Just how many items will you have on your ‘to do’ still unfinished at the end of today? You’ll probably even have at least ten then you’ve not even started. Ecommerce website owners should use their list of things to do as the litmus test of when they should start to outsource parts of their daily work load. You’ve obviously collated those tasks for a reason. You see completing them as an essential step to increasing sales or enhancing your bottom line.
With that in mind, here are a few signs that you should be outsourcing one, specific daily task: the picking, packing and shipping of your online orders:
- You physically don’t have enough time. You’re half an hour away from the time when the courier company or Royal Mail come to collect your parcels and you’ve not even started picking them. If you drop them off at the Post Office you possibly try and work out how late you can leave dropping take them in to get as many parcels on the same day as order as possible. This approach leads to massive inefficiencies as your focus is on fulfilling orders rather than attracting new ones. Your work schedule is punctuated by picking, packing and shipping and not on new product buying, content, SEO, link building or email marketing. Just scrub that process from your daily to do list. Outsource it and free up your time which can give you much greater returns per hour you spend. If you regularly have any marketing or financial tasks left over at the end of the day then use this as a signal you need to outsource some part of your day. Be brutally honest with yourself.
- If you get customer emails saying you’ve sent them the wrong products – there can be no greater annoyance for a customer, especially if the purchase was event-related, to be sent the wrong products. It should also be a huge frustration for you too. Spending time fixing customer errors is a distraction you just don’t need. It’s also a cost as you will have to send the correct items and often have to let the customer keep the incorrect one due to returns costs. It’s also bad for your reputation which is likely to be manifested in negative online reviews. At Cloud Fulfilment we have a fantastically great picking success rate. By outsourcing, at a stroke, you can remove the time and cost of handling the effect of inaccurate picking accuracy. Your life will be that bit more stress-free.
- Cashflow has become more of a concern – if you have significant amounts of cash in stock and you really need to as much of it as you can at a reasonable discount against your headline prices then outsourcing and taking advantage of the channel integration into Amazon, eBay and Play.com can allow you to rapidly attract significant volumes of sales – simply just by tweaking your prices. The fixed costs and overheads you have to suffer when owning and running your own warehouse can be frightening. If you lay awake at night worrying about cashflow then its perhaps a good time to think about outsourcing and moving some of those numbers off the balance sheet.
- You need to grow rapidly, but you just don’t have the financial room to manoeuvre – you might be at capacity with your current warehouse or at the cusp between needing to take on more warehouse staff but you just can’t afford it. Outsourcing your eCommerce fulfilment to a company such as Cloud Fulfilment allows you bridge that gap. You don’t have the step changes in costs associated with being operating the processes in house. Instead you can have a costs associated with your sales – without any fixed costs. If you have that barrier to growth that logically shouldn’t exist then you should outsource this facet of your business.
- You have lost your ‘mojo’ – we all go through fazes of excitement and love for the business. But if you’ve got a constant ‘downer’ on picking and packing orders, it isn’t difficult, then you should really consider outsourcing as it it will be abundantly clear to your customers
- Your search engine rankings are suffering – these days it takes a great amount of effort keeping on top of the search engines and making sure that the sales keep coming in. Previously you could just buy links and chuck up content. Now-a-days you have to earn links, work on your social strategy, plan in great deal your content strategy and then execute it. If you are losing rankings to your competitors and the sales have been slowly declining – or even come to a grinding halt. Its evidence you’ve taken the eye off the ball!