When you’re launching your first ecommerce store, you have to be a jack of all trades. This is no easy feat, especially if you’re doing this as your side hustle and you’ve got your 9 to 5 to deal with on top of it.
However, you live in a world where a wealth of amazing organizational ecommerce tools are at your disposal.
I’ve divided this list based on needs:
- Project Management & Collaboration Tools to get your Ecommerce running Smoothly
- Email Marketing Tools: Reaching your audience without paying a dime
- Live Chat tools to Offer Fantastic Customer Service
- Social Media Tools to Save Time and Engage
- Content Creation Tools to Drive Organic Traffic to your Ecommerce
- Financial and Accounting Tools to Keep Track of your Money
- Other Amazing Ecommerce Tools you Should Try Out
Project Management & Collaboration Tools to get your Ecommerce running as Smooth as Silk
As an entrepreneur, you’re going to be managing a lot.
A ton, actually. Your time is precious, and the best way to save your time is to get organized.
Luckily, there are project management and collaboration tools to help keep your ecommerce like a tightly running ship. It’s worth testing your processes on a continuous basis to find what works best for you.
The good news? You can use most of them for free (or near enough).
Trello is a great tool for staying organized. With a visual card system (which helps people like me who understand things visually), you can manage several lists, processes, and ideas on a collaborative level. As you can see from my old Trello board, I had tasks that I could give colored labels with which I could attribute to a project or a priority.
Also, you get that satisfying drag and drop effect when you move a task card to the growing completed list.
Trello integrates with Google Drive, Dropbox, Box and One Drive, as well as several other services via Power-Ups. You get one Power-Up per board in the free version and then unlimited Power-Up integrations in the paid version.
While the free version of Trello will already make your life easier, the Business Class plan is cheap enough to be worth the bump, if for nothing else, for the unlimited Power-Ups (integrations).
Basic plan: Free forever
Business class: $9.99 per user per month
Asana is another visual project management and collaboration tool. You can create project cards, much like Trello, and then attribute tasks to those projects. From there, you can have a real time conversation with your team to move those projects forward more efficiently.
Asana already integrates with plenty of awesome collaboration tools, like Github, Google Drive, Slack, and Dropbox.
What’s particularly cool about Asana is that you can track tasks and projects to get a simple snapshot of how the project is progressing.
Asana has a free version as well as premium versions that are on par with Trello. The free version can accommodate up to 15 team members, which could be enough for you for a very long time depending on how quickly you grow.
Basic plan: Free forever
Premium: $9.99 per member per month
G Suite is a particularly powerful set of organization and project management collaboration tools. What’s cool is that if you have a Gmail account, you can already test a lot of these tools and collaborate with team members for free.
Integrating with nearly every tool out there, using G Suite makes streamlining your processes a snap. Using Google Drive, you can keep up to 15 gigs of data and documents for free. With the first G Suite plan, you get double that amount.
Starting off at $5 per user per month, you can also push your work email through the Gmail email client, and share calendars and drives with your team.
Basic plan: $5 per user per month
Business plan: $10 per user per month
Slack is a great tool for messaging and and collaborating with your team. Offering a live messaging service, you can keep all instant communications in one place. You can create several channels dedicated to certain subjects to go over with your team, and it simplifies communication by consolidating it to one platform.
Slack supports mobile use with apps for your desktop, Android and Apple devices. Slack also integrates with tons of apps that will streamline your workflow and communication.
You can get started for free, and for €7.50 per user per month, you can unlock a slew of other features for your team.
Basic plan: Free
Standard plan: €7.50 per user per month
Email Marketing Tools: Reaching your audience without paying a dime
Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing operations your store can perform. While emails have historically low open and click-through rates, according to a study provided by Ascend2 they still provide one of the most effective marketing channels in the industry with over 52% of marketers polled saying that email comes only after the website itself .
Whether they’re welcome, bounce recovery, or order tracking emails, this is one of the best ways to communicate effectively with your customer. Sending mass emails isn’t complicated, and it doesn't have to be expensive either.
MailChimp is one of the leaders in the email marketing industry. Offering a user-friendly interface by using a drag and drop design feature, you can build your emails without a single line of code. They even offer tried and true templates to help you build your emails successfully.
Doubling as a marketing tool, MailChimp also offers mailing list segmentation to get the highest return on investment. There’s also the possibility to sync and create your Facebook, Google, and Instagram retargeting ads via MailChimp’s platform.
Integrating with all the major ecommerce platforms as well as a plethora of other applications, MailChimp’s easy snap-together email builder is a definite tool to try out.
MailChimp’s platform is free to use up to 2000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. From there, premium features start off at $25 per month, which will scale according to how much your subscriber list grows.
