If you’re an eCommerce store owner, you know it takes a great deal of work to run a business. With so many different responsibilities and ecommerce work on your plate, it can be difficult to stay on top of your game.
For this reason, many eCommerce store owners choose to outsource some or even all of their tasks so they can focus on what matters most: selling products! This includes:
- Fulfilling orders
- Shipping orders
- Tracking orders
- Preparing packages to ship (packing and labeling, etc.). You can use a shipping service like UPS or FedEx. Alternatively, you can save money by using a shipping service like ShipStation or Endicia that allows you to print labels directly from your eCommerce platform of choice, sending them right to the carrier of your choice.
Returns are a common part of eCommerce, and they can be a pain to deal with. However, returns can also be an opportunity for your business—if you have an excellent return policy that entices customers to return their products.
It’s important to set up your return process early so that you don’t run into problems when it comes time for returns. One way you can do this is by outsourcing returns management tasks to a virtual assistant who’ll make sure that the process goes smoothly and easily. In addition to assisting with returns management, VAs are great at answering customer service emails and phone calls from dissatisfied customers. VAs also help out with product sourcing duties like finding suppliers or negotiating terms with them.
Amazon Customer Support
Selling on Amazon?
Then help your customers by answering the following questions:
- What are the product specifications? (i.e., size, color, and materials)
- Are there any additional fees or taxes that should be added to my order?
- Can I return this item if I decide it’s not what I want? How do I initiate a return/exchange process?
Facebook Customer Support
If you are selling on Facebook, as your business grows, you will want to focus more on marketing and less on customer support. Until then, you need someone who can respond to customer questions in a timely manner and using the right tone.
Your goal is to always answer their question in a polite, friendly, and helpful way. This will help build trust with your customers, so they come back again in the future. You also want to be professional at all times so that people don’t view your brand as unprofessional or spammy when interacting with other customers either online or offline (such as when promoting your products/services).
Email Customer Support
Email customer support is a large part of eCommerce. You’ll need to field questions and complaints from customers, as well as to handle returns and exchanges.
Luckily, there are a number of virtual assistants who have experience in this area. They can help you with things like:
- Responding to customer emails and phone calls (or scheduling those conversations)
- Creating FAQ pages for your website or social media sites
- Answering general questions about your products or services
Setting up New Products on Amazon
Setting up new products on Amazon, eBay, Facebook ads, Google Ads and Yahoo is a big task. Some of these platforms allow you to upload a file with your product information in bulk; others require you to enter everything manually. If you have an existing product that needs updating, this can also be time-consuming.
Product Listings on eBay, Etsy, and other Selling Platforms
- Uploading images for your ecommerce store and products
- Creating ads for your ecommerce store and products on Facebook Ads or Google AdWords, Amazon PPC Ads, or Bing Ads.
You can outsource this task to a remote assistant who has the necessary skills to create listings on eBay, Etsy, and other selling platforms. A VA will be able to upload images of your products as well as to create ads for them.
Bookkeeping & Accounting Tasks (Tracking Profit and Loss)
- Understand the financials of your business
- Keep track of the money coming in and going out
- Important to keep records for tax purposes; for example, if you are a sole proprietor or have employees, you will need to file quarterly payroll taxes (Form 941).
- If you choose to do it yourself, there are many resources available at no cost on the internet that can guide you through this process.
Researching New Markets/New Categories to Sell in
This task is the most time-consuming, so you’ll want to outsource it. A virtual assistant should be able to help you evaluate whether a market or category is worth entering, based on their previous experience and knowledge of your industry. They can also help identify potential partners and suppliers in that new space if you decide to enter it.
Suppliers/Manufacturers/Wholesalers to Work with
- Find suppliers that are reliable and trustworthy. As you know, the whole point of outsourcing is to make your life easier; it’s not worth it if your VA has to spend hours trying to track down where your product is, or why it hasn’t shipped yet
- And find suppliers that have good customer service. When working with a manufacturer, you want them to be able to answer questions quickly and professionally—and not just about the quality of their products! They should also be able to help with aspects such as shipping rates, packaging details, and more (it’s what makes them ‘wholesalers’ after all).
