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Top 9 E-Commerce Software for Your Small Business

Top 9 E-Commerce Software for Your Small Business
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The need for businesses to open online stores in order to sell their products and services is becoming increasingly important in our growing connected word. If before people need to travel just to get items from a shop across the state – now with the help of online ecommerce businesses that offer shipping – almost everything can be delivered right to your doorstep. But with so many platforms available, how do you find the right software for your business? The following are top AWA award-winning eCommerce software that will help you find your business’ best choice.

1.Shopify

Currently the leading ecommerce platform for many small business owners, Shopify has an extensive collection of more than 100 beautifully designed professional themes for your online shop. The themes can either be free or paid and are fully compatible with Shopify platform. Users love Shopify because of its flexible tools and apps for extending functionality on your online store. As of now, there are more than 1,100 different Shopify apps to available on Shopify’s app market.

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2. Bigcommerce

Founded by Mitchell Harper and Eddie Machaalani, Bigcommerce is currently one of the fastest-growing brands in the ecommerce industry. As a leading SaaS provider, Bigcommerce is estimated to be earning more than $10 billion annually. It has a total of around 56 million merchants worldwide and is expected to grow double in 2018. Bigcommerce offers three different levels of pricing on its shopping cart along with services and features you can get for a monthly subscription.

3. Wix

Hosting more than 80 million websites, Wix is well known in the web building landscape. Designed for small business and online store, the software has one of the best mobile optimization systems having numerous apps available for users to use in its own Wix App Market. Anyone can build their own ecommerce store in Wix without prior coding skills. Wix has an intuitive interface that makes it easy for anyone to do drag-and-drop build their own site. With Wix, you can also include various media including animations, video backgrounds and more.

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4. Woocommerce

WordPress may have started as a blogging platform, but now with its free e-commerce plugins like Woocommerce, the blogging site is easily becoming a great tool to build digital shops. With the Woocommerce plugin, users can easily integrate their website with its own ecommerce platform and pick among the free and paid themes in its collection. Built by WooThemes, Woocommerce is currently one of the most popular free eCommerce plugin for WordPress and is used by more than 17.7% of ecommerce business on the internet.

5. GoDaddy Online store

Starting at around $29.9 per month, GoDaddy’s online store is an easy-to-use ecommerce platform giving merchants the best bang for their buck. It has many attractive themes and storefront to choose from, along with custom features that supports customers every wants and needs. Popularly known for its online hosting service, Go Daddy proves that it can also be paired side by side with some of the best e-commerce software.

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6. Magento

Having one of the most flexible shopping cart systems in all other e-commerce software, Magento remains one of the most powerful ecommerce tool for various online business big or small. Like Woocommerce, Magento is an open source product, which means that the code is available for anyone to modify and customize. It promotes the idea of sharing which many developers appreciate.

7. Selz

Selz is an ecommerce platform that helps you sell your digital products including e-books, PDF files, video streams, and music. The company was founded in 2013 by Australian Martin Rushe, and is one of the newer eCommerce platforms in the list. It works well in businesses run by start-ups, artists, musicians or writers. With Selz you can start selling without much further knowledge in CSS or HTML.

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8. PrestaShop

Targeting small to medium business owners, PrestaShop is a free open source e-commerce software that is currently used by more than 250,000 shops worldwide. It is currently available in 60 languages and caters well for people with a minimal tech background. Great for entrepreneurs with a low budget, PrestaShop offers simple and efficient platform for business regardless of size.

9. Modular Merchant

Modular Merchant is a software providing ecommerce solutions for owners selling subscription, downloaded media, and shipped products. It has web-based shopping cart software that can easily be integrated with your online store to manage and engage with your customers efficiently while tracking results. It’s very easy to use and gives the owner full control over the site: you can sell on any schedule, sell free trial products and track your traffic, statistics, and downloads.

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Featured photo credit: pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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