First, you create an online store on Shopify.
Then, you spend endless hours to launch products and develop a branding strategy. Later, you begin your advertising, marketing, and promotional efforts.
Finally, people start buying from you, and you keep on growing, year after year.
That’s how it works, right? ASOS-level success in a couple of years?
Despite how simple it is to launch an e-commerce store these days, scaling one efficiently poses a plethora of challenges.
Issues related to payments, supply chain, inventory, logistics, etc. can give headaches to even the most seasoned online merchants.
Fortunately, by investing in the right tools and resources, you can overcome most of these challenges.
To that end, here’s a breakdown of the 5 types of tools you should prioritize to support the growth of your e-commerce business.
Types of e-commerce tools you need
1. Supply Chain Management (SCM) Tool
SCM tools benefit e-commerce companies by automating the majority of the physical supply chain process, as well as by providing stock intelligence and analytics for optimal growth. However, not every SCM solution comes equipped with the same features.
Fortunately, there are sites that enable you to compare top companies for supply chain management tools based on software integration capabilities, pricing, company size, and supported platforms. By analyzing supply chain and execution capabilities of each solution, you’ll be in a better position to pick the right SCM tool for your business needs.
2. Inventory Management Tool
Inventory can cause massive problems for growing e-commerce businesses. In fact, the problem results in a waste of $1.75 trillion per year. How is that possible? Well, $472 billion is wasted due to overstocking issues. The remaining $634 billion is wasted due to unexploited sales. The number only looks settled to increase, as more merchants consider multi-channel inventory in order to increase revenue.
Related reading: 6 Tips to Get Started With Selling on Your Blog
This is where a multi-channel inventory management solution fills the latent void. Options like Skubana act as a central nervous system for your inventory. With automated reporting, streamlined demand planning, and logistic efficacy, these tools allow you to make strategic decisions regarding inventory. You also get to reduce time spend in identifying lost inventory and perform quick audits using the user-friendly features of inventory management software.
3. Customer Advocacy/Service Tool
During the initial months of business startup, it’s easy to fulfill most of your customers’ needs. But as your business grows, it becomes a greater challenge to ensure that all voices are heard. You can only juggle so many complaints and internet mentions on your own before you start leaving out some customers high and dry and miss important discussions about your business. That’s where a customer advocacy tool is a blessing in disguise.
Tools like Zopim will allow you to engage with existing as well as potential customers on your site in real-time. Such solutions are heavily focused on spotting qualified leads that can be followed up and converting nurtured ones. Some options even allow you to free up your staff by giving you the option to outsource chat to a team of conversion experts who’ll have rightful answers to all the objections customers typically raise about your products.
4. Team Collaboration Tool
Collaboration is essential to teamwork, and it starts with staff members knowing each other. Team members need to communicate often, know each other personally and professionally. Otherwise, it can be difficult for them to engage or develop trust to share information with each other. Growing teams often face collaboration difficulties because of internal silos. And the fact that some members work remotely doesn’t help with the cause, either.
Enter team collaboration tools. They facilitate swift collaboration between team members and allow exchanging of documents on a daily basis. Options like WorkZone and Trello bridge the gap between simplicity and problem-solving. In addition, collaboration tools allow team members to create a private or public virtual workspace that multiple users can edit, view and access. That way, no staffer misses an update; neither the team deals with the consequence of duplicated work.
5. CRM Tool
Sometimes, customers prefer taking the matter into their own hands. The perspective is that they should be able to choose the way they want to work with you. However, in a growing business, it can be challenging to know of their preferences, as well as who they are and if they’re tried handling the situation at hand through another channel. CRM tools are a viable option to consider in such scenarios.
A top-notch CRM channel unifies all channels of communication, including email, FAQs, telephone, and live chat. It also helps employees understand their responsibility with customers throughout the customer lifecycle. Employees can identify where something went wrong, the cause of it, and how to avoid such an outcome in the future.
Now that you know the types of tools that support e-commerce growth, you can keep an eye out for them.
This post was written by Shah, a professional writer and blogger interested in writing about various aspects of SEO, marketing, tech and design on Designermag.org. You can join Shah at Google+or Twitter.