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As an e-commerce entrepreneur, you have a lot on your plate. Supply chain management, warehousing, shipping and returns, product catalogue, customer service and developing marketing strategies. And, as your online retail business keeps expanding, the scale and complexity of these tasks go on increasing making it tough to manage and fulfil responsibilities.

So, as a business owner how can you free up your valuable time and space to focus on core areas of business. The solution is simple: By outsourcing some of your tasks to third-party professionals.

Here are a few tasks that you can outsource to outsourcing companies to leverage your time.

Outsourcing customer service

Customer services statistics revealed that approximately 50% of customers are reluctant to do business with the company after just one bad experience. While the customer acquisition cost (CAC) is rising the overall customer lifetime value (CLTV) generated by such customers is drastically declining. By offering excellent customer service you can increase this CLTV value.

Offering outstanding customer service requires a deep understanding of three key metrics that measure customer satisfaction. These three metrics are:

  • Net promoter score (NPS) – It is used to measure customer loyalty towards a particular brand or service
  • Customer satisfaction score(CSAT) – It helps you to measure measures the satisfactory level of a customer after the purchase of a product or service
  • Customer efforts score (CES) – It helps you to measure the level of effort customer experiences  while using your product or service

Outsourcing customer service to a third-party vendor will help you to improve your NPS, CSAT and CES scores. With customer service experts handling all communication related to your product or services on various channels in a more professional way there will be a significant improvement in all customer service KPI and metrics.

E-commerce Website Design, Maintenance & Development

This is another important area of e-commerce that is best left to the experts unless you had a good hand at design and development. Your website is the digital face of your e-commerce business. It will help you to generate business, increase brand value, promote goodwill among customers and deliver compelling marketing messages.

By outsourcing web development or designing work to a third-party vendor you can gain access to many skilled professionals from diverse disciplines, including designers, copywriters, web developers’ strategists etc. They will help you in:

  • Creating a professional-looking website to attract, engage and convert visitors into paying customers
  • Implementing technical SEO tactics to increase the ranking of your website on all search engines
  • Adding conversion-boosting features such as testimonials, reviews, site search box, dynamic filtering, live chats etc.
  • Designing visuals such as logo, banners, product images and videos across your website
  • Design professionally looking graphics that creates credibility in your brand and products
  • Create great content and develop the right marketing strategy targeted at your  audience

E-commerce Marketing

You may be able to do some aspects of basic marketing on your own, but other areas require special skill or knowledge and plenty of time to put these plans into action. You may be better off outsourcing these specialised areas, especially if your business is in the initial stage and you have a limited budget and in-house resources. Also bear in mind that these external experts will bring their experience and skills that will help you to get the most out of your marketing efforts.

Some of the areas of e-marketing that you could consider for outsourcing are as follows:

  • Social media marketing: Businesses often choose to outsource this key area of marketing to external agencies or hire an expert to perform these specialised tasks on their behalf- especially  if they don’t have anyone in-house who fully grasps and understands social media marketing trends or they don’t have enough time to commit to social media campaigns. Besides this, by outsourcing, you can gain expertise that is currently not available to you.
  • SEO/SEM: This is again a complex marketing activity that requires specialised expertise and experience, as well as an understanding of digital marketing tools. By outsourcing SEO/SEM you gain the expertise of skilled professionals who have knowledge of optimizing your website by implementing various techniques and methodologies.
  • Email Marketing: By outsourcing email marketing services you can be benefitted in many ways. Firstly, it will help you to gain the support of experienced marketing experts. Secondly, your marketing campaigns get a fresh perspective. Thirdly, you can easily scale up or down your marketing activities. Finally and most importantly, it is easier to calculate ROI on your investment in your marketing activities.
  • Analytics and reporting: Google analytics or other analytical tools gives you essential insights about your online business and your customer. By outsourcing this critical element of marketing to experts you can gain from their insight on customer behaviour analytics, thereby improving the outcome of your marketing efforts.
  • Market research: Most companies prefer to outsource their market research activities to outside third-party market researchers. These professionals have skills and knowledge base that can come only after spending years of time in a particular domain. These firms conduct market research on your behalf and submit the report in the most structured format.

Order Fulfilment

There are many aspects involved in the order fulfillment pipeline, including receiving inventory, storing inventory, order picking and packing and shipping them to the customer’s address. By outsourcing this entire order fulfilment process to an industry expert you can ensure timely and safe transit of your products to and fro.

