So as anyone in ecommerce knows, software and tools are a must if you want to grow. But as most people know in ecommerce, it is a margins game and so any costs you can reduce is a bonus.

In this episode, we are going to look at 5 free tools that you can use in different areas of your businesses.

What’s in this episode?

  • The Photoshop alternative
  • Free social media automation
  • Awesome emails, no cost
  • Bootstrap customer service automation
  • Open source spreadsheet software

Gimp – The Photoshop alternative

Don’t be worried about the name, the only shady part of this software is that it is totally free. Gimp allows you to remove backgrounds, create layers, edit colours and much more.

If you are taking your own product photos then this is a fantastic tool for you to use.

Download GIMP

Hootsuite – Social media automation

So we all know that social media has great potential for any business but most online sellers struggle to dedicate time to it with all the other tasks that crop up on a daily basis.

Hootsuite allows you to create all your social media posts and schedules it in advance, the best part is that you can connect up to 3 social media channels for free. I typically write my social media posts on the Sunday and schedule to share them throughout the week.

Top Tip: Prepare your social media posts in advance for new product releases.

Try Hootsuite For Free

MailChimp – Awesome emails

So email marketing is still one the biggest ROI types of marketing out there but your emails have to be great looking, specific to their audience and mobile optimised.

Well don’t worry, there is no need to get an HTML designer to create you a bespoke email, mail chimp has an amazing email editor built in. You can also segment lists so you can tailor your campaigns to certain types of customers. It is free up to 2000 email subscribers.

Visit MailChimp

Gmail – Automate customer service

When it comes to replying to customers queries on Amazon, eBay and your own websites there are fantastic tools like Xsellco Fusion. But, if you are on a tight budget then Gmail could be a solution for you. you can use plugins such as “Email Autoresponder for Gmail” which will allow you to create automated replies based on rules you create. Great

Combining Gmail’s email folder/labels allocation with plugins such as “Email Autoresponder for Gmail” will allow you to create automated replies based on rules you create and place messages in folders of priority. Great for your Amazon metrics and organising the mailbox.

If you want to use your own domain for emails, then you can buy Gmail for business (G-Suite) for £3.30/$5 per month per mailbox (though you can have multiple aliases).

Check Out Gmail for Business

Open Office Calc – Excel alternative

I was so split between choosing Google Sheets and Open Office Calc as both are great options. One thing I have noticed is when using Google Sheets for large inventory files it can struggle to initially open the files, so this is the reason I have went with Open Office Calc.

When listing products in bulk, using spreadsheets is key to upload them quickly. Open Office gives you a free tool which you can save your files in Excel, CSV, text tab delimited and other formats. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that Excel has but it has the basics most online sellers need.

Download Open Office

What do you use?

So I’ve mentioned some great free/low-cost tools that you can use for your business but what software do you use? Is there any you would recommend? Is it free or paid for? I would love to hear your feedback.