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Bike Business IT Resources

Links to some useful resources for creating your IT system, including free plugins and tools. This blog post accompanies an article published in BikeBiz in March 2022.

Website

WordPress is open-source software you can use to create your website or blog. More bloggers, small businesses, and Fortune 500 companies use WordPress.com than all other website builders combined.

wordpress.com allows you to build your website immediately, with no coding required. They host it for you, and have various price plans available. Alternatively, if you require more ability to customise and add plugins and custom functionality, you can download exactly the same software from wordpress.org and add as many features as you like. It’s free, but you will have to find your own web host – we really like layershift.com because they are pretty reasonably priced, very reliable, and their tech support is excellent. And they offer easy, automated installation of WordPress at no extra cost.

E-commerce

WooCommerce is a flexible, open-source e-commerce solution built on WordPress. You can either add it to wordpress.com at the touch of a button, or download it for free from woocommerce.com and add it to your WordPress website. Like WordPress, WooCommerce has many plugins and add-ons, so it can be customised to suit your needs.

Newsletter

Mailchimp is newsletter software that not only sends bulk emails to your followers, but also allows targeted individual emails to specific customers thanks to its integration with WooCommerce. Mailchimp is free for audiences of 2,000 followers or less, and has a sliding scale of prices above that. The plugin to link with WooCommerce is free, and easy to install and set up.

Point of Sale (POS)

We use php Point of Sale because it has built-in WooCommerce integration, and as well as all the usual things like inventory management, customer database, barcode labels, and gift cards, it’s also got lots of useful features for a bike business (such as suspended sales, customer order history, appointments, and serial numbers for bike frame numbers). It also integrates with Mailchimp if required.

Like WordPress and WooCommerce, phpPOS is available as both an online hosted version, and a download version which you can modify and customise if you host it yourself. We use the hosted version, and happily, in the 3+ years we’ve been a customer, we have always found their technical support to be fast and helpful.

Financial Accounts

We use xero.com, but another equally good option is quickbooks.com – both are online bookkeeping and finance management packages that integrate with both WooCommerce and your bank account. QuickBooks can also integrate with Mailchimp and phpPOS if required.

Reporting

Google-Sheets

Most of the above systems report their own figures (the POS reports in-store sales, WooCommerce reports online sales, etc.) but there is no single place where all these are easily visible at a glance. This is where an online spreadsheet comes in handy.

For our weekly team meetings we use the following Google spreadsheet to quickly and easily view all our sales data in one place.

Tap here to get a free copy of our spreadsheet template, save a copy to your Google account, and then simply fill in the yellow columns every week with your sales figures. Or you can use an extension such as API Connector or API to Sheets to automatically fetch the data from WooCommerce, phpPOS, and any other sales channels you may use.

We get a small commission from phpPOS and layershift.com if you sign up and become a customer using the links above. All other links are provided as-is and we are not affiliated with any of the other providers.