There are hundreds of tools and applications out there that promise to organise and improve your working day, but which apps will help increase productivity for a small online shop? If you find there aren’t enough hours in the day for all the tasks you have to do then these useful apps can reduce your workload and make your business more efficient.
Using Google Drive is one of the easiest steps you can take to getting organised and increasing productivity for your small online business. You can use it to keep all of your documents, images and important files in one place, backed up online. You’re also able to access your documents at any time and place by downloading the Google Drive app for your phone, which means you don’t always have to be in front of your computer to check an important file or share something with someone. It’s simple to use, you just need a Gmail account, and you get 15GB of free online storage.
2. Emailing your customers with promotions and newsletters.
Email can be one of the most useful marketing tools if it's used properly and MailChimp is one of the easiest ways to send out email campaigns and newsletters to your customers. You can design great looking emails in minutes using the pre-made templates or the drag and drop editor. Adding your customer details is also easier than you think, by using one of the MailChimps eCommerce integrations your customers can be added from your shop platform in a few clicks.
MailChimp is completely free to use for less than 2,000 subscribers and you can send up to 12,000 emails a month - perfect for a small online retailer.
3. Managing your orders & printing your shipping labels
As a small online retailer it’s easy to get overwhelmed with essential but time-consuming tasks like shipping orders, so using shipping management software like Zenstores can save you many hours each day. Zenstores imports all your orders from different web carts and marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon, Magento and Shopify, giving you one place to create shipping labels, print invoices and dispatch orders (with tracking numbers) in bulk or individually.
By streamlining your shipping process you can greatly increase the productivity of your small online shop, and free up your time for more important tasks.
4. Measure your productivity
If you work at home, or you’re working for yourself, it’s easy to get distracted and waste time on pointless tasks without realising. Rescue Time can help to keep you productive when you’re online by tracking what you spend your time doing. The Rescue Time Lite plan is free to use and will monitor which sites and applications you are spending time on. At the end of each week you will get an email report showing how you have used your time. This enables you to identify which sites and applications are taking up too much of your time, and how you can spend your time at the computer more productively.
5. Planning your work
If you’re surrounded by post-it notes and bits of paper with important notes on, then you should use Trello to keep yourself organised and focused. Trello is a series of 'boards' which can contain lists of 'cards' - like a list of sticky notes. Each card can contain notes, lists, deadlines, images, links or anything else, and they are also searchable and shareable - making them ideal for planning and organising projects as well as day to day routines.
6. Doing your accounts
Xero is a cloud-based accounting software that’s specifically designed for small businesses. It makes reconciling your bank transactions a piece of cake even if mathematics isn't your bag, this will save you lots of time when it comes to filing your accounts or VAT return.
You can connect Xero to your PayPal account using their PayPal Integration which makes importing transactions from eBay even easier, and plans start from £9 a month. You can also file your VAT return directly with HMRC from Xero.
As a small online business keeping on top of your accounts is essential but time consuming, so simple accounting software such as Xero can save you time and stress.
If you’re looking for more help to increase your productivity read our blog post - How to manage your time effectively as a small ecommerce business.
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