With 85% of businesses accelerating their digital initiatives, you need to invest in software solutions if you want to remain competitive and relevant in the market. Fortunately, you don’t need a huge capital to fully embrace digital transformation in your operations since software solutions are more affordable and accessible nowadays. This means startups and online stores can gain the same competitive edge that software solutions provide as their more established counterparts.
Software solutions offer numerous benefits to businesses—more so to startups and online stores. Through digitization, you can easily scale up your operations at a rapid pace and increase sales with the smallest cost. It also allows you to reach out to more customers, giving you access to both international and local audiences.
There are many more benefits to investing in software solutions for startups and online stores. To fully maximize the use of these new technologies, you need to adopt specific strategies and practices within your organization. However, startups and online stores tend to have limited resources to spare for managing and developing their own software solutions. Hence, you need to make sure that you are getting the most out of your investment in software.
With that, here are some of the best software practices for startups and online stores.
1. Identify your business needs
Business owners tend to follow trends especially when they see or hear positive outcomes from them. Hence, they often invested in popular software solutions, thinking they would get similar results. But this is not often the case when it comes to software.
It’s important to remember that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution.
Every business has its own set of needs and demands. So what may work for one may not necessarily work for you. You need to be conscious of your own startup or online store’s needs if you want your software to effectively serve its purpose within your organization.
Having a deeper understanding of how your organization operates will give you ideas of what your business needs. Consider the following when identifying your business demands:
- Company size
- Employee skills and backgrounds
- Resources available
- Overall digital ecosystem
- Challenges currently facing
- Persistent bottlenecks in workflows
Knowing your business needs makes it easier to invest in software that fits your organization and aligns with your objectives. Likewise, this can also help online stores find the best online sales platforms for their products.
2. Choose the right software
Nowadays, there are countless software solutions available in the market. All of which offer unique sets of tools and functions for different aspects of your solutions. Choosing which types of software to invest in for your startup or online store can be overwhelming.
Identifying your business needs can help narrow down your list. It lets you know what areas in your operations you must focus on and improve. For example, you found out that the lack of manpower in your marketing and sales operations is affecting your campaign’s performance and overall revenues. So instead of hiring more people, you can invest in software like marketing automation software, lead management software, or sales software.
Nonetheless, there is some essential software that startups and online stores must look out for. This includes eCommerce platforms and POS software.
An eCommerce solution is essential for any business that plans to sell its products online. It serves as a virtual platform where sellers and consumers can interact and do transactions with each other. It enables consumers to search, discover, and purchase products from sellers using devices such as PCs, smartphones, or tablets. On the other hand, it allows sellers to showcase their products and accept payments from customers digitally.
There are many types of eCommerce platforms in the market. There are those designed specifically for B2B commerce, B2C, C2C, or C2B. Likewise, you can choose between SaaS (software-as-a-service) platforms or PaaS (platform-as-a-service), or the third option which is on-premises. You can check out this eCommerce software list and examples to find out which one is best for your startup or online store.
A Point of Sale or POS system is a combination of hardware and software that you use to process customer payments and purchases. It is basically the equivalent of a cash register for your business except that it offers other features like inventory management, sales tracking, and more.
Online stores and startups need POS software if they want to provide a seamless digital experience for their customers. This would allow customers to do transactions with your business anytime and anywhere without needing to go to a physical store or the bank.
You can also integrate POS software with your chosen eCommerce platform. This synchronizes data such as your sales order, customer data, and product data between the two solutions in real-time. This way, all the necessary information is inconsistent between your POS and your website or eCommerce store.
Investing in the best POS software is a cost-effective way of streamlining your day-to-day operations and boosting your business’ flexibility.
3. Leverage cloud technology
A common question that pops up while choosing the best software for your business is whether you should invest in on-premise or cloud-based solutions. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. However, startups and online stores will benefit more from cloud-based software than on-premises. In fact, 80% of businesses are increasing their cloud spending over the next years due to its numerous advantages.
Cloud solutions offer more flexibility in terms of scalability. You don’t need to buy more hardware to catch up with your business growth. All you need to do is upgrade your subscription with your service provider to scale up your operations.
Software maintenance is also cheaper with cloud solutions. Unlike on-premises, the software is not installed and does not run on your own computers. Hence, you won’t need a dedicated team to help deploy, monitor, or manage it. Your service providers will provide real-time data monitoring as well as the necessary updates and security patches to ensure your software works smoothly.
4. Integrate systems
Integration is important if you are using several software solutions in your organization. This refers to the process of connecting software together for better data synchronization and accessibility. It ensures that all programs and applications within your organization are processing the same set of information and adopting the necessary changes in real-time.
Another type of integration is centralizing both your online and offline processes. This allows you to manage both your online stores and brick-and-mortar shops in a unified platform using any device you want. In fact, this omnichannel approach is one of the latest trends in retail, and there is countless software that allows such integration.
5. Monitor and improve
Implementing new software into your software brings drastic changes to your workflows. While some changes are beneficial, there can also be some unintended consequences that you would want to avoid. So it’s important that you monitor the effects of implementing new software into your operations and take notes of areas that can improve on.
You can do this by comparing data from your past and current performances. This allows you to see whether the software contributes to your business growth or is pulling it down. You can also use data to pinpoint the software’s specific strengths and weaknesses. This way, you can focus on eliminating these weaknesses and improving your experience with the software.
Constant monitoring and feedback are key to every successful implementation. So even if you invest in the best eCommerce platform for startups, you should keep an eye on how it’s affecting your business.
Level it up with software
Startups and online stores need to invest in software solutions to operate and compete in the market. Fortunately, eCommerce platforms for startups and small businesses are more accessible and affordable than ever. Through software, you can gain the same competitive edge as your more established counterparts. So make the most out of your software by adopting these best practices into your organization.