Running a business is not a piece of cake. There are many aspects to deal with if wanting a business venture to survive and flourish in the industry. Let’s count some tasks you need to take on: get the right product, select materials for production, draw and deploy a marketing strategy, create a product page with relevant information, operate customer services, or manage inventory. It is seriously challenging to do everything by yourself. Even if you do, the positive results will not come easy.
This time, outsourcing has many advantages over keeping it all in-house. If you are wondering about the possibilities of outsourcing, stay tuned and follow this article. You will get to know why outsourcing helps eCommerce businesses thrive on the challenges of intense workloads and how to ultimately do it right – eCommerce outsourcing.
Table of contents
- Bring down the costs
- Leverage the latest technology – Cloud
- Reduce data storage and handling
- Get works done seamlessly
- Focus on your core and strengths
- Website design and development
- Customer service
- Accounting and Bookkeeping
- Graphic design & video
- Inventory management
- Data entry
- Determine if outsourcing is the right choice
- Identify tasks to outsource
- Decide how many freelancers you need
- Correctly describe your tasks in the job description
- Be cautious and proactive in hiring
- Run a trial
- Build trust and connection with freelancers/agencies
- Keep your faith
- Be strategic
- Let go of control
- Hire the right person
- Prepare for every possibility
A final thought
What is eCommerce outsourcing?
Outsourcing means that you hire someone outside your company to perform services or create goods that were traditionally done in-house by your company’s staff. This practice of business becomes an integral part of business economics through the 1990s. Nowadays, more and more eCommerce ventures use outsourcing as a method of cutting a wide range of costs, reduce workloads, and ultimately, optimize their scalability.
Like anything else, outsourcing has its own pros and cons. However, when appropriately used, can become an effective strategy to reduce expenses, and provide a competitive advantage for eCommerce businesses.
Why does eCommerce outsourcing help grow your business?
1.Bring down the costs
One of the most significant advantages of eCommerce outsourcing is cost savings. According to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Outsourcing Survey, 59% of businesses surveyed said using outsourcing is a useful cost-cutting tool.
Typically, outsourcing helps reduce labor costs and expenses on production. A car manufacturer who can’t create specific internal components used to assemble a car might buy from an overseas supplier. For example, Samsung is Apple’s top supplier for the iPhone. A substantial chunk of every iPhone is built out of components supplied by Samsung, including flash memory, DRAM memory, and applications processor.
2.Leverage the latest technology – Cloud
If your company does not specialize in technology or development, it is a wise decision to outsource IT solutions which might be user interface design, web development, or management. You no need to hire an in-house web designer/developer to perform those tasks, still, get access to the latest technology and experts in the field through outsourcing. Outsourcing agencies are now aware of the trends and willing to gather the most advanced technologies and professionals around the world to help you reach your goal.
You are an eCommerce business and serve people worldwide, so do not limit yourself to the working circle of people in your industry. Go outside and find skilled ones who can realize your ideas and even provide you with the best solutions for your projects.
Besides, Cloud computing is a new form of outsourcing, providing you with reliable, adaptable, and scalable infrastructure. No need to worry about the servers or digital management; outsourcing cloud computing helps works done quickly and cost-effectively.
3. Reduce data storage and handling
Data is undoubtedly vital for any business or organization. Data storage is built mainly to support your core business. But not all company is capable of creating a safe data storage system by their own, particularly small and medium enterprises. So outsourcing data storage now is essential to save a considerable investment in personnel. You don’t have to worry about how to create a data storage system and handle a vast amount of data.
A professional data storage provider will make your life easier. They provide you with useful data backup and storage solutions with automated and securely architectured systems, which makes data handling safer, more efficient, and cheaper. Some examples of data storage providers are Backblaze, Livedrive, and ZipCloud.
4. Get work done seamlessly
When your staff does tasks, it may cause some risks. For example, you are working on renewing your brand identity, but the designer suddenly got unwell and must stop the work one week before the deadline. Then, the launching date is canceled accordingly, and you have to find another designer to replace. When outsourcing, it’s not your concern if someone leaves the outsourcing team with a half-done piece of work. In the end, the job of the outsourcing agencies or freelancers is ensuring your project is going on seamlessly.
5. Focus on your core and strengths
Outsourcing helps you focus on your core business and strengths. When you don’t have to worry about the tasks that are out of your ability or time-consuming to handle, you can give full concentration to your core specialty and strengths.
