As Chief Operating Officer at Stupid Cancer, I wear many hats. One of those hats is managing our online store from top to bottom, with customer service support from an additional team member.
If you’re an online store owner or operator, you know how many moving parts there are, and that no two days are ever really the same. Without the perfect storm of third party ecommerce apps and integrations, I wouldn’t be able to be nearly as effective at my job.
From shipping apps to customer service integrations, my company and my team rely on multiple iterations of third-party applications and integrations to make sure we are as productive as possible in scaling our business and maintaining high customer lifetime value. Better yet, the apps we use are by no means difficult or costly. They just work.
That said, in no particular order, here are some of my favorite integrations that help me and my team increase our daily productivity.
Slack is the quickest growing team collaboration/communication software in recent time. In fact, in 2014, the little over year-old startup received $120 million in investment, bringing its estimated valuation to $1.2 billion.
That’s right –– in little over a year.
Born out of market demand, Slack helps me track things like incoming sales, customer support requests, task lists and connects me to my team 24/7. Using integration services like Kevy, Zapier and IFTTT, my operation continues to run, even when I’m not.
I’m the kind of person that keeps post-its and text files with notes everywhere. As my product offering grew, I knew I had to develop a system to keep track of product attributes, art, imprint dimensions and more. With Evernote, I keep product attributes in a neat file, organized by SKU, that I send off to my vendors when it’s time to reorder. It saves me time and I don’t have to dig through old emails to remember things.
Having trouble keeping track of things? Trello makes it simple to drag and drop tasks from one list to another. I love Trello because it helps me keep track of products that are either ordered, in-transit or delivered to my warehouse. It’s also handy for handling returns and exchanges. Best of all, it’s free to get started.
Zapier is the tie that binds all of the third party applications I use to Slack. Slack puts your information into channels. Some of my favorite zaps include PayPal transactions to my #incoming-money channel; Trello card movement to my #to-do channel; and Zendesk tickets to #zendesk.
Kevy helps me move massive amounts of data from point A to point B. In a few easy clicks, you can have your customer’s information as well as his or her shopping history sent to places like Bronto, Mailchimp or Salesforce in perpetuity. By having their information within your email marketing platform or CRM, communicating to your different customer segments is a breeze.
As I mentioned, operating the Stupid Cancer Store is only one of the many hats I wear. It’s also one small part of the entire Stupid Cancer operation. We have multiple incoming communication channels, including email, Facebook and Twitter. Naturally, some customers choose to communicate with us on the platform of their choice regarding their order status. Utilizing a robust help desk software like Zendesk, we can assign the inquiry to the right team member, and get back to the person quickly and efficiently. Being stewards of quality customer service helps us turn customers into repeat customers.
Inventory Planner is another useful app. While the native Bigcommerce inventory reporting is extremely valuable and can solve all your needs, sometimes it’s helpful to look at it from a different perspective. IP offers a lot of great insights and lets you sort your inventory from a wide array of variables like option, tag/title, category, price and brand/vendor. If you’re looking to get a feel for the value of the merchandise sitting on your shelves, IP can help you figure that out as well. I’ve utilized it to determine which products to mark down and which are trending.
Other ways to improve productivity are through email and calendar efficiencies, using tools like Calendar.
Let me know in the comments below if you use any other apps to help manage your workflow and optimize your ecommerce business.
Kenny Kane is the Chief Operating Officer at Stupid Cancer. In his role, he oversees all aspects of ecommerce operations, including designing branded apparel, managing inventory, and up until recently, folding and shipping t-shirts. He is a big fan of integrations, and tries to automate every aspect of his life.