As the Internet continues to develop and change, eCommerce is taking on a life of it’s own. Consumers are presented with new shopping opportunities everyday. Even in the manufacturing industry, consumers are shopping, researching and educating themselves online – and they’ve been doing it for a while now. Whether you are just getting ready to start selling your products online, or you are looking to update your old shopping cart, the same question comes up: should we manage this in-house or should we outsource?
There are obvious pros and cons that come with bringing someone in-house. For example, the 100% dedication of one employee could be beneficial, but the financial overhead of that new employee could be expensive. For now, let’s talk through the pros and cons of outsourcing eCommerce development work.
Outsourcing eCommerce Development Pros
A Team of Skilled Employees
When outsourcing development work, you are able to get skilled developers at a premium rate. There are many development forums, networking events, LinkedIn groups, etc. where you can look for certified help.
With outsourcing comes the ability to bring in a partner who has worked with companies similar to yours. You can shop your work out to companies with a proven track record and quality references.
With outsourced help for specific projects, you have the ability to set the price range of the project. Define specific deliverables and make sure that the outsourced developer is meeting your expectations.
Pre-determined Project Schedules
When working with an outsourced company, they are focused on a specific task. Once a project is signed off on, additional updates are going to be considered out-of-scope. This will help to ensure that you properly weigh the risk/reward of every project before it is started.
If your company has limited needs and you want high quality work, then the answer is definitely to outsource. Break down the effort that you need on a per-week basis and see if it makes more sense to outsource without the overhead a full-time employee.
Outsourcing eCommerce Development Cons
Outsourced agencies can be very expensive, especially if you are not going to see an immediate ROI on their services. All projects will need to go through the internal red tape before anything can be started.
This is the biggest con for outsourcing work. If you are currently selling online, chances are that you have some agency horror stories. Once you find a good agency, don’t let them go.
Good service providers usually have full production schedules. They aim to keep their developers utilized and billable at all times. This means that if a website bug arises or small fix is needed, it may be a while before they get to it. This could lead to missing out on promotional opportunities.
There are clearly pros and cons of outsourcing your eCommerce development workload. My recommendation would be to go with a hybrid approach. Find an agency that has the ability to look at your company holistically and act as an internal resource. This will give you the safety net to let them go if they are not hitting their deliverables, but will also give you the assurance that they are a committed part of the team.
Get to know your agency and make sure that they are a good cultural fit with your company before engaging with them. When you find the right long-term fit with an agency, the pros will definitely outweigh the cons.