Increasingly, online stores are voicing a desire to outsource a particular section of their project. In this article, we will look at the main elements that are outsourced, the cost-effectiveness of such a solution, and the risks associated with it.
To outsource, you can give the whole cycle of an online store, if you generalize that to THEM consists of several main elements:
Often, they try to outsource the entire complex associated with direct interaction with the product, especially companies that do not have traditional offline stores. But it is better to consider each of these tasks separately.
The market of companies offering logistics services has developed and offers quite favorable conditions. There are companies that specialize in the delivery of flowers, products and other goods that require special documents or provide the necessary conditions for transportation.
Outsourcing of these works is also economically justified if the volume of your orders does not exceed 200 per day for one region. At the same time, if you offer urgent delivery of 1-12 hours, then only you can provide it yourself.
When outsourcing, it is enough to make a check delivery of the order once a month to evaluate the work of your contractor and make selective calls to customers by the customer care service.
Most small stores tend to get rid of their own inventory accounting and order layout, especially when their volumes are small. Many services offer to take over the entire cycle of working with the product, most of them reviews are quite good.
Economically, at a certain volume, it may be profitable, but the benefits are significantly outweighed by the disadvantages, and there are too many of them:
One of our clients in the entire territory of the Russian Federation, has solved the problem as follows: he kept a small warehouse, and every working day in the morning, his van shipped goods from suppliers that had been made the day before. I used them literally on the move in the warehouse accounting, completed orders directly in the van (I took some of the goods from the warehouse in the morning), and passed them to the courier service. If there were urgent orders, I delivered them to clients.
Like delivery, the market for these services is already established, and servicing a small store will cost you much less than maintaining your own employee.
Even if you ship by piece and try to create purchases for specific orders, you still need to take into account the seasonality or track the remainder of popular items in the supplier's warehouse. In any case, for the successful development of your project, you need to build partnerships with representatives of supplier companies. Therefore, if you have any thoughts of outsourcing these services, it is better to immediately consider the role of the investor, as a result, this will be a more cost-effective step for you.
Some time ago, there was a boom in outsourcing call centers, but now most companies solve this problem in the following way.
Routine notifications are transferred to SMS or messengers. Incoming calls are distributed via IVR, and only a part of them goes to the operators (of course, it depends on the specifics of your online store). The operator's task is not only to be a live representative of your company, but also to collect feedback from the client. Only this way will set you the right direction in the development of your project.
Outsourcing a call center entails the following disadvantages:
The development of a market entry strategy and its implementation should be based on data, but you simply won't have it if you outsource these tasks. This scheme will not work even if you use the KPI, because you also need to understand the current picture in order to generate it correctly.
If you realize that you are not able to achieve the efficiency you need and there is a desire to attract a third-party specialist, it is better to hire him on the staff. No company will dive into your project the way a full-time employee can. Yes, the cost of hiring him will be burdensome, or you will have to share some of the profits, but this is the only way for the project.
As you can see, you can outsource local tasks. If the tasks are linked in the process, then you need to be able to control the intermediate result. All tasks related to communication with your client (except delivery) can not be trusted to third-party companies, no matter how well their business is debugged. You lose touch with the customer and are not flexible, which gives your competitors an advantage.
There are proposals even from major players to provide almost a full cycle of the offline part of the IM business: warehousing, formation, logistics. At quite attractive prices. For some, this may be a good solution, but it will also be a significant limitation.
More than once in this article, I have called for a review of my role in the project for the following reasons:
My firm belief is that any project needs to be developed
- Process control
- Feedback from end users
- Getting up-to-date information
- If your process does not meet these conditions, your project will not be successful. But if you want to earn money, you can participate in it or in a third-party project as an investor. This will be both less risky and more effective.
The myth of an online store as a "small candle factory” has already been destroyed. Technology development requires constant investment, and competition in all markets is only increasing. Therefore, this is a business for those who are ready to act actively and constantly develop.