2009 Trends in Ecommerce: Open Up That Box of Tools!October 26th, 2009 | Online & Small Business Resources,Small Business,Small Business Tips | 4 Comments »
The economy made the last few months a challenge for everyone including online merchants. The good news for merchants is the growing availability in 2009 of cost-effective tools that can make an online shopper’s experience better. Every online merchant should consider using these tools to enrich the experience for their customers and also reduce a merchant’s costs.
Widgets are everywhere. Developers around the world have developed small applications that can be installed quickly and for free to nearly any type of website. Widgetbox and Google Apps and Gadgets are just two of the places where merchants can go to download a host of widgets such as calendars, feedback mechanisms, sales and discount applications and many more.
2. Outsourcing Applications and Staff
Merchants now have a number of options to use outsourced staff to support their business and their customers. Need back-office help or staff to support your customers. Vendors like MyBusinessAssistant.com offer end-to-end support for merchants for answering customer service calls, providing phone numbers, serving as a virtual assistant to coordinate tasks. Companies like FreshBooks give small businesses the ability to easily invoice, track expenses and manage the finance operations for the merchant. These tools allow the merchants too focus on their business and allow them to better support their customers.
3. Open Source Applications
The growth of open source applications has only helped small businesses. SugarCRM is an example of a completely free (they also have higher end paid options) open-source application that gives merchants a fairly sophisticated CRM offering so that they can track, monitor and value customers and leads, among many other things. There are also end-to-end solutions for customer support applications that are open source that a merchant can buy at a fraction of a cost of an enterprise application. Soon there will be open-source applications for nearly every part of a small business. This will only help small businesses and make them more competitive while cutting their costs.
What tools are you using or have begun using for your merchant?