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ARTICLE TechnologySeptember 24, 2014

Five productivity apps for e-commerce businesses

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These five apps can automate everyday tasks, make you more efficient and instantly improve your daily productivity.

Owners of small to medium-sized businesses are constantly stretched to find a few extra minutes in the day to get things done. Luckily, help is at hand – there are now thousands of apps that can help to automate manual, time-sapping tasks.

Here, we take a look at five business apps designed to boost productivity and simplify everyday tasks – from file sharing to collaboration. If an app can save you just 15 minutes a day, that’s more than an hour saved a week – time you can then spend on growing your e-commerce business.

1. Digital Pigeon for Windows and Mac desktops; from $29 per month

Digital Pigeon is a Melbourne-based software company that has developed an app to “take the pain out of” sharing large files. Many businesses struggle with sending large files because their email systems do not allow files that are larger than a few gigabytes to be sent. Add to this the challenge of not being able to preview a large file before you download it.

That’s where Digital Pigeon steps in to cut down on the back and forth. Files can be uploaded, previewed and encrypted, and there are notifications and activity reports. Files up to 20 gigabytes can be shared.

2. DocuSign for Windows (phone and desktop), iOS and Android; free

DocuSign is an American software company that has digitised the age-old procedure of writing a signature for identity verification. The time-saving and productivity potential of using an electronic signature instead of a paper one is significant, particularly if many signatures are required in standard business processes such as expense approvals. This makes DocuSign ideal for people who have sign-off authority in the business.

The idea of a digital signature might be new to many businesses, but with standards emerging around e-signatures that make them comparable to their paper counterparts, it’s only a matter of time before they become mainstream. Digital signatures can be created in graphic design software or captured from an image of a paper document. DocuSign also offers authentication services, ID management and workflow automation. The DocuSign Ink mobile app is free; paid versions start from $10 a month.

3. Box for Windows (phone and desktop), Mac OS X, iOS, Android and BlackBerry; free

Every business needs to store and back up files. In recent years, there has been an explosion of cloud-based file management services whereby the customer doesn’t need to manage any servers or software. Box has made a name for itself by focusing on the business market. Box is a client app that you install on your desktop or mobile device; files are then uploaded to the cloud for backup and sharing. This means you don’t need to manually back up the documents you’re working on. Once the files are uploaded, they can be synchronised to any device with the client app installed on it. Box can save time when collaborating with team members and is an alternative to using email for document sharing. Features of Box include secure file sharing, online collaboration, IT administration controls and policy and workflow controls. Paid options start from $5 a month.

4. Evernote for Windows (phone and desktop), Mac OS X, iOS, Android and BlackBerry; free

Evernote is a personal and business productivity app that helps keep track of everyday tasks. With Evernote Web Clipper, notes and files are synchronised across multiple devices so your “working session” follows you around wherever you have Evernote. Not having to repeatedly find notes and references can save busy business people time and keep relevant information handy. Data in Evernote can also be shared with colleagues for collaborating on different tasks.

Evernote Premium is $5.50 per month and has numerous extra features, including offline support, group editing, password security, more storage space and improved search functionality.

5. Basecamp for a range of browsers, desktops and mobiles; from $20 per month

Basecamp is a cloud-based project management tool that allows more collaboration in teams through the sharing of messages, to-do lists, files and event management. Tasks can be assigned, and an integrated calendar keeps the project team informed of upcoming milestones and deadlines. Visual content, such as photos and videos, can be added to projects. Basecamp is best suited to businesses and organisations that often require people to work together on projects.

Did you know?

SecurePay has a number of products that can help boost productivity in your e-commerce business, such as Straightsell, which automatically feeds sales data into your accounting software.

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