Five myths of retail outsourcing

How it can optimise sales.

Crossmark director of client service Anthony Di Francesco has shared his five common misconceptions about outsourcing and explains how it could be the key to surviving retail.

Myth 1: Outsourcing is more expensive

One of the most common myths is that outsourcing merchandising field staff is expensive. However, many companies fail to look beyond the agency’s costs which include indirect costs of labour such as field operations support and technology. If a financial analysis is undertaken, companies are usually surprised at the cost savings gained from outsourcing, particularly for those with seasonal products as outsourcing offers scalable solutions that can be tailored around the company’s needs.

Myth 2: An agency won’t understand my business

Just as an appliance manufacturer knows everything about the research, development and production of that appliance, a retail merchandising company has its core function specialising in retail experience that can add value across a number of levels. Companies should consider whether the business would benefit from focusing its internal resources and outsource retail specific functions to a field marketing agency.

Myth 3: Agencies won’t build meaningful relationships with retailers

Relationships can be crucial to getting stock ranged and on-shelves. Field merchandising teams manage multiple brands, scheduling multiple store visits and focus on fostering strong relationships with store staff at all levels from store managers to the category buyers and warehouse managers. Leveraging relationships through an agency can be a huge selling point for outsourcing.

Myth 4: In-house teams are more efficient

The perception that agency staff are not as hard working as an in-house team couldn’t be further from the truth. A good agency has an obligation to be transparent and will prioritise accountability and efficiency due their desire to maximise their clients’ ROI.

Myth 5: Agencies don’t consider long term sales strategies

One of the most valuable ways brands can benefit from a field agency’s retail marketing expertise is by asking the agency for input when developing sales and marketing strategies. While agencies can provide short-term solutions by filling staff gaps during the Christmas rush, their expertise adds great value when they are invited to work alongside clients.

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