If you want to optimize the business management, outsource repetitive works, social media updates, product inventory, or website management to free up your time. You should focus on developing your main strategy such as inbound marketing if you have a professional content marketing team passionate to create value. And, you can outsource other related tasks like advertising.
Common eCommerce tasks to outsource
ECommerce marketing tasks are vitally important to your business. But it might be not always you who perform these tasks. Especially when you have not enough skills and confidence to do, outsourcing to individuals who have experienced in each area, such as content marketing, will create a better result. A professional might draw the best eCommerce marketing strategies for your products.
Here are some eCommerce marketing tasks to outsource:
- Products photography
- Content writing
- Social media posting
- Email marketing
2. Website design and development
If you are not good at web design or development, it’s better to pass to experts. You should focus on growing your business and core strengths, not time-consuming tasks of building an efficient eCommerce website.
There are two ways to outsource these tasks.
The first one is hiring freelancers – independently developers/web designers. You should work with different people in this field to have a chance to reach more professionals and choose ones who help achieve your goal fast.
It’s also a good idea to hire an agency where a team will work for you. They will commit to getting the works done seamlessly.
3. Customer service
According to the Salesforce report, 47% of customers say they will stop buying from a company if they have to suffer subpar experience. One of the most common reasons is when customer service staff do not attend their concerns promptly. In general, customers’ concerns are product inquiries, ordering issues, returns or exchange requests. You may develop a team with the skills and knowledge needed for excellent customer service. But if your team doesn’t keep up with your business’s growth and your customers’ demands, the result will not be positive.
It is an excellent idea to outsource customer service so that you will have a team with professional skills and expertise to get everything done smoothly. You will save a lot of time to train your resources and look for qualified candidates. Instead, you can focus your capacity to expand your scalability most cost-effectively
4. Accounting and Bookkeeping
Accounting and bookkeeping are not directly related to profits, but they are essential supporting aspects of any business.
One of the most significant advantages of outsourcing bookkeeping and financials is that it is cost-effective. It helps you save a lot of money for setting up the entire accounting process within your company. You no longer have to rent office space and recruit employees to get these tasks done. Outsourcing is much cheaper, but also practical.
Besides, it’s also a time-saving solution to outsource bookkeeping and financials because they are laborious tasks. You will save time to focus on your core business productivity.
5. Graphic design & video
Unless your company’s specialty is about designing or visual content, consider outsourcing these tasks to collect the best results. When customers visit your store site, they will first be impressed by the visual materials such as logo, banner, product images, or video, which are all parts of your branding.
Don’t work on it perfunctorily or assign it to amateurs. You can find good freelancers or agencies with specialized skills and creative ideas to help you.
6. Inventory management
When your business expands, and your marketing pays off, the number of products in your storage is increasing. You have more orders to ship out, and more products to store. You will find it hard to handle a vast inventory. It’s time to outsource inventory management. A third-party logistics provider will help you to deal with the struggle of meeting the demands of delivery due to the overload inventory.
You will save a lot of costs when outsourcing inventory management because you no longer have to hire staff for inventory tasks and hire the stock room for the goods.
7. Data entry
You may find it tedious to handle the bulk product data entry. Some tasks included commonly are taxing, invoicing, adding new products, deleting products, or making website updates. If you get bored with these repetitive jobs, outsourcing is the best choice.
If your business is small, and the amount of product data and inventory is not huge, you can hire a person specialized in this aspect to perform it manually. With more prominent and complicated data entry, you should give it to an outsourcing company that provides a wide variety of product data entry services.
Step-by-step guide on eCommerce outsourcing
1. Determine if outsourcing is the right choice
It is crucial to determine whether outsourcing is suitable for your business. Companies usually outsource their tasks when they expand their business. But it doesn’t mean that startup entrepreneurs can’t outsource. Uniquely, eCommerce companies can assign operation jobs to outsiders so that they can focus on the core specialty and boost up revenue.
2. Identify tasks to outsource
Knowing what to outsource for your business is the first key to get your feet wet in the outsourcing landscape.
Now, it’s time to look back at your business operation and gauge the entire process as well as how everything is going on to figure out what to outsource quickly. You will find out which aspects of your company need more of your attention and which can be done by outsourcing. Make a list of tasks that are incredibly time-wasting and can be handled by an outside expert, still create a better result.
3. Decide how many freelancers you need
Based on the tasks and type of your company, hire the proper number of people to optimize the job as well as outsourcing cost. You may consider hiring multiple freelancers or a different outsourcing company to handle out your tasks.
