There are several areas in which a store owner can outsource tasks and functions when dealing with a Shopify store so as to take out some of the time-consuming to-dos' so as to focus on other areas of the business. It isn't easy to let go of some of these, but the decision to make/buy/run the various departments of an eCommerce business needs to be made especially when it comes to scaling and increasing your offering in additional products and sales cycles.
Areas that can be outsourced
Splitting out the business in areas where teams are available to handle your account in a clear and defined fashion is crucial for successful outsourcing so that the roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, expectations can be met, and allows for a smooth customer experience. The following areas seem logical:
Order Fulfillment - 3rd Party Logistics is an easy area to completely isolate. Once the order comes in, it is passed onto the warehouse where they track your stock and process the order with a Pick/Pack/Ship. Shopify Shipping gives you the ability to ship products from your garage, at one point as the business grows, the garage may not be enough. The more orders that come in, the more time it takes to process them eating your time incrementally. A lot of 3PL's are integrated with Shopify, and you just need to add a Shopify App to your store for them to see the orders to fulfill.
Social Media Management - Part of the digital marketing strategy is social media engagement. A lot of time is involved in interacting with the audience, as well as there are multiple platforms. From pre-sales to support is the range of topics. There is a cross-over with some content marketing when it comes to posts, and creating engaging posts. With a part-time or full-time ambassador of your brand and products, you will free up time to focus on other areas of your operation.
Content Creation - This area is also crossing over with SEO, Product Descriptions, Social Media, and at times Email Marketing. Content unifies your brand and drives your value proposition and differentiation of your products and company on the web. A piece of content drives your keywords associated with your SEO and can increase your authority. This can be done via landing pages, Blogs, and follows your content marketing strategy. The skill to verbalize your thoughts, the context in which the products are being offered, and communicate to the audience the value of the brand.
Product Descriptions - In order to add keywords and differentiate your products. This is tedious work, and if you are adding new products as you are scaling and expanding your store, the time spent in adding product or services with the associated keywords that has SEO value, there is value in outsourcing this area when needing to coordinate logistics and keep driving your business.
Customer Service - As you grow and increase your sales, so do the customers, and thus your customer service will also have increasing needs. Responding to customers can be tough since keeping an eye on each shipment and order will reach a point where research on the status of the order, the shipment, the product or service details, or how-tos' will require time to respond. As these inquiries scale, an experienced person in handling customers will most likely be needed to assist you to focus back on the business.
Market research - Understanding the supply and demand, the competition, retail prices, and feature/cost/reliability of competitive products can be a world of its own, but this intelligence is extremely important. Obtaining the data, interpreting it, and applying it to the business requires a high-quality individual that can bring traditional marketing analysis, apply it to online marketing and drive it back to potential customers. This loop is critical to any or all of the execution of the business. This is strategic and drives all marketing areas including social media marketing as well.
Payroll and Accounting - a lot of small and larger businesses already have an accountant to help them handle the books, and ensure that the numbers add up. If you don't you are probably missing out when it comes to forms and deductions. It is definitely an area to look into if you don't have someone already engaged.
SEO - To drive a successful content marketing campaign, you have to do your marketing research on the keywords used by your industry, your competition, and the methods they use to reach out to their audience. SEO combines your digital marketing strategy and puts it into action. With today's tools of Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and several other tracking tools, you have solid metrics feedback to see your cause and effect in driving your campaigns. However, when it comes to the time required to do this effort, together with your content creation - this requires quality time to write, and engage with your audience.
Graphic Design - Web designers get artistic inspiration from the brand, its industry, and the offerings being sold. "Website design" has different marketing flavors, from a call-to-action theme to a corporate "who we are" layout. The tools to render the design with Photoshop, and other key tools to present your branded website's content require learning and applying them to achieve a high-quality professional result. Having the artistic skill, combined with the tools and time makes it easier to outsource than trying it yourself in most cases.
Email Marketing - Following your digital marketing strategy, Email marketing takes various inputs from your promotional schedule, content marketing such as blogs, your product, and service marketing new announcements, and all kinds of content being funneled through to your Email marketing activity for someone to collect the marketing message, format the Email and manage the subscribed audience requires time and attention in a way to get things right and delivering the engagement sought after.
Web development - The execution of your technical needs for your Shopify Theme, Shopify Apps, or even build Shopify Custom App. The skills required to manage your liquid files, CSS, and HTML to implement your UI/UX for your online store. To manage the theme for various campaigns, add additional tools for support, social media, implement affiliate marketing, or apply your marketing tactics, development skills are needed for front-end and if it involves integrations, back-end programming.
Photo and Video content - Some have the touch, some can see the right angle to take for photoshoots or product demonstration videos. It is a time-consuming department, especially considering that the content has to work with desktop and mobile devices.
Administration and Data Entry - Either with a Personal Assistant (PA) or assistance from a Virtual Assistant (VA). Managing your schedule, your deadlines, the products and services, inventory levels, key business metrics, and attention to detail.
Online Store general management - When you need to run and coordinate your marketing campaigns, the development activities, a Program Manager (PM) might assist your online store see the coordination and execution it deserves. Managing multiple departments to achieve the symphony of sales, takes the diligence, application of the discipline of ensuring customer service and experience.
When it comes to outsourcing your Shopify Store's areas and departments to free up some of your time, it is nice to see that there are options. Taking the areas where you might be less efficient and outsourcing them, and finding the time to scale your business might be just what's needed to solve some of the business areas with best of breed practices. When it comes to development - we are Shopify Experts and you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or challenges.