Some other benefits of outsourcing order fulfilment process are as follows:

  • It saves your money on warehouse and transportation costs
  • It frees up your time so that you can focus on other aspects of your business
  • It creates a better customer experience by facilitating easy return, exchange and refunds

Besides this, by outsourcing the order fulfilment process you can extend your reach and go global. Many order fulfilment companies have an extensive network of warehouses to ship and deliver goods to any part of the globe. You can make use of their global platform to take your products to the remotest place in the world.

Defining SOP before outsourcing

Before outsourcing services like customer service, marketing, website design and development or order fulfilment process to a third-party agency it is important to define an SOP that has clear-cut directions on what is expected from them as an outsourcing partner.

For instance, SOP for customer service includes queries related to your product or services, clarity about dealing with customers on the phone, emails and live chats, instructions for handling customers complaints dealing with disgruntled customers and much more.

Similarly, there should be SOP for outsourcing website design, development and maintenance work, SOP for carrying out e-commerce marketing activities and SOP for fulfilling customer orders. By implementing SOPs in your ecommerce business you can streamline the workflow and remain focused on providing a consistent customer experience.

Choosing the right outsourcing agency

Before choosing an outsourcing agency it is important to perform due diligence. Your outsourcing due diligence checklist should include:

  • Checking the proven track record of past accomplishments
  • Asking for reference from your outsourcing agency
  • Checking  reviews and comments on social media
  • Checking technical skills and capability of the agency
  • Asking your outsourcing agency about data security measures

Why choose YRC

YRC is an e-commerce consulting company having 10+ years of experience in developing SOP for all aspects of businesses including SOPs for e-commerce outsourcing. YRC’s well-written and IT integrated SOP drastically reduces return rate, errors, as well as negative reviews about order fulfilment. Besides this, SOPs are designed in a way to make your organization more autonomous and reduce personal dependence.

Over the years YRC has helped 500+ brands globally in various sectors like e-commerce, fashion, furniture, jewellery, automobile, healthcare, fitness, hospitality, beauty to find their feet and grow their ecommerce & D2C business

PROCESS AUTOMATION

The idea of having Ecommerce Consultants on-board from the beginning itself points towards reducing the involvement of the promoters in daily operations. Ecommerce Businesses willing to be a brand reaping profits & sustaining the competition must ensure that most of their processes should be automated. The more the manual intervention, the more would be the errors.

In Ecommerce business, you get only 1 chance to impress the customer & if you mess up there, you lose the customer for long.

Process automation in respect to all the activities pertaining to customers from order receiving to order fulfilment is a must for a seamless experience for the customers.

Task Management is another grey area where most deadlines fail as 90% of the tasks are assigned manually & are forgotten, unheard, misunderstood or mistaken.

YRC Team of Ecommerce Management Consultants helps to make maximum of the processes system-driven to ensure minimalistic manual intervention.

VIDEOGRAPHY & PHOTOGRAPHY

No matter how good your product is, the customer would know only if it looks good.

Photography includes the following steps:

  • Cataloguing your products
  • Cataloguing your images
  • Backup your images (A few cloud storage solutions include Dropbox, Google Drive, Bitcasa, Apple’s Cloud Storage etc.)
  • Choose the right camera & lens (You may also outsource the photography to a third party agency)

DIGITAL MARKETING

Digital Marketing includes SEO & SMM. SEO i.e. Search Engine Optimization includes activities like back-linking, meta tags, blog-writing etc. to ensure your website ranks on the 1st page on Google Search.

Next comes SMM i.e. “Social Media Marketing” which as the name suggests including promoting your products on all the social media sites, email marketing, influencer marketing & several other BTL activities.

These activities are going to be recurring & would decide the traffic on the website, the conversions, whether the right target market is tapped, the likes, the views, the orders, the reviews & much more. YRCs Ecommerce Consultants create a budget for digital marketing right from pre-launch to launch & for each month thereafter.

Building digital marketing strategies in coordination with the agency, selecting them to signing them off would be the role of YRC.

This ensures seamless coordination, detailed interactions & desired execution as it is always advisable to work with a single agency than multiple of them.

IT INTEGRATION

Selection of the right software for smooth functioning of back-end operations right from production to webstore display would be suggested and integrated by YRC Team.

YRC’s Team defines SOPs of Product Movement, maps it with the locations & people. They then create a blueprint of all the features required in the software & help in shortlisting & selection.

IT Integration involves connecting your offline inventories with real-time online webstore so when a sale occurs, inventories get deducted real time across offline as well as online platforms.

This helps in accurate inventory management, maintaining the MOQs, re-order levels & achieving the optimum inventory levels.

