With so many inexpensive and effective tools around these days for businesses, there's never been a better time to be a startup. And goes without saying that one of the most important elements of running a business is making sales - so what are the tools that could help you here?
Ellis Wesson is the founder of Wesson & Co, sellers of elegant and timeless jewellery and watches. Here he talks to us about the tools he uses to manage e-commerce and make sales.
A few of these tools are:
Live chat on our website
There are many live chat systems out there that can contribute to your business at minimal cost. Live chat also helps with customer retention and securing a sale. When customers came to my website and left without converting, I needed to think about how and why. I came to the conclusion it can be a lonely place shopping on a website where sometimes all the answers to the questions customers have aren't readily available to them. The solution? Live chat right in front of them at any time, so they can ask a question in real-time on mobile, tablet or desktop, building brand trust and customer interactions to secure future sales.
Tool rating: 10/10
Returns centre (built into site)
This tool was great for my website as it made returns easy, fast and free for customers. As much as businesses dislike returns, it happens and we have to do everything we can to amend the situation and make the customer feel 100% satisfied - this solution is an easy way for them to return the parcel and track it all the way back to us. This is great for two reasons. Number one: it saves emailing the customer every step of the way, which can be very time-consuming. Instead, it's all there in front of them on their login dashboard on our website. The second reason is that it gives the customer confidence that their return is going to be dealt with professionally and accordingly.
Tool rating: 7/10
Shoppable Instagram Lookbook
Another one of the top tools I use on my website is the shoppable Instagram feature, which is also great to use as a lookbook for your products. This simply fetches the images you choose from your Instagram profile and places them on a lookbook page on your website - then it's a matter of tagging the photos with your specific products. This is a great tool as it offers customers a view of the products you have on your website being worn by other customers and shown in real life, and if they like something they can be taken directly to the product page from the lookbook image.
Tool Rating: 8/10
Retargeting marketing on Facebook
This is one of the best tools I use because it works for both sales and customer retention. It's such a simple but efficient tool, and works by tracking visitors that have come from Facebook to your website, either from marketing campaigns or your Facebook page etc. It will then see which products those specific customers looked at and show them again, so the product is in mind and reminding them to return and purchase the product they previously viewed. Best of all, it's completely automated, although of course you have the option to view the retargeting campaign before it goes live.
Tool rating: 9/10
Managing my stock goes hand-in-hand with my suppliers overseas - ensuring we are always never out of stock is one of the most important details of managing my e-commerce business, I have set up low stock notifications when stock gets below a certain point so I know when to re-order. During holiday seasons such as black Friday and Christmas I actually find that over-ordering can be beneficial and make up for any 'rush' in buying from customers. During these seasons getting overstocked is important due to the seasonal holidays, slower shipping times and suppliers' holidays - these factors can result in stock going out of stock if you're not prepared.
Tool rating: 9/10
Click & Drop
With regards to customer orders and logistics I use Royal Mail Click & Drop. I find the portal to be a great tool and connects directly to my Shopify store - I can find an order, print its shipping label, and invoice and dispatch the order right from within the Click & Drop portal. This saves a huge amount of time - then it's just a matter of dropping the parcels to the local Royal Mail delivery centre.
Tool rating 10/10
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