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Business Expansion, Online Expansion

Tools to Help You Operate an Efficient Online Business

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As you race down the road toward success for your online business, there will be potholes from time to time. But what you really need to watch out for are the “big blockers” in your path – the fallen trees, broken-down cars and sneaky speed traps that can halt your progress completely if you aren’t ready for them.

When you’re building a business online, there are at least three roadblocks you’ll need to get through: funding, diversification and reach. Bonanza has a number of tools to help keep you on track, but don’t overlook the third-party tools that are also available to keep you on the straight and narrow. Here are third-party tools Bonanza sellers have used to tackle these roadblocks and achieve online success.

Funding

When you’re ready to grow your business to the next level, the main thing holding you back might be a lack of cash flow. If you need to purchase more inventory, get new equipment or need working capital for any other reason, you might want to consider a small business loan. That’s where Kabbage comes in.

Things to know about Kabbage:

  • Kabbage grants loans with automatic approval. Of course, there are parameters that any applicant must qualify for when applying for a traditional business loan. However, Kabbage uses computer software (or, as we like to call it, “computer magic”) to evaluate your application. Once you fill out the application form and select the amount you need, Kabbage will deposit working capital directly into your bank or PayPal account after approval.
  • Applying for a loan with Kabbage is efficient. If you’ve ever applied for a traditional business loan, you’re probably getting grey hairs just thinking about how long it took. Kabbage, on the other hand, takes a fraction of the time – sometimes less than 10 minutes.
  • You can use your loan as a line of credit. This means you can withdraw cash “as needed.” Need to up your loan amount? Once you’re approved for a line of credit, you can take extra capital without filling out more forms or jumping through any hoops.

Kabbage has funded over $1 billion in business loans, and they’ve been featured in big-time publications like Time, Forbes and Bloomberg. It’s a nice way to get a small-business loan quickly and easily.

Diversification

A key way to reach a broad audience with your products is to sell on several different platforms. But it can be tedious and time-consuming to maintain your business on these platforms. When you sell an item on one site, you have to update your inventory on each independent site. With so many small details, it’s nearly impossible to avoid errors.

Many sellers use our inventory syncing tool to manage their inventory across platforms. When you link your Bonanza account to another platform, like Amazon or eBay, we will automatically update your inventory across any and all platforms on a daily basis. This includes an update for items that are sold, added or removed from any connected platform.

However, it’s not as easy to manage shipping processes for each site. ShipStation can help you out by connecting to all your online stores and allowing you to print all your shipping labels (at a discounted rate!) from one place – no matter which of your stores or marketplaces actually made the sale.

Things to know about ShipStation:

  • You have endless customization options. You can set up your own automation rules (which can do almost anything) to customize the platform to match your own unique workflows.
  • They are mobile-friendly. You can’t always be at your computer, but most people usually have their cell phone with them. ShipStation’s mobile app (for Android and iOS) lets you pull in orders and print labels using your mobile device. It’s a time saver that lets you serve your customers faster.
  • They support wireless printing. You can connect your wireless printer to ShipStation, and share it with everyone in your account to print wirelessly. This is especially helpful if you have multiple employees helping you with order fulfillment.

ShipStation uses the Bonanza API to connect to your Bonanza booth, so the integration is seamless. ShipStation also supports more than 70+ different platforms you can try out as you diversify your business.

Reach

Once you’ve received funding and diversified your business, you need to be sure you’re visible to customers. A big part of connecting with new customers is having a strong presence on social media – the more you post, the more likely it is that customers will find you. But who’s got time to spend all day Tweeting, Facebooking and Pinning? Not us, and not you.

Buffer lets you (or your assistants) queue up a whole heap of social media messages at once, and then dribbles them out over the coming weeks or months without any extra effort on your part.

Things to know about Buffer:

  • It’s inexpensive (even free!). Buffer offers a free version that lets you schedule up to 10 posts in advance. This is a great option as you begin to grow your social media presence. Once you feel like a seasoned pro, you can upgrade to their inexpensive “Awesome plan” to schedule up to 100 posts at a time. This is an efficient way to keep up with your followers on a consistent basis without staring at Twitter all day.
  • It’s easy to use. Starting out on social media can seem daunting, especially for those who didn’t grow up in the age of technology. Lucky for you, Buffer seems to share Bonanza’s dedication to “relentless simplicity.” The site is very intuitive, and they are constantly making tweaks and improvements.
  • They offer real-time insights. Buffer has some excellent analytics tools to help you understand which posts your followers liked – and which ones they didn’t. The ability to manage follower engagement across platforms from one central location means you can spend less time analyzing your strategy and more time posting stuff your followers will love.

Once you’ve started gaining followers and fans through social media, it’s time to let them know about the great products you have to offer. But it can be pretty overwhelming to collect contact information and send emails to a large number of people.

That’s where MailChimp comes in. MailChimp is a third-party email service provider (ESP) that helps marketers send bulk emails to clients, customers and other interested parties. You can manage your communications with ease by using MailChimp to create campaigns, send automatic emails and more.

Things to know about MailChimp:

  • They provide detailed automation options. MailChimp makes it almost too easy to set up and schedule automatic email campaigns. With these automatic campaigns, you can set triggers in MailChimp that will send subscribers an email whenever certain actions are taken – for example, every time someone subscribes to your booth or Webstore.
  • It’s extremely user-friendly. Those of you without any knowledge of coding will be happy to know that MailChimp has a simple user interface that allows you to see exactly what your email will look like without touching one bit of HTML. If you do have some coding skills up your sleeve, you can always code your own email.
  • They are budget-conscious. MailChimp offers a Forever Free plan, which includes up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 sent emails per month. Most sellers think this is plenty when they are just starting to manage their email campaigns. You can always explore their other plans if you’re reaching your monthly capacity on the Forever Free plan.

Moving Forward

Using these tools to create and grow a successful store online will keep your business roaring forward. These tools above will offer professional assistance right when you need it most. Whether you need help with funding, diversification or finding new customers, these tools will give you the boost you need to keep charging forward toward the finish line.

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Kabbage Team

The Kabbage Team is here to not only fund the small business loans you need, but to help you grow your business through free marketing tips, webinars, tools and more. Is there something you'd like us to cover or want to get your small business featured on our blog? Send us a note at content@kabbage.com.

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