5 start-ups that can help you ace your e-commerce business

Investing in the expertise of others in areas such as social media and lead generation will save you valuable time and pay for itself by boosting profits

To make your e-commerce business successful, you need top-notch skills in many different areas, but there are not enough hours in the day. To compete, you’d need to become the best at finding products, data mining and social media.

It’s better to use others’ expertise than to fail because of your lack of knowledge in a particular area. You don’t need to reinvent everything because other entrepreneurs have already built the products you need.

The following five start-ups will help you ace your e-commerce business:

Oberlo: Marketplace

Oberlo is a marketplace where entrepreneurs and e-commerce store owners find drop-shipped products to sell. It lets you find all the goods you need in one place, so you don’t spend hours on a multitude of foreign websites, all with different interfaces and payment gateways.

You can use the Obero to connect with suppliers for your Amazon drop-shipping business and import thousands of products directly to your Shopify store with a single click. The platform also helps you automate many aspects of your store, including fulfilment and it’s pricing is on a flat-rate monthly basis, (starting at free), so the low monthly costs mean you can test-drive the marketplace without risk and scale up as your product range increases.

Profitero: Dynamic Pricing

Online prices are in a constant state of flux, so it is impossible to monitor your competition without using price-monitoring software. Profitero tells you what your competitors are charging, so you can decide on your prices.

If you sign up to Profitero, you can customise your data and compare prices with national or international competitors.

Dynamic pricing is one of the reasons behind Amazon’s impressive year-on-year sales growth, but you no longer need a multi-million-pound budget to use data-driven pricing. Prices have fallen, and services such as Profitero allow even start-up e-commerce operations to use dynamic pricing.

Sighted: Invoicing

If you are still using a spreadsheet and word processor for your accounting and invoicing, then you should check the advantages of a SaaS accounting service such as Sighted. Switching will save you money on accounting fees because all the data your accountant needs is there. It will also help you see the big picture any time you want to, and it will speed up your invoicing process.

Sighted lets you generate professional-looking invoices for your local suppliers and helps you accept debit/credit cards and even PayPal payments.

Maintaining your customer database using a cloud service means that everything is stored on encrypted servers elsewhere. Your data is more secure, so you no longer need to worry about theft of a laptop leading to the loss of customer details and the embarrassment that would cause.

Swift Social: Social Media

As an entrepreneur, your social media efforts need to be concentrated on activity that drives profits. This Startups.co.uk article is essential reading on how to use social media to maximum effect.

Swift Social could help you manage your Twitter and Facebook channels by letting you schedule tweets and posts. There are also landing page templates, so you can build a landing page for each product range you are promoting.

Your social media channels cannot just be promotional channels for your products, and you need to include other content that your followers will be interested in. Swift helps you find the content you need to intersperse with your product tweets and posts.

TechSalesBox: Leads

If your e-commerce business sells high-ticket items, you need more than a top search listing because nobody spends £10,000 on the basis of visiting your website once.  If you have confirmed leads rather than vague interest, then you can devote your time to nurturing those leads and growing their confidence in you until they are ready to buy.

TechSalesBox is a start-up whose business is to help small businesses generate high-quality leads efficiently.

The company runs precisely targeted personalised email campaigns. TechSalesBox phones potential clients and feeds back to you about the needs and reservations that leads have. This makes the sales conversation easier and helps you to convert more leads.

In Brief

For your new e-commerce business to succeed, you must invest and buy in others’ expertise. You don’t have the time to learn to source products from manufacturers’ own sites, to learn the best way to generate leads or to spend unnecessary hours using shoebox accounting methods.

The best football teams buy the best players, and you must do the same for your business to reach its potential. You must invest in the best, or your company will only ever be a second division team. Subscribing to selected SaaS products is like buying a few ten million-pound players for your team in that each will more than pay for itself with increased profits.