variety of business requirements including accounting, payroll and online payments, along with a variety of planning and project management tools. The products are categorized into business size and the amount of users, making it simple to find what products could best help your business.

PayPal (Reoccurring payments)
By using PayPal’s Recurring Payments option your customers will be able to purchase automatically reoccurring subscriptions from your website. The system is a simple way for companies to accept both credit card and bank account payments for subscriptions such as newsletter fees or recurring donations.

Marketing:

MailChimp
This software allows businesses to send marketing emails, automated messages and campaigns, along with providing vital feedback information to you. This information might be the average click through rate or the amount of people who have unsubscribed in the past week. This nifty bit of kit also allows you to build a profile of your customer base and send targeted mails based on their behaviours and preferences.

HubSpot
This inbound marketing platform is based around attracting potential customers through various media including blog posts, videos and eBooks which are optimised for search engines before being shared on social media. The concept believes that this traffic will then lead to valuable landing pages.

SpyFU
This software seeks to expose the marketing formula of competitors by searching for the places they’ve show up on search engines and also charting their organic rank. By finding out what is making your competitors so successful, it allows for companies to change their workings without the need for the leg-work.

Support & Communication:

Kayoka
This customer service software allows you to maintain optimum satisfaction from purchasers with all your notifications in one place. Its a simple way for customers to contact your company at any time of the day. The site also offers a life chat option and has the ability to highlight customers who may need help, along with providing helpful data regarding satisfaction and performance. It is available both through desktop software, and also a mobile app.

Survey Monkey
The online company allows for people to create free and customisable surveys and view the results through a range of graphics in real time. The software also provides text analysis and allows customers to discover their target audience. 

Skype
The popular video-call software is used by people worldwide and is a good, free way to keep in contact with clients. It’s features also allow you to make low-cost international phone calls, and its accessibility on a high volume of devises makes it’s a very useful piece of kit.

Google+ Hangouts
This instant messaging and video chat platform replaced three of Google’s former products (Talk, +Messenger and Hangouts) and allows users to hold conversations with two or more people. The service, which can be accessed either online or through mobile apps, allows messages to be sent at anytime and is a good way to hold a multi-platform conference call.

File Storage:

Dropbox
This file-hosting software allows users to upload files and content to a ‘cloud’ storage which can be accessed on another device. It is a good way to have access to files from any device and also to move content from a mobile device to a computer without the need for cables. The software also allows files to be shared with other users.

Google Drive
A similar concept to Dropbox, this software allows files to be synchronized from devices and uploaded into the cloud. It also allows users to share files and edit documents including spreadsheets, presentations and drawings. The company allow 15gb of free online storage, with upgrade charges incurring thereafter.

Project Management:

Kanban
This system was first developed at motor company Toyata as engineer Taiichi Ohno wanted to learn how to control the logistics chain from a production point of view. It seeks to avoid overloading the manufacturing system through the use of cards which indicate the need to move materials.

Trello
This free-to-use web-based project management application uses the Kanban approach and uses boards to represent various projects. These contain cards which should progress from one list to the next as tasks are completed. Supported on all major platforms it also allows users to be assigned to different cards, add comments, attachments and votes.

Security:

Norton Internet Security
Having valuable security is well worth the cost – just think about the amount of hours work you are susceptible to lose if a virus gets on to your device. The program prevents against malware by providing a personal firewall, email spam filtering and phishing protection. The security has been expanded recently from its computer-based offering and now provides mobile device programs which can warn about potentially risky Android apps before they are downloaded.

KeePass
This free software allows for users to store multiple passwords/log-on details which are accessed using one key file. The files are highly encrypted when they are stored on the database, and provide a simple for users to have different passwords for various accounts, without the worry of forgetting them!

Research:

Google Analytics
The service allows users to track website traffic, and is the most popular used service of its kind. It also provides in-page analytics to reveal what site users are looking for and what is most popular to enable you to tailor your content. You can also view how your campaign is working through multi-channel funnels and attribution, and allows this data to be shared with colleagues.

Who’s On
This is another web-traffic software that allows users to track customers in real time and see trends of the online traffic to your site. It also allows the customers an option to speak with a member of staff via live chat, which is a good method to provide the sometimes much-missed personal touch from a solely online company.

Raven Tools
Raven Tools is an online search engine optimisation toolkit that offers simple ways to track, research and optimise your search engine optimisation campaign. The toolkit includes Keyword Research, Link Building, Competitor Analysis and Reports & Tracking.

MOZ
Moz is a top search engine optimisation tool provider that uses both basic and advanced research tools to help you with your search engine optimisation. Moz offers keyword research tools and a SEO keyword generator; it also offers link analysis that provides detailed information on your inbound links and link quality. Moz toolbox is very similar to Raven Tools which includes Keyword Research, Link Building, Competitor Analysis and Reports & Tracking.


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