If you’re an e-commerce store owner, you already have a great competitive advantage over anyone who owns a brick-and-mortar store. As more and more people are transitioning to online shopping, it’s predicted that by the year 2021, worldwide retail e-commerce sales will reach $4.9 trillion.
However, running an e-commerce business requires keeping track of many important things, which can be a challenge no matter how many people there are in your team. That’s why a lot of online businesses have started using automation tools to help them run their business more efficiently.
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If you’re looking to do the same, it’s important to know which tools can benefit your business the most.
Contract management tool
There’s no denying that every business, no matter what industry it’s in, can benefit from contract management software. This tool allows you to shorten the amount of time it usually takes to manage and administer all contracts while also helping you save money.
As soon as you install this tool, you will be able to create customizable workflows that will expedite the contract review process and shorten approval times significantly. With a dynamic workflow to-do list, you will always know the current state of every contract in your company.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits a contract management tool offers:
- Increased contract visibility. This tool stores all of your files in a centralized digital repository so you have optimum compliance as well as extensive reporting. This kind of centralization allows your teammates to use up-to-date contract templates and clauses.
- Easier audit preparations. Every contract management tool has a centralized portal with many useful features such as audit trails. This feature will give you access to your complete contract history with just one click, so you’ll be able to maintain accurate and full history for auditing.
- Consistent contract renewal. When contract management is automated, renewals become simpler because you are able to specify rules that apply to contract expiration. As soon as someone’s contract expires, you will be able to use alert notification and increase renewal awareness.
- Contract accountability. When every business process is streamlined from requests to approvals, you can ensure contract accountability. Each of your contracts will be held to compliance standards and you’ll be able to track if the right people edit the documents and information they have access to.
Referral program tool + contact picker
Even though a lot of people often look past referral marketing, it’s actually one of the most effective customer acquisition and lead generation strategies.
The lifetime value of a referred customer is 16% higher than that of non-referred customers, so it’s easy to see why a referral program can be beneficial for a business. While you can start your own referral program without any tools, you can expect higher efficiency if you choose to use one.
There are many different referral program tools you can use, and the one you choose depends on what you expect from your program. Some characteristics you can expect from this kind of tool include:
- The right incentives that will draw in your customers
- Different kinds of referral awards you can customize based on your wants and needs
- Powerful analytics that allows you to track and measure your program’s performance
- Optimized sign-up forms that make lead generation much easier
- Custom landing pages that draw your customer’s attention to the program
- Sending, tracking, and receiving customer referrals with ease
Whichever referral program tool you opt for, a great addition to it would be a contact picker. When you implement a contact picker, it makes it easier for your customers to notify their contacts about the benefits your store offers.
What makes this picker a necessity is that it allows contact invitations without any typing, copying, or uploading from another window. All your customers need to do is click the “Add from address book” button, connect any of their address books, and send the referral offer to their contacts without ever leaving your website, resulting in more than double the emails they’d normally send without a contact picker. This is especially useful when they’re using the mobile version of your e-commerce store because it doesn’t require manual typing.
Customer support tool
Every experienced business owner knows the importance of keeping your customers happy and satisfied. Great customer service is the backbone of every successful business, and no matter how good your customer service is, it can always be improved with the help of a tool.
Customer support software, also known as helpdesk software, is a tool that will allow you to deal with a majority of customer issues. This tool acts as a filter and provides an automated response via a chatbot for all regular questions and issues that are easy to fix.
Some features of customer support tools include:
- Ticket management
- Real-time chat
- Interaction tracking
- Complaint classification and escalation
- Knowledge base management
- Self-service portal
- Feedback and quality assessment management
- Automated routing
Email marketing automation tool
Email marketing is one of the oldest forms of digital marketing and it’s still widely popular amongst marketers. As email marketing can earn you $42 for every $1 spent (4200% ROI), you need to ensure your campaign is as good as it can possibly be.
While it is important to implement useful strategies and know all the email marketing mistakes you should avoid, that’s simply not enough. For your campaign to be outstanding, you need an email marketing automation tool, and some of its features should include:
- Template management
- Dynamic content
- Subscriber management
- Event-triggered emails
- Drip campaigns
- Mailing list management
- A/B testing
- Customer surveys
Accounting and finance management tool
Even though most people think accounting is one of the most boring and hardest parts of any business, it’s also one of the crucial ones. Unless you keep track of all of your finances and expenses, your business will never be able to stay profitable no matter what you do.
Accounting and finance management needs to be optimized from the very first day, and even though you can keep track of everything with traditional accounting, that might not be a good idea.
In fact, a majority of accountants believe traditional accounting isn’t enough to remain competitive in the digital world. So, the smartest thing to do would be to implement an accounting and finance management tool.
Before you decide on the one accounting tool you want, make sure it has the following characteristics:
- Expense tracking
- Accounts receivable
- Billing and invoicing, purchase order management
- Payroll management
- Bank reconciliation
- Fixed asset management
- Tax management
Keep in mind that your legal foundation and tax filing requirements will vary depending on the country you’re operating from. While most accounting tools have a USA-specific default embedded in them, you’ll be able to use them regardless of where you’re located thanks to extra offering by-the-country.
In this high-tech world, you need to be well-aware that all of your competitors are using at least one if not multiple tools to help them run their business. Unless you want to be the only company left behind, you need to start thinking about automation right away.
All of the tools we covered above are helpful to an e-commerce business, so it’s up to you to decide which ones you will use to make your business more successful than ever before.