Many companies are inevitably drawn to ecommerce outsourcing as a strategic approach to digital transformation. As online retail continues to grow at a tremendous rate, brick-and-mortar stores and virtual shopping portals will have to scale up as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is especially true for small-to-medium-sized retailers like you whose resources may be limited. But, you'll have to consider a few things before a company like yours make the jump into ecommerce outsourcing.
#1 What makes ecommerce outsourcing different from other types of business process services?
Every aspect of online shopping is covered, and not just the sales and after-sales processes. eCommerce support staff can handle tasks that are more technical and specialized compared to their compatriots in call centers. Companies may want to hire a small team to handle website management tasks, such as creating product pages and updating product information, site optimization for desktop and mobile, and social media marketing, in addition to payment and logistics processing.
#2 You'll be managing remote staff and on-site employees at the same time.
Outsourcing some of the technical and administrative work to your ecommerce support staff is not the same as outsourcing your warehousing and shipping needs to another company. You're simply paying for services with the latter, but the former requires more than just handing over cash or your credit card, and wait for your goods to arrive.
When you're outsourcing work to a remote team, you're essentially hiring a group of people to serve as an extension of your own employees. This means you'll be managing your remote staff alongside your current employees.
It's a good thing that outsourcing companies provide on-site management of your staff and diligent monitoring of equipment and utilities. You won't have as much difficulty managing your outsourcing strategy as you might have with independent contractors or freelancers.
#3 You'll be communicating with your staff mainly through the web and most of the work will have to be performed electronically.
Work in the new millennium has become global, breaking down barriers of culture, language and geography. Be ready to work with your staff through virtual means.
Your main modes of communication will include email, chat and VoIP. Meetings will have to be done through Skype, Hangouts, or some other software or app that lets you have a seamless video conference with all of your staff.
#4 Since everything is done through the internet, training your staff will have to be done remotely.
Training your ecommerce support staff is not that hard these days. Your training materials most likely include video tutorials and digital copies of your manuals -- information that is easily shared online.
You and your outsourcing provider can set up a buddy system for your trainees and your employees. You can assign one of your onshore staff to work with a couple of offshore workers, and serve as their mentor and supervisor.
#5 You'll need lots of professional help with your online marketing strategy.
An ecommerce business is virtually dependent on online marketing. Almost all of your customers will come from online sources. And, understanding the ways and means to capture this audience is crucial to your business.
An outsourcing company can help you set up a team to manage your online marketing strategy. You'll need people who understand the nuances of SEO, PPC, web analytics, and social media marketing.
Cross-border ecommerce outsourcing is here to stay.
More and more people are buying their favorite brands online because it's quick and easy compared to shopping at the mall. Brick-and-mortar stores that keep inventory in warehouses will have to change the way they run their business, and start going digital to keep up with the times. And, with the rising number of online businesses that rely on dropshipping rather than keep their own inventory, ecommerce companies will surely need the help of trained professionals from a reliable outsourcing provider.