Hardware for eCommerce: Must-have tools and devices

A young ecommerce business owner with a laptop and smartphone next to lots of stock

Setting up an eCommerce store has given a lot of Australians the financial freedom to live their dream lives. Being your own boss means you get to work in a field you enjoy, dictate your own working hours and uncap your potential earnings.

Getting started with an eCommerce business is becoming easier thanks to all the dedicated software and hardware products available. Find out what you need to get started, and succeed, with an online store.

Technology for eCommerce: What are the essentials?

Before you get started with your eCommerce store, there are a few things you need to sort out first. The preparation stage is one of the most important - get that right, and you'll make the next steps a lot easier.

This involves choosing the right software, hardware and office supplies that you need to consider.

Firstly, you need to think about how and where you're going to sell your goods. If you're testing the waters, you might want to use established channels like Amazon, eBay and Etsy. Listing goods on these sites gives you access to a huge consumer market - both locally and globally.

Instead (or perhaps in conjunction with the above), you may want your own website to sell from. This gives you more control over what you sell, and there's no need to pay listing fees or commission to anyone else. While you could have a custom website created from scratch, it's more cost effective and generally easier to use a platform like Shopify, Weebly or WooCommerce.

Some of these platforms have inventory tracking included, while others offer a more bare bones approach. It's a lot easier to keep on top of business if you know what you've sold and what's left in stock, so check whether this is included. Some systems can also sync online and in-person sales, which is handy if you have a physical store or a presence at markets.

To get people onto your site, you'll need to come up with a digital marketing plan. Every eCommerce store is different, but looking into SEO, content marketing and paid advertising, among other techniques, can give you a healthy stream of visitors.

Of course, social media is a huge part of any online business these days. There's a huge range of choices, each with its pros and cons. Before you set up too many accounts, think about the sort of content you're going to provide and where your likely market is. Facebook and TikTok can both be hugely useful, but they require different approaches and target different demographics. Some platforms, like Instagram, also let you sell directly to users.

As well as having the online side of things sorted, you also need to think about the physical aspects. Basic supplies like packaging materials will be key if you're posting items yourself, but you may also want to invest in some reliable hardware. A label printer will help you save time with deliveries (and make your operation look more professional), while a humble monochrome printer will help you with printing dispatch notes, customer invoices, business critical documents and more.

What hardware is needed for eCommerce businesses?

All eCommerce businesses need hardware to run smoothly. From the basics to the more advanced, getting the right tech can help make your business a success.

At the very least, you should have:

  • PC/laptop: Vital for many reasons, such as checking on your sales, managing your marketing efforts and updating your website
  • Wi-Fi router: Reliable home internet is a must if you're running an online store. If you like to work from cafes or other public spaces, getting an internet dongle can also be useful
  • Data storage devices: Although lots of things are stored on the cloud these days, having back-ups of important documents can come in handy
  • Dedicated phone/tablet: Not only are these useful for communication, they can also be used to update social media and to create graphics
  • Multi-function printer: From printing invoices to scanning and copying documents, there many reasons to invest in a reliable all-in-one printer

When it comes to printing for eCommerce, there are two main types to look at: an all-in-one document printer and a specialised label printer.

A suitable multi-function printer for a small office is the MFC-L2880DWXL. This model can print, scan and copy, and has modern features like automatic 2-sided (duplex) printing and a huge amount of toner included in the box. Unless you need to print in colour, picking a monochrome printer like this is a more cost-effective option.

For a label printer, a suitable device for eCommerce is the QL-1100NWB, which comes bundled with Brother's free label design software - P-touch Editor. This can help you with shipping labels, product labels and many other useful labelling features, such as logos, barcodes and QR codes.

The importance of choosing hardware that integrates with a range of software

The world of tech seems to be getting more complicated by the day when really our lives should be getting easier.

With so many options for hardware and software out there, choosing the best solutions for your own eCommerce project can seem daunting, as you don't want a system that's hard to use or likely to cause problems.

To ease the stress on your operations, it's important to choose software and hardware that work together.

For example, Brother's QL-1100NWB label printer has been designed to work seamlessly for eCommerce stores. It's compatible with many of the key website platforms and selling channels - including eBay, Shopify and WooCommerce - meaning you can print labels as soon as you receive an order. In addition to being compatible with P-touch Editor, this device can also be used with software like BarTender, allowing you to easily design labels in-house. Furthermore, the label printer works with most logistic labels, including Australia Post shipping labels.

By selecting hardware and software solutions that can easily integrate and work together, you'll spend less time on troubleshooting your tech and more time on scaling your business and providing exceptional service to your customers.

Other handy eCommerce tools that are often overlooked

With the setup listed above, you'll have the core of a great eCommerce ecosystem. But what if you want to improve it further? There are ways to do that with just a few dollars to some that cost hundreds, but may save time and money in the long run:

  • A well-stocked stationery cupboard: As well as piles of envelopes, boxes and packaging material, think about all the odds and ends you might need. From staplers and paperclips to branded letterheads all the way to Stanley knives, it pays to be prepared
  • Standing desks: A lot of office-based jobs require a long time at a desk, which can cause aches and pains. A standing or ergonomic desk lets you change position easily and give your body a rest. You can buy whole desks or smaller stands to put on top of a normal desk that lifts your screen and cheaply does the same function
  • Franking machines: If you have a lot of items to post, taking them all to the post office to get weighed, stamped and paid for can take a decent chunk of time out of your day. With a franking machine, you can weigh each parcel and print off a pre-paid label to shorten your queue

Read our guide on how to stay ahead of eCommerce trends with cutting-edge technology

In need of a hardware eCommerce solution?

Creating an eCommerce store is a great way to take your earnings (and earnings potential) into your own hands. Starting any kind of business has its difficulties, so make sure you set yourself up for a stress-free tech life by investing in products from Brother's range of printers, label printers and accompanying free software that can help eCommerce sites thrive.

With decades of experience in the printing industry, Brother is a trusted name that has helped businesses across Australia and the world meet their goals. Contact our experts to see how we can do the same for you.


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