How to Shop for e-Commerce Apps

How to Shop for e-Commerce Apps

Simple tips for finding what works.

If you feel like most e-commerce business apps are not designed to work well with others in ecosystem, you’re right. It’s not in the interest of platforms and marketplaces to develop tools and applications that work with their competitors, but that doesn’t mean that their apps are bad, just limited.

Full integration is one of the keys to our flagship product Unify, so I’m biased when it comes to finding tools that allow you to run your business from one place. But whether you’re looking for apps that connect different areas of your business or just a simple tool to solve a specific problem, here’s what I recommend when shopping for apps for your online business. How to shop for #ecommerce #apps. Simple tips for finding what works. #marketplace #platform, #unify Click To Tweet

Identify what areas of your business can really benefit from a tool. This can be as simple as asking yourself “What is the most inefficient or challenging part of my day?” If entering sales order data into QuickBooks, Xero, or NetSuite takes you forever or requires you to hire someone, there’s an automation app for that. If you find yourself overselling products and losing profits on messy fulfillment practices, there’s an inventory management app for that. If compliance is what keeps you up at night, there’s a sales tax tracking and validation app for that, too. Across the board the help is there when you need it, but it’s up to you to know what you need.

Once you’ve narrowed down areas where you need help, do some research. Simplicity is a goal I always recommend, so if you come across a dual-purpose app that can solve for several different pain points, put it at the top of your list. Look at each app’s ratings, investigate the credibility of each company, and read what their customers are saying about the product in their reviews. Conveniently, app stores make it possible to find all this relatively unbiased info in one place, but a simple Google search will likely reveal other discussions among customers about different products. In an era where coding is king, make sure you consider customer support when making your decision about a new business tool. Find out how easy or difficult will it be to get a human on the phone should something go sideways—it really matters. In addition to looking for comments about support in reviews, keep your eyes peeled for CSat (customer satisfaction) ratings when doing your research.

When you’ve narrowed the field, get a firsthand look at how well each app works. If a live demo of the product is available, make time for it so you can see how simple or complicated it is to use. At the very least, most companies have demonstration videos available. If you can, go through a free trial of the product. Software trials often last 15-days or so, and will allow you to see how a product works for not just you as an individual but for your colleagues in other parts of your business. And finally, before you buy an app, make sure there’s a money-back guarantee, so it’s easy to change course if it doesn’t work. Happy app shopping!

-By Parag Mamnani, Founder and CEO