Outsourced Product Development – A Trend or a Business Necessity

Nowadays the concept of outsourcing is a new hype in the software industry and many businesses are investing billions in outsourcing all their core and non-core product development activities. Since companies are intended to bring innovative products to the market rapidly, they need a strategic model of outsourcing for their upstream functions such as product designing and product development. An external engineering expertise not only reduces operational costs but also provides long-term benefits which, in turn, help to stay abreast of the competitors.

Though reasons could be numerous, the consistently emerging marketplace competition has actually drawn companies into new markets, domains/technologies for which they require expertise and skills in place. But when a company recognizes that they lack required infrastructures or skills, they end up on outsourcing product development activities. From this, it is evident that outsourcing is just not a mere trend but a business necessity which help companies to transform their raw ideas into innovative products. Let’s discuss in detail few reasons for why outsourced product development is a business necessity:

To Gain Expertise in Multi Domains

A saying states that it is always better to have more, which is true especially in the field of product designing and development. In order to build innovative and unique products, working on multiple concepts and theories is truly important. It not only helps to differentiate your product from others but also helps to determine product’s viability in the market. An outsourced product engineering firm generally has a team of design experts who work collaboratively with industry experts to build a working prototype of the product.

To Focus On Other Core Activities

Other than product development activities, a company needs to focus on several other tasks including IT operations, marketing, and sales. Not necessarily, engineering requirements are the only core requirements of every company especially when most of the R&D activities can be outsourced. Cost, in-house expertise, complex development processes, and resource management are some of the key areas which a company find challenging to deal with. Also, development teams are often swamped with numerous projects that require assorted expertise. Here the role of outsourced vendors comes into play. Their dedicated resources focus on a single project while freeing-up company to focus on other activities.

To Minimize Staffing Requirements

Since different projects have different requirements, organizations consider recruiting new talents for short-term periods to complete a specific project. But is this reliable to hire full-time employees that may put an extra burden on HR department as well as can create confidentiality risks? Getting the right person on board usually requires more time, and sometimes training sessions to learn. While outsourced firm, with their full-time staff, can help in completing development projects on time, nothing could be better than applying targeted expertise at the right time.

To Meet Fixed Project Timelines

It is very usual for companies to miss their project timelines due to failing in committing resources to it. On the other hand, outsourced partners, prior to signing a contract, clearly understand a project’s timeline and requirements and consider assigning their resources on it accordingly so as to ensure its on-time delivery.

To Minimize Operational Costs

High developments cost is one of the basic reasons why companies outsource engineering firms. Outsourcing helps to minimize product development costs by discussing project requirements and deciding a budget for it. Outsourced partner allocates resources and prepares regular reports in accordance to keep the company informed about the expenditures made for the changes other than the fixed budget.

On the other side, when product development is carried in-house, it becomes challenging to allocate extra resources or time for the new requirements. But outsourcing identifies the areas where extra resources are needed and sets a budget for it. With holding years of experience in optimizing product designs, outsourcing can help business to achieve their goals is shorter span of time.

To Win Over Competitors by Gaining Market Ownership

As we have mentioned earlier, businesses are striving to gain a competitive edge over their competitors, which is only possible when they would have a clear picture of the market trends and customer’s requirements. Their launched products should be unique and innovative for a customer to accept. Outsourced partners with their expertise can be a great help in terms of bringing creative ideas to the table. Also, by performing a complete market analysis, they can assist with the products having higher demands in the market, customer’s expectations, scope of transforming existing product, and marketing strategies for launching a product.

Launch Your Business and Sell Your Products On The Best E-Commerce Platform Today

Undoubtedly the best E-commerce platform today, Shopify is a Canadian E-commerce company headquartered in Ottawa and created by, like many other companies, people who sought out for something, didn’t get it and decided to make it and avail it to the public.

Shopify has had rapid growth through the years and their purchasing of resources, or better yet other small business brands to further build the company is impressive. What’s more impressive is their easy-to-remember slogan: “Whether you sell, on social media, in store or out of the trunk of your car, Shopify has you covered”. A better version is: “Shopify, the best place to sell online, in person, and anywhere in-between”.

Shopify doesn’t leave you hanging either. The platform hosts a Podcast and avails several resources to business owners in the form of blog posts. In fact, you could be an affiliate, investor or someone whom just follows the platform and they wouldn’t let you down.

You’re new to business and the platform in general? You get posts to help you get your first sale. You’re an affiliate? You get the resources you need to help you better understand and promote the platform. You’re a professional Entrepreneur with lots of experience? Believe it, Shopify has you covered.

