E-commerce stores have revolutionized the way, people browse, shop or suggest products. The online shopping has made it easier for people to research, find and buy products from the comfort of their homes. The industry is now leveraging technologies like machine learning, augmented reality and IoT to further improve our shopping experience.
Lenskart, India’s fastest growing eyewear online store leverages augmented reality technology. Customers rely heavily on augmented reality setup to identify eye gears that suit them the best. Similarly, Amazon recently introduced the Dash button powered by IoT technology. One-click and you can place your order with Amazon using Dash buttons.
The need to constantly innovate leaves e-commerce platforms with no time to concentrate on other important tasks. Since stores are juggling between too many processes with limited resources at hand, problems like duplicate content, brand interference, and product returns have popped up.
E-commerce statistics that paint a scary picture are:
- One out of three products ordered online are returned
- 22% of returns occur because wrong products were delivered
- Brand interference leads to seller churn and 1% of seller churn can impact revenues heavily.
Outsourcing is often leveraged as a cost-cutting methodology but it also doubles as the best instrument for acquiring subject matter expertise. Outsourcing to an experienced player can enhance productivity and impact output.
By outsourcing projects that requires industry expertise, e-commerce businesses can control the varied pain points. Outsourcing will help e-commerce platforms leverage the expertise from multiple industries to create a positive impact on customers’ journey.
E-commerce Functions that can be outsourced:
1. Listing, Optimization, and Catalog Management
Myntra, a leading Indian lifestyle e-commerce store alone has over 200K products. Imagine the plight of listing, optimizing and managing these 200K SKUs. The ever-changing dynamics of the modern times we live in often coax employees to enrich catalogs. Such enrichments are done to improve on-site search, create theme-based bucketing and offer better recommendations.
Outsourcing catalog creation and management will benefit e-commerce stores in many ways including:
- With expert writers creating product descriptions, e-commerce stores can aim for higher conversion.
- Professional data entry experts can assist achieve higher accuracy for attribute values.
- Industry experts can always cross-verify all attribute values, product highlights ensuring correct labeling of all products.
How does it work?
Step 1: The first step towards creating a quality catalog involves content writing, all product descriptions must be written in a way that it highlights the USPs of the product. The writing needs to be fresh and convincing.
Step 2: Once the product descriptions are ready, a team must verify it to ensure no fake products or information is listed.
Step 3: Once the descriptions are checked, a professional cross-verifies all the images submitted.
Step 4: Once the catalog passes the soft quality check
Step 5: The catalog is often visited to process enrichment request by sellers or marketplaces.
Services e-commerce stores can outsource for proper creation and maintenance of catalog:
- Catalog creation
- Content writing
- Catalog quality check
- Catalog enrichment
2. Seller Onboarding
Finding sellers who can bring with themselves a new set of the assortment is tough and requires rigorous attempts. By outsourcing seller onboarding to an industry, an expert can help e-commerce platforms onboard experienced sellers’ hassle-free.
Seller onboarding service providers often rely on competitor benchmarking for identifying sellers with multiple products. The first step towards finding the right seller involves identifying products that are popular but missing on the platform. Relying on search queries made by customers can prove to be beneficial in identifying products that are missing.
How outsourcing seller acquisition and sourcing processes can help?
BPO companies have developed a paradigm where they rely on competitor benchmarking for finding sellers and manufacturers. They benchmark your store against the competitors and discover sellers who can sell missing products.
Similarly, they use social media analytics to discover sellers who are promoting products that are missing from your store. The combination of analytics and benchmarking capabilities helps you find the right manufacturer and seller for your platform.
3. Product Photography
Adding images from multiple angles is one of the most iterated best practices of catalog management. If e-commerce platforms start building in-house teams for product photography, they will run out of space for storing products. Clicking multiple images of a product from multiple angles will require a huge workforce.
Building an in-house team of photographers will require e-commerce platforms to invest in infrastructure and HR professionals to furnish their tax liabilities and pension details. Outsourcing product photography can help e-commerce stores make it easier for them to manage the growing requirement.
4. Sourcing & Manufacturing
Sourcing & Manufacturing is tough and hard to do. While it is easier to find a manufacturer, managing them on a day-to-day basis is tough. E-commerce platforms need to work on customer experience improvement hence outsourcing sourcing & manufacturing process makes sense.
