Starting a Business? Here Are the Tools You Need to Get Ahead

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In the digital era, technology is truly a man’s best friend. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more businesses are going digital to stay relevant and keep up with consumer trends. With so many e-commerce channels online, people have many options to choose from. This has prompted businesses to innovate and create new ways to establish customer loyalty while racking potential customers.

Using tech tools can give you an edge over your competitors if you want to start an online business.

POS Systems

Cash registers are out, and point-of-sale (POS) systems are in. Many businesses still use Legacy-based systems. If you want to have an edge on the competition, consider cloud-based systems. This newer system gives you more features to take advantage of, compared to its older sibling, such as:

  • Access to data from anywhere in the world through your smartphone
  • More security since data isn’t stored on your hard drive
  • Fully-scalable settings that fit the specific needs of your business
  • Table Management
  • Inventory Management
  • Reporting and Analytics

While legacy-based systems require you to purchase equipment, cloud-based POS systems can run on an iPad or tablet, making them a more budget-friendly option as well.

Web Hosting

Businesses that don’t have websites have a smaller chance of making it in the current digital economy than businesses that have. Since many consumers look a business up online before buying, you can lose 70% to 80% of your potential customers if you don’t have a website. However, having a website isn’t as easy as looking up a free website maker and creating your website there. With free website makers, you’ll have to share the domain that they use. It’s better to spend a bit of money using a personal domain through a web hosting service, which allows you to rent space on a server where you can store data and allows you to publish your site.

When creating your website, don’t forget to optimize it for mobile use too. 79% of consumers make purchases or seek out services through their mobile phones, so optimizing your website to be more user-friendly for smartphone users is a good way to attract potential customers.

E-Commerce Software

With the pandemic shifting consumer behaviour towards e-commerce at a rapidly growing pace, having e-commerce software at your disposal is a good way to give your customers a user-friendly shopping experience. This kind of software helps you handle the different aspects of an online store like managing orders, inventory, checking the status of a customer’s order, and in some cases, manage billing, invoicing, customer data, and payment processing. Some software works with third-party applications to take care of these aspects.

To ensure that your customer’s shopping process goes smoothly, you have to add certain components to your website.

Merchant Interface

Simply put, this is a site that allows you to manage transactions, check on disputes, generate reports, and other related tasks that can help you manage your business.

Product Catalogue

This is where you show off what your business offers. Depending on the type of business you plan to run, you can feature your items with well-curated photos and useful information that establish your brand and gives potential customers more information about what services you’re offering or items you’re selling.

Shopping Cart

online shopping

This is one of the most critical components of your website as it can make or break a customer’s decision to purchase your item. Ensure that this service runs smoothly and is user-friendly by letting users add products they like to their cart, input their payment and delivery preferences, and place their order.

Payment Processing

Customers won’t be able to place their orders if a website doesn’t provide a payment option. Integrate your e-commerce platform with payment services and gateways to give your customers different payment options to choose from.

Order Fulfilment

Order fulfilment services help get your products to customers on time. Many services offer next-day, second-day, ground shipping, and other shipping services that customers can choose from depending on their needs. With this service, you won’t have to worry about delivering the packages yourself, and you can focus on managing your business.

Data Centres

This tool might not apply to all businesses, but data centres can benefit certain businesses like those who rely heavily on IT, have a significant amount of intellectual property and other sensitive data, and businesses with a limited budget. If you think your business would benefit from having a data centre, you’ll
have to consider getting a fire suppression system to protect your data by containing, extinguishing, or even preventing a fire from damaging your equipment.

Productivity Tools

If you want to streamline your company’s communication, consider using apps like Slack, Asana, Trello, and more to do so. Each application offers different features, so do your research to see which one best suits your business. For file sharing, save time on emailing yourself using cloud storage apps like Google Drive and Dropbox. You can share and view files from anywhere in the world, make edits in real-time, and even control who can and can’t access certain files and folders.

Getting used to these new tech tools for your business might take some getting used to, but these new additions are sure to aid the growth of your business. However, it’s important to remember that these tools are only here to enhance your business efficiency and productivity. Understanding the human element is still important, and if you can incorporate the two together, your business will thrive.

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