Starter plan: Free forever
Growing Business: $25 per month
Like MailChimp, Benchmark uses a drag and drop email builder to help you create gorgeous emails from the start. You can choose a premade layout or create something from scratch.
You can also drag photos directly from your computer into your email builder, making it even quicker than MailChimp (as you’d otherwise have to upload the photos to the platform and then add them to your email).
If you know HTML, you can also directly edit the full code of your email to make changes or add important metadata. Benchmark also offers the opportunity to see exactly how your email will look in a variety of the most-used email clients so you can see your email the way your customer will.
Integrating with loads of the top apps on the web, you can start using Benchmark seamlessly within the platforms you’re already using. If you have under 2000 subscribers per month, Benchmark is totally free to use. On their free plan, you can send up to 14,000 emails per month.
Basic plan: Free (2000 subscribers, 14,000 emails per month)
Pro plan: Based on subscribers and starting at $24.95 per month
Being able to send amazing emails is well and good, but what happens when you need inspiration on sending the perfect email for your big sale?
Really Good Emails is a platform that gathers the best emails by submission and selection and showcases them on their site. You can check out the live version of the best email campaigns out there, and even take a look at their code to see how they were done.
Whether you’re looking for inspiration for your next campaign, or you’d like to try your hand at learning how to code HTML emails a little better, Really Good Emails has you covered, and it’s free to use.
Live Chat tools to Offer Fantastic Customer Service
One of the things that creates a huge difference between ecommerce and brick-and-mortar is the customer service aspect. While brick-and-mortar traditionally come out ahead on this, with a live person able to help a customer through their purchase, live chat bridges that gap for ecommerce.
Adding a live chat service on your site can make or break a purchase. If a customer has a question they need answered quickly, they can ping you with that question for a more immediate response. Live chat apps are typically easy to integrate with your store, and if your platform doesn’t already have one, you can choose a free live chat tool to boost your customer service.
Drift is a simple live chat tool that you can use to easily communicate with your customers. What’s cool about Drift is that when a customer opens a chat with you, you get context about what page they’re looking at on your site.
Also, if a user signs in using their email address, Drift pulls their information so you can get an idea of who you’re chatting with to better target your messaging.
Drift also offers chatbots to automate some of your processes, but they’re available in the paid version. With the free version, you can get up to 100 contacts, email fallback if you’re not available when your customer is online, and Slack integration so you can chat with your customers directly from within Slack.
Basic plan: Free
Starter plan: $50 per month (+$15 for each additional user)
Purechat is an awesome live chat tool for those who are breaking into the live chat sphere, as you can implement their tool completely free. From their platform, you can chat with multiple customers at the same time and use pre-made responses for frequently asked questions to be even more efficient.
Purechat offers the opportunity to use live chat, email, phone, and social media accounts to connect with your customers where they are. You can customize chat fields to match your brand’s voice and they don’t skimp on security either. Integrating with tons of apps (including Zapier, Hubspot, Shopify, and Wordpress, among others), Purechat is a great live chat tool to test out.
Basic plan: free
Zendesk offers a free live chat widget that you can integrate into your site and start live chatting with your customers immediately. You can also set up triggers based on your customer’s behavior, for example when they consult a certain product page or if it looks like they might leave your site without purchasing.
You can also ask your customers for feedback via a chat rating. If offering customer service is a priority for you (pro tip: it should be), then learning how you can improve your customer service game is a must.
You can’t be connected all the time, and Zendesk lets you use an offline form for your customers to use if you’re not around. They can leave you a message and you can contact them as soon as you reconnect to your site.
Zendesk integrates with all of the major ecommerce platforms and is easy to install and set up. Lite is completely free, and you can try out any of the paid versions for 14 days.
Basic plan: Free
Essential plan: €5 per agent per month
Social Media Tools to Save Time and Engage
Social media can be your most powerful tool when it comes to engaging with your customers. The best part about social media is that if you put the time into it, you can build a great audience and not spend a dime doing it.
But as a small team, your time is precious, and there might be a million other things you should be doing too. With a few cool social media tools, you can save time communicating on your ecommerce site and products.
Dlvr.it is a great app if you need to just schedule a few posts across social media accounts. You can create your own schedule based on your time zone (or another time zone if you’re targeting somewhere specific) and you can add posts with just a few clicks.
You can also integrate feeds from sites that you like (or your own to make life easy) and add the latest posts directly into your queue. It integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, StockTwits and RSS feeds.
For the free plan, you can plan up to 10 free social messages and connect three accounts.
