Of course, this was from a service provider focus, and I’ve been wanting to do a followup article that shares shop software and ecommerce apps that are lifesavers for handmakers, ecommerce shop owners, brick & mortar retailers, creative folks!
Below are a few favorites from some of our newsletter subscribers. I’d love if you could chime in in the comments with your favorite software.
An oddball brick and mortar vintage store’s favorite software:
Shipstation – Going back to the days when I had my first Etsy shop, shipping has always been a thorn in my side. I dreaded it. Shipstation makes it so easy. What used to take me hours takes literally minutes. Don’t flinch at the monthly fee – your time is money and it will pay for itself the first time you use it.
Shopify POS -If you have an online store with Shopify and want to expand to brick and mortar, Shopify’s iPad POS system app is amazing. You can keep all your financials straight and in one place for both revenue streams. I have the Shopify app on my iPhone as well and I get an alert for every sale we make online or in the store. It easily keeps inventory straight between online and in-store, which eliminates lots of potential headaches.
Dropcam -I chose Dropcam for my shop’s security system due to the easy setup, but their iPad and iPhone apps are lifesavers. Staff can easily keep eyes on all areas of the shop right from the front counter on the iPad register, and I can check in anytime from my iPhone. It also has an optional 7 or 30 day DVR – giving you time to capture important events and save them if you need to.
I also recommend the Dymo Labelwriter 450 Turbo for any business. Their software allows you to create and print unique barcodes, buy and print postage, print your shipping labels and it even prints our price tags in our font for keeping within our brand image.
Betsy Cassel – Scout Salvage
An online paper goods shop’s must-haves:
The Remember The Milk list/to-do app saves my bacon daily. I pay for the Pro version and it’s worth every cent (about $25 yr). It live syncs across my laptop, iPad and Android phone. One of those devices is almost always within arm’s reach so it’s easy to add items to my lists.
I love how things that I need to take care now and in the future can quickly be jotted down and then pop up on my daily to-do email exactly when they need to be done. Remember the Milk totally helps keep me organized and on task, plus it frees up my brain from trying to remember a million details.
Whitney Beard, Whisker Graphics
Running a digital stationery shop:
Virb – I’m comfortable on a lot of blogging and website platforms: WordPress, Blogger, Joomla, and I have ‘built’ a website for a friend using SquareSpace. In my opinion Virb leaves all of these in the dust in terms of simplicity and ease of use. It’s got a small but well designed selection of templates, drag and drop design functionality that really works, and you can hook up Big Cartel and Etsy shops to it seamlessly. I used it to host my Steal This Process eCourse and it was not just easy, but a JOY to use.
Outlook Task List/iPhone Reminders – You mentioned this already but without it I’d go nuts. Here’s how I use it: I create a task of all my major initiatives for the year and add detailed outlined notes within it. I also use tasks to capture general to dos, and then use categorization to organize everything, It’s synced with my iPhone and is my one and only ‘collection point’ for everything. I reference the list each week and month when I do my mid and low level planning, as well as add ‘to-dos’ on my phone when I’m on the go.
Viral Tag – A Pinterest scheduling tool with (at the moment) very basic functionality, however the ability to schedule pins has been kind of a game changer for me. Along with my regular (rather compulsive) pinning, scheduling pins has allowed me to double my Pinterest following in a little over a month. Use with caution!
Google Analytics – Nothing revolutionary here, but I really rely on it to determine where I should focus my social media efforts as well as track conversions to advertising spend. Couldn’t operate without it.
Eleanor Mayrhofer, E.M. Papers
Now spill the beans!
Is there a program or service that saves you time or money for your business? Please share in the comments below, or if you’re looking for something in particular, ask the experts what they use and we’ll get this software party started.