But a platform as this does have its drawbacks, especially since the evident rise of drop shipping in 2015 where it became saturated with people thinking that outsourcing products from AliExpress was a good idea (even though drop shipping has been here since people thought of selling stuff to other people) and everyone who failed labeled it a “Get rich quick” scheme, even though Shopify has never publicly, or privately insinuated that using their platform assures/insures success.

WHY SHOPIFY?

There are a lot of attributes that make Shopify a sexy platform; particularly that it can be customized according to ones wishes. They are listed below;

• User friendly interface.

• Plans catering to your needs.

• World class customer support.

• Easy customization.

• A blog for your store.

• Access to Shopify experts that’ll help with your store at a negotiable cost.

• An app store with apps to help you manage your store and many more.

SHOPIFY PLANS

Shopify has plans with features that fits every criteria one may garner. There are generally five shopify plans with specific features available for them. The plans and respective features are discussed below;

THE LITE SHOPIFY PLAN

If you have a Facebook page about a particular activity or service and you have products you could sell on your page, then this is the plan for you. It is limited to only selling on Facebook and costs $9.

THE BASIC SHOPIFY PLAN

This plan costs $29 and has cards rates of: 2.9%+30¢ for Canadian cards, 3.5%+30¢ for Amex or international cards and an in- person card rate of 2.7%+0¢. There are no transaction fees for using Shopify payments as your payment gateway, but using external payment gateways has a transaction fee of 2.0% percent.

With this plan you get these features: two (2) staff accounts, ability to add an unlimited number of products, an unlimited amount of file storage space, a $49 retail package, a “good” Shopify shipping discount, shipping labels printed, 24/7 hour support, fraud analysis, the ability to create orders manually, discount codes, a website and a blog and finally a free SSL certificate. Features you do not get on this plan are: gift cards, professional reports, advanced cart recovery, advanced report builder nor third-party calculated rates.

THE SHOPIFY PLAN

This plan costs $79 and has cards rates of: 2.7%+30¢ for Canadian cards, 3.4%+30¢ for Amex or international cards and an in- person card rate of 2.6%+0¢. There are no transaction fees for using Shopify payments as your payment gateway, but using external payment gateways has a transaction fee of 1.0% percent.

With this plan you get these features: five (5) staff accounts, ability to add an unlimited number of products, an unlimited amount of file storage space, a $49 retail package, a “better” Shopify shipping discount (than the basic plan), shipping labels printed, 24/7 hour support, fraud analysis, the ability to create orders manually, discount codes, a website and a blog, a free SSL certificate, gift cards, professional reports and advanced cart recovery. Features you do not get on this plan are: advanced report builder and third-party calculated rates.

THE ADVANCED SHOPIFY PLAN

This plan costs $299 with cards rates of: 2.4%+30¢ for Canadian cards, 3.3%+30¢ for Amex or international cards and an in- person card rate of 2.4%+0¢. There are no transaction fees (, as usual) for using Shopify payments as your payment gateway, but using external payment gateways has a transaction fee of 0.5% percent.

On this plan, every feature is made available to you. Specifically, fifteen (15) staff accounts, ability to add an unlimited number of products, an unlimited amount of file storage space, a $49 retail package, the “best” Shopify shipping discount, printed shipping labels, 24/7 hour support, fraud analysis, the ability to create orders manually, discount codes, a website and a blog, free SSL certificate, gift cards, professional reports, advanced cart recovery, advanced report builder and third-party calculated rates.

THE SHOPIFY PLUS PLAN

Shopify plus plan is Shopify’s “custom” plan. There is barely any information of this plan except that you get what you agree on with Shopify. If a business gets intereste in the plan, they contact an affiliate or some affiliate brands of Shopify and they will submit/refer you to Shopify. After which Shopify will call you and create a store for you based on your agreed criteria.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH SHOPIFY

My personal journey with Shopify has been very interesting. In my first week of opening my first two stores, I’ve had several abandoned carts. Why so many abandoned carts? You ask! Because living in a third world country, Nigeria, I couldn’t get a payment processor. All good options required that a business be registered (Until recently but only for new accounts). It’s sad. So if you fail, it’s always easier to blame it on your country rather than the platform. It’s like back lashing at Google because they didn’t have results for a weird name/word you were searching for.

My first store sold geek merchandise and the second store that I still work on, sells Long Boards. I still can’t get a payment processor and so have a vast amount of abandoned carts while I simultaneously try to make it look appealing and trustworthy. I haven’t given up!

So, I saved the best for last. Shopify allows a 14 day free trial after which you’ll need to buy a plan to keep using the platform unless a development store is created for you. There is still no loophole because once a store is 14 days old; you’ll need to still buy a plan regardless of if it was created as a development store. The only other option is for you to be added as an employee and when the store makes 50 orders, you’ll need to buy a plan and the store gets handed to you. You also have the opportunity to employ Shopify Experts to help you with your store based on what you agreed on.

