I thought I’d share a rundown of the online apps, software, and systems that I find essential to running my business these days. I’ve shared something similar in the past, but wanted to provide an updated post on what I’m using day-to-day to keep my business running smoothly and efficiently.
Online Shop: Shopify with a custom template
I’ve been really pleased with Shopify over the past few years and am about to renew my account for another year. I've found ways to enhance my shop with minor customizations and customers always compliment my shop for its clean design and ease of use.
Inventory Management: Stitch
I still love using Stitch for managing inventory. It integrates seamlessly with my Shopify shop and they have made a lot of improvements with the site’s speed over the past year.
I have used both platforms for sending invoices and find both equally reliable. Two things I look for in an invoicing software: 1) low transaction rates and 2) how easy it is for customers how to figure out how to pay their bills. Both Square and Stitch fit the bill, although I've found that customers find Square the easiest to use on their end.
Over the past year I have spent more time focusing on analytics, creating reports on product sales or site visits, looking for trends, and making choices based on where site traffic is coming from and what visitors are doing on my site. For my website, I use a combination of Google Analytics and Shopify's reports. For Instagram, I've been playing around with Iconosquare. I'm hoping to spend more time with Pinterest's analytics to see what people are pinning and doing with my pins. I track my stats using a Google Docs spreadsheet.
Yes, I have a fax line! You’d be surprised by the number of wholesale orders that still arrive via fax. I always debate giving it up, but for now I’m okay with keeping it. Metrofax is simple, easy, and cheap.
I’ve played around with a number of online shipping platforms and have found stamps.com to be really easy and simple and meets the criteria for the volume of shipping I’m doing. They've updated the interface from its earlier clunkier version and the new update seems more intuitive.
Creative: Adobe Creative Suite
Wish it was cheaper, but can't live without it! More on using Adobe Creative Suite here.
I had been using GoDaddy Accounting (formerly Outright), but ran into some major issues with double transactions showing up that their customer service could not resolve, so I made the switch to Wave. Wave is pretty solid and I appreciate the ability to quickly create P&L statements, expense reports, and other accounting documents. That said, I usually find myself having to manually categorize transactions and double check everything two or three times for accuracy.
I've used MailChimp since the early days of my business and have never had a bad experience with it. They have excellent online help guides and creating a monthly newsletter is a seamless experience. (Sign up for my newsletter here!)
Do you have a favorite app or system? Share it in the comments below.