- Find suppliers with a good reputation. Just because someone has been in business for years doesn’t mean they’re trustworthy—or even competent! Make sure you do some research on any potential manufacturers before signing any deals. Should problems arise later on (and they will), at least one party will know how best to deal with those issues to everyone’s satisfaction.
Shipping & Inventory Management
Designing and implementing a shipping system can be one of the most frustrating parts of running an online business. We all want to promote our products to as many customers as possible. However, with the amount of work required and how quickly things change, it’s easy for shipping systems to become outdated or bogged down.
This is where it becomes handy to outsource the shipping. A virtual assistant can help you set up your shipping system so that you can export data from your current order management solution (like Magento). You can then import it into their own automated process. Thereafter the data returns to Magento or another platform, where orders are shipped. The VA will also make sure that any necessary changes are made at their end whenever they update their process.
With regard to inventory management, there are certain options you should consider:
- Using a system that works with what you already have (eBay)
- Also, using third-party tools like ShipStation or Shippo
- Hiring someone who specializes in inventory management
Product Sourcing (Finding Products to Sell)
One of the most important tasks that a virtual assistant can help with is product sourcing. This involves finding suppliers and negotiating deals with them. It’s crucial to be careful when choosing a supplier—finding one that is reliable, offers fair prices and produces high-quality products will save you time and money in the long run.
To find these suppliers, you can use websites such as Alibaba or TradeKey (which are both centralized marketplaces). Alternatively, you can browse through the forum section on eBay to see what other sellers have used successfully. Once you have found some potential suppliers, reach out to them via phone call or email (if they are located abroad). After negotiating with several potential partners, choose one that offers good quality at affordable prices. You should make sure that their manufacturing process meets international standards before finalizing your deal; this way you avoid being scammed by dishonest companies looking for quick profits at your expense!
Managing SEO for your Online Store and Products
- SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
- And, SEO is the process of optimizing your website so that it ranks higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
- SEO can be broken down into two components: on-page SEO, and off-page SEO. On-page refers to factors that affect how well a web page will rank in search results; whereas off-page relates to factors that affect how well the entire website performs.
Uploading Images for your eCommerce Store and Products
- Use a stock photo website.
- Or, use a free stock photo website.
- Use a paid stock photo website.
- Also, use image-editing software to create your own images for your products, such as Photoshop or GIMP. If you do not have access to these programs, it is probably best to use one of the other options above! This is easiest if you have access to the product and can take pictures yourself (or if there are public domains that allow you to use their photos).
Creating Ads for your eCommerce Store and Products on Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, Amazon PPC Ads, or Bing Ads
Depending on the type of business you are running and the type of advertising you want to do, there are various types of ads that can be created. If you sell a service or product, it is recommended that you use a lead-generation ad which will generate leads for your business by showing offer customers cannot refuse (or just something they need). In this case, include information such as pricing, benefits, and a call-to-action button.
For example: “Interested in buying $100 worth of dog food? Click here!”
If someone clicks on this link they will be taken through to an online form where they can enter their details. They can request more information via email or SMS text message, depending upon how much information has been asked of them when filling out the form fields, such as name, address, telephone number, etc.
Create Reviews for your Products on Amazon, eBay, or Etsy
There are only a few places where you can gain honest reviews of your products. These include:
- Amazon, eBay, and Etsy (seller feedback)
- Google Shopping (reviews and ratings)
- Facebook Marketplace/Gumtree, etc. (product ads)
It’s important to set up these reviews early on in the lifecycle of your product; therefore consider outsourcing this task to a VA for maximum ROI.
Tasks of a virtual assistant
Virtual assistants can be a valuable asset to your business, especially if you’re already stretched thin on time and resources. These professionals will help you with a wide variety of tasks—in fact, it’s likely that they may even manage some aspects of your eCommerce business for you!
Here are tasks that should be outsourced
- Marketing and PR assistance
- Social media management (including engaging with customers)
- SEO optimization (keyword research, content creation)
- Content marketing strategy development and execution
If you’re serious about growing your eCommerce business, you should definitely consider outsourcing some of these tasks to a virtual assistant. Not only will a VA save you time and money, but VAs can also help your business grow faster by getting more done in less time.