If it doesn’t feel like you’ve got enough time to run and grow your operations, your business may benefit from third-party eCommerce solutions. These services from outside companies are built to help you focus on developing and growing your business. You prioritize what’s important and where you excel while handing off challenging activities to experts. Red Stag Fulfillment offers third-party eCommerce solutions when you need fulfillment and order support, but there are plenty of other ways you can outsource and save. Let’s look more into the process and areas of opportunity.
What are third-party eCommerce solutions
When people talk about third-party eCommerce solutions, they generally refer to business process outsourcing (BPO). BPO efforts turn a part of your business’s operations over to someone else. This can range from hiring a freelancer to do a small amount of work on your site to hiring a company that takes over your inventory management and order fulfillment.
You want to look for third-party eCommerce solutions, as opposed to any BPO options, because of the nature of selling online. There are many nuances and differences in eCommerce compared to traditional retail. Not only is eCommerce often a global effort, but laws change rapidly, and most businesses need help keeping up with that. These options can help protect your business while freeing you up to focus on sales, product selection, or your other favorite parts of eCommerce.
9 potential third-party eCommerce solutions
Now that you know what they are, let’s look at a few areas where you can outsource to save money, get expert support, and grow your business. Each in our list was chosen because it can help and because there are multiple outsourcing options available. As you read through it, you may think of other areas where you can save by switching a process to third-party eCommerce solutions.
1. Order fulfillment
Let’s start with what, in our opinion, is the best thing for an eCommerce company to outsource: order fulfillment. Working with a company like Red Stag Fulfillment helps you get orders to people on time and ensures they’re correct the first time. By using our multiple warehouses, you can reach 96% of the continental U.S. within two days — but typically get much better rates from carriers for those shipments.
Our expert team is available to help you with ordering and inbounding goods from domestic or overseas manufacturers. You get guaranteed service rates and speeds for getting that into your available inventory and ready to sell. Plus, outsourcing can help you with a variety of guarantees, such as a zero-shrinkage commitment.
Most companies that work with third-party eCommerce solutions for fulfillment achieve a variety of benefits:
- Easier time scaling because they can focus on sales
- Existing inventory to support growth, so you don’t need to move operations
- Multiple warehouses to reach customers quickly and control shipping zones
- Multiple carriers, including regional partners to keep orders flowing
- Leading technology to keep orders accurate
- Experts who can create and manage returns processes to help your business and customers
- Less hassle for managing complex supply chains, especially during covid
The right partner is designed to help you grow. Look for someone who knows your industry and specializes in products like yours. For example, Red Stag is one of the few 3PLs knows and can support large, heavy, and bulky goods. If you want to learn more right now, click the button below. Otherwise, keep reading for more ways to save and grow through third-party eCommerce solutions.
2. Web development
Most business owners will turn to a web development company to build a site because of the complexity involved. If you’re selling online and choose to outsource, it’s always a good idea to look at third-party eCommerce solutions. A firm focused on eCommerce websites can help you integrate shopping carts and marketing platforms, link up payment gateways, and build a site so that it’s easy to add discounts, banners, and other sales elements. Focus on your sales and outsource this activity to minimize the chance of something breaking.
3. Ongoing technology management
After your website is up, you’ll need to keep it running. That can be difficult as your platform or plugins update. New versions often make small changes in the technology or how an app shares data with others. You might also not like a program like your shopping cart plugin and want to change. You could even switch platforms to become a Shopify store. Every update and adjustment can cause issues.
Outsourcing your technology management to an IT support firm helps companies address this. Most businesses now tend to have at least some IT support from specialists. Looking for third-party eCommerce solutions will ensure that you’ve got a partner focused on eCommerce. They’ll understand what works well together, help protect your site, and may even make recommendations on payment processing, security, and other necessities.
4. Social media management
Some eCommerce stores may want to consider outsourcing their social media management. Having a third-party eCommerce expert do this can help you post and sell. Facebook, Instagram, and other social networks are becoming their own marketplaces. You can even sell directly in some ad units. Working with an expert can help you manage your social channels and ensure that you take advantage of sales opportunities.
