Software and applications I use every day, or from time to time, that really help me run my shop. Much of it is free or very cheap.
For the one-(wo)man band type of Ebay business or Ebay shop, or anyone!
I don’t have experience of different email providers, I can only say that I am very happy with Gmail which I have used for 8 years.
Gmail includes a huge 10GB of mail storage.
To help with my Ebay sales I have evolved a set of filters and labels which mark my sales emails with various labels to help me process the orders more easily.
Gmail’s very helpful search function enables me to view all correspondence with one buyer, or all sales of a particular item, etc.
More on using Gmail in my separate article, coming soon.
Free, within your Google account.
Great for sharing / syncing your files between different computers, without a home network.
Amazing and simple to set up and use.
Get 2GB free on sign up, and more space available via referrals and other methods.
I don’t know how I managed without it!
NOTE : It is a good idea to backup your Dropbox folder regularly. Not because Dropbox is unreliable, but because of the recent issues with a few file sharing sites being taken offline. Who knows, maybe Dropbox could be affected one day.
Free to download and use with a generous free allowance. More storage available if you pay.
Great for copying, pasting, formatting and printing postal addresses, from your email Paypal sales notifications onto standard label sheets.
Formats poorly-written addresses with the click of a button (this works best with UK addresses).
Great if you do not have a dedicated label printer.
I use it every day.
Documalis Free Scanner
I tried this when my printer’s scanning software would not work on my new PC.
This is a simple and no-fuss way to scan text or photos as JPG or PDF ready to save, email or upload.
The interface is a little confusing in places, as it is translated into English from the original French.
For saving any type of document as a PDF, to keep, to email, or to upload.
Works as a printer – print your file and choose CutePDF, and choose where to save it.
Very simple to install and use.
It will preserve links which are already written as a full web link, starting http: etc.
A suite of software for when CutePDF isn’t enough.
PDF995 will help preserve all kinds of links in a Word document
– internal links from a table of contents to the relevant page;
– external links to web pages, whether written explicitly or not;
– hyperlinks to bookmarks within the document or to other files.
This software is harder to download and set up, but produces really excellent results.
PDF995 teams up well with the reader app for Android called ezPDF lite (not free but nearly), which allows all these great hyperlinks to work from Android too.
PDF995 has a lot more functions that I haven’t delved into yet, for working with PDF’s.
WORKING WITH LISTINGS
Ebay’s free listing tool. Very useful for creating listings if you don’t have Selling Manager Pro and inventory.
Still useful if you do have Selling Manager Pro, as it provides a good way to adjust several listings fairly quickly and to then upload all the changes at the same time.
Great for working on listings offline (if you synchronised online earlier).
Selling Manager Pro
Essential I would say, if you run a shop with good till cancelled listings, or if you regularly sell the same item.
You can store inventory – products and listing templates – so your listing descriptions are available when you want to relist an item you sold before.
More detailed analysis of your sales, and monthly sales reports available for 2 years.
£5 per month, unless you have a more expensive shop when it is included.
I only use this to make the scrolling bar showing my other listings within each listing. It can be formatted as a non-moving table, though this doesn’t always work.
This is a good idea, but I found it turned up at the top of my listings, despite my instructions to put it at the bottom.
Consequently I had to manually move the html on each listing.
Not so sure about this one.
Free, requires Ebay token which you are prompted to renew periodically.
WORKING WITH PICTURES
I have a separate article delving deeper into working with photos, and using the below recommended software, see
Free Photo Hosting with Picasa, Improve Your Listings! , a step-by-step guide to adding more photos to your listings, for free! My favourite software for FREE image resizing, watermarking, and photo hosting.
VSO Image Resizer
A compact image shrinking solution.
Useful if your camera takes photos too large to put online, or if you want a set of smaller pictures to keep on your phone or tablet.
Easy to install, once installed you can use it from Windows Explorer, My Computer, and many other places by right clicking on the file you want to shrink.
There are various options for final image size, and for how to save the resulting image(s).
Take care to select an option which does not overwrite your originals.
I have used this for a long time and am mostly very happy with it.
Free to download.
A free and simple way to put good-looking text or pictorial watermarks on your product photos.
You can vary size, position, font and opacity.
You can process several pictures at once.
This software will not overwrite your original photos.
Free to download for personal use.
An online picture storage and sharing solution from Google.
You can put your product pictures here and create HTML links to put your pictures into your listing descriptions (Ebay do not charge if you put in extra pictures like this).
Having tried several photo hosting solutions for this purpose, Picasa is the only one I was happy with.
Free to use, 1GB storage (maybe more now)
Thank you for looking, I hope some of the ideas above are useful to you.
If this article has helped you, or if you have more ideas to add, please feel free to leave a comment below.