If you have a product, whether you made it or had it made for you and would like or are ready Launch, then there is no better platform to sell on than Shopify.

Tips for Branding a New Company or Business

As we all know branding is a very important part of establishing your company/business. One of the benefits to starting fresh with a new business brand is that the possibilities are endless. You want your brand and/or logo to represent who and what your business stands for. This article is all about tips to get you started building your brand and marketing it to the world.

Branding Tips

1. The very first thing you need to consider is what makes your business unique from other businesses that provide similar products/services. Whatever it is that sets your business apart from competitors is the cornerstone for your branding.

2. Remember when choosing a brand name, that your cornerstone is what makes you unique and adds value to your customers. So you will want to name your business with its own unique name that differs from the other businesses in your field.

3. When choosing a name and logo you will want to take your time not rush into anything. When creating a name you will want to remember to keep the name simple and easily pronounced as to be easily remembered. Shorter names often stick in consumer’s heads more effortlessly. An example: Microsoft or Adobe.

4. Colors all have different meanings and you will need to consider the right color display for your logo. Colors also have the ability to carry out tones. Purple has been said to represent royalty and power. You will want to pick colors based on what your company/business provides to its customers. Branding is all about the lasting impressions in the consumer’s eyes.

5. Consistency through your company/business name, logo design, website and advertising is very important and gives your audience and customers familiarity and provides your business credibility. An example would be if you are an edgy skateboard company and you choose a graffiti logo, you will want to carry that throughout your web design and advertising.

6. The consistency that you create to represent your company has a voice or a tone. When you consider your business and marketing you need to know the overall tone of who your company is. Does your business have a light and airy quality? Is it more of a, be prepared dissonance tone? Whatever tone is associated with your business now will need to be carried out for the life of your business.

7. Test your branding results with people whom could be your potential customers. You will want to choose groups of people that could gain from your product/service. Ask them a series of questions about all aspects of the design; the name, the logo, the colors, the tone. Allow the last question that you ask to be about memorability. Will they walk away and remember your brand later on?

8. Lastly, always put your brand on anything associated with your business. This will include everything from bags and tags to every single advertisement and marketing opportunity you have. The more consumers see of your brand, the stronger the remembrance, recognition and response you will achieve.

Product Listing Tips For a Highly Successful E-Commerce Business

Every online seller must know that the presentation and marketing of their products / services directly impacts the sale and revenue models for their Ecommerce business. Unlike a retail store, an E commerce platform cannot provide their customers an opportunity to handle the commodities physically and feel the quality. This is precisely why the significance of product listings and presentation becomes even more important. Online entrepreneurs can successfully help their online customers make an informed decision regarding their purchase by providing correct product listings.

Here’s how you can improve your product listings for your E-commerce business in 4 easy steps!

1. Provide a Detailed Product Description

Although photos are a must, do not underestimate the value add of written words. Your virtual customers will still require a useful description that offers information regarding product pricing, specifications, product care, shipping and various other essential details. The E-Commerce regulation requires that the price must be clearly mentioned. An informative product description is a great way to persuade your online customers that your product is worth purchasing.

2. Make the Product Description More Enjoyable To Read

Keep the product description a focused piece to help you make a sale, instead of lengthy creative writing. You can easily witness your sales soar by improving your online customer’s experience for your E-Commerce business. If you are not proficient with words, consider hiring a copy-writer to add polish and persuasion to your listings.

3. Include Long Tail Keywords to Make Your Products Easy To Find

If you find yourself struggling to attain good rankings in the search results, you can overcome this and get more search traffic by including long tail keywords. Four keywords or more are adequate. The longer the keyword, the simpler it is for you to rank high for that keyword in search engines. Find the most in-demand relevant keyword and expand it for longer variations. For instance, if the long tail keyword you are targeting is ‘Weight loss guide for beginners’, you can generate many more daily visitors through long tail search for fitness niche such as:

• best weight loss guide for beginners

• beginners weight loss guide

• free weight loss guide for beginners

• download weight loss guide

4. Tell A Story and Talk About the Product Benefits

In addition to mentioning the features, it is important to present the product in a way that is appealing and engaging. Customers want to know why they should buy a product, so it must clearly explain ‘what’s in it for them’. A straightforward headline and an engaging story will add personalized appeal and highlight the product benefits. The font size must be just right, and an array of colours can skilfully draw attention to the headlines and bullet points. Some brands tell the whole story behind the product so the customers know how it’s made and how it will add value to their lives.

Remember, your product listings must successfully ‘Engage, Persuade, and Sell’. Your product copy must not simply offer a product description on ecommerce platform and tell the online visitor what it does. It must persuade the readers to click on ‘BUY’.