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35 open source and free tools to manage your online store

Vangie Beal | March 7, 2013
From shopping carts to marketing tools to image-editing software, here's a look at 35 open source tools and hosted services that can help you get started with your own Web store.

28. SendBlaster Free SendBlaster lets you manage email marketing campaign quickly and directly from your desktop. You can import your contact list and manage blacklists and bounce backs. SendBlaster features easy set-up: After a single download and a few clicks, you can set up direct mailing and customize the details of your simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP) server. SendBlaster Free also provides advanced tracking so you can analyze customer behavior and collect information to improve your next campaigns. Upgrades are a one-time payment starting at $49.

3 Editing Tools to Improve Your Product Shots

Online Web store owners know the value in presenting customers with perfect, professional product shots. A plain-Jane digital photo of the item you sell is often not enough to inspire a purchase. If you manage a small online store with a small product catalog, you're at an advantage, since you can provide perfect product shots for every product you sell. All you need is a digital camera and one of the following free or open source editing tools.

29. GIMP GIMP is a free, open source image editor that can be used for photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It features a full set of tools including brush, pencil, airbrush, a gradient editor, a blend tool and anti-aliasing capabilities. The manipulation tools to rotate, crop and scale images, meanwhile, will be useful for editing product shots.

30. Paint.NET Originally developed as a free alternative to Microsoft Paint, Paint.NET features a tab interface to display thumbnails for easy navigation. It includes image effects, 3-D rotation, editing tools for drawing shapes. You'll also find the basic tools for improving product shots: Cropping, rotating, a basic text editor and a recolor tool.

31. Picasa Picasa is Google's free software to edit and organize images. After you install Picasa, you can scan your entire hard drive to organize all your photos. For editing and improving product shots, there's a plethora of photo editing affects to choose from, along with basic tools such as crop, straighten, rotate, red-eye removal, contrast and lightening focus.

4 Free Shipping Tools For Small Businesses

Another piece of the ecommerce pie new store owners have to lean about is the world of shipping. Do it wrong-that is, charge too little-and you could lose your shirt. While there's not much in the way of open source software to help you figure out the shipping aspect of your online business, there are a number of free shipping tools to help you get started. Remember to do your research first and then decide where you'll offer to ship to and which carrier you will use.


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