Managing an online store may be easier than running a traditional brick-and-mortar business, but it still requires a lot of time and work to execute successfully. That’s why many eCommerce owners choose to outsource at least some of their activities.
According to a 2016 Deloitte survey, almost 60% of businesses outsource in order to focus on core business objectives and control costs while gaining several important benefits: access to global talent, increased professional efficiency, and the ability to provide 24/7 customer service.
The advantages of outsourcing may be obvious, but figuring out exactly which eCommerce tasks can be handled by external resources is often less clear. While the answer will vary by the nature of your business and what resources you currently have available, we’ll highlight six areas for consideration. Read on to see what you could be outsourcing to make your online retail business more productive and your days less stressful.
1. Product Listings
One of the most demanding tasks of running an eCommerce business is creating and updating product listings. Making sure that they’re accurately representing what’s available in your inventory 365 days a year is a time-consuming but necessary task. While the job doesn’t require a specific skill set or subject-matter expertise, an understanding of consumer behavior is helpful when it comes to writing effective product descriptions.
If you’re selling hundreds of items, hiring an external resource may make sense, particularly if you’re already wearing a lot of other hats. Freelancing platforms and content creation agencies like Superior Papers have many experienced writers who can help you create flawless product listings. They’ll cover it all on your behalf: conducting a keyword analysis, adhering to character limits, and of course writing the product descriptions themselves.
2. Product Photography
Let’s get one thing clear: Taking product photos isn’t as simple as shooting them with your smartphone. On the contrary, creating premium-quality images that can be enhanced in post-production requires a professional camera. Equipment aside, professional photographers know all the tricks for presenting your products in the best-possible light, including framing, finding the best angle, and flattering lighting.
Unless you’re a professional photographer and/or graphic designer, it’s a good idea to let someone else create product images for your eCommerce store for you. Not only will you have more time to concentrate on core business activities, but you’ll also get a far better-looking result with far greater customer appeal, which should translate into more sales.
3. Customer Service
Did you know that 56% of consumers say they stopped doing business with a company because of a poor customer service experience? While the importance of customer service cannot be overstated, it should not fall upon the business owner to oversee.
Because the vast majority of customer comments, inquiries, and complaints are standard, almost anyone can answer them, so outsourcing your customer service to a team of agents will save you tons of time. If you can invest some of your customer service budget in chatbot software, even better. This will help reduce operational costs over the long run while enhancing your overall customer experience with a 24/7 option.
4. Content Creation
Content is an increasingly indispensable marketing tool these days. An eCommerce company without a quality blog is at a distinct competitive disadvantage when it comes to discoverability and reputability. According SEO Tribunal, companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website.
However, regular blogging requires a significant amount of time, research, and market analysis, not to mention writing skills and eCommerce knowledge. Publishing a new post every day or week is challenging, even for professional authors, which is why hiring expert writers makes sense. Professional bloggers will make sure to include all the necessary elements to attract your target audience: educational and/or entertaining content, quality storytelling, a polished writing style with a specific point of view, and a strong and engaging call to action.
5. Social Media Management
With more than 3 billion active daily users combined, social media networks represent a mandatory marketing channel for all types of businesses. But, just as with content writing, solving the social media riddle single-handedly isn’t easy.
Before beginning, online retailers should determine several things: the best channel(s) to stay in touch with their target audience, the features of each network, the most appropriate content formats, and the best times to publish content. An experienced agency or freelancer will already have a good grasp of these factors or be able to conduct an analysis to give you the definitive answers. Bearing all this in mind, as well as the time it takes to create and schedule posts several times a week, outsourcing your social media marketing will boost brand awareness while giving you more time to focus on growing sales.
While each activity we’ve mentioned so far is extremely important, accounting is probably the only one that can make or break your business. Obviously, it involves a high volume of paperwork and bookkeeping, much of which is beyond the scope of knowledge of the average eCommerce owner.
Knowing the rules of accounting and staying up to date on the latest laws and regulations is essential to avoiding costly mistakes. This is usually too big a burden for most online retailers, who typically hire external accounting services. In addition to having a dedicated accountant, integrating your accounting software with your inventory software will save time and reduce errors.
Running an online store becomes much simpler when you have outside help. You can’t do everything yourself and nor should you; in fact, knowing when to delegate is the hallmark of a successful business leader. We’ve showed you six things you could potentially outsource to make running your online retail business more manageable. Hire experienced people you can trust to do the job and do it well, and you’ll be more effective across the board.
About the Author
Kurt Walker is an eCommerce specialist and writer at Superior Papers. He is the father of two girls and a passionate New York Knicks fan.
This content was brought to you by Cin7 Inventory Management.