The case for turnkey solutions: Why outsourcing eCommerce makes sense
March 3, 2017
Companies expanding into the eCommerce realm, whether they're brick-and-mortar retailers branching out or wholly new organizations, have to decide how much to handle in-house. There are a host of essential functions, from hosting the website to making logistics arrangements, that can either be tackled by the company itself or handed to a trusted third party.
While leaders may initially be committed to taking on a significant percentage of these roles themselves, they should be aware that there are financial and efficiency benefits to implementing a turnkey eCommerce platform. While it's true that a bad integration between third-party systems and a company's own operations can create disjointed processes or customer confusion, a true meeting of the minds between business and platform can lead to great results.
A fulfillment partner can add stability, even for a merchant just getting established.
The path to becoming an effective eCommerce company through in-house means is relatively clear. Merchants have to set up their own websites, order management platforms and logistics systems. Before they embark on this potentially long and expensive process, however, leaders should consider the potential gains to be had from installing a third-party solution to deal with one or more of those essential elements.
"As long as merchants work with top-quality providers, the benefits from these turnkey platforms are obvious."
Web necessities in the clouds: When eCommerce leaders work with third parties, they can implement cloud-based web resources instead of trying to host the platform on their own servers. Then, they gain the flexibility and rolling updates that are a trademark of the cloud. Business Zone contributor Sara Corner pointed out that the cloud has brought accessibility, scalability and stability to the software that powers companies' efforts.
Building an appropriately scaled system in-house could prove to be hugely expensive, as the company would need enough computing horsepower to handle peak times. Furthermore, these bespoke platforms would have to receive updates on whatever schedule the team could work out. Purchasing a cloud system is a neat way around these issues.
Reliable fulfillment: ECommerce businesses that opt to run fulfillment through third parties gain access to shipping and warehousing networks that are already established and often among the best in their class. Multichannel Merchant blog contributor Jesse Kaufman explained that when organizations purchase third-party fulfillment, they should ensure they work with experienced partners that have set up similar fulfillment solutions before. If they do this, they gain relief from problems that may sneak up if they attempt to keep their fulfillment in-house.
When an organization delves into fulfillment on its own, it could end up with unexpected costs brought on by inefficient deliveries or unexpected returns. Kaufman pointed out that every slip in this department brings its own financial damage. Sidestepping these potential costs is a major reason to look for an experienced and competent third party. Expertise honed through years of logistics operations can benefit the new client company's bottom line.
Communication and service: When eCommerce companies take on their platform needs in house, they're on their own in important ways. Conversely, when they work with providers of reliable turnkey solutions, they gain access to customer service teams to help them through any challenges and keep their services at 100 percent.
The ability to call up reliable personnel and have questions answered is perhaps an underrated facet of outsourced eCommerce, but it's an essential one, according to Econsultancy. The source specified that relationships between companies and third parties should start with an understanding of what service entails and how the provider will help out.
Adding third-party elements to an eCommerce environment can have immediate advantages.
Financially steady, operationally easy
Implementing whatever eCommerce features a company lacks is clearly an easier way to scale up into an eCommerce company than building in-house. As long as merchants work with top-quality providers, the benefits from plugging these turnkey platforms in where they're needed are obvious. No longer having to set aside hours or dollars to keep in-house IT running is a potential life-saver for a small or medium business, and gaining access to established logistics networks allows companies to step up to large-scale operations in the blink of an eye.
Building something without partnerships is a difficult road. The assistance provided by a qualified and helpful third party can transform an organization's outlook and enhance its progress as it makes the long but essential journey to eCommerce excellence. Brick-and-mortar companies and eCommerce natives alike can consider whichever elements of solutions will suit their needs and implement these products accordingly, getting exactly what they need.