With E-commerce growth numbers climbing year-over-year, and 2017 total online revenues expected to be near to a staggering EUR 23 BLN in The Netherlands alone, you have taken this momentum not to miss out on the opportunity to grow your own online business.
That is as long as you’re aware of the resources required to build-out your online shop, develop marketing and sales, keep track of product inventory and ultimately fulfill your customer orders. There’s a lot to do and most entrepreneurs are making an attempt to do this all by themselves. Instead of trying to do everything, you should consider to insource services that enable your business to run smoother.
But what exactly does this mean, and how do you know when it’s making sense for your business?
What is insourcing and what is outsourcing?
In a small business context, outsourcing is taking a piece of your business operations and relying on an outside company to handle this for you. In E-commerce this can be related to expertise, like designing your website from scratch or optimizing it for improved conversion, to running your digital marketing SEO or social campaigns. So then you insource this knowledge into your company.
There are several factors you need to consider when thinking about whether or not it’s the right time for outsourcing. However, in general, it’s safe to say that if you don’t have enough time to focus on your company growth, or would require a more flexible cost structure, it is probably time to start considering a strategy that involves outsourcing.
Signs it’s Time to for outsourcing
There are probably several areas where your business could use help, so focus on those with a big impact on client experience, and aim for best value for your money. Here are some situations when you should look to outsource:
1) Your Business is Growing Really Fast
You have great momentum, your business is growing quickly, even to a point where it has become hard to keep up? It sounds like a nice problem to have, but failing to scale can have a big impact on thriving the momentum that you have gained and worked hard for. To transform a period of hyper-growth into long term success, you should not lose sight of your clients requirements and why they picked you in the first place; that’s the area you should focus on.
Outsourcing time-consuming activities and processes would also allow you to focus on other growth aspects, such as focus on growing your proposition or looking for a new office location.
2) You’re Ready to Expand, But Not Ready to Hire Employees
You’ve been running things on your own or with a small team, and up to this point it has worked well, but now you’re building things out a bit more but can’t afford to bring on employees (yet). So how would you be able to scale your shop without having the infrastructure of a bigger business? Outsource.
In E-commerce most services are available to you as on-demand – at lower costs as compared to hiring full-time staff. Be careful not to fragment your approach too much though. Pick a few vendors with good recommendations to fulfil your outsourced tasks. While you benefit from lower prices, flexibility and knowledge that is up-to-speed.
3) You Need an improved Online User Experience to keep up with the market leaders
When starting a brand new business, every customer interaction is crucial. At first this may seem easy, but as you get more clients and competition increases, it becomes difficult to nail that personal touch every time. That’s where outsourcing can help. If the online user experience is an important part of your brand experience (and it should be!), then outsourcing helps you to keep up with your client’s expectations. There are numerous items to consider while you maintain a professional and personalized user experience as you continue to scale.
The optimal customer experience of the checkout and the payment solution
EcomStream provides flexible knowledge and expertise in the field of checkout flow and payment solutions. You can actually insource this knowledge, without having to hire personnel for this area of expertise. This knowledge can be very valuable because the customer experience of the checkout and payment solution is close to your actual conversion (the transaction). External knowledge can be even more valuable as the payments solution market is constantly changing. Both from a perspective of payment costs as well as from a perspective of payment solutions. The added value of external knowledge can be enormous, also financially.
It is up to yourself to decide, whether outsourcing is a good idea for your business right now. Your final word depends on your business’ current needs, your strategy to keep up with your client’s expectations and ability to execute. Give it a thought over the holiday season to consider for execution in 2018, but remember: outsourcing is not as challenging as you may think.