Earlier in this series, I wrote an article called There’s an App for That! Let’s take this a bit further and look at some apps that are very helpful for ecommerce shop owners.
If your ecommerce platform has an app, of course you will want to use that app to manage your business while you are away from your office or shop. Platforms such as Shopify and Etsy use these apps – Shopify App and Sell on Etsy (available on iOS and Android).
If you are using Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and other social media platforms for your business, obviously you’ll want the app for each of these platforms. You can search for the apps on your phone and install them from there, or use the links above.
In addition to all the apps mentioned, there are other apps that can help you manage your ecommerce business, as well. Here is a roundup of some of my favorites…
Facebook Page Manager App
Facebook is one of the most popular social media platforms – with over 1.86 billion monthly users. Because so many people (your potential customers) typically use Facebook on a daily basis, your ecommerce business really needs to have a presence on Facebook. While you probably have the Facebook app already on your phone or tablet, another app you should consider is the Facebook Page Manager app. With this app, you can manage up to 50 Facebook Pages, check Page activity and messages, post to your Page, and check Page insights.
What I Like About It: I can keep my personal Facebook profile and my business Pages separate. Yes, you can use the regular Facebook app to post to your business Page, but the Page Manager app just makes that much easier. I don’t use Facebook Messenger on my personal profile, so I don’t have that separate Messenger app on my phone. I really like that the Page Manager includes Messenger, making it very easy for me to communicate with my Page followers without having to have a separate Messenger app.
Google Analytics App
I’m really a nerd when it comes to stats. I love to track stats and analytics for my websites, and I use Google Analytics on my desktop computer on a daily basis. I was so excited when I discovered there is a Google Analytics app, as well! There is SO much information available in Google Analytics (both on the desktop and on the mobile version) that I could write an entire blog series on just utilizing all the information there. But for this article, I’ll just say – trust me on this, you really do want the Google Analytics app on your phone! Google Analytics helps you discover how your customers found you, what device they are using, where they are located, revenue from your website, which products are getting the most attention, search terms, and so much more! The mobile app includes an Assistant that makes understanding all the information very easy. Here are links to this app – Google Analytics for iOS and Google Analytics for Android.
What I Like About It: Okay, I admit. I like everything about this app! I especially like the easy-to-read interface and I find the Assistant very helpful. I can view stats for all my websites through the same app, and switch between then easily. Watching your website audience in Real Time is definitely cool!
Google Drive allows you to take all your important documents with you wherever you go – AND it works seamlessly with Evernote (see my previous article – link above – for more information about Evernote)! With Google Drive, you can store spreadsheets, photos, documents and more – up to 15GB of storage at no cost (paid plans are available if you need more storage). When you add files to Google Drive, it syncs your data across all of your devices. Very cool! NOTE: An app that is similar to Google Drive is Dropbox. Dropbox has similar features to Google Drive and allows you to store up to 2GB of data at no cost (paid plans are available if you need more storage).
What I Like About It: You have instant access to data that used to be stored only on a desktop computer – now it’s easy to take your files with you. I love that Google Drive works with Evernote! You also have the option of sharing your data with others – giving them access to view, download, or edit the files.
In a previous article, I wrote about Tackling the To-Do List, and mentioned a couple of apps you could use. The 1-3-5 app is a little bit different. 1-3-5 uses a formula for you to choose 1 “big thing” (the task that will take you the most amount of time to complete), 3 “medium things” (moderately time-consuming tasks), and then 5 “small things” (the tasks that take the least amount of your time to finish). 1-3-5 works on any connected device – your computer or your phone – so you can keep track of your daily to-do list on any device.
What I Like About It: I really like the simplicity of this app and that it breaks down tasks into manageable tasks that you feel good about being able to accomplish each day. It also syncs with all your devices so it’s really handy to use.
Apple News and Google Newsstand
Both Apple News and Google Newsstand are great resources when you have a few minutes between tasks to catch up on the news. Reading the latest stories related to small business keeps in you in the know and on the cutting edge. Both Apple News and Google Newsstand offer streamlined, aggregate content, with articles organized according to your interest. Google Newsstand is also available on your computer at Google Newsstand. Here are links to Google Newsstand for Android , Google Newsstand for iOS and Apple News (only available for iOS).
What I Like About It: Both apps allow you to customize your activity feed to show only the types of stories you are interested in reading. I especially like to stay up to date on the latest changes in social media platforms and I love to read about new apps that help small business owners.
ADDITIONAL APPS TO CHECK OUT:
- Slack – If you work with a group of people and need to keep in touch with them through instant messages, Slack is definitely an awesome tool! You can use Slack on your computer, or use the Slack app on your phone. With Slack you can send (and be notified of) instant messages, share photos and share documents. Slack uses “channels” to organize various topics your team needs. Statistics show that using Slack led to businesses sending 48.6% less Emails, holding 25.1% less meetings and increasing productivity by 32%. I use Slack on a daily basis with a team of friends to manage a website we have (Vintage Unscripted). Slack allows us to collaborate on projects and articles instantly. Slack is free to use for small teams and there are paid versions as well.
TIP: While Slack isn’t really intended for this purpose, I have a Slack team with my family, too. We live in a rural area without cell coverage, so sending instant messages to my family doesn’t work on my iPhone. Most of my family members also do not use iPhones, so even iMessage doesn’t work for us via wi-fi – Slack is the perfect answer! AND… because we can use it on our computers, it’s even easier than typing messages on your phone. Slack also includes voice messages and video calls, so it really is a great tool for us to use as a family, as well as with a team for business.
- Dragon Dictation – While I realize both iPhones and Android phones have the ability to convert what you speak into text, you still might want to check out Dragon Dictation. It’s a free app (available for iOS and Android) that allows you to send email messages, Tweets on Twitter and even status updates on Facebook by converting what you say into text. Use the app to record long notes, or even blog posts!
- Inventory Now – Inventory Now is an app that is available on iOS that allows you to keep track of your inventory. While this app does NOT integrate with ecommerce platforms, it can still be a handy (manual) tool. You can import your inventory CSV file into this app (via Dropbox) to get started, and then as you sell items, you are able to see the value of your inventory on hand. You can also add photos of the items you are selling, so at a quick glance you can see what items you have on your shelves. Again, this app is going to require manual updates to keep your inventory current, but you might want to check it out.
TIP: One way you could use this app is to record new purchases for your shop. For example, if I were at a flea market and bought something to resell in my vintage shop, I could instantly take a photo of the item, record the price I paid and a note about the item. Then when I am ready to list the item for sale in my shop, I could go to the Inventory Now app to find all the things that need to be listed. Once you list an item, you could mark the item as “sold” within the app to let you know that it isn’t still waiting to be listed. The app would keep track of the value of all your purchases, so you would know how much your inventory is worth and use that as a motivator to get the items listed in your shop! I know the app isn’t intended for this purpose, but I think it’s a clever way to use the app. What do you think?