Basic Plan: Free
Pro plan: $9.99 per month
Buffer and Dlvr.it are pretty much the exact same tool. You can plan out your social accounts up to 10 posts per platform and you can add up to one social profile per platform.
What’s particularly cool about Buffer is that you can add videos and gifs to your social posts from within the platform, and Buffer will automatically shorten your links if you’re posting to Twitter. You can integrate Buffer with any sort of vanity links that you’d like to use, and they offer a mobile app so you can check your social media posts on the go.
They also offer an image creator if you’d like to create a lovely image for blog posts directly within the platform. Buffer integrates with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, and RSS feeds just like Dlvr.it.
You can integrate with Instagram too, but as Instagram doesn’t allow you to publish from third-party apps, you can get a reminder on your phone to publish to Instagram with the exact text and photo you’d like to publish. While it’s not ideal for Instagram, it does make the process a lot simpler (especially if you’re like me and you want to publish a thousand hashtags).
Basic plan: Free
Awesome plan: $10 per month
Hootsuite is a leader in the social media management tool industry, and there are definitely reasons for it. A scalable tool that allows you to grow your plan with your social following, Hootsuite is great for a multitude of social activities.
Hootsuite is considerably less intuitive than Dlvr.it and Buffer when it comes to sharing easily and managing a social queue for your accounts. Their bulk scheduler relies on .csv files that can often kick back if you have an error, and it can be limited in this way.
However, what Hootsuite lacks in intuition it makes up for in power. You can use this social media tool for social monitoring/listening by adding streams based on who is in contact with you and keywords for easy connecting.
Also, the analytics in Hootsuite put Buffer and Dlv.it’s free plans to shame.
On Hootsuite’s free plan, you can integrate up to three social media profiles, get basic analytics, and integrate two RSS feeds. Hootsuite boasts over 250 app integrations and works with Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, WordPress, Instagram, and YouTube.
Content Creation to Drive Organic Traffic to your Ecommerce Store
Creating great content is part of what brings in traffic to your site. Whether its visual, video, or written content, your customers are looking for answers to their questions and problems. Providing that content builds trust and trust builds sales.
When it comes to content creation, even experts have tools they use to make the process as efficient as possible. Here are some of the most useful content creation tools you can use for your ecommerce:
If you’re producing written content to boost your organic traffic, a great tool to check your grammar and spelling is mandatory. Great grammar makes you reputable, and while we can gloss over some of the more literary rules when writing for the web, typos will make you lose credibility quickly.
Grammarly allows you to write directly within the platform and helps you correct your typos and spelling errors as you go. You can also download an extension for your browser to check on all of your platforms, or upload documents directly into your Grammarly app to check it.
If you’re looking to write without distractions, you can do so directly within the app too. For those of us who are constantly rising to the call of those pesky social media notifications, this can be an added bonus to help you concentrate.
Grammarly is totally free to use and also offers a plagiarism checker so you can make sure your content is 100% original.
Basic plan: Free forever
Canva is a great tool for creating visuals on the fly. When you need gorgeous visual content but you don’t have time to bust out the heavy design tools or if you’re not particularly great at design, Canva has you covered.
With Canva, you can use a premade format already well adapted for social media or anything else you might need and choose from an array of templates to create your image. Alternatively, you can start with a blank slate and choose each element yourself.
Canva works on a drag and drop interface which makes things simple, and if you want to collaborate, you can invite team members via email to view or even edit your designs. You can download your images in a variety of formats too.
Canva is completely free to use, but certain “premium” design elements are on a pay-per-use basis. If you can find similar free elements, you can upload them and use them in your design too.
Basic Plan: Free
Canva for Work: $12.95 per month
While Canva is great at creating visuals, Piktochart is the king of the inforgraphics. If you’ve always wanted to create a great infographic to go along with your articles, you can without even being a designer.
Piktochart also uses the drag and drop interface to help you create visuals from either templates or from scratch. You can use everything in the platform for free, with only limitations on how many visuals you can upload or changing the format of your downloaded images.
While the Piktochart logo is on the bottom of all infographics that are created in the free version, it’s as simple as cropping the logo out in any other photo editor on your computer.
Basic plan: Free
Lite: $15 per month
Financial and Accounting Tools to Keep Track of your Money
As a small business owner, you’re likely handling all of your accounting by yourself. That being said, you have a lot of expenses to keep track of. Between product sourcing, operation costs, employee payroll, and miscellaneous expenses, it can all add up quickly.
Unless you like your desk looking like a filing cabinet exploded, you probably need a tool to help you keep it all under wraps. There are free accounting tools that can help you stay on top of it all, and keep you looking professional on top of it.
