Ed. Note: I recently wrote about my own experience with Virtual Assistants (VAs). If you're looking for an easy way to get trusted, talented VAs to manage any aspect of your Amazon, eBay, or other businesses, try FreeeUp (one of only 2 services that I trust). Below is a guest post from Connor Gillivan. He and Nathan Hirsch own FreeeUp. - Jordan
Selling products on Amazon or eBay comes with a lot of advantages. It’s easy to get started, there’s minimal overhead, and you can make your business as small or as large as you desire.
However, one of the biggest disadvantages is the sheer tedium. Managing an online selling business includes a plethora tasks that requires a huge amount of time. Even though those tasks are often simple, many require a human touch and can’t be automated. Soon enough, you may find yourself spending all your time fixing broken listings, rather than growing your sales. Online workers can help you solve this problem.
You can divvy up the tasks that are too consuming or that are not within your own core skill set. This will leave you with more time to manage your business and significantly increase the speed of your growth. If you decide to hire overseas, you also have the potential to save a lot of money.
While building my first eCommerce business into a 60 person team generating millions of dollars of business on Amazon, I discovered that hiring online workers was the norm for most re-sellers. Why rent out office space when your entire business is conducted via web? I saw for myself how quickly things got done with a responsible, well-organized online team. While some may be hesitant to hire workers they can’t manage in person, the data shows that online workers are much more effective than their in-store counterparts, at least when it comes to retail. Marketwatch estimates they generate around four times the amount of sales revenue.
However, if you’ve been sticking it out on your own so far, you may not know where to begin. Here’s five areas of your business where online workers can make a difference.
1. Writing product descriptions - The perfect product description can make or break your sales. Forget dashing off a sentence for each item. Studies have proved that longer, more persuasive copy leads to better returns. With a good copywriter, you don’t need to even send them a physical copy of the product. Just email them the raw info, and then watch them transform it into something beautiful.
2. Fulfilling orders and managing inventory levels - Managing and processing orders can be a tedious task, and it’s a great one to consider hiring out right from the start. Depending on the size of your business, you could also use the same person to maintain your inventory levels. This is an essential task, since eCommerce is a seasonal business. You want to have plenty of product in stock during holiday periods, but you don’t want it lying there forever, accruing costly warehouse fees. Having someone helping you plan in advance for inventory ebb and flow can offer a lot of peace of mind.
3. Customer service - I still remember chatting with a client a year or two ago. He was multi-tasking as he explained an article to me, trolling through another round of customer emails. “Honestly,” he said, “I spend about half my time responding to customers.” I was astounded. He was the VP of Marketing and he was spending half his time on customer service. But the truth is, it’s an easy black hole to get sucked into. It’s one of those jobs that has to be done, no matter what. So if you don’t hire it out, you’ll end up doing it yourself.
4. Reviewing listings - If you’ve ever experienced an extremely sudden dip in sales, chances are you had a problem with one of your listings. High value listings should be regularly monitored to make sure the images, reviews, and description are all A+, and that the price is always competitive. The right online worker can help you do just that. Some issues your reviewer comes across can be fixed immediately, such as price, while others may require assistance from Amazon or eBay...
5. Communicating with Amazon or eBay - I’ve worked with employees whose entire job was just to communicate with Amazon or eBay on behalf of their company. In my own experience, I’ve spent many hours emailing Amazon to revive a dead listing, change a incorrectly-calculated fee, or remove inappropriate feedback. Amazon and eBay are both great sites to work with, but they’re not perfect, and sometimes (read: frequently) you’re going to need them to correct their own mistakes. There’s a fine art to this type of communication, and it only gets better with practice. Done right, it can save millions for your company.
There are probably more areas where online workers can build your business that we haven’t mentioned here, so be sure to stretch your own creative muscles. What tasks are you doing that you could quickly train someone else in? What tasks are you not doing that you could bring in bigger sales? Consider these questions carefully, and then get started hiring.
- Connor Gillivan