Running your own business on Amazon is one of the most fulfilling things you can do. But as your business begins to grow, there will be a moment when it’s going to outgrow what you can do for it one on one. At that point, you can continue to try to do everything yourself and watch your business suffer for it, or you can begin to outsource tasks so you can focus on growing your business.
When you recognize that you need help with the day to day minutiae of your business, don’t rely on your friends and family. Instead, consider outsourcing your needs and using a virtual assistant. There are numerous types of VAs that you can hire, and you’re probably wondering which ones you need. Thankfully, we’re here to help. We’re going to tell you every virtual assistant you need to get your Amazon business to run itself.
Social Media Manager
Social media is a powerful tool to draw business to your Amazon store. With the right social media presence, you can gain valuable click-throughs and conversions. It takes a lot of time and effort, however, to maintain an active presence on all the various outlets. Consider that you have Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, among other sites that all require attention. Whether it’s responding to customer questions or suggestions, or confirming friend requests on Facebook, you have more important things to do with your time.
Keep in mind that a Social Media Manager will need to have a lot of customer service skills. While they’re managing your social media, they will get a lot of customer contact, ranging from complaints to requests for new product. Depending on how much business you do, you may be able to combine a social media manager with a customer service manager. Keep in mind, however, that as your business grows, you’ll need to separate these roles in order to maintain the excellence of service that your customers will have come to expect.
A shipping manager will perform different tasks depending on whether your Amazon business is FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) or FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant). Either way, they are going to save you a lot of time and effort that can be better spent elsewhere.
If you’re an FBM store, then the tasks of a shipping manager are very straightforward. They will take the purchase orders, pack them securely, and ship them to your customers. They will also be the ones who maintain records of your shipments and track any returns that need processed. A shipping manager also handles shipping insurance and the filing of any claims with your shipping company. They will also be responsible for ensuring that you have sufficient supplies such as boxes, packing tape, and shipping labels on-hand.
This FBM manager will also need to confirm with Amazon that the FBM orders have been shipped to ensure you get paid and your metrics are up to date. They also are responsible for cancelling any orders and issuing refunds for those cancelled orders.
An FBA manager will perform many of the same tasks, but they will be responsible for shipping the inventory to the FBA location instead of to your customers. They will need to apply FNSKU barcodes to your individual products so that Amazon is able to track them and ship them when needed. They will also be responsible for tracking your shipments to the FBA warehouse so you know that Amazon has the goods that are needed to fulfill your orders.
A Shipping Manager will work closely together with the Purchasing Manager to ensure that your FBA stock is kept at levels that will enable your orders to be fulfilled on a timely basis. If you’re an FBA merchant, you may be able to combine the roles of the Purchasing Manager and the Shipping Manager. However, if you’re an FBM merchant, then you may want to keep the roles separate, as physically shipping and tracking your inventory will be extremely time consuming.
A purchasing manager is responsible for ensuring that you have the necessary inventory for your store. They are the ones who should be finding new sources for your product and negotiating with your suppliers for the lowest rates. This virtual assistant should be able to speak fluently in both your language and your supplier’s language to minimize misunderstandings in contract negotiations.
In some cases, you may have the best luck in outsourcing this position to someone who is a native of your supplier’s country. This will let you take advantage of any contacts that this manager has cultivated in their line of work.
While this seems like a simple thing to outsource to someone, this is the very heart of your business. Without a reliable source of product, your business is going to stall. And if you’re paying too much for a product, your business is not going to be profitable.
Customer Service Manager
You don’t want to think about it, but there will be customers who are dissatisfied with your product. Here’s the thing, however. In most cases, what really makes a customer angry isn’t that they got a defective product. It’s the way that their complaint was handled.
Your Amazon store will have numerous channels where customers will leave feedback. This could be a toll-free number, an email, or even reviews left on Amazon or your social media pages. A CSM will need to be proactive in making sure that every one of these customer contacts are responded to in a timely manner. This means commenting on reviews, both positive (thanking a customer is a great way to provide positive reinforcement in the customer lifecycle) and negative, as well as sending email to customers to request a review or feedback.
In some cases, a CSM will need to assign tickets to issues that are more time-sensitive. This includes replacements or returns. The CSM you hire should be the only one to handle replacement units sent via FBA in order to keep the customer contact timely.
One key thing that keeps your Amazon store running is the content on the page. This can be anything from the title to the bullet points to the description of the item. Well-written and original content will draw in customers and turn your click throughs into meaningful conversions.
A content creator will also write any templates that you will need for the shipping manager and customer service managers to use when they are in contact with customers. This can be anything from a product description card that is inserted with your product to email templates for follow-ups. It has been shown that creative and fun emails will help your click through rates and improve your overall customer retention.
Another place where the content manager will help is in creating a newsletter for your customers, or creating engaging articles for your website (if you have one). You can also increase the reach of your product by writing articles for other sites as a guest, enabling you to position yourself as an expert in your chosen field.
Like it or not, Search Engine Optimization is a huge part of driving business to your Amazon Store. You’ll want an SEO manager who has experience in running PPC ad campaigns to help narrow down the keywords that will be effective in getting you useful conversions. As well, this SEO specialist will help you craft the search terms on your Amazon listings so that you get the maximum traffic you can.
Another big part of SEO management is link building. There are two types of links that you should pursue for your business. Knowing how to safely build links from and to your website will let you take advantage of Google’s rankings to help you perform in websearches. Making use of social media to create quality backlinks is an essential part of an SEO manager’s portfolio.
One very important thing that an SEO manager should know is the difference between Amazon and Google handle keywords. For example, Google doesn’t penalize for keyword stuffing (although that’s not a good practice in general). However, Amazon will actively penalize your store if you try to keyword stuff. And it’s not just exact matches either. For Amazon’s purposes, a gerund and its base form are considered the same word.
If you don’t have an external website for your product, you should. A web designer might have their own graphic designer and content creator to pull in, so you won’t have to worry about that. You will need to provide input on what you would like your site to look like so the designer you hire knows how to make the front end pleasing to the eye.
Don’t just get stuck on what looks good, however. This designer should also be able to properly code the backend of your website so that everything works smoothly and efficiently. Keep in mind that this includes interfacing with your business’ database so that you can keep track of inventory and other data efficiently.
Graphic Designer and Photographer
Another key part of your Amazon web store are the images that showcase your product. It is a known fact that in most cases, the more images you have for your product, the better performing it is. This means you can’t just take a photo of your product with your cell phone and hope for the best. This means outsourcing to a virtual assistant that can frame your product in the best light possible.
Another part of your overall business strategy is also creating a brand identity. Part of this brand identity will be the creation of a logo. This is one area that you don’t want to skimp. After all, this will be the face of your company and secure its identity in every current and potential customer. Another area where a graphic designer can be of use is in the creation of small infographics or images for use on your social media pages. These will let you communicate complex thought processes quickly in easily digestible formats.
When you let the day to day tasks be handled by professionals, you will find that your business will prosper even more as you focus on the big picture. With these eight virtual assistants helping you, you’ll find that your Amazon business will run more smoothly and more productively than ever before.
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This is a guest post by Andrew Maff, Director of Marketing and Operations for Seller’s Choice, a full-service digital marketing agency for e-commerce sellers. Seller’s Choice provides uniquely personalized marketing and managed services for digital marketplace sellers, e-commerce merchants, and brand builders worldwide. You can learn more by emailing [email protected] or visiting here. Feel free to contact Andrew on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with any questions.
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