The Internet has created a new era of cottage industries. It’s easier than ever for an enterprising person to set up an online store, or to take advantage of an existing site such as Etsy or Ebay to sell their goods.
Most ecommerce websites stay small, serving a niche well, but never expanding beyond the owner’s spare room. For those sites that do take off however, there are many challenges to overcome. It’s easy enough to handle a couple of orders a day in your spare time, but what will you do when you’re taking dozens (or even hundreds) of orders? Where will you store those orders? How will you ship them? That’s where outsourcing comes in.
Don’t Fear Delegating
Some small business owners insist on doing everything in-house because they’re scared of losing control of their business. In the case of internet fulfilment services, refusing to outsource can be a big mistake. Small companies rely on their reputations, and delayed shipping, stock control issues and messed up orders will quickly cause complaints to spread.
If you want your company to grow, then it makes sense to plan ahead and ensure that you have a strong mailing fulfilment solution in place. Specialist internet fulfilment services are able to handle high volumes of orders. They can keep plenty of stock on hand, and can pack and ship it quickly and efficiently. They’re in an entirely different league to a “spare room” operation.
Concentrate on What You do Best
When you set up your small business, you probably did so because you’re passionate about the product you’re selling. Either that, or you spotted a gap in the market and you decided to use your technical or marketing skills to capitalize on that gap.
In the early days of your operation, it was fine to spend a few minutes each day packing up orders and posting them out to customers, but as the volume of orders increases, you’ll find that you’re wasting more and more time on menial tasks. Why not spend that time on more important tasks?
The time you save by hiring a mailing fulfilment company can be used to improve your website, hone your auction copy, design some advertisements, or set up a mailing list and a customer reward program.
You may feel that your company is still small, and that outsourcing at such an early stage is presumptuous, but it makes a lot of sense. Many internet fulfilment services offer as-needed contracts, and allow you to pay only for what you use. This gives you the freedom to try out their services early and get used to working with the fulfilment company. As your needs grow, you can expand your package to match.
Ecommerce has opened up a huge number of opportunities, but the people who thrive will be the ones that know how to expand in a sustainable fashion, when to outsource, and when to keep things under their own wings.
Does outsourcing your business make sense now? Will you use these ideas?
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