With the number of people doing their shopping online, having an e-commerce store can be a lucrative form of business. In 2017, e-commerce accounted for around $2.3 trillion in sales and is projected to reach $4.5 trillion in 2021. In the US alone, ecommerce collared 10% of retail sales and is expected to grow by nearly 15% annually.
Managing an e-commerce business is not just all about putting your inventory on an online shopping portal and watching your sales grow. Eventually your business will grow and the tasks will not just be limited to listing and updating your products. Sooner or later there will be shipping and fulfillment, order processing, and others. Once your customer base reaches 100 or 1,000, you will feel overwhelmed with the tasks that need to be accomplished.
As you manage your e-commerce business, keep in mind that you also need to deal with your customers. They may run into issues that need to be addressed right away or else you will lose their business. Being a business owner and customer service representative at the same time can be a tough job. As your work starts to pile up, you will soon realize that you need help. This is where ecommerce support comes in.
Perhaps you are wondering how you can outsource your ecommerce support. Customers have many frustrations when it comes to online shopping. As an e-commerce retailer, you have an obligation to make sure that you address their pain points to ensure their loyalty. So read on to see how a fully outsourced ecommerce solution can help free up your time to let you concentrate on growing your business.. In this article, we will cover the following topics:
- How Is Customer Support In E-Commerce Different From Retail Stores?
- Why Outsourcing Support Makes Sense For Your E-Commerce Business
- Benefits of Outsourcing E–Commerce Support
- When Does It Make Sense To Outsource E-Commerce Support?
- E-Commerce Support Services For Boosting Your Business
- Tasks That You Can Outsource To E-Commerce Support
- How To Improve E-Commerce Support
Let’s get started
Differences Between E-Commerce Support and Retail Store Support
Whether you are selling products at a retail store or online, excellent customer service will prove vital to the success of your business. This is most applicable if you are selling directly to individual customers. In an e-commerce business, there is simply no substitute compared to the customer support in a traditional retail store.
Customer support in both retail and e-commerce stores goes beyond just dealing with inevitable problems. It can make a huge difference in converting leads into buying customers. 59% of American customers will try a new brand or company because of a better customer service experience . The difference between ecommerce support and traditional retail customer service is the purchasing process. In a brick mortar retail store, customers can purchase products in person as opposed to e-commerce where the transactions are online.
In e-commerce stores, purchases happen from the comfort of one’s home. In contrast, there is a customer service team in a retail store that can assist customers or walk them through their options. The biggest challenge in ecommerce outsourcing is customer engagement since the buyer only works with a virtual team. Here is a simple illustration of an e-commerce transaction.
In an e-commerce store, there is no employee with whom to ask for help. The goal of ecommerce support services is to ensure that you are able to address customer issues and provide solutions.
Why E-Commerce Outsourcing Makes Sense For Your Business?
Before learning how to outsource ecommerce support, let us first try to address some issues you may be having. For one, you may be asking yourself if outsourcing is really the right choice for your e-commerce business. Outsourcing can be a daunting task especially if you are still undecided whether to venture into ecommerce or not.
Outsourcing ecommerce support is a strategic decision that requires careful consideration. Here are 5 reasons why considering whether or not ecommerce full outsourcing solutions are a good decision for your business.
In case you’re a Startup
If you are just getting started with ecommerce and have a small team, it will definitely make sense to consider ecommerce outsourcing. If you still have a small company and are handling few customers, you might not have even considered outsourcing yet. However, as your business starts to grow and more customers are added, it may become overwhelming for your small team to handle the influx of new customers. This is where outsourcing ecommerce can be beneficial.
You need customer service in different languages
If your clients come from different parts of the world, you can consider ecommerce outsourcing services that include multilingual customer service agents. If you have queries coming in different languages, outsourcing can help deliver an amazing customer experience on behalf of your company.
You need multi-channel customer service
Different channels require different skills and expertise. Social media is different from phone and email support. If you don’t have an employee that has any expertise in various channels, outsourcing work makes sense. This can also save you tons of money since you don’t have to invest on a new infrastructure or coach new employees for that specific channel.
In case you need to be flexible (Seasonable employees)
It makes little sense to devote your internal resources on coaching and training representatives for a short period of time. Most providers already have a pool of agents that can be coached and trained on the projects in case they need additional manpower. Once your requirement increases, the amount of agents can also be scaled up to meet the additional requirements.
In case you need skilled individuals right away
Customer care representatives require a specific set of skills. Outsourcing gives you a guarantee that the individuals brought on are very experienced at what they do and can be depended on to be your company’s representatives. Although you can build an in-house team, outsourcing can bring a wide range of benefits to your company.
Benefits of Outsourcing E-Commerce
Before learning how to outsource ecommerce support, one of the things you might ask yourself is, “What’s in it for me?” Although you can always build your in-house customer support team, there are many benefits that you can derive from ecommerce support outsourcing. Let us take a look at these benefits:
- Receive Value for Your Money
Ecommerce full outsourcing providers are known for being cost effective. You can count on getting experienced and skilled workers fulfilling your company requirements. Costing will never be an issue because outsourcing companies will give you quality work at a minimal price.
- Focus on Core Services
With e-commerce outsourcing, you can focus on your core business. Hiring additional employees to perform mundane tasks doesn’t make sense. Running an e-commerce business includes a multitude of tasks such as website management, product listing, customer follow-up, inventory management, and others. These tasks can be easily passed on to an outsourcing provider. This way you can concentrate on being IN the business rather than ON it.
