Ecommerce is an exciting business venture for many people who dream of having their own online business. However, no matter how glamorous this venture may sound, it is not without challenges and difficulties.
Of course, with everything being “automated” nowadays, you may think that you can be their own one-man-team and handle all the business related stuff on your own. However, you will soon find out that as your business grows, you will have more things to do but not enough time to do them. Enter: 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:
Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to have other aspects of your business outsourced, too.
In order to help you decide whether you need to outsource these jobs or not, you need to acquaint yourself with both the advantages and disadvantage of outsourcing for ecommerce businesses.
- Web Design
- Search Engine Optimization
- Content Writing
- Customer Service
- Data Entry
Benefits of Outsourcing
One of the biggest reasons why many ecommerce merchants outsource is because it is cheaper than having an in-house staff. Yes, even online businesses hire in-house staff at times, especially if they have a physical storefront. When you hire an in-house staff to do all of the above mentioned tasks, you need to spend money on advertising and recruitment services, training, monthly salary and benefits and other overhead expenses. Outsourcing can help you to avoid these expenses. Finding the right contractor will allow you to skip the training part, and since you will be hiring them on a per-project basis, you won’t have to worry about monthly salaries and benefits.
Another advantage of outsourcing is that you are opening your business to a vast pool of talented and skilled contractors, some of whom have been doing their stuff for years and have developed an expertise in the area. The best part is that they don’t always have to cost a lot of money to hire. However, do keep it in mind to avoid hiring the lowest priced contractor, unless they can prove otherwise that they are the most fitting contractor for the job. Always check their portfolio first and client reviews.
Finally, outsourcing allows you to get more work done by working less. Just imagine how long it will take you write descriptions for your product, design and manage your website, and reply to customer emails. If you outsource these jobs, you would be done with them in a day or two (depending of course on the volume of the work). Thus, you would have more time to focus on the other aspects of your business which needs your attention.
Disadvantages of Outsourcing
Communication problems are one of the biggest issues when it comes to outsourcing. Sometimes, you will find that the most suitable contractor lives on the other side of the planet or on a different time zone. Thus, you won’t be able to talk to them as you would to your team. In order to overcome this problem, you and the contractor will have to agree on a time where the both of you can talk or chat through Skype or other similar web app.
Some outsourced jobs can be difficult to monitor as well. This limits the control that you have on the project. When the contractor is on the wrong foot for instance, it would be difficult to set him on the right path immediately. This will result in projects with incorrect details, which will only cost you more time and money to have someone redo it. Thus, you need to make sure that all details and your expectations are clearly mentioned before you hand the task over. Alternatively, you can use collaborative project management apps like Basecamp or Freedcamp to monitor and keep track of your outsource team’s progress.
So, Are You Going to Outsource Those Jobs or Not?
In all honesty, the answer depends on your present needs for your ecommerce business. If you feel that the tasks are growing and cannot be handled by your existing staff, then you should definitely consider outsourcing. Even if the job overload is only temporary, you may still want to consider outsourcing, since you are not bound to keep the contractor for a long-term anyway. A good idea is to try and experiment first by outsourcing minor tasks for a reasonable fee. Doing so will help you decide which tasks are better handled externally versus internally, and help you make better job-delegating decisions that will help your business prosper.