E-Commerce is the future of how people buy things. In a few years the market share of online businesses would overshadow those of offline businesses worldwide. Many people have started their own online business as well. Though this venture is very hopeful and glamorous, it is not without its own challenges and difficulties. With so much talk about “automation” nowadays, you may wish to be your own one-man-army and take care of the business all by yourself.
Though it’s a possibility when your business is young, as your business grows, you will find yourself having to do more things and less time to do them. Your one-word savior would be outsourcing.
Outsourcing in its simplest sense is delegating work to an outside firm or contractor. For ecommerce merchants and online store owners, the most commonly outsourced tasks include:
- Web Design
- Search Engine Optimization
- Content Writing
- Customer Service
- Ecommerce Data Entry
Based on the kind of ecommerce business you are up to you may have other aspects of your business outsourced, too. Let’s discuss both the advantages and disadvantage of outsourcing for ecommerce businesses, so you can take an informed decision when it comes to it.
Pros of Outsourcing
- One of the major reasons that makes e commerce traders outsource their work is affordability. Most of the times, it is cheaper than having in-house staff. In-house staff comes with added expenses like advertising and recruitment services, training, monthly salary and benefits and other overhead expenses. Outsourcing will help you to get rid of those additional expenses altogether.
- Sometimes, growth periods lead to an expansion in the back-office operations of the company. The expansion may or may not consume the resources of the company keeping certain core activities at a stake. Outsourcing a few of these activities will help you focus mainly on the business-related activities which will only help in expansion and growth of the business and the company.
- Outsourcing in many cases have led to a reduced operational as well as recruitment cost. This is the key advantage of outsourcing as outsourcing, basically avoids the need to hire the individuals inhouse. This was, the operational and the recruitment cost can be minimized. Outsourcing is done sometimes, just to reduce the operational and the recruitment costs only.
- Outsourcing to better specialized vendors lead to a better and swift working of the tasks. The outsourced vendors are known to have specific equipment’s are known to be expertized in the technical terms. These vendors are sometimes better than the ones at the outsourcing organization. The tasks can be completed at a faster rate and will have better quality.
- All the operations who have their costs running out of control should be outsourced. The departments that have evolved during the course of the time into an uncontrolled or poorly maintained mess basically promote the idea of outsourcing. This is where the need of outsourcing arises, and in turn outsourcing helps the company to have an operational control over things which can bring better management skills to the company and hence, helps in growth of the company.
- Outsourcing, most importantly provide you with a staffing flexibility. It will allow the operations having the seasonal or the cyclic demands to bring in certain additional resources only when you need them and you wish to access them and then they will let them go, once you are done with them completely.
- You should take your time in finding the right contractor and rest will be much easier to do. By preferring outsourcing, you can tap into the expertise of the people who have been working in the field longer than you. Check their portfolio, client reviews and testimonials before finalizing a contractor. Outsourcing also saves you a ton of time. Just imagine how long it will take you write descriptions for your product, design and manage your website, bulk product upload and reply to customer emails. You can spend that time on other valuable stuff like business development.
Cons of Outsourcing
- Communication issues can be considered as the biggest issues when it comes to outsourcing. If the most suitable contractor lives across the globe or on a different time zone, it’ll be difficult to coordinate. Thus, the intimacy you get with your team wouldn’t be there. You can make use of technology like skype and proper agreements to overcome this.
- Outsourcing is a cost-effective process most of times but sometimes, it does have a hidden cost behind it. You should always be sure before and while signing any contract across the international boundaries. Hidden costs may turn out to be really high and can pose a serious threat on you and your company.
- There may be a risk of losing and exposing your confidential data, this can happen when a company outsources its HR, payroll and the recruitment services. There is always a risk in these operations, especially when exposing the confidential information involves a third party too. This may lead to a great misshaping with you and your company and hence, I advise everybody to be extra careful in such kinds of matter.
Also make sure that all your needs and requirements and correctly mentioned in the agreements beforehand to avoid any discrepancies later.
It’s your decision at the end of the day to choose the best path for your ECommerce business based your needs. If you think that the tasks are scaling fast and can’t be worked out by your existing staff, then you should consider outsourcing.
A safe idea would be to try and experiment first by outsourcing small tasks for a nominal fee. Once you get the hang of it, you can extend to other tasks as well. Let us know if you have any doubts or second thoughts with regards to using the potential of outsourcing with your ecommerce business and we would be glad to help you out. If you have something to add to the article, shoot us an email and we will update it accordingly.