Blog
Nov 23

How to Successfully Outsource Your E-commerce Business

The future is here. It’s just not widely distributed yet.

—WILLIAM GIBSON, the author of Neuromancer, also coined the term “cyberspace” in 1984

An ecommerce entrepreneur’s goals are quite simple. As they are the direct beneficiary of their business’ increase in profit, their goal is typical to increase their revenues, and decrease their expenses while decreasing the amount of work they have to perform in order to increase profits. This goal works well with automation….

Automation puts cash flow on autopilot by taking advantage of timezones and currency exchange (geographic arbitrage), outsourcing, and rules of non decision. From generating a customized process for your business in order to maximize profits and efficiency to ensure the best use of data. This is exactly why outsourcing makes a lot of sense for common e-Commerce business processes.

The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.

—BILL GATES

Outsourcing to save time on the minutiae of running an online store

As various eCommerce businesses scramble to push their revenues to the next level, Product Information Management (PIM) can become a major obstacle, unless properly tackled, however, the average online store follows the old way of uploading product data and product data entry, unaware that this mind-numbing process can be automated.

The idea of automating this process might sound intimidating, especially for online stores with multiple product categories, i.e. General Stores. Making sure that the product information matches the category and displays the correct image, specifications, description, as well as client testimonials, can be difficult to do en masse, however, it’s not impossible.

A business process outsourcing (BPO) agency with expertise in eCommerce catalog processing or online PIM is able to use data from your business to help you reach your revenue goals for each product data entry process, by utilizing verified methodologies which will drive more sales to your online store. If that wasn’t enough, you can outsource the entire product management process, i.e. photo editing, order processing, product entry, etc. This leaves you to simply focus on strategy, and less on customer relations management (CRM) etc.

Isn’t Outsourcing for established eCommerce businesses?

Every business, whether established or startup has various focus areas unique to the business model. Outsourcing takes those focuses into account in order to establish a strategy which will increase revenues and garner maximum efficiency. It depends on which processes of your online store require the most amount of attention. One moment it might be data entry, and the next it could be customer relations management, etc.

Outsourcing your eCommerce business’ processes gives you access to a workforce of professionals who are trained in different aspects of eCommerce, ensuring that tasks are completed in a timely matter and that potential customers will be able to receive accurate information with regards to prices, shipping information, specifications, descriptions, and discounts.

How can I trust a third-party with my business’ sensitive information?

That’s an understandable fear. In fact, it’s so valid that there are BPO industry standards to ensure that you don’t have to worry about handing your eCommerce store’s sensitive information over to a business that’s compromised.

When on the hunt for a business to outsource your eCommerce business processes to, look for one with ISO 27001 certification, they will have extremely strict data protection protocols to ensure that their teams adhere to the rules and safeguard your business’ confidential information.

Outsourcing helps your eCommerce business scale

The whole point of outsourcing, in any industry, is to ensure and facilitate a painless transition from a small business to a large and established business. The whole point of scaling is diversifying and increasing profits — that cannot be done if your core staff is bogged down by the task of increasing your inventory and maintaining it daily. You’ll find yourself having to stop data entry and redirecting your attention to core operational tasks and then back again to data entry when there’s “free time”, which never happens.

Outsourcing streamlines the data entry process so that it never comes to a standstill, even as you increase your inventory, business scope, and product categories.

It would be great if successful targeting was the only reason why customers find your store, but more likely than not, customers are led to your store by a search. This means that your potential customers are getting product information and pricing details from multiple sources and want to get the best deal. In order to have a competitive advantage, it’s possible for you to outsource data mining from your competitors’ websites to the same BPO agency that handles your eCommerce so that you maintain your competitive advantage at all times.

Some customers find products on platforms like Pinterest, which mean that a visually appealing product image is the first step in bypassing the rest of the competition. Paying attention to image quality will increase your product’s selling points.

Outsourcing your image resizing, tagging, thumbnail creation, image clipping, image enhancement, image cropping and background changing automatically maximizes the sellability of your products.

However, running a successful eCommerce business is about more than data entry and product catalogs, there’s the issue of turnaround time and order processing.

Outsourcing offers a competitive advantage

While your competitors are scrambling to handle Black Friday orders, or mistakes creating delaying product dispatch, when you outsource your eCommerce business processes, you mitigate these risks almost immediately. Someone else is at the helm of your store 24/7 meaning that the likelihood of customers walking away with a positive experience increases tenfold, and the speed at which queries are handled also increases, giving you a much-needed leg-up from the competition.

During epic sale periods like Black Friday, customers expect prompt order processing. They don’t care that your server is experiencing a lot of traffic. Outsourcing can help you capture orders quickly and accurately, in order to turn your new customers into returning customers.

Business Process Outsourcing handles the entire process of order management from order entry, shipment, stock status, invoicing to order tracking. An experienced team doesn’t get frazzled by a lot of orders and accurately processes them with system checks to ensure error-free and fast delivery.

What if there are returns?

No online store owner wants to deal with these. While many might have a returns policy and accept returns as a best practice, a majority of eCommerce businesses hope to never deal with returns. When that happens, it’s possible to include Return Order Management (ROM) in your eCommerce outsourcing. The specialists will keep in touch with your customers whenever orders are canceled, a damaged product needs returning, order rescheduling. The main point is to maintain a high customer satisfaction rate.

When customers return products, there’s an effect on inventory. This creates a ripple effect. Proper eCommerce order processing management will keep your product inventory up-to-date and prevent overestimations, thereby mitigating customer dissatisfaction.

At the end of the day, if your online business’ goal is to be profitable, making customers happy should be part of your strategy. Outsourcing allows you to accomplish this and still have enough time to do all the other important aspects of your business like marketing, accounts, etc — or you could, of course, outsource those as well, and just focus on coming up with great products!

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