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8 roles in an eCommerce business you can outsource (and 3 you shouldn’t)

eCommerce is a fast-paced industry, with high-speed changes to marketplace regulations and best selling practices. Keeping your eCommerce business healthy requires a lot of moving parts working together seamlessly. As a seller, you’re already time-poor, so how do you find the time to grow your business?

Large eCommerce businesses often have most roles in-house just because their sheer volume requires it. For example, Deliverr seller etailz has more than 200 employees, even though they use Deliverr for fulfillment they do most else in-house.

However, if you’re a small to medium eCommerce business owner and want to keep your operations lean (less than 20 people), there are roles you can outsource.

In this article, we’ll break down some crucial components of a successful eCommerce operation, and explain which you can outsource, and which roles you should keep in-house.

Outsource these eCommerce roles to take back your time

1) Sourcing/Manufacturing

Your big decisions should be made in-house, but it’s simply too difficult to have one person fly around the world to discover new items your eCommerce business could offer. Outsource product discovery and testing instead, and use platforms and partners who can help narrow down items, and connect you with manufacturers. From there, your internal decision-makers can research which items may be a good fit for your brand and market.

Here are some companies that can help with this:

2) Accounting and taxes

Managing finances for your eCommerce business can take up a huge amount of your time, especially as you try to keep track of multiple sales per day, costs and profits, overall revenue, which expenses to file, and more. Not only that, it’s a complex process with plenty of nuances. Accounting and taxes are important to get right, so invest in professional partners who can handle this for you.

Here are some companies that can provide this:

3) HR

Hiring, onboarding, talent management, and payroll take up a huge amount of time, and that’s time you simply don’t have when you’re running a business. If you have a small growing eCommerce team, you should consider outsourcing human resource management so you don’t have to worry about timely payroll, insurance, recruitment, and the like.

Here are some companies that can provide this:

4) Fulfillment

Fulfillment is complex and hard to do well. As you expand, you’ll start getting more and more orders. Those are orders you need, but won’t have the time to fulfill, especially if you want to grow your company. That’s why you should always outsource your fulfillment process to companies that have the right equipment, technology, geographical locations, and assets needed to provide seamless order fulfillment.

Here are some companies that can provide this:

5) Returns

For a return to go smoothly, multiple moving parts need to work together well. Having a good return policy and well-oiled returns machine is critical to conversions and customer retention. Instead of trying to handle this in-house, at the mercy of buyers’ whims and without any control of when you have to kick into gear, you should outsource your eCommerce returns process to a reliable partner that can ensure customer satisfaction.

Here are some companies that can provide this:

6) Repricing

Staying on top of your competitors’ pricing is impossible to do manually. When you expand to multi-channel eCommerce, you’ll have to monitor hundreds of similar listings per marketplace in order to stay on top of your own sales. You’ll need to balance profitability and competitive pricing to appear before your potential customers, before other similar products. Don’t put this burden on yourself when technology can do it better and faster.

Here are some companies that can provide this:

7) Listing optimization and management

Managing your listings across different marketplaces manually opens up the door to human error and plenty of headaches. Automate it with software instead, and rely on technology to make sure you don’t oversell, stock out, or get overwhelmed by multiple SKUs on multiple marketplaces.

For listing creation, you can work with a copywriter or optimization expert to help make sure your listing content itself is optimized for marketplace search engines, and grammatically correct.

Here are some companies that can provide this:

8) Graphic design

If you don’t have enough work for a full-time, in-house graphic designer, then outsourcing simple design tasks like removing the background from your images and designing your storefront could be easily outsourced. However, if you send out frequent marketing materials, like emails, blogs, and other communications that could benefit from custom graphics, then consider hiring someone full-time.

Here are some companies that can provide this:

Keep these roles in-house for a healthy eCommerce brand

1) Leadership and decision-makers

Your leadership and management team should be in-house. They should have intimate knowledge with your products, as well as your company’s vision and mission. When your decision-makers are on the same page, they can drive your company forward cohesively. Having project managers in-house is important as well, so they can orchestrate all of the processes you outsource.

2) Customer support

Customer support is vital to have in-house. When you have internal customer support teams, they have time to learn the ins and outs of your product and process. In time, they’ll become familiar with common issues that pop up, get to know your loyal customers, and know how to troubleshoot within your systems.

3) Listing creation

When it comes to creating your actual listings and checking them for accuracy, you should have someone on your team putting them together. As mentioned above, you can hire an editor and SEO expert to check for grammar and optimization, but someone internal should always double-check that everything is accurate.

4) Photography

If you own your brand, you should be taking professional photos. You can hire a photographer to do this, but your company should take lead in explaining what you need, meeting marketplace requirements, and selecting the best product photos.

If you source products, ask your manufacturer or the brand you’re purchasing from for professional photos you can use in your listings.

Tip: Never “borrow” photos from other similar listings, as you could face copyright infringement charges and risk getting banned from a marketplace.

Knowing what roles you can outsource in your eCommerce business and which ones to keep in-house will help you run an agile, effective, and efficient growth machine. Similar to delegation, you know it’s time to outsource when there are other services that can do it better than you could in-house. Guard your time like the valuable resource it is, and outsource intelligently for a better, more successful eCommerce business.

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