- Industry focused services
To become successful in e-commerce, you need to have the proper technology and tools. You need to be able to provide multi-channel support which may include voice call, live chat, email support, and SMS to ensure a seamless customer experience. Ecommerce support services have the necessary tools and techniques to ensure flawless services to clients.
- Access to specialized workforce
Customer service is a specialized function requiring management by experienced professionals. By outsourcing specialized functions, this eliminates the need for you to hire and train internal employees.
- Prompt client servicing
Prompt and effective customer care support is the key to a successful client relationship. In the world of e-commerce, speed is everything to buyers and their patience will wear out in about 10 minutes. One of the keys to learning how to outsource ecommerce support is ensuring prompt customer service. 90% of customers need a quick and prompt response to their customer-service related questions. Outsourcing companies have teams that are trained to provide round-the-clock support to address customer queries and complaints.
E-Commerce Services You Can Outsource
E-commerce full outsourcing can make a huge difference in converting leads into a buying customers. Managing your online marketplace and operating your ecommerce business at the same time can seem overwhelming. You can take some of the load off your shoulders. Here are some e-commerce services that you can consider passing to an outsourcing company.
- Abandoned Cart Recovery
There are many reasons online customers will choose to leave your website without even making a purchase. 55% of shoppers say that unexpected shipping, taxes, and fees are just some of the reasons shoppers abandon carts. Did you know that $4.6 trillion were lost in ecommerce sales annually due to abandoned carts? According to a study by Barilliance, the average cart abandonment rate for 2016 was 77.24% which rose to 78.65% in 2017.
E-commerce outsourcing can effectively address shopping cart abandonment by taking corrective measures like providing discounts, freebies for the purchase, free shipping, expedited delivery, or an alternative purchase option so the customer can complete the purchase. They can also send reminder emails in case the product is in limited stock.
- Quality Customer Support
Customer experience is crucial in converting visitors to customers. Any delays in your response can lead to customers losing interest in your products. If you have a customer support helpline, you can outsource the manning of the help desk to a provider. They are trained and knowledgeable with customer service tasks like adding grievance tickets.
- Product Review Page
The outsourcing company can also be tasked to handle review generation for your products and services. According to the Local Consumer Review survey conducted by BrightLocal, 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses. In addition, review ratings are the biggest driver of clicks in local search engine results.
The outsourced staff are knowledgeable with different methods on how to encourage customers to leave a review about your product or service. They are also social media experts who can watch your social media pages and respond to customers’ query about your product in a timely manner.
- Customer Satisfaction
Okay, you want to know what customers are saying about your product or services? Is it positive or negative? What customers say about your product will make a huge difference in improving your product or services. You can delegate the outsourcing company to conduct a customer satisfaction survey for your company.
- Online Marketplace
Searching for a product in the online marketplace can be a daunting task. Customers would want to know that the product they are searching for exists in the Marketplace and that the product listings are similar. How difficult or easy it is for the customers to search for products can enhance the user experience.
Outsourcing companies have designers who can help ensure a favorable product search environment for the customer. They can create filters to make the functionality of your search tab a breeze.
- Frequently Asked Questions Page
The outsourcing team can also be tasked to design your FAQ page. This section of your website is related to the most common issues that your customers face. The goal of the FAQ is to keep your customers well-informed about what they are signing up for and how to improve user experience. The FAQ page includes return/exchange policies, terms and conditions, availability information, and others.
Tasks You Can Delegate To An Outsource Company
Managing your ecommerce company can be a daunting task. At first, it would seem easy. However, as your business starts to grow and you gain more customers, you would find out how overwhelming it can be to manage and do menial tasks at the same time. This is where outsourcing companies can come in. Part of knowing how to outsource ecommerce support is identifying what tasks you can delegate to the outsource company. Here is a list of some of the tasks you can outsource.
Ecommerce customer service includes tasks like providing support, responding to emails, processing refunds, and call management. These are simple tasks as they are mostly clerical. However, the sheer volume of tasks that need to be completed can become overwhelming for a business owner like you. There are more important tasks that you should do. Utilizing ecommerce full outsourcing can help free you from customer service tasks so you can focus on the management aspects of your business and how to grow it..
Product sourcing entails a lot of research and constant communication with suppliers. Again this can be a tedious task that may take you away from the more important task of operations. With ecommere outsourcing, you can delegate the tasks to someone who has the experience and expertise in sourcing products.
Product Listing Optimization
Product listing is the backbone of any ecommerce business. It’s how the sale process begins. Once your product listing is seen by the customer, they may likely buy your product. What visitors see on the product listing will determine whether they buy your product or not. This is where the importance of product listing optimization can come in.
Ecommerce outsourcing services may include experts in optimizing product listings. These freelancers have the knowledge in creating well-written product descriptions or enhanced product photos. They are also knowledgeable with finding the relevant keywords for the said product(s).
Managing orders on a daily basis and ensuring that each order is processed properly and promptly can be tedious and time-consuming for a business owner. It may also involve other tasks like inventory management, report generation and process documentation. Although it can be easily learned and done, order management also requires attention to details. That is why the task should be done by someone who has experience in order management.
Social Media Marketing
Having an online presence is one of the keys to becoming successful in ecommerce. We cannot deny the impact of social media in doing business. However, this task can be difficult for someone who has no experience with social media marketing.
Some of the tasks of the social media marketer include creating a post on Facebook or LinkedIn. It should be delegated to someone who can grow the social media presence of your business. Luckily, most outsourcing companies have expert social media marketers in their fold.