E-commerce is at an all-time high, exceeding one trillion dollars for the first time in history last year. In fact, the industry has grown so quickly, it has left many small business owners scrambling to keep up.
Many of these small businesses, eager to improve their own odds of success, have chosen to outsource e-commerce to those in the industry who know it best. However, choosing the right e-commerce provider can be challenging with so much misinformation floating around. To correct some of these misconceptions, Cleverbridge co-founder and operations VP Craig Vodnik recently tackled seven myths about outsourcing e-commerce.
Myth #1: Outsourcing Will Force Me to Give Up Control
Some businesses are under the impression that outsourcing e-commerce means giving up control of their online store’s look and feel. As Vodnik points out, some template solutions require changing the overall look and feel of a store. If this is a concern, Vodnik recommends choosing an outsourcing provider that allows flexibility and customization. Look at outsourcing as a partnership and search for a provider that allows you to retain control of your store’s look and feel.
Myth #2: Outsourcing is Too Expensive
An in-house solution generally requires a large up-front investment in technology and personnel–an investment that continues as a business realizes technology has to be regularly updated. In addition, businesses usually find that technology must be optimized to work on a more global scale, accepting foreign currencies and translating website text.
“Various financial studies have demonstrated a positive ROI when the costs of a provider are compared to in-house costs,” Vodnik points out. “Outsourced e-commerce has been cited as reducing merchants’ full-time equivalents (FTEs) for development, maintenance, and customer service, while generating additional revenue that’s possible with a comprehensive portfolio of foreign payment options, currencies, checkout languages and other capabilities.”
Myth #3: Outsourcing is All-or-Nothing
Some business owners choose to combine outsourcing with an in-house approach, calling upon an outside provider to handle certain facets of an e-commerce operation. Vodnik recommends choosing to outsource a small part of the process first, then gradually expanding to include other projects as your company continues to grow.
Myth #4: Outsourcing Isn’t Necessary
Some small businesses operate under the misconception that because they offer payment solutions like a simple shopping cart, they have no need to further enhance their site’s e-commerce. However, the Internet reaches all areas of the globe and if a business hopes to be able to provide products to consumers around the world, internationalization is essential. An outsourced e-commerce solution can take a small business beyond PayPal to reach customers everywhere.
Myth #5: Price is the Only Difference
Price isn’t the only differentiating factor between e-commerce solutions providers. Providers usually specialize in different technologies, experience, client base, service level agreements, fraud prevention, customer service, and more. Vodnik recommends analyzing your own business needs for today, while anticipating what you’ll need tomorrow, before making any decisions about a provider.
Myth #6: Nobody Knows My Customers Like I Do
While this may be true, outsourcing providers have built-in automated fraud protections that can benefit your company in ways manual processes can’t. As your business grows, you’ll be processing larger numbers of transactions, making it more difficult to keep up with each individual customer. For this reason, fraud prevention is one of the areas many small businesses choose to outsource.
Myth #7: Outsourcing Will Make Me Lose Touch with My Data
While outsourcing e-commerce may feel like a wall will be erected between you and your data, Vodnik emphasizes it doesn’t have to be that way. Many e-commerce solutions providers give business owners the ability to maintain ownership of customer data, control the flow of sales funds, manage operational tasks, and use advanced store management tools. Vodnik has found that in-house solutions often don’t provide the operational visibility outsourced solutions provide.
When it comes to outsourcing e-commerce, Vodnik believes choosing the right solution for your business’s needs is crucial. For more information on Cleverbridge’s outsourcing options, visit http://www.cleverbridge.com/corporate/.