A pile of reports lies on your desk, unpaid invoices are waiting for you, your sales are dropping, and your phone won’t stop ringing. As an online entrepreneur, you need to wear multiple hats. And, as your online retail business keeps expanding, the challenges will rise exponentially.
To save your sanity and sustain business growth, you will need to outsource certain tasks to third-party professionals. Here are a few simple ideas that may serve as your solid starting point.
When starting a business, many business owners believe they can manage diverse tasks on their own. Unfortunately, bookkeeping is not one of them. It requires a lot of paperwork, as well as a certain level of technical knowledge. You would also need to invest in bookkeeping courses to learn the basics. Having to manage different business operations, you will not be able to allocate enough time to financials. Eventually, you will forget to track your business’ expense, update your books regularly, manage invoices, file receipts, etc. Not updating and analyzing your books, you will not be able to understand how your business’ cash moves.
In other words, your ecommerce company’s health lies in your books. And, that is exactly why you need to leave them to professionals. Hiring a bookkeeper will save you lots of time, as you don’t need to learn more about bookkeeping or manage books yourself. Above all, get professional tips and stay on top of your finances.
There are also many bookkeeping tools that may help you here. They are ideal for startups and small businesses, with limited resources. For example, QuickBooks, FreshBooks, and Sage Accounting are designed for small and mid-size businesses specifically, helping you automate many aspects of your bookkeeping processes.
2. Inventory Management
Inventory management is an incredibly important part of your supply chain. Its major goal is to help you optimize your product stock at any time given so you can prevent overselling and overstocking. Now, when just starting out, you will probably start small. Therefore, using an Excel spreadsheet will be enough for you. However, as your sales grow and the product demand rises, you will need to invest in more sophisticated inventory management solutions.
Third-party logistics (3PL) providers use sophisticated software to meet the demands for delivery. They will forecast market demands for you and help you adjust almost any part of your supply chain, from production to sales, to them. There are many benefits of outsourcing inventory management. First, you will boot customer experiences by offering only those products you have in your stock. Second, you will minimize inventory waste and reduce storage needs. Third, proactive inventory management lets you track the movement of your products and prevent theft. Those are all critical elements that will boost your sales and, above all, minimize costs.
3. DevOps Services
Many online customers purchase from mobile devices and one of the most effective ways to increase their experiences is to build an amazing ecommerce app. Its main purpose is to simplify mobile customers’ buying journeys and meet buyers where they are.
Now, building a digital product is not easy. You will need to hire developers, quality assurance teams, and technology operations strategists. To streamline your software development workflow and shorten the development life cycle, you need to ensure better collaboration between your teams. And, this is where investing in DevOps can help.
When outsourcing DevOps, you will ensure that a team of professionals will examine your project, establish clear goals, choose the right tools for its implementation and, finally, apply the DevOps approach to actualize the project. This way, you will minimize the efficiency gap between your developer and technology operations teams, automate the process of testing, increase teams’ productivity and, above all, enhance user experiences.
4. Digital Marketing
The ecommerce ecosystem is growing at an astonishing rate and, to gain a competitive advantage, you need to build a solid digital marketing plan. While hiring an in-house team is always a good option, it will require significant investments. You would need to hire a team of professionals that specialize in different areas of digital marketing. Don’t forget about the costs of recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training, equipment, etc.
To reduce costs and maximize results, you will either need to hire freelancers or a digital agency. Now, hiring freelancers may be cheaper, but remember that they usually specialize in only one area of digital marketing. You would need to hire several freelancers that would work independently, which may harm your online brand’s consistency. Hiring a digital agency is often a safer option, as they have experience in your niche, use the right tools, and hire diverse teams of digital marketing professionals.
There are numerous digital marketing practices you should outsource, including:
- SEO (on-page SEO, off-page SEO, technical SEO)
- social media marketing
- content marketing
- product page optimization (copywriting and photography)
- email marketing
- email marketing
- graphic design (for brochures, infographics, ebooks, banners, etc.)
5. Web Design
Today’s customers are more demanding. If your site takes lots of time to load, is difficult to navigate through, or is not responsive enough, they will immediately leave it without converting. Offering amazing products is not enough to succeed. To maximize sales and retain online consumers, you will need to invest in UX web design. This is one of the most critical tasks to outsource to professionals.
There are many places where you can find freelance web designers, including Behance, 99designs, Upwork, Freelancer and, of course, LinkedIn. Similar to your digital marketing strategy, if you want to increase website design consistency, you can always hire a web design agency.
6. Customer Service
In the mobile-first era, customers expect brands to provide timely, 24/7 feedback. If they don’t receive answers to their questions or problems fast, they will stop doing business with you.
To prevent that, you need to invest more in customer service. There are many benefits of outsourcing your customer service efforts, including expertise, scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. If you are already hiring in-house customer service representatives, you could use a hybrid approach, where you would only outsource after-work hours, weekends, holidays, etc. to customer service agencies.
Over to You
Online entrepreneurs have a lot on their plates in the early phase, when they are operating with limited resources and hire small teams. This is why you should outsource certain areas of your business to professionals.
Keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to business outsourcing. These are just some of the numerous business areas that may need a helping hand. You will need to consider your ecommerce business’ specific needs before choosing what tasks to outsource.
About the Author: Jolene RutherfordJolene Rutherford is a marketing specialist – turned blogger, currently writing for technivorz.com. Interested in digital marketing and new technology trends. Love sharing content that can help and mean to people.