As an etailer, how can I ensure the best possible working relationship with my outsourced ecommerce provider?

To do this, you need to ensure that you choose both the right provider for your business and get the most out of the working relationship once you’ve selected them. Both are crucial to a healthy relationship.

First, contact current and past customers and ensure you ask them about the exact services they receive or received - sometimes you’ll find out that the provider offers multiple services but is recommended for one aspect of ecommerce and not necessarily another.

Arie Shpanya, chief executive of ecommerce consultancy agency imOnline, says: “Choosing a provider that’s working with your competition is not a conflict of interest. If they have a good knowledge of your field, you could benefit from even better results.” You then need to ensure you discuss exact expectations and goals, sticking to specific KPIs. Shpanya says: “A performance-based relationship with your provider will assist them in keeping on target and achieving results.”

Once you have chosen your ecommerce provider, ensure that they report according to a pre-arranged schedule - the more often, the better. You can also ask for a trial period if necessary, ensuring that it’s long enough to achieve results but short enough to move if the relationship isn’t working. Constant brainstorming is also crucial, says Shpanya. “Be as informative as possible. After all, you’re the best source of knowledge when it comes to your product and customers.”