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What is outsourcing in retail?

Starting from business ideas to check-out technologies, the global retail industry has witnessed drastic changes in the last half a decade or so. Omnichannel has further spiced up the retail space and race. Besides ensuring an adequate footfall at the physical stores, there is also the challenge of building and securing the online customer base. Changing customer tastes, preferences and expectations is yet another critical variable.

With so much happening around in the retail landscape, retailers and e-commerce companies need to up their ante and invest their limited resources into mission-critical tasks. And in this pursuit, outsourcing what could be outsourced is increasingly becoming a smarter strategy for better delivery which to some extent explains why outsourcing retail operations is somewhat trending.

Hot in Retail Outsourcing Services

Some of the common services which retail companies seek to outsource are Information Technology, Accountancy and Bookkeeping, Order processing and Management, Retail SOP Design, Process audits, Logistics and Customer Service Management. Let’s have a quick look at some of these services.

Retail SOP Design

Standard Operating Procedures are the guidelines that explain the how, what, where, and whom of every process in your retail business. SOPs are designed keeping in mind the company’s goals and the operational standards and expectations for every process, at every stage. In retail, SOPs can help in achieving the operational goals for every process. For example, to ensure that there are no delays in addressing customer grievances, having SOPs for the same, will help the customer support staff communicate with the aggrieved customers and the internal systems in a step-by-step, coordinated manner.

Order Processing

Seamless order processing without any errors is a cornerstone of excellent customer service in the retail space. With increasing competition in retail, customers have high expectations and seek prompt order processing and the earliest possible delivery.

A seamless ordering process can help retain customers and build customer loyalty. If there are any loopholes or delays in the process, it can lead to customers getting aggrieved which may hurt the brand, the last thing a retailer would want. Hence, retail firms are opting for outsourcing their order processing services to expert BPOs.

Process Audits

In a dynamic business environment, even a time-tested and proven process needs to be checked for its efficiency and effectiveness from time to time. Process audits can help in assessing the scope of improvement in the existing processes in the light of new circumstances and new information. Audits can be time-consuming and may have a derailing effect on business operations advocating the case of outsourcing process audits.

Customer Service

In the ever-increasing retail industry, customer service can be a make-or-break factor for any retail business. Experienced retail organizations have realized that customer service is an area that can be outsourced to expert service providers not only for cost-effectiveness but also for reasons of complete dedication and better execution of customer services towards enhancing customer delight.

Warehousing

The demand for products in the retail space is becoming more volatile and unpredictable. Now that same-day or next-day deliveries have become a much sought after choice, fulfilling customer orders by the hour is getting challenging. Although variety is an important offering in retail, increasing the range of products and services adds to operational complexities. This, in turn, affects warehouse operations and spikes up working capital and carrying costs. Outsourcing firms can help mitigate the risks by planning inventory systematically and easing out the warehousing operations.

Top Retail Outsourcing Companies in India

Let’s have a look at some of the top and upcoming retail outsourcing and BPO companies in India which you’d want to have a look at, especially if you have your own retail business.

Let us start with the big names in the game.

1. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)

Tata Consulting Services (TCS) is one of the biggest names in IT services providing digital solutions for businesses. TCS’s key services in retail include retail supply chain management solutions, Omni POS solutions, sensor data analytics (IoT framework).

Get to know more: https://www.tcs.com/retail

2. Wipro

Giving close competition to TCS is Wipro, another iconic global brand specializing in information technology, consultancy, and business services with operations spanning across 6 continents.

The services offered by Wipro in the retail industry have been vetted by many top retailers in the world. With their technological and retail expertise, they help companies become more agile. They empower companies to reimagine their clients’ and customers’ shopping journeys by leveraging capabilities which include design thinking, systems integration, product engineering, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and data analytics. Wipro helps retail players to not just improve their operational efficiency, but also drive innovation.

Get to know more: https://www.wipro.com/en-IN/retail/

3. Accenture

Accenture is an Irish company with business in strategy, operations, consulting, digital and technology. The company has a significant workforce base in India. In retail consulting, they provide services in data and analytics, customer engagement, and digital capabilities.

Get to know more: https://www.accenture.com/in-en/industries/retail-index

4. Infosys

Established in the year 2002, Infosys is one of the leading digital services and consulting companies in the world with a service presence in 46 countries. In retail, Infosys provides solutions in digital customer engagement, omnichannel commerce, and supply chain to a wide range of industries.

Get to know more: https://www.infosys.com/industries/retail.html#our_offerings-title

Let us also not forget that there are brands that bootstrapped their way out through garages in their early years. Here are some of the promising stars in retail outsourcing.

1) Invensis

Invensis is an IT-BPO service provider company with an experience of more than two decades. In retail, the company offers a wide array of outsourcing support services for a wide range of retail businesses. Their outsourcing support services cover e-commerce, call center, sales, digital marketing and a lot more.

Get to know more: https://www.invensis.net/outsource-retail-bpo-services

2) Flatworld Solutions (FWS)

Founded in 2002, Flatworld Solutions is a global company providing solutions in information technology, business consultancy, and outsourcing services. In retail, services offered by FWS include creative design and photo editing, software development, call center services, web analytics, research and analysis, accounting and bookkeeping, data entry services, etc.

Get to know more: https://www.flatworldsolutions.com/industries/services-for-retail-industry.php

3) Classic Informatics

Started in 2002, Classic Informatics is a web and mobile apps development company driven by a solution-based approach. In retail and eCommerce space, the company offers services in POS solutions, product management, product catalogs management, and promotions and marketing.

Get to know more: https://www.classicinformatics.com/retail-ecommerce-software-development/

4) Your Retail Coach (YRC)

Your Retail Coach is a retail consultancy and outsourcing company specializing in retail and eCommerce and has catered to more than 500 clients in the retail industry since 2012 granting them rich domain experience and expertise. Services offered by YRC include retail store management, omnichannel consulting services, warehouse management, business plan development, franchise consulting, SOP consulting, process audits, ERP consulting, etc.

Get to know more: https://www.yourretailcoach.in

If you are a retail business considering the outsourcing strategy, understand your business requirements and your outsourcing goals first before you go about taking a call. There are many companies providing services via outsourcing for the retail industry but first, you must be clear as to why you are opting for outsourcing and what exactly your business case is for it.