These are tools that I use regularly while runing my eCommerce businesses. I’ve only included tools that I recommend. Some of the links below are affiliate links and I receive a commission if you purchase by clicking them. Thanks for that! But you won’t offend me if you search them through Google instead.
When I decided to start importing & private labeling in January 2015, I decided to go all in by joining the Jumpstart Program by the guys over at www.startupbros.com. This program paid for itself 10x over in the first couple months. I’m now a community leader in the EXTREMELY active & helpful Facebook group.
At some point you’re going to want to get paid a salary from your business. If you’re business is structured as an S-Crop, you MUST pay yourself a salary or you could get in trouble. Save yourself some huge headaches by setting up payroll with Gusto. They make sure you stay legal with payroll tax and you can even setup retirement and health insurance in some states.
Hiring virtual staff can be time consuming and difficult. When I want to skip some of the headache, I go straight to Virtual Staff Finder. You tell them what you’re looking for then a few weeks later, they’ll send you 3 of their best candidates to interview. It’s the fastest and easiest way I’ve found and I highly recommend them.
I start a lot of little projects as experiments. Sometimes I need help from VAs, but I’m not committed enough to the idea to go out and hire my own person. So I’ll hop on Freee Up and tell them what I need to do. They assign me a VA who can handle my job then they track the time and bill me. It’s quick and easy.
If you’re building a private label brand, you better have a sequence of followup emails that customers get after a purchase. The guys over at Seller Labs are doing a great job with FBG. They’re continuing to add more advanced features. Hyper-accurate deliver emails is what made me switch from the alternative I’ve listed below.
RECOMMENDED ALTERNATIVE: Salesbacker
I tried many ticketing systems (including Zendesk, Freshdesk, and Teamwork Desk) before settling on Xsellco. Fusion is the ONLY ecommerce-centric ticketing system that I could find that had advanced Amazon features. The big boys of Helpdesk software could really learn a thing or two. Consider adding Fusion when you bring on a dedicated customer support agent.
RECOMMENDED ALTERNATIVE: None
While TWD didn’t work out for Amazon support, it does do a pretty good job at managing other types of email. It’s nice to have multiple team members collaborating on the same emails. Consider TWD if you’re head is spinning trying to keep track of everything in Gmail.
RECOMMENDED ALTERNATIVE: Freshdesk
Amazon Specific Tools
Hello Profit seemingly burst onto the Amazon Seller scene with a robust feature set. The visual appeal and LIVE intraday sales tracking broken down by ASIN has me addicted to the HP dashboard. It’s a little on the pricey side, but knowing your numbers can really pay off in the long run. Consider HP when you start having difficulty keeping track of stats for all your different SKUs.
RECOMMENDED ALTERNATIVE: ManageByStats*
Helium 10 has a pretty nice sweet of tools. We subscribe to the gold or platinum package or something like that. But it seems like we only ever end up using the free tools in the suite. I particularly like the Scribbles tool for writing optimized Amazon listings.
What MBS lacks in visual appeal it makes up for in shear statistical nirvana. I find myself going logging in day in and day out just for their ASIN level conversion rate tracking. It’s extremely valuable to identify a new issue with sales conversions or to track the conversion rate changes after a modification to your listing. Consider MBS if you need a budget option to Hello Profit or if you need conversion rate graphs.
Once you start to accumulate more than 10 or so listings on Amazon, it becomes difficult to keep track of everything. You need to monitor for hijackers, BSR changes, suppression, best seller badges, image changes, copy writing changes, etc. AMZalert is by far the most comprehensive tool for listing monitoring on Amazon. Free up some mental horsepower to use on driving your business forward.
ALTERNATIVES: Listing Eagle, Bindwise
This handy little chrome extension will allow you to easily, quickly, and cheaply check your Amazon listings to see if your keywords are properly indexed. At the time of this writing, there are a lot of crazy things going on with Amazon’s keyword indexing, so who knows how long these tools are going to work correctly. But for now a one time fee of $25 makes this tool a steal.
ALTERNATIVES: Helium 10 – 5 K Checker
Another handy little chrome extension that will help you match an Amazon reviewer to the exact order in your Amazon backend. This can be particularly helpful when you’re trying to fix a problem that lead to a customer leaving a 1 star review. A lot of times you can easily solve their problem, but you don’t know who to contact. Well now you do!
ALTERNATIVES: Efficient Era
Jungle Scout has pretty much been my go to Amazon research tool from the beginning of my business. I only use the chrome extension, but they also have a web version. It’s just a quick and dirty tool to get some data.