E-commerce platforms can outsource sourcing and manufacturing processes to industry leaders and build a strong array of manufacturers. Relying on industry experts has got additional benefits like:
- Onboarding experienced manufacturers who have collaborated with established enterprises.
- Getting all the documentation done effectively to avoid all kinds of legal hassles.
5. Fulfillment and Returns
66% of the top 10,000 Amazon sellers use “Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA)”. Now imagine, Amazon managing a fleet of vehicles responsible for procuring packages from sellers and depositing them at Amazon’s warehouse. It is basically like Amazon running an in-house Uber.
No matter if you are small or as big a platform like Amazon, you must outsource these “fulfillment and return pickups” to focus on core processes. By outsourcing transport wing to an industry expert, e-commerce platforms can ensure timely and safe transit of packages to and fro.
How outsourcing fulfillment and return helps e-commerce grow?
Outsourcing entire logistics to an industry leader will help e-commerce platforms streamline their product delivery. Benefits of outsourcing fulfillment and return:
- Outsourcing will also bring in the requisite efficiency and e-commerce platforms won’t be dependent on the seller’s mercy for shipping products on time.
- Facilitate easier returns, which involves one-to-one pickups.
- Offer faster delivery options
6. Customer Service
51% of customers are not willing to do business with a company after just one bad experience. While the cost of customer acquisition is rising the overall customer lifetime value is dipping. Quality customer service is the difference you can leverage to leap ahead of your competitors.
Offering quality customer service requires an intricate understanding of varied metrics like NPS, CSAT and Churn Rate. Outsourcing customer service to industry expertise will usher the enterprise towards success. With customer service experts handling all communications on varied channels like email, chat, social media and phone, e-commerce platforms can focus on procurement and delivery.
7. Competitive Intelligence
The entry of new players has turned the e-commerce landscape into a battle-ground. E-commerce players filled with investors’ money are willing to spend heavily on customer acquisition. With the cost of acquisition going up, established players need to play smartly.
By leveraging competitive intelligence, e-commerce marketplaces can reach users directly and generate curiosity toward their platform and products. Be it seller acquisition, increasing breadth of assortments or discovering popular products, competitor benchmarking and social media analytics are the two most effective methodologies. If e-commerce stores start focusing on building an in-house team of competitive intelligence, they will have to compromise on varied other fronts.
Outsourcing competitive intelligence to BPOs that leverage the power of e-commerce analytics to boost conversions and reduce pain points seems legit. Outsourcing not only saves the organization from building a team but also helps them access industrial expertise at an affordable price.
Common concerns with Outsourcing & Solutions
- Trust issues: E-commerce is a nascent industry, handing over confidential data to third-party poses serious threats. The importance of these data is so high that it can jeopardize the future of the platform if hacked.
Solution: Get in partnership with an enterprise that has furnished the requirements for compliances like ISO 27001 and PCI DSS. The certification ensures that the enterprise follows standard practices and abides by data privacy norms. Look for ISO 27001 Certification when outsourcing processes.
- Vulnerable about quality control: E-commerce industry is so popular because it has solved a very muscular problem. Now industry experts are vulnerable about quality control, they believe outsourcing will impact the quality of output.
Solution: In 2020, Tailored Outsourcing is one of the biggest BPO trends. Through tailored outsourcing, BPO enterprises are building a team of subject matter experts headed by industry leaders. Such teams are well-versed with the industry practices and are experts at problem-solving.
- Loss of control: Businesses believe the “outsourcing process will reduce our control over the process”. Since the e-commerce landscape is quite unpredictable, businesses want to be in control when something goes wrong.
Solution: “Loss of Control is an advantage”. Yes! By letting BPOs with experienced industry players handling the processes, e-commerce platforms can be sure that they will manage every solution. BPOs often leverage new technologies to solve problems.
Companies often go out of business because of focusing too much on competitors instead of improving their own services. The E-commerce industry is going through a phase, where multiple new entrants are changing the rules of the game. Established industry players need to cope up with the changes to remain relevant.
By outsourcing these processes, e-commerce stores can save enough time and resources that can be used for improving customer experience and the core processes.