Whether you’re focused on optimizing your site, adding a new line of products or just trying to keep all your employees on the same page, you need additional tools to keep things organized.
Project Management Tools
Notion is taking over the project management space with their super intuitive, feature-packed program. They’ve got several ways of organizing things – Notes & Docs, Tasks & Projects, Knowledge Base and more. It’s all organized in a high-level outline that you can customize to suit your needs.
You can view projects in boards, lists or calendar view. And the best thing is that you can capture your online store’s workflows and best practices in the knowledge base. That way your team can find the answers they need and make sure they’re following your standard procedures.
Notion has several paid plans, but the free plan covers all the basics.
Basecamp is similar to Notion. It allows you to set up to-do lists and a schedule, upload documents and files, and message with your teammates. The messaging feature makes it easy to see all the communication related to any project in one place, rather than across emails, chats, etc.
Basecamp has just one plan – $99/month for all features and unlimited users.
Documentation & Lists
If you don’t need a full project management program and really just need something simple to keep track of lists and ideas, there are a few options.
Evernote lets you create notes and lists, organized by notebooks – which can be anything from client names to product ideas. The super cool thing about Evernote is that you can copy an excerpt or photo directly from a web page and put it in your notes. Great for keeping a running list of ideas and inspiration for your online store. Free with paid upgrades available.
Google Docs is similar to Microsoft Office, but it’s all online. Create documents, spreadsheets or presentations and invite your teammates to collaborate on them. All participants can see who changed what and when on each document. Best of all, it’s totally free.
Trying to keep everyone on the same page through email and separate chats can be really difficult. But there are some great programs that can help.
Slack lets you setup different channels organized by topic, team or whatever you like. The conversations are searchable by everyone on your team, so it’s easy for them to find answers. You can even invite vendors and partners into your conversations to get everyone on the same page. There’s also built-in video calling and screen sharing features.
Slack has a free plan with upgrade options available.
Discord is similar to Slack. It was built for group gaming, but has been co-opted by businesses looking for an easy way to communicate. It uses the same channel feature as Slack, and it features voice channels users can hop in and out of. Plus, it’s 100% free.
Sites like Shopify and BigCommerce will help you keep track of sales taxes and various fees, but they don’t offer a full bookkeeping solution for online stores.
Quickbooks Online is a cloud-based accounting and bookkeeping program that allows you to organize income and expenses, pay bills, manage payroll and more. You can link it to your business bank account so that payments automatically get entered and tracked. Pricing starts as low as $10/month.
Freshbooks is similar to Quickbooks. You can use it to track expenses, pay bills and generate reports on your company’s financial health. Freshbooks plans start at $15/month.
Whether you need to track your employees’ time or your own time spent on various tasks, there are a few programs that can help.
Hubstaff can track time to individual projects, so you can see who is working on what and how much time is being spent on each project. It can also track activity levels and take random screenshots so you can see what’s really going on.
Once the time is tracked, you can use it to pay employees or invoice clients. If you use it for payroll, you can setup your employees’ pay rates and then automatically send payments via PayPal, Payoneer or Bitwage. Plans start at $5/month.
Toggl is similar, but without the screenshots. It’s a simpler program for people who just need to track time. Plans start at $9/month.
Fact: If you’re running an online store, you’re strapped for time. The solution: automation.
Zapier is a magical connection between the apps and programs you use every day. It’s dead simple to setup. Pick a trigger and assign an action to it, then Zapier takes care of it automatically.
A few examples: When I get a new Shopify order, add the order info to Google Sheets. When I get a new BigCommerce customer, add them to a Mailchimp list. When I add new products to my store, pin them to a board on Pinterest.
You can even add multiple actions to each trigger. Life changing. The free plan covers two-step zaps, and there are options to upgrade and add premium features.
Process Street helps you automate recurring procedures. Simply create a process template, then schedule and assign it. You can track the progress and get notified when tasks are done. You can even setup conditional logic for dynamic checklists that apply if/then logic. Plans start at $12.50/month.
Setting up all the tools your online store needs may seem daunting, but it will save you so so so much time in the long run. Worth it.
About the Author
Gennifer is the Customer Support and Marketing Manager at ByteStand, where she lives and breathes customer service education while sipping coffee in her pajamas.
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