ALTERNATIVES: Scope by Seller Labs
Market Intelligence has taken over as my default Amazon research tool. The data it gives you is extensive and accurate. That’s no surprise since it comes from the data hounds at Viral Launch.
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ALTERNATIVES: Scope by Seller Labs
Maybe you’re not quite ready to bring on a real person to manage your PPC for you. But you can up your game with software like Ignite from Seller Labs. Automatically import all your PPC campaigns, then setup “Ignite Managed” campaigns to watch magical suggestions come through. We’re always starting new Amazon businesses and I’ve started using Ignite to manage the PPC early on.
ALTERNATIVE: PPC Entourage
If you’re going to build a team of VAs to help you manage your Amazon business, you’re going to need really good training materials. You can’t expect your team to function properly without really great training. I got VA Central for my team members who are involved in Amazon Seller Central. They really like having a go to resource whenever they get stuck with a SC problem. It means fewer questions for me! Go to ecomdocs.com/vacentral and you’ll get $50 off the purchase price!
Split testing can be really valuable for figuring out what images to use or what to say in your copy or what price to set your products. Amazon does this all the time internally, but they don’t really allow us as 3rd party sellers to run our own. Luckily we have the next best thing, Splitly. You can cycle different images, copy, or prices every day to figure out which one will make you the most money.
Team & Project Management
As we continue to grow our ecommerce team, TWP has become the backbone of our business. Once you start to scale, there’s no way you’re going to keep things running smoothly without project management software. Integration with Box, Dropbox, and Google Drive is also a plus. Consider TWP when you can’t keep track of all the things you and your team members need to get done or when you decide you need to start working ON your business instead of IN your business.
RECOMMENDED ALTERNATIVE: Asana
A relatively new addition to our systems, SP takes the sting out of documenting Standard Operating Procedures. SOPs are VITAL to growing your business with the addition of team members. Whether you start with SP or not, begin documenting your procedures right away, so you can hand off tasks when needed. Consider SP if you can’t force yourself to write SOPs any other way. If you’re paying for it… you’re more likely to use it. Just sayin…
ALTERNATIVE: Procedure Rock
We were having a lot of trouble passing images back and forth through Slack to get approval for packaging designs and listing images. I searched far and wide for an app to make this process easier and more efficient. ProofMe was the winner by far.
Promotions & Reviews
VL may be a little more economical than Zonblast, but that doesn’t mean they’re not effective. For a blast service, they have a lot of flexibility in how you run your promos. Consider VL if you want an effective yet economical blast service.
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RECOMMENDED ALTERNATIVE: Zonblast
The Grand Daddy of all Amazon promo services, ZB can crank it to 11 if you need to run some major promos. The team at ZB are continually evolving their methods to make sure their promos services remain effective. So far so good. Consider ZB if you want to launch your new product in an extremely competitive niche or you just like fishing with dynamite.
RECOMMENDED ALTERNATIVE: Viral Launch
Hosting & Ecom Platforms
I don’t recommend expanding off Amazon until you’re really killing it, but sometimes you need to buy some domains. I’ve used a lot of registrars in the past, but I’ve found NC to be the most user friendly and consistently cheap site out there. Consider NC if you need to buy a domain in order to get brand registered on Amazon or if you really really want to make your own store.
RECOMMENDED ALTERNATIVE: Hostgator
Like I said, I don’t recommended getting off Amazon rolling in dough, but having hosting can still be valuable. You can use HG to create small WordPress sites to make brand registry on Amazon a little easier. I also use it to create email addresses with my company as the domain name. Consider HG if you need some cheap hosting and don’t mind a little DIY.
I’m not using SFy for my Amazon products yet, but I have setup a couple for other projects. It’s simply they most user-friendly, headache-free ecommerce platform out there. Especially when you compare it to Magento. Consider SFy if you’re killing it on Amazon and you’re ready to branch out to your own store.
ALTERNATIVE: Big Commerce
File Sharing & Storage
This Dropbox alternative is invaluable when you’re working with a team. Box has a more robust toolset that is better for businesses. They even have a business plan in their subscription. It’s cheap enough and we get enough storage that we house all of our images and product information on Box. Consider Box if you are running into limitations with Dropbox.
RECOMMENDED ALTERNATIVE: Dropbox
Who can forget GD? We use GD to make monthly backups of product listings. I also keep a spreadsheet of all the UPC/EAN codes that we have, used and unused, as well as the image files of the associated barcodes. That way my team always has updated information about which codes we have used and which are up next. Consider using GD… right now.