Some popular software include unicommerce, viniculum for your front-end website management & Genisys for your entire back-end Purchase, Production, Accounting, Invoicing etc. management.

WAREHOUSE & LOGISTICS PLANNING

  • How many cities or countries you wish to sell in?
  • Where should your Warehouse be located?
  • Should you have one warehouse in each country or city?
  • Should you be having your own delivery team in your base city?
  • Would the 3rd party vendors be reliable? What happens when they lose or misplace your product during delivery?
  • How should I manage the logistics if my goods are coming from different countries?
  • How should the goods be stored and barcoded?
  • How much space do I require for warehouse?
  • I am sure several such questions must be haunting you while you think of starting your own fashion ecommerce brand.

 

At YRC, our warehousing and logistics experts can help you devise a strategy for all of the above mentioned queries and much more.

We design the layout of the Warehouse considering the inward, goods processing, software entry, barcoding, outward, goods return, scrap storage, goods stacking & much more.

Logistics route plan is devised considering the manufacturer to your warehouse and from there to last mile delivery locations.

UI & UX DESIGNING

This Step involves 03 distinct parts:

Part 1: Choosing the right Platform:

From several platforms available in the market right from Shopify to magento, woocommerce, prestoshop, wordpress etc. you must choose the one that fits best for your business

Part 2: UX Designing:

“UX” denotes User Experience, which if put in simple language is building the functional requirements of the website.

UX Designing includes designing the features required in the website, customer journey map, website features, the browsing features, navigation features, ecommerce order management process flow, checkout cart features, catalogue management, ecommerce payment system, cross selling features & much more.

“As per statistics, 68% of the customers abandon the carts before payment”

An interesting UX ensures the customer sticks on to the website for a longer time.

Part 3: UI Designing:

UI stands for User Interface, which means designing the look and feel of the website. UI includes using the right colours, elements and the entire aesthetics of the website.

A good User Interface ensures the user completes the task that he has come for. It navigates the user through the journey of the brand in the simplest but most effective way.

The UX designer maps out the bare bones of the user journey; the UI designer then fills it in with visual and interactive elements.

If User experience is the bare bone, user interface wraps it up with an attractive cape.

At YRC, our team if experts can help you develop the entire User Journey to ensure it is engaging!

SAMPLING & PRODUCTION

This step follows the “Designing” Phase, whether you have an in-house design team, freelance designers or an outsourced design company. It is one of the most exciting phases, as here you see your designs turning into products & your ideas turning into reality.

In most start-up cases, production is outsourced i.e. brands tie-up with the established manufacturers/ job-workers to get their products manufactured.

Sampling involves multiple 04 Stages, Fit-Sample, Prototype Sample, Pre-Production Sample & the Production Sample.

Prototype Sample is the first sample provided to the buyer. It can be in any fabric/ colour. This sample is just to understand whether the product design looks equally great in reality.

Fit Sample, as the name suggests is prepared to check the fit of the garment i.e. the various sizes, length, width etc.

Pre-production is made by the actual production line. Here the stitching quality and other aspects related to manufacturing are checked. This is the last stage where rejection can be accepted.

Production Sample is made before the production which is the replica of what is going to be finally produced.

Once you are through with all this, you are good to go ahead & get your goods manufactured.

PRODUCT DESIGNING / SOURCING

Product Designing or Sourcing is the heart of the Ecommerce Fashion Brand.

Product Designing / Sourcing can be done in several ways, as follows:

  • In-house Design Team
  • Freelance Designers
  • Outsourced Design Team
  • Ready Product Sourcing (From Manufacturer or Wholesaler)

At YRC, we evaluate your business strategy & business model to arrive at the decision, which of the above ways would be best-fit for your business. In certain cases, product sourcing may be a combination of the above.

These are the people who are going to build your brand! Whether they are the designers or merchandiser, your brand look is going to be in their hands.

If you are designing each garment from the scratch, the sourcing would play crucial role in developing design identity of your brand.

Sourcing includes fabric, trims, lining & all the raw material required to build the garment.

BRANDING

Branding is the “Look of the Brand”, right from logo to tagline, the colours used, the brand story, the brand communications on social media, the packaging & all the other aspects which speak directly or indirectly to the customers. Branding constitutes the look & feel of the brand & hence must be thoughtfully planned to match with the product that we are selling.

Branding must appeal to our target audience. Example : A golden colour logo depicting finesse, art, richness, premium, however beautiful it may be individually cannot go with a brand selling affordable kids wear products. So, your logo must be in-line with your brand positioning, whether you are an expensive brand or a luxury brand or a value for money brand, it must be depicted from your “Branding”.

