14 Top FBA Tasks To Outsource To Amazon Virtual Assistants
As a successful Amazon seller, you have probably gotten your hands dirty with the actual work countless times. While it’s great to be a very hands-on boss, some tedious, non-core tasks can take your focus away from doing income-generating activities.
So if you’re doing everything but still feel like your growth is slow, then it’s time to hire an Amazon virtual assistant. Being able to delegate tasks to a VA is a significant part of any leadership role. Without it, you’re accomplishing work that an assistant could be doing for you.
If you’re ready to stop doing all the work yourself and want to know the top Amazon FBA tasks you can pass off to an eCommerce virtual assistant, let us walk you through the following topics below.
In this Amazon Virtual Assistants guide, we’ll take a look at:
What is an Amazon Virtual Assistant?
An Amazon seller virtual assistant is a remote worker who can help you manage your Amazon inventory and handle a wide variety of tasks, ranging from administrative to marketing to social media management to bookkeeping. Business owners can use VAs for different purposes, usually depending on their skills and experience; hence why we have generalist VAs and specialist VAs.
A jack-of-all-trades, this type of virtual assistant usually has considerable skills and interests that allow them to cater to different clients and do all kinds of administrative duties.
Generalist VAs are comparable to administrative assistants in office-based settings. For instance, both assistants may manage your calendars and meetings, create documents, carry out data entry tasks, respond to your emails, among other support business functions. The only difference is that virtual assistants carry out administrative duties over the internet instead of working in an actual office environment.
A master of one, a specialist virtual assistant is often an expert in a specific field. Some may have a college degree and may have received advanced training, which explains their higher hourly rates than their generalist counterparts. For example, someone who has a degree in multimedia arts can work as a graphic design VA for a web design company. Other specialists include copywriters, accountants, web developers, and digital marketers.
So if you need particular tasks like creating copy for your website, you will need to shell out more money to be able to hire a specialist, AKA copywriter. Hiring a specialist virtual assistant instead of training a generalist for specific tasks can often be worth the extra cost.
Overall, deciding whether to hire a generalist or a specialist for your Amazon business depends on the types of tasks you want to delegate. Generalists are ideal for low-level administrative duties, while specialists are perfect for specific jobs requiring a higher level of knowledge, skills, and training.
What are the Benefits of Hiring a Remote Assistant?
Every year, US companies outsource almost 300,000 jobs. Along with Fortune 500 companies, 24% of all small businesses hire remote workers to improve productivity. This study suggests that many business leaders see outsourcing as an effective way of dealing with time-consuming business support functions. But that isn’t the sole reason virtual assistants are very popular today.
According to IDC, a premier global market intelligence firm, businesses lose 20% to 30% revenue annually due to inefficiencies. These inefficiencies are often a result of not having proper systems in place, which keep you and your employees from accomplishing valuable tasks.
Inefficiency happens when you spend more money than you need to achieve the same result. For example, you tend to let excess inventory sit in your Amazon warehouse for months, and it costs you extra storage fees the longer it stays there, so you’re essentially generating less revenue on that inventory every month it sits. All of this happens because either you’re too busy to take notice, or you don’t have a system that allows you to effectively deal with it.
Either way, hiring a VA to help you keep track of your inventory can help you address this problem. A VA can help you get rid of your excess inventory by shipping in smaller batches more frequently, which is also becoming more important with the new restock limits restrictions.
Additionally, supplementing your VA with an Amazon inventory management software that allows you to automate some of your processes will result in higher efficiency levels.
Read our Slow Sellers Inventory Strategy article to learn how inventory management software can provide value to your business.
Reduce Operational Costs
You don’t need to provide your Amazon seller virtual assistant with a workspace, office furniture, internet plan, equipment, among other expenses involved in keeping a full-time employee. Replacing a full-time, in-person employee with a VA can reduce your operating costs by up to 78% a year. This research suggests that it can be three times cheaper to hire a remote assistant than an employee.
Free Up Time for Scaling Your Business
Time is gold, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. If you’re a solopreneur, you likely spend your days carrying out basic low-level tasks that can overwhelm you over time. By delegating your daily admin activities to an Amazon virtual assistant, you’ll have the opportunity to focus on working out some initiatives that actually drive business growth or even pursue new things that excite you and motivate you to keep going.
Plus, VAs are incredibly flexible. They can work around your schedule. So if you operate 24/7, you can create a schedule plan with multiple shifts and hire VAs from different time zones to help you manage your Amazon business operations round the clock.
Trainable to Use an Inventory Management Software
Many sellers can find inventory management overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be that way forever.
According to KPMG research, using an automation software program saves businesses 40% to 75%. Researchers also estimate that companies are missing out on 50% of automation opportunities. By finding these automation opportunities and implementing them into your processes, you can potentially reduce your team’s time in half. Therefore, investing in an automation software program benefits your business. It may help reduce cost and your team size by automating the repetitive tasks they don’t particularly enjoy doing.
In sum, having a VA whom you can train to use Amazon inventory management software like SoStocked can lead to improved efficiency, reduced labor costs, increased flexibility around your schedule, and enhanced service quality.
Related: Amazon Inventory Tips
Top Tasks You Should Outsource to an Amazon VA
For this section, I gathered some of the most seasoned Amazon sellers to help me list top FBA tasks you should delegate to a qualified Amazon virtual assistant. And here are they:
Amazon FBA has over 75 systems and processes that you can utilize to optimize your business. If you’re using multiple methods, though, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the demand of daily inventory management.
This is where an Amazon FBA VA comes in handy. They can help you keep track of your inventory levels across your warehouses, orders, deliveries, and sales coming from your Amazon stores. But VAs get overwhelmed too sometimes, especially when your business starts to grow at a rapid pace. At this point, it’s best to consider automating some repetitive basic tasks like entering and organizing data in a spreadsheet with an inventory management solution like SoStocked to increase team productivity.
In SoStocked, you and your VA can:
- Manage custom Amazon inventory dashboards. View your inventory KPIs to monitor the health of your business with a customizable inventory dashboard. With SoStocked, you can create and customize your own Amazon seller dashboards so you can look at your business performance the way you want to.
- Automate Amazon inventory forecasting. Not all spreadsheets are “smart” enough to factor stockout days or one-off sales spikes into their forecasting results. And as we all know, inaccurately forecasted orders can do a lot of damage to any Amazon business – over and underordering, expedited shipping charges, juggling multiple spreadsheets, you name it; I’ve experienced it all myself. In SoStocked, you can adjust your daily velocity to remove certain anomalies like stockouts and sales spikes, giving you the most accurate inventory forecasting possible.
- Build and execute restocking strategies. As you probably know by now, restocking is a numbers game. Going by your gut feeling is not enough. I recommend following the min-max system along with SKU prioritization as a restocking strategy to ensure that you avoid common Amazon inventory problems like stocking out and last-minute shipping fees. Once you have a plan in place, the next thing to do is execute it with your VA’s help so you can free up your time for more strategic thinking.
Order fulfillment involves receiving, processing, and shipping orders to your customers. It’s a laborious process that requires you to go through multiple steps depending on which type of order fulfillment you choose. Amazon does offer several choices, such as:
- Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA). Amazon pretty much handles everything, from picking up the goods, packing, shipping, and updating the customer regarding their order.
- Self-fulfillment. You sell, store, ship out items, as well as handle product exchanges or returns.
- 3rd-Party Fulfillment. You purchase and stock the inventory while selling the products yourself. But the task of picking up the item and shipping it to the customer is typically handled by your chosen 3rd-party logistics partner (3PL).
- Drop-Shipping. Your chosen manufacturer handles inventory, labeling, shipping, and delivery.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though. There’s marketing, accounting, and forecasting to take into consideration as well. That’s where an Amazon VA can come to the rescue. A VA specializing in Amazon is especially useful when fulfillment includes shipping inventory from China to FBA or 3PL. A VA can perform the basic fulfillment tasks below:
- Order entry
- Shipping arrangements
- Invoicing clients
- Removing non-FBA orders from your warehouse inventory levels
- Providing client/customer support
Product Returns or Exchanges
A customer may request a product return for different reasons. It could be that the product is defective, arrived damaged, or they just simply changed their mind. A customer-oriented Amazon virtual assistant should know how to deal with these concerns properly, including issuing partial refunds whenever necessary.
Amazon FBA has a reimbursement policy for items lost or damaged at a facility operated by or on behalf of Amazon. However, filing a reimbursement claim can involve multiple steps that vary by where in the fulfillment process your item is damaged or lost. So, it can be a bit tedious to do it all on your own. A VA for Amazon FBA can ensure that any lost or damaged item that is eligible under Amazon’s reimbursement policy is reimbursed to your business by raising concerns and creating a case to Amazon’s support team to get your case investigated and resolved.
Customer support is where generalist VAs shine. It is one of the most vital aspects of a successful Amazon business, but it can also be one of the most time-consuming tasks. Virtual support agents can handle various contact points, such as ManyChat, VoIP phone systems, business email, SMS, among other modes of communication. Using a VA for your customer support can help to improve your quality of service and customer satisfaction.
Finding and putting together a list of products to sell on Amazon requires product research. Aside from that, you’ll also need to procure samples to test and compare similar products from different manufacturers. Once you choose the right product, you’ll have to work out the pricing and shipping terms with the manufacturer and handle invoicing. Sounds like a lot, right?
An Amazon virtual assistant can do most of these functions so you can focus on other things. They can also perform online research to provide you with valuable insights into the latest trends, your competitors’ new best-selling items, negative reviews studies to ascertain product improvements and other practices you can apply to improve your strategy.
Product Sourcing and Logistics
An Amazon virtual assistant can help you find and source raw materials, packaging, and specific products from local or international suppliers. Those with experience in outsourced manufacturing can even help negotiate terms with manufacturers, suppliers, and logistics companies in China and other locations on your behalf. They may be able to arrange factory visits, too, specifically specialist VAs who have a good network in your target country.
Amazon product listings take a lot of time, and it’s a task that you should outsource. To have a good product listing, it must have a title, description, bullet points, set of images, and a few reviews.
There are also specific listing optimization practices to keep in mind to make it Amazon-friendly. For example, each of your products should have a primary photo with 1,000 or higher pixel dimensions. It’s also best to incorporate your primary keywords into your product title and bullet points to increase the chances of your product indexing and ranking well on Amazon.
Another rule is to use bullets to highlight main product features. And the product description has to be easy to read and filled with accurate information. Lastly, make sure to populate your reviews section with as many positive reviews as possible in order to establish your credibility to potential customers.
But you shouldn’t have to do all of that. Hire a VA. A virtual assistant for Amazon FBA with the knowledge and skill in listing creation, optimization, and Amazon SEO can significantly help you free up time, attract customers, and boost sales.
For copywriting of your listing specifically, it is often necessary to work with a specialist or agency where English is their primary language, but the point is that you don’t have to bring your listing optimization in-house or have a full-time copywriter and something as important as your listing optimization may be best in the hands of a professional trained to get the most traffic and conversion possible for your products.
FBA Shipment Plans
Creating an FBA shipment plan involves several tedious steps that you’d rather not spend time on. So let a VA do all the work. For example, once your inventory is ready for shipment to Amazon, the next step is to create a shipping plan, which includes details about:
- The list of products you want to send to Amazon FBA
- The quantity of each product
- Carton or pallet measurements
- Preferred shipping method and logistics partner details
- Whether or not you want Amazon or your team to prepare and label your inventory
Make this process easy by using an Amazon FBA assistant. They can help you to create a shipment plan in order to ship products to the Amazon warehouses. Once your VAs have made an FBA shipment plan, they should send shipping labels and notify you or your third party warehouse of the address or addresses where your inventory is to be delivered so that further arrangements can be made.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Ads
PPC and ads are digital marketing methods for building brand awareness and boosting sales. A virtual assistant can assist you with:
- Keyword research
- Setting up ad campaigns
- Creating Amazon buyer personas
- Campaign analysis
There are specialist Amazon online assistants who know the ins and outs of Amazon Marketing Services (AMS), which offers sellers the opportunity to advertise products using three kinds of ads – product ads, headline search ads, and sponsored ads. Your specialist VA will design and create ads based on your requirements, publish them, and monitor their performance on Amazon, Google, and other ad networks.
Coupons and Promotions
Coupons, reward points, and special offers are just some of the main selling points of any Amazon business. They can provide a significant boost in traffic and sales, but managing discounts can be time-consuming. You might even need to hire a specialist whose expertise lies in coupon marketing to pull off your discount strategy.
A-Z Seller Central Management
An Amazon virtual assistant can keep your FBA account compliant with Amazon rules and standards laid out in Amazon’s Seller Central Account metrics. Why is compliance necessary? Because many sellers know that Amazon has a one-ban policy and is strict about enforcing it at all times. One mistake, and your business could be in a lot of trouble.
An experienced FBA assistant can help to ensure accurate inventory management and shipments, fast order fulfillment, timely returns and refunds, Amazon-friendly product listings, personable customer support, and so on.
Social Media Management
Love engaging your online community with insightful social media posts, but don’t have the time to format and schedule your posts? That’s why remote assistants are there!
A social media VA specialist can manage your Facebook business page, organize live stories and events, and answer customer inquiries through Messenger. They can also moderate your online community to remain informative, encourage engagement and to keep peace and order, as well as to attend to upset customers who are about an inch away from leaving a bad review on your Facebook or Amazon page.
Positive customer reviews are excellent social proof (and ranking juice) for your product. Of course, customers are naturally drawn to a listing with plenty of reviews over a listing without them. If your previous customers haven’t written any product reviews yet, ask a VA to collect those reviews by going to Amazon Seller Central and clicking the Request a Review button which provides a 100% safe, Amazon-approved way to ask for customer reviews. It also helps to ensure that your Amazon product pages regularly receive a good number of positive reviews.
How to Hire a Remote Assistant for Amazon FBA
Once you’ve figured out what kind of VA you need for the FBA tasks you want to outsource, choose between using a recruitment service/agency and hiring yourself.
There’s no shortage of recruitment agencies out there, but you have to spend money on their services. If taking huge amounts of cash out of your pocket isn’t an option right now, consider posting job ads to online job boards and gig marketplaces such as Upwork or OnlineJobs.ph. Many platforms don’t cost a thing unless you want to get your job advertisement on top of the platform’s news feed or get easy access to elite talent. Once proposals start coming in, review them thoroughly and invite the shortlisted candidates for a Skype or Zoom interview with you. Finally, give your chosen candidate a trial test to see if they’re suitable for the position.
Pro Tip: At the bottom of your job posting, ask candidates to include something extra in their cover letter such as a screenshot of their internet speed test and/or the city and country they live in. This will help you to quickly weed out those without an attention to detail by filtering out all those who don’t include this information in their submission.
Help Your VAs Succeed in Their Role
As with anything, having a virtual assistant comes with its own set of pros and cons. It’s normal to go through a rough patch in the early stages of transitioning from being a one-person team to delegating some or all of your administrative tasks to someone else. Some of the most common challenges in working with VAs include:
- Time difference. If your VA lives on the other side