Retail sales through digital commerce achieved £306.02 billion in 2016, with almost 12% of all retail purchases coming from online shops.
With new avenues to shop digitally, such as accessing stores via social media, for example, the growth in online sales and the market opportunity is only set to see further increases. We’re sure you’d agree this is a particularly lucrative realisation that you won’t want to miss out on if you are an SME.
For such an endeavour, eCommerce business owners should take on board the necessary resources needed in order to build-out an online shop, develop marketing and sales, keep track of product inventory, while not forgetting fulfilling customer orders, of course. Yes, there’s plenty to think about and act on, and the one pitfall that catches the majority out with is when business owners attempt to do everything alone. Instead, they should look to outsource and utilise the ever-increasing number of products and services that enable small businesses to run smoother on the whole.
Let’s delve into the world of outsourcing a little more and find out how an eCommerce store owner can benefit:
Outsourcing: What Is It?
In an SME context, outsourcing is taking an element of the business and depending on an outside service or individual to take care of it on your behalf. Also known as logistics or fulfilment, outsourcing encompasses all the terms to describe the task, so if you need anything outsourced from your content marketing to your payroll or bookkeeping, it’s outsourcing you require.
There are a number of factors to mull over, but as a rule, if you don’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done so that your business can grow effectively, then the time could well be right for you to consider laying down an outsourcing strategy.
Knowing When The Time’s Right
Here, you can find three of the prime examples as to when outsourcing is right for you:
You Can Expand, But Can’t Employ Staff
If you have been running the business by yourself and things have been going well, but you’re now at the stage when you need to grow things out a bit more and take it to the next level, you still might not be at the stage where hiring employees are plausible. This is where outsourcing will suit you nicely.
Bringing on board products and services that will ensure a smooth transition as you up-the-ante, all at a fraction of what it would cost you to employ physical staff to share the workload. Consider tracking your social and online conversations about your brand by using services that can automate the process. Think about using sales and marketing help via software that suits the business. And if you are in the market for someone to pick up, package and ship your orders, you can think about using an app to add to your strategy. The tools you need to lessen the growing pains are available; you just need to seek them out and find the right one for you.
Your Business Is Growing Really Fast!
If you are of the realisation that your business is growing so quickly that you are fighting to keep up – which isn’t the worst thing in the world to have to deal with – then it’s time to plan a way of bringing things in line with your success.
Outsourcing is the ideal option to overcome that increasing gap that your growth has you encountering. This could be the difference between you remaining as a small shop or hitting the next level and becoming a force to be reckoned with as an online provider. You should consider outsourcing any time-consuming processes which will then allow you to hone your precious time on the more essential tasks.
You Need A Customer Service Experience To Match Your Success
A major point to bear in mind is that each and every customer interaction is vital. Initially, this isn’t too much hassle but as your popularity grows and the frequency of orders increases, offering the same first-class customer service will become more difficult to maintain, and with the personal touch every time. Outsourcing is a great way to keep this high level of customer service alive.
There are, of course, potential consumers out there who will love your products, and are seeking that one-click checkout and super fast delivery experience, so by incorporating some outsourcing for these elements, it’s a top way to deliver a professional quality customer experience as you continue to expand.
When Not To Outsource
Following all of the advice provided above, there are scenarios that might mean outsourcing isn’t the right thing to do for your company.
Cost is the stand out factor. It matters not what size business you are if your funds are low, looking to a third party to handle some portion of your business might not be an advisable route to go down. Sometimes it can worth holding your horses and waiting until the time is truly right to outsource.