Outsourcing Helps eCommerce Companies to Increase Sales Revenue According to market research, global eCommerce sales could increase by approximately 21% in 2015 and touch USD 1.6 trillion. This growth will be driven by:
- A surge in the consumer base in emerging markets
- Increased use of the mobile eCommerce channels
- Improved payment and shipping options
- A push into new markets around the world by major brands
At the fundamental functionality level, consumers today expect better service from e-tailers. They are looking for products that are relevant to them, appropriate discounts and a seamless experience during purchase checkout. Additionally, according to the Deloitte ‘Fifth Annual E-commerce Assessment – Digital in the Age of the Connected Consumer’1, consumer expectations of eCommerce companies now go beyond operational basics. Shoppers are now looking for an improved experience on mobile devices, better decision tools, personalized experiences, the ability to check inventory, and add-on services such as same day delivery, to name a few.
Meeting these demands to generate customer satisfaction can pose a great challenge to eCommerce companies. Some of these requirements are explained below.
Major Challenges Faced by eCommerce Companies
1) Website Navigation:
Customers cannot buy products, if they are unable to find them. In an article on Smashing Magazine.com about a usability research study by the Baymard Institute, customers encountered 900 usability-related issues on popular eCommerce websites. This made them prone to abandon these websites when they had difficulty in locating the products of their choice. Websites with poorly laid out categories will not provide the desired results to customers. Companies should also provide easy navigation features to enhance customer experience.
2) Data Security:
In a digital world, with the increased use of technologies and devices, security concerns related to protecting personal and financial information of customers, are also growing. Forbes.com reports that eBay faced a database security breach last year, wherein the non-financial, personal information of several customers was compromised. A web or mobile application that does not provide security to customers will result in losing their trust.
3) Underperforming Checkouts:
According to an article on Econsultancy.com, companies should focus on the checkout process for increasing sales. An underperforming checkout process usually asks for customers to register, takes time to load, might include hidden costs and high shipping charges, and will not display return policies. Addressing this challenge appropriately through optimized design of the website and its associated applications could help eCommerce companies to boost sales.
4) Cross-Selling and Up-Selling Challenges
In traditional brick-and-mortar stores, sometimes even if the consumer is not willing to spend on additional items, the salesperson can effectively communicate the need for purchasing them. E-commerce companies also require efficient customer care representatives to step in to help online shoppers and make cross-selling and up-selling efforts.
5) Streamlining Orders for Smooth Fulfillment and Efficient Logistics:
With new logistics strategies emerging in eCommerce, such as same-day deliveries, the processing of orders at an accelerated pace, while keeping focus on accuracy, can have an impact on business outcomes. Timely order processing ensures that customers receive their purchases on time. When companies fail to achieve this, it could result in customer dissatisfaction.
6) Digital Marketing:
In an increasingly competitive online space, effective digital marketing strategies need to be in place to reach out to online shoppers and communicate the offering and promotions to them. Besides ranking well in search engine results so that consumers can find it easily, engaging content also needs to be created for social networks. E-commerce companies, thus, have to employ marketing strategies that help customers to differentiate them from others.
For eCommerce companies, all these challenges often act as roadblocks to customer satisfaction. An experienced IT-BPO service provider with eCommerce support services can come to the aid of these businesses to enable them to reach their potential.
How Outsourcing Can Help eCommerce Companies
E-commerce companies can find solutions for the above-mentioned challenges by outsourcing functions for which they require external support and expertise. Some of these functions are described below: IT Support:
An experienced IT-BPO service provider can provide eCommerce companies with robust software applications that ensure security and ease of use through the checkout process. By outsourcing the design, development, testing, and quality assurance processes for web and mobile applications, the load can be taken off the IT team of the eCommerce company to focus on other critical issues.
Other IT support tasks that can be outsourced are:
- Webpage Updating
- CMS Maintenance Support
- Application Maintenance
- Managed IT Help Desk
- Server and Network Monitoring
Product Information Management:
Through effective data management services, a specialist IT-BPO service provider can provide eCommerce companies with optimal product information management. This ensures that complete information, including representative imagery, is available about all the products on the website, in a manner that makes the research and purchase process easy for the user.
Some of the product information management support services that eCommerce companies can benefit from include:
- Product data entry
- Data cleansing
- Catalog management
- Data indexing and archiving
- Image tagging services
- Digital photo editing of product images
A specialist IT-BPO service provider can provide a multi-channel contact center that will help eCommerce companies to address their customer care issues effectively:
- A multi-channel contact center that supports voice calls, live chat, email management and SMS/texts enhances convenience for customers
- Timely response to customers will increase their level of satisfaction with the quality of services offered; for instance, with respect to guiding new users through the purchase process or providing immediate support for payment glitches
- Contact center analytics can also reveal insights about customer behavior and preferences and help the eCommerce company to serve them better
- Cross-selling and up-selling activities can also be initiated through the contact center
- Customers across time zones can be catered to, without increasing spends on in-house talent
- 24×7 customer service can be delivered to a global customer base
- An experienced customer service outsourcing company can manage the returns process efficiently and minimize the possibility of creating unhappy customers
By partnering with a service provider that has expertise in digital marketing services, an eCommerce company can improve the traffic it draws to its website. This could also result in an increase in sales and revenue.
Some of the services that an experienced provider can be entrusted with are:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) activities to ensure the eCommerce website ranks well
- Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising to provide enhanced brand visibility and lead generation
- Social Media Optimization (SMO) for various social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and others
- Generating insights from web analytics to measure the performance of various channels for efficiency
- Developing engaging and informative content for the website and social media
In addition to these specific benefits for eCommerce companies, outsourcing has traditionally provided the following advantages to companies across different verticals:
- Cost-efficiencies, since companies save from investing in talent and technology in-house
- Leveraging the trained talent and up-to-date technology of the outsourcing provider
- Focusing on building core competencies
According to market research firm eMarketer, global eCommerce sales will cross USD 2 trillion by 2017, with China, India, Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Canada and Italy driving growth. To reap the benefits of this forecast, eCommerce companies have to ensure that they meet the changing requirements of customers across markets.