Different tasks need different outsourcing resources to be undertaken ideally. You also need to determine which tasks can be carried out by one skill set or specialization and clarify the responsibility of each freelancer or agency.
4. Correctly describe your tasks in the job description
During the hiring process, you should prepare your job description for each task well. A good job description plays a vital role in attracting candidates and exposing your demands to them. Make sure to describe your tasks clearly and precisely define who you are looking for. Also, you should underline requirements, such as specialized skills, knowledge, experiences, or previous projects. Or, you can list some aspects that are especially essential for your tasks.
5. Be cautious and proactive in hiring
You can’t rush the outsourcing hiring process. If you do, you might pass on excellent professionals because of the hasty decisions. The biggest challenge to outsourcing is finding the right person. Also, there will be a lot of options out there, but only a small decision can make a massive impact on your business. Therefore, be cautious when evaluating your candidates.
It may take time to hire the right freelancer or an outsourcing company. No matter what, be proactive hunters by going to expert hiring platforms and forums to reach more people with professional expertise.
6. Run a trial
Depending on your requirements, you can offer a paid trial project to candidates to rest assured of their ability before officially signing a contract. If you have to choose from too many excellent candidates, this method will help. Instead of gauging each CV, you can evaluate the result of the trial project done by each candidate to find the best one.
7. Build trust and connection with freelancers/agencies
Last but not least, when you decide to outsource some of your crucial business aspects, it is critical to remain a good relationship with freelancers/outsourcing companies. They can be working with you from overseas that you can’t meet in person regularly. Hence, trust and connection are essential to two sides to work together towards success.
Communication is the key as it creates higher visibility and mutual understanding of both parties. It’s better to sincerely share your goals, particularly in each task, to the newcomers so that they can feel more involved in your business. Make sure they are on board with you so that every job will be smoothly fulfilled accordingly.
Tips for effective eCommerce outsourcing
1. Keep your faith
Trusting who you choose is one of the most essential things when outsourcing. It may be hard to give the entire process of completing a task to a strange hand. But if you find someone who is incredible with professional expertise and high commitment, you should have faith in them that they will dedicate to work on your goal.
2. Be strategic
It is imperative to know your strengths and weaknesses as well as outsource your eCommerce business strategically. Don’t be random and emotional when picking up tasks to outsource.
Crunch the number of times and costs for the jobs done in-house, then compare with the outsourcing ones to make sure you choose the right tasks to outsource. Make sure the result from outsourcing is better than in-house.
3. Let go of control
It’s understandable to want to do everything for your business, but sometimes, you need to let go of some tasks, especially when your business starts to expand. Embracing every task wastes your time and money, in some cases, create bad results.
If you are business doers who get used to wearing all the hats, it may be hard to release control and get things done by others. But keep in mind that you should focus on what you do the best, your competencies. The rest can be outsourced to free up your time and attention. Find someone you trust to help you do that.
4. Hire the right person
The most important and challenging one is finding the right freelancer/outsourcing company. The success of your project depends on the person you hire to execute it. If you find the right team for the right task, it leads to a good outcome. Otherwise, outsourcing can be a nightmare.
No matter how difficult and long-waiting it is to find someone you trust, don’t make a decision in a hurry. You should do some in-depth vetting to outsource to the right people. Besides, it’s best to clearly define the skills, expertise, or experiences you need in a freelancer or company, which makes it closer for you to reach people you need.
5. Prepare for every possibility
Even if you trust the person to whom you assign your tasks, make sure everything is precise to all parties involved. You should record and save the document and related papers like follow-up emails, contracts, video or phone calls carefully.
A comprehensive description or brief of the responsibilities of freelancers/companies is also essential to ensure effectiveness. Make sure you can catch up on every moment of the outsourcing progress so that if something unexpected happens, you can promptly find solutions.
A final thought
More and more eCommerce firms have been using outsourcing to maximize their business. Many of them already derive several benefits from this strategy.
It’s natural to fear outsourcing that seems to be beneficial and risky at the same time, especially if it is your first time. But, if you are seeking a new way to boost your profits and expand your business, consider outsourcing some of your critical tasks. It is one of the best ways to reach your goal faster.
About The Author:
Jade is a content creator at Avada Commerce, a book lover, and a hodophile. She loves to learn skills and practical knowledge to excel at marketing, especially content marketing. She is attached to both adorable things that match her jam, and new experiences. That’s why she wants to travel a lot to explore the world around her.