Wave is accounting and invoicing software that is 100% free. If you need to create simple, customized invoices that look professional and are legal, you can do it with Wave easily.
You can also accept credit cards from within the software so if you’re working on a B2B basis, you can get that processed easily.
What’s cool about Wave is that the accounting tool lets you keep track of all of your income and expenses so that when it’s time to pay taxes, you know exactly where you stand. The tool is designed for people who aren’t accountants, so it’s intuitive enough to use even if you don’t understand accounting.
Basic plan: Free
InvoiceBerry is invoicing software that allows you to create official and professional invoices in no time. You can use the invoice tool to create quotes as well, and convert them to invoices in a click once they’re accepted. If you haven’t yet received payment, you can also send a reminder if the payment is past-due.
InvoiceBerry also allows you to keep detailed analytics of your expenses and you can pull reports when you need them. If you’re working with 3 clients or less, you can use the invoice tool for free.
Basic plan: Free
Solo plan: $15 per month
Other Amazing Ecommerce Tools you Should Try Out
Linnworks is inventory management software that helps connect all of the channels you sell on and update your inventory based on the orders you have. If you have under 50 SKUs, you can use the inventory management tool for free.
This is a great way to keep track of your products across multiple channels. For example, if you’re selling not only from your store, but from Amazon and Ebay, if someone purchases from a marketplace, it will update your available inventory across all channels. No more orders for out-of-stock items!
You can also track your products to get a real understanding of which of your products sell the best and on what channels. This can help you form a real omni-channel approach for your budding ecommerce business.
Integrating with all of the major ecommerce platforms and marketplaces, Linnworks makes keeping track of your inventory easy.
Basic plan: Free up to 50 SKUs
Omniconvert is an ultra cool personalization and exit intent tool that you can use to customize the user experience of your store per customer. With Omniconvert, you can even do A/B tests based on the weather of the customer’s location.
Omniconvert also allows you to perform exit-intent surveys based on user behavior while they’re on your site. For example, if a customer moves their cursor towards the exit button or the back button, you can make a pop up display with a last minute offer to push the sale.
Omniconvert also allows you to segment your traffic sources, for example if they’ve come from a paid ad, you can show a specific pop up. There are hundreds of templates you can use for the exit-popups, or you can create and customize one from scratch.
Integrating with tons of apps like MailChimp, Zapier, and Freshmail, as well as all the most popular ecommerce platforms, Omniconvert is an awesome tool to try out personalization for yourself.
Basic plan: Free (up to 5000 views per month)
Offering package tracking today is not a luxury for customers, it’s an expectation. Some carriers offer tracking, but if you’re selling all over the world, it can be hard to figure out where your sent products are.
Aftership is an order tracking tool that allows you to offer your customers smart tracking across several carriers and countries.
You can create an automatic tracking page on your site for your customer when they consult their account, or send SMS and email notifications throughout the delivery process.
If you’re shipping under 100 orders per month, Aftership is completely free to use, and even their premium plan starts out at $10 per month.
Basic plan: Free
Premium: $10 per month
Google loves sites that update frequently with new content. Reviews can be your best friend on an SEO level, as they’ll contain keywords that your customers will actually be using to search for you.
Yotpo is a user-generated content and review tool for ecommerce. When your customers receive their product, you can use Yotpo to ping them with a request for a review.
You can collect reviews, photos, and surveys from your customers with this smart app. Yotpo also allows you to curate your customer’s posts on social media and display them on your site easily.
You can use Yotpo for free for up to 50 orders per month, and you’ll be able to import reviews that you already have to streamline everything on one platform. Check out our in-depth review of Yotpo here.
Because you didn’t think we wouldn’t mention our own awesome tool, did you?
Divvit is an intelligent ecommerce analytics platform that empowers online retailers, by providing real-time data that helps you better understand the effectiveness of your marketing, your visitors behavior and optimize your store for sales.
It was designed with the end user in mind, and makes the confusing simple, with an easy to use interface that cuts through all the data points to give you the exact metrics you need when you need them.
Divvit is the easiest way to harness the power of your data. With our analytics platform you’ll be able to save money, ensure efficient marketing spend and increase your revenue.
Divvit is already affordable for small businesses at only € 29 per month, but you can even try the free version (or give any of the paid versions a test run for 14 days)
Basic plan: Free
Low Traffic plan: €29 per month
Conclusion: All Good Things Must Come to an End
No matter what stage of growth you and your ecommerce store are in, tools are out there to help you succeed. All free tools will be limited in some way, but when you’re just starting out- you won't need all the bells and whistles. A lot of these free ecommerce tools will have exactly what you need to grow and manage your business better.
What are your favorite free tools?