One benefit of social media management is that you can hire someone who will plan out your strategy. They can create and implement a broad approach, schedule posts ahead of time, and ensure consistency across your accounts. Social media managers are also available to answer questions and respond to complaints, providing high-quality customer care. When looking at third-party eCommerce solutions for social outsourcing, find someone you trust to help you build your brand voice and treat customers respectfully.
5. Content marketing
Digital marketing is a complex endeavor for anyone. It takes a team to get things right, and there’s always more work to do. If you don’t have time for marketing but are increasing those efforts as your business grows, it might be time to get outside help.
Some of the smallest and largest companies in the world use marketing agencies. Finding an eCommerce-focused partner will help you build out a digital strategy designed to keep people in your sales pipeline. Agencies and partners can generate leads, develop ad strategies, find the right offer to make for customers, and communicate with people before and after the sale.
Content marketing firms can help you with SEO, social media ads, search ads, email marketing, email communications, and even ads on your site. Also in the content mix are blog posts and sales pages. Whether in your company or outsourced, a good team can make your sales life a lot easier.
6. Customer service
Online businesses can have shoppers from anywhere in the world. Well, that’s amazing for your profit potential. However, it also means your customers might need help at any hour. If you want to answer customers quickly but also get to sleep at some point, you might consider outsourcing your customer service capabilities.
Choosing third-party eCommerce solutions for customer service will give you a partner that understands your customers. They should specialize in products like yours, too. That will help them answer common questions, provide shipping and tracking details, give updates on statuses, and more. Outsourcing will typically give you access to website chat, email, and phone support. Some companies may offer social media customer service too.
7. Bookkeeping and accounting
Many eCommerce brands, even some huge ones, get bookkeeping and accounting services from other companies. This allows the eCommerce brands to get access to leading experts at an affordable rate. If you don’t have enough tasks or activities for a bookkeeper, outsourcing can be cheaper than hiring someone at a full-time salary while still getting all the support you need.
Mistakes in your bookkeeping and accounting can quickly compound concerns. Errors may mean you don’t have enough revenue to restock inventory or pay a bill. Or, you could have moved money too quickly to cover an expense. Third-party eCommerce solutions can help you track everything with an understanding of your invoices, how you buy inventory, fulfillment, and other operational needs.
Accountants that focus on eCommerce also can help you understand sales tax requirements for your business based on where you operate and where your customers live. Online sales tax rules aren’t uniform. Having an expert can protect you and help you avoid fines, or unexpected expenses come tax season.
Payroll is another business function that most companies don’t have 40 hours of work in each week. Outsourcing keeps costs low while also ensuring you have support to meet local and federal regulations. In many cases, you can use a payroll program that automates much of the payroll process, including withholdings, which helps you predict and control your expenses. Partners here — who sometimes can be your accountant above — should be experts in your chosen payroll platform so that they can help you avoid problems or troubleshoot issues that arise.
9. Product information management
Let’s wrap up with one area many companies don’t think about: third-party eCommerce solutions to manage your product information. Your business likely sells across multiple platforms, such as Amazon, eBay, your website, and social media platforms. You’re selling the same products, so each will need the same information. While product descriptions may vary, product information management (PIM) teams and software help ensure all the necessary elements are available and correct.
Outsourcing PIM gives you access to a team that will update and correct product descriptions across the web. You’ll get SEO benefits from the unified descriptions. These teams can also use PIM tools that automatically update information across every channel when you make a change. That can be anything from adding a color or size option to launching new products in a series. PIM experts are trained to clean up data so that your listings are within marketplace rules and meet necessary requirements.
Going with a PIM service makes it easier for you to add channels, too. These companies help manage your product catalog and can ensure a new channel gets every product all at once. It’s a lot of data entry work, and outsourcing can free up a significant amount of time for you and your team.
Fulfillment-focused third-party eCommerce solutions
Ready to start saving on your fulfillment costs and explore ways that a partner can help you grow? Then it’s time to talk to Red Stag about third-party eCommerce solutions that fit your business. Our experts can walk you through order fulfillment outsourcing and offer suggestions for other areas of improvement. Today is a great day to improve your operations.