But if you’re anything like most Amazon sellers –you’ll soon find that running an Amazon storefront takes time –and lots of it. Even simply keeping up with the administrative behind-the-scenes tasks can quickly eat up most of your day –even for fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) sellers.
While it’s certainly possible to do it all yourself when you’re first getting started, once your sales start to take off there’s a good chance that you could quickly find yourself in over your head –spending all of your time on the day-to-day business of order fulfillment, customer service, and marketing –while falling behind on other more high-level tasks like market research, product sourcing, and strategizing.
If you’re looking for help with your store, outsourcing to a virtual assistant, or VA, could be an ideal solution.
Hiring a VA is often the first-step that time-crunched Amazon store owners take when reducing their workload, and for good reason. A good VA isn’t just a time-saving solution; they’ll also be your ally in expanding your business operations.
A VA can tackle many of those routine, daily tasks that you find yourself bogged down with, and can free you up to focus on other things –like overseeing your business. Bringing a VA on board is a great place to start when it comes to making the most of your time –and is something that you’ll want to seriously consider if you consistently find that there’s just not enough hours in the day.
Wondering what a VA could do for your storefront? Read on to see some of the tasks that you’ll be able to outsource to a virtual assistant –as well as a few tips for doing this successfully!
How a VA Can Benefit You
Amazon is great, but successfully running a storefront is time-consuming. And let’s face it; some of the tasks can be tedious as well –especially when you’re doing them every day, multiple times a day. Sure, there are a number of tools out there that can help to simplify some of these tasks, but at the end of the day there’s still a lot that needs to be done –by hand.
A good VA will be able to make short work of many time-consuming tasks, and if you hire someone with the right experience –they may even be able to take on some of those things that you’ve been putting off. Hiring a VA allows you to ensure that necessary tasks get finished, while saving you from having to do them yourself –giving you both time and a competitive edge when it comes to using the platform.
But while enlisting the help of a VA is tremendously easy, in order to get the most out of your arrangement, you’ll want to take a few minutes to lay the groundwork necessary for success. This includes making a plan, ensuring you’re hiring the right person, and prioritizing the most important tasks that need to be done.
With this in mind, here’s a look at a few things that you’ll want to do to ensure that your VA experience is profitable.
- Hire the Right Person
Start by making a list of important tasks that you need to outsource. The most pressing ones are usually the ones that are eating up most of your time. If you’re stuck, making a list of everything that you’re doing during the day will help to highlight exactly which areas you could outsource –and give you a good idea about the type of VA that you’ll want to enlist.
Say, for example, you spend a great deal of time fielding buyers’ questions –you may want to look for a VA with a background in customer service. In some cases, you may find it helpful to enlist the help of a general VA for admin tasks, and then look for other professionals to outsource more specialized tasks to. For instance, you may find that you need a photographer for product images –or a content writer to create product descriptions. In some cases, you may be able to find a VA who will be able to do some specialized tasks, but avoid falling into the mindset of thinking that one person will be able to do everything –and to a high standard! It’s far easier to find a few professionals who are good in their respective fields than it is to find one person who’s good at everything.
Finally, before you enlist a VA –you’ll want to make sure that the tasks that you’re thinking of outsourcing are things that actually add value to your company in some way.
- Decide on a Method of Communication
You’ll also want to ensure that you come up with a clear plan for communicating with your VA. Ideally, you’ll want to bring up your preferred method of communication to your potential VA during the interview process –and you’ll also want to discuss time zones, and the hours that they’ll need to be available. Make sure they’re comfortable using the same platforms as you –Skype, Trello, Asana, Google Drive –or are willing to give them a try, before you bring them on board.
- Get Specific
The key to any successful VA experience is communication. Don’t expect your VA to be a mind reader, or leave them to guess what they’re supposed to do. Instead, be specific in your tasks –your processes if relevant, and your expected outcome for each one.
- Provide Feedback
As with any new hire, with a VA there’s usually a short learning curve involved during the onboarding process. Be prepared to provide constructive feedback, inform your VA exactly what you expect, and work with them to get the results right. Soon, you’ll see your efforts pay off.
Amazon Tasks to Outsource to a VA
Now, let’s take a look at some Amazon management tasks that you may want to think about hiring a VA for.
- Answering Questions –Responding to shoppers’
- Customer Service –Responding to customer messages.
- Responding to Customer Feedback –Responding to, and posting positive feedback. Removing or responding to negative feedback.
- Updating Product Listings –Keeping listings up-to-date.
- Monitoring Product Listings –Informing you of any key changes, such as new competitors or any instances of hijacking.
- Social Media –Managing your social media accounts, posting updates and responding to messages and feedback on your accounts.
- Communicating With Amazon –To have them remove inappropriate feedback, etc.
- Inventory Management –Helping with orders, including forecasts for holiday seasons.
- Conducting Keyword Research –And optimizing your Amazon listings –or website.
- Matching Orders to Reviews –In the case of unhappy customers, matching orders to reviews is crucial for sending messages directly to a buyers’ email account.
- Creating Removal Orders –For FBA sellers, in some cases inventory may need to be removed from FBA to a non-Amazon warehouse. A VA can initiate and oversee this time-consuming process.
- Confirming FBM Orders –Confirmation is an important part of getting paid by Amazon.
- Canceling FBM Orders –When an FBM order is canceled due to low stock, it’s a good idea to inform the customer ahead of time that the order can’t be fulfilled.
- Issuing Refunds –When a customer isn’t happy with their purchase, you’ll need to issue a If the product is damaged or defective, you may need to arrange a partial refund and product replacement.
- Creating Ad Campaigns –This involves keyword research –and a basic understanding of sponsored ads. It also involves analyzing campaign performance, and setting up negative key terms –to ensure that you’re not paying for them.
- SEO Optimization –Yes, you’re selling on Amazon –but Google’s search engine traffic can help to boost your sales –especially if you’re working to grow your own website in addition to your Amazon storefront. Consider a VA for keyword research, SEO optimization, and link building. Link building, especially, requires a professional since your site can be penalized if this isn’t done properly.
- Shipment Tracking –Updating customers on where their shipments are.
- Checking Units Received –To ensure that all units sent arrive, or requesting an Amazon investigation for units that are missing so that you’ll be reimbursed for them.
And much, much more!
While a VA may be able to do the above tasks, you’ll want to keep in mind that finding one person who’s skilled in each of these areas, could be a monumental task! Your best option may be to hire a VA –or two, depending on your workload, and then looking to hire specialists on an as-needed basis.
Tasks That May Require Additional Professionals Include:
- Product photography (listing images)
- Content creation (product listings, blog content, email marketing campaigns)
- Graphic design (logo design, infographics, ebook covers)
- Web design/development (if you’d like to create your own website)
If you find that you’re constantly doing many of the above-mentioned tasks, then it’s a safe bet that outsourcing to a VA could be the way forward. At the end of the day, outsourcing allows you to capitalize on something that we only have so much of –time. There are only 24 hours in a day –so make the most of yours by hiring someone to do the administrative and repetitive tasks for you. Then put your time to use growing your business.
With the right strategy, and a good VA on your team, you’ll be able to expand your business operations far more quickly than you’d be able to on your own.
All the best in your Amazon sales journey!
Thinking of outsourcing some of your Amazon management tasks to a VA? Be sure to get your FREE download worksheet today to see more Amazon tasks that you can outsource!