Most important tools
Ecommerce platform: Shopify. I wrote a post on why I love Shopify. In a nutshell, Shopify lets us be experts on marketing and sales; it handles the rest. Yes, there are a couple downsides — recently our website has slowed down; we will need to clean it up — and Shopify has just raised prices. But I am still a Shopify believer.
Backend, business-management platform: Brightpearl. This is a tough one. On one hand, Brightpearl manages all our requests across multiple channels — branded ecommerce, Amazon, eBay, B2B, wholesale — and syncs with our shipping, fulfillment, warehousing, ordering, and receiving functions. Brightpearl can handle channel sales to Amazon, eBay, and our site. It even generates financials, although we do not use this module. However, we seem to be constantly battling the Brightpearl platform, for it to do what we want. Then again, few individuals ever said,”I really like my business management program.” Or, at least that is what I keep telling myself.
Shipping direction: ShipStation. ShipStation is a breath of fresh air. It is a robust, fully featured (and developing ) platform that’s user-friendly, powerful, and reasonably priced. (Do not pinch meI might wake up!) Granted, ShipStation is situated Austin, like FringeSport. So it is easy for me to fall in at ShipStation’s offices and hang out. Regardless, I really like this platform.
Accounting: QuickBooks. This is the most boring choice. We utilize what a plumber uses. As I said, Brightpearl has a fiscal module, but QuickBooks is the industry standard. I am aware of many entrepreneurs who prefer Xero, but we are about the tried-and-true here in FringeSport.
Forecasting: Microsoft Excel. I wish I had a much better solution here. We do our calling in a custom Excel spreadsheet which we have developed through the years. It’s big. It’s unwieldy. And it (mostly) works.
Email advertising: MailChimp. Do not make fun of me. I like the Chimp. It is another user-friendly, reasonably priced platform that works nicely. I read a post on Reddit recently from a man who was telling folks how to purchase and use a MailChimp competitor. The one thing I could think of was,”Why?”
Analytics: Google Analytics. I once worked in a Living Immediate — an online Retailer top 250 business. Living Writer utilized Omnivore and Google Analytics. I could never understand this. Google Analytics is so fully featured that many companies won’t ever need another alternative, although heat channels such as Crazy Egg and Hotjar are supplements.
Other Important tools
Google Apps, Google Docs. I am a Google Apps fan. We conduct Fringe’s email through Gmail through Google Apps. We handle our key performance indicators in Google Sheets. And we compose our procedures and processes in Google Docs as, essentially, linked wikis.
Customer management program. We require a client management system badly. I’ve reviewed our options and I am currently in analysis paralysis. We’ll probably end up with Salesforce, but I am fearful of a bad implementation which causes more harm than good.
Blog. We utilize Shopify’s blog instrument. While I adore Shopify’s ecommerce platform, I strongly dislike its site function. I wish we could easily integrate WordPress and host it on our domain — e.g., Fringesport.com/website. I will keep dreaming.
Smaller (but useful ) tools
Ratings, reviews, and customer questions: Yotpo. Lots of my ecommerce friends use Yotpo. It’s a fantastic program. Butunfortunately, Yotpo has just raised prices. It was dirt cheap when we signed up.
Tools for growing traffic: SumoMe. This is just another Austin company. SumoMe produces easy, powerful, amazing tools to help us examine, grow, and convert visitors.
Picture processing: Snapseed, Canva. These are a free, lessor-known programs that have helped us move away from Photoshop. Snapseed is a smartphone app which makes it easy (and fun) to colour correct and edit photographs. Canva is a browser-based image editor. It’s not as powerful as Photoshop, but with Canva it’s simple (for non-designers) to generate compelling photo illustrations — believe social networking posts and YouTube cover photographs.
What tools do you use for your organization? And what if I do about client management program?