Every store knows cost savings on existing business processes will leave you with more at profit at the end of the month. Well, because we are asked frequently, we decided to cover some additional Shopify tools that can help you be more efficient, and ultimately more profitable. Note, these are just the preferred tools of the BackInStock team, based on our use of these tools. There are certainly more tools that can be beneficial to your Shopify store. Also, you don’t have to get these “Shopify tools” from the App store, they are tools that will benefit your business regardless.
Communication mastery is a huge predictor of success. Many of our in-stock notification users have shared they have teams that are not centralized. Simply put, when you are not talking face to face, (even if you are), there are more teams replacing human interaction and and phone calls with emails, SMS messages, and IM’s. Here are a few tools that we think provide excellent value (because for a basic account they are free). Free AND valuable to your business is a nice combination.
Slack is a tool used for localized and/or remote teams. You can IM, make internet calls, screen share and personalize this tool to your needs. For example… Maybe you have a team of 12. Your team is in several locations and some have roles that possibly overlap (order processing, inventory management, customer support, etc.). However, you have other team members that focus on sales, marketing and vendor relations. Some company memo’s & communications are relevant for everyone, some only for specific team members, etc. Slack allows you to create channels that will empower teams to communicate at light speed, where you can opt-in and out based on which channels you want to see. With Slack’s robust integration options, you can pipe incoming emails directly into the relevant Slack channels. You can still see them in your email inbox, BUT now you can see them in a group channel. You can tag a team member on the fly and assign them the ticket, and work more efficiently, and visibly for all to see. It is truly a game changer. We’ve been using this as a Shopify tool for support, development and much more at BackInStock.
Google Apps has many free tools that you can access. You have to pay if they will be accessed via your domain, but FREE has a nice ring to it as well, so firstname.lastname@example.org might be no biggie for teams on a budget. Between Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets and Hangouts you have access to a pile of the best Shopify tools available. Drive is cloud storage. Your team can store files, photo’s and other resources where all can access, regardless of time of day, location, etc. You can also limit access, or grant access to all. This functionality, for free, is a huge value and reduces risk for lost data should you have a system (local computer), crash. We’ve all been there and lost data, it’s not fun. Google Docs and Sheets are just the Google version of Microsoft Word and Excel, and once again… They are free. So, you get a word processor option and a spreadsheet tool, at no cost, that can integrate with hundreds of useful tools and make you better at communicating, leave you less susceptible to data loss, and allow your teams to collaborate, in the cloud, with tools that all can access based on permission. Hangouts is also a chat/IM/videoconferencing solution provided by Google. Again, a freebie that works well for many teams.
Now you have some options that will enhance your communication skills. Lets talk about workflow Shopify tools. One of the biggest challenges we hear from our client base centers around manual work. Work that can often be streamlined, or even eliminated through productivity and tooling enhancements.
There are a lot of tools in this space that we could focus on, but for we want to highlight Mailparser and Docparser. Both products are parsing apps that allow you to take recurring data *(such as emails and .pdf’s), and pipe that data to your favorite endpoint. Mailparser works great parsing orders, contact forms, shipping notes and much more. Here are a couple workflow case studies for Mailparser that illustrate how eCommerce businesses utilize this product. Docparser will allow you to extract data from pdf’s and send it to nearly anywhere you can imagine. No more copy and pasting of Invoices or Purchase Orders. Simply setup a parsing routine and send that data directly to Quickbooks. Again, these are not Shopify tools in the traditional sense, but they are still some of the best Shopify tools for store owners.
Zapier is another amazing workflow tool that you can use, and has a mountain of integration options, more than 1500, that you can use to make integrations work for you. Zapier also has a default set of tools that are already canned and ready to go for Shopify users. Want to send an order directly to your CRM? Want a shipping note to trigger an SMS to the customer? Want to add emails to your Mailchimp account? There is a lot you can do with this Shopify tool; the sky is the limit. This tools allows you to do a million things, literally.
Now that we have your company communicating better and automating things, lets focus on your brand a bit. How do consumers view your brand or products? Unless they’ve been referred by another customer, you can bet that you are one of several options in a vast sea of products. BUT, shoppers are do their homework. What exactly do we mean by that? Simply put, customers read product reviews, and company reviews. Shoppers pay attention to what your previous clients share, but also how you respond to feedback, especially bad reviews. There are a lot of tools that can provide users the opportunity to take command of their online reviews, but we’ve found this online review management platform to be extremely easy to use and cost effective. If you choose to manually review your profiles and have a weekly cadence to check-in on them, that too will work. But again, putting more hours in your pocket to focus on other areas of the business can save you time for other things.
OK, you’ve got communication humming, your as automated as you want to get, and you are firmly in grip of your online reviews, what’s next?
Card Processing Tools
In the space of online rewards cards, international credit cards, debit cards and more, the percentages you get charged and the fees can tally up to a huge portion of your profits over time. Simply put, accepting a MasterCard rewards card that charges the seller (you) 3-5% of the transaction can really add up. Sure, that’s “only” $4 on a hundred-dollar sale. But please, do the math. If your volume is $50,000 a year, or $2 million a year in sales, that is a ton of money (on the 50K in sales that is $2k out of your pocket). There is a lot you could do with that money. At the end of the day, getting the sale is the most important thing, but once you feel comfortable with your product offering, it is a great exercise to audit your credit card processing company. Shopify offers some very competitive card processing offerings. But what if you have a brick and mortar location? What are you using in your Point of Sale? Are you getting a good rate? Do you know what a good and competitive rate is for a retail Point of Sale? Also, are you set to accept mobile payments? There is a huge advantage to have a portable card processor, especially in the days where customers do not like to hand their cards behind the counter or out of site. You can even get a payment gateway that will accept mobile payments on your phone. At the end of the day, education on this front can be the difference in a few hundred, or a few thousand dollars back in your bank account at the end of the year. Being critical of your rates pays, literally.
Well. That about wraps it up. We hope that you have found some Shopify tools to help you run your Shopify store in a manner that will provide you more free time to work on other tasks, (or relax). Hopefully save you money along the way!