It is an integral part to attract the target audience.

ORGANOGRAMS & SOP’s

Organogram is the “HR Blueprint” of the business which is created at the onset, to map out the team required across each function at various stages of the business. At the launch, only key people need to be got on board to ensure the project gets started & at this stage, all of them need to multi-task. Similarly, certain financial as well as operational goals are set for addition of the further team. Example, for the operations team, we hire 1 operations manager during the pre-launch phase & we add 1 more only when the business kicks-off & we reach a volume of selling more than 1000 pcs/ month or a turnover of more than 0.1 million USD.

SOPs are Standard Operating Procedures, a bible to run the entire organization right from Sales, Purchase, HR, Order receiving to Order fulfilment, Inventory Management, Accounts, Warehouse, Logistics, Supply Chain, Production & all the other relevant functions for the business. Business must be organized from its first day of operations; only then the tasks can be delegated.

At YRC, we design the organization structure, the processes, and approximate time taken to execute each process, job profile of every member within the organization, their KRAs, KPIs & the Reporting Structure.

CRITICAL PATHWAY

Critical Pathway Analysis (CPA), is a project management technique which cannot be overlooked while launching an ecommerce fashion brand. Brand launch process is cumbersome with multiple inter-dependent & time-bound tasks involved, which need to be tracked to ensure the project remains on track.

CPA outlines key tasks across the project, their turnaround time (TAT) & the dependencies of tasks upon each other. It identifies the sequence of tasks, their interdependent steps from inception to completion, their criticalities, and their dates of onset, target dates of completion along with the key responsible person for the respective activities. Critical Pathway helps in understanding the unimportant & not urgent tasks which may jeopardize the execution of the project because of an unexpected snag! It also maps out the potential bottlenecks which might be posed because of the dependencies of tasks upon each other & cases where the next task cannot be commenced before the completion of the previous one.

CPA detects the minimum & the maximum time involvement of a particular individual or team to execute the task, thereby arriving at the overall deadlines associated with the project.

At Your Retail Coach, we design the Critical Pathway & review it periodically to ensure the project is on track & the progress is measurable.

BUSINESS STRATEGY & BUSINESS PLAN

Business Strategy includes the vision, mission, goals, business model, business plan & strategy for all the functions within the organization.

Business Strategy is a well-defined plan that outlines who, what, where, why, how & when for the company; for example, who would be the target market, how to attract the target audience, when to launch new products, where to operate from, how to handle competitors, what would be the USP, what would be long term goal of the organization & several other answers to the 5Ws of Strategy.

Business Strategy aligns the organization towards a common goal. Business SWOT helps company to identify & overcome their weaknesses & focus to sharpen the strengths. Business strategy forecasts future risks and helps business in building skillsets to overcome the potential threats.

YRC’s Business Plan focuses on creating a “Blueprint” of the business, thereby deriving the feasibility of the concept & gauge whether the opportunity is lucrative to invest time, energy & effort. Business Plan creates cash flow understanding i.e. building inflow & outflow cash projections from Week zero to week 60 i.e. 05 year projection. Business Plan calculates the capital investment, operating costs, one-time costs, recurring costs & all the other numbers relevant to obtain the breakeven sales, return on investment, return on capital, internal rate of return & several other ratios. Business Plan is also one of the important requirements if you are targeting the “Investor Route”. Fund raising becomes extremely transparent & channelized. With business plan panned out clearly, the business will know until what point must it be stretched & where to stop, which reduces the probability of unplanned investments.

MARKET RESEARCH

Starting the concept of Ecommerce Fashion brand with Market Research ensures we get detailed understanding of the industry & this research report also acts as a social confirmation for your concept. Market Research helps in understanding the target locations, their population, potential online buyers for your product, competitors for each category, and top selling products of the competitors, competitors’ price range, offers & their responses & much more. Market Research helps in thorough understanding of your brand position as compared to our competitors. It helps in identifying gaps in the market, in your category along with the scope of the said product in the desired market. This will help in validation of your concept & prevents you from making the same mistakes as your fellow brands, eventually saving your time, energy & efforts. This phase is also a make or a break phase, as the market research study may at-times come up with some eye-popping numbers & statistics which might compel you to re-think on your product or category that you are planning to sell or alter your entire concept itself!! Market Research Reports analyse the competitors’ webstore for their traffic, conversion & sales. This is extremely valuable information to derive our inventory budgets & projections, which takes us to our next phase.