by Gwen Schlefer
Published on 14 June 2017
As consumer culture continues to shift in the eCommerce direction, there is more opportunity than ever before to earn money selling online. From online craft shops and digital garage sales to full blown online brands, eCommerce has become accessible to essentially anyone with an internet connection and a laptop.
Thanks to free marketplaces and various organization and marketing tools, there is little risk involved when starting an online shop. From knowing what consumers are looking for, reaching the correct market and managing tasks, we've rounded up 10 free eCommerce tools that make online selling approachable and affordable.
When you're running your own business, time is money. In order to keep track of what you're investing time in and better manage your daily schedule, use a time tracker like Toggl. The free option allows you to create projects, track time spent, and even includes some simple reporting. With Toggl, you'll be able to figure out where most of your time is spent and more effectively delegate tasks to employees as you scale your business.
Looking for a place to list your items without risking any money upfront for listing or membership fees? Bonanza offer sellers a risk-free selling platform by not requiring paid memberships or charging upfront fees for listing items. The unique advertising model sends your items to Google Shopping, so you're able to reach millions of buyers without fronting a penny.
Getting in front of customers is the only way to turn your eCommerce store into a profitable business. Social platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are great ways for brands to advertise for free and target the desired market. The key to a successful social media presence is keeping followers engaged by staying active and interesting. Instead of setting a calendar reminder to create posts everyday, use Buffer to schedule posts ahead of time, so you can more easily curate your content and make sure that it is being published regularly. Buffer is free for individuals, so go ahead and get social!
While a CRM might not be necessary for every small business, relationships with various clients and vendors will become plentiful when sales pick up. Salesforce is the industry leader for CRMs, but most likely too robust (and too costly) for small eCommerce businesses. HubSpot CRM is a premier Google Partner Plugin that has an intuitive and free CRM tool. Manage your interactions and stay on top of every relationship to never miss an opportunity.
When you're running an online business, you have tons of accounts to log into: accounting apps, selling platforms, marketing tools, etc. It can get confusing to keep track of passwords and risky to store them in digital documents or note apps. LastPass is a central location to securely store all of your passwords with one master password. Besides being secure, it makes logging into your accounts faster than ever.
A major factor in finding eCommerce success is setting yourself apart from the competition. There are millions of sellers out there, so creating loyal customers is crucial to scaling a profitable operation. Keep customers engaged by personalizing their online shopping experience with email marketing campaigns that are targeted and meaningful. Klaviyo makes email marketing affordable by offering you 250 contacts for free and keeping things simple, so you don't have to overcomplicate your small business.
We've all become too accustomed to spell check, so let's just embrace the need for a computer to edit our writing. Grammarly is a Chrome plugin that checks for spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. How is this a free eCommerce tool, you ask? Item titles and detailed descriptions are key to good SEO. Typos and grammar mistakes look sloppy and unprofessional, so don't give potential buyers any reason to question your legitimacy. Grammarly is free and automatically scans all your writing in Chrome webpages.
You're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but every shopper judges an item by its photos. To keep your images professional, clean and consistent, use Background Burner to erase all background images from your photos. Noisy backgrounds distract from the item being sold, so eliminate the noise and highlight the product effectively and beautifully.
Don't ruin social media posts or content with long, confusing links. Bitly is a magic tool that turns annoyingly lengthy links into pretty, bite-sized ones. It helps to make Tweets more tweetable, links in personal messages or emails more digestible, and your readers' overall experience more pleasant.
Staying up to date is important for more reasons than just having something to contribute at your neighbor's dinner party. When you are selling items online, it's important to know what is trending, how your industry is changing, and what topics are being discussed in the media. Feedly is a helpful app that makes the organization of news and Google alerts simple and beautiful to navigate. You'll be able to keep up with industry changes and reach more potential customers by creating content around relevant topics.
There are tons of resources online that make managing a business affordable. While there are many resources that have required costs, we wanted to share some of our favorite tools that don't involve any financial risk.
Now we want to hear from you about the tools that have changed the way you do business. What are some of your favorite free eCommerce tools? How about your most valued paid services? Which are the ones that you could not live without? Let us know in the comments below.
About the Author
Gwen Schlefer is the PR Manager at Bonanza.com. Bonanza is a seller-centric marketplace for everything but the ordinary. They aim to remove the technical expertise needed to build a profitable online business, making the joys of entrepreneurship accessible for all.
Besides these great free eCommerce tools there's a wealth of powerful software to help online stores improve their processes, attract and retain customers, and create a dazzling storefront. Check out these resources on GetApp to help you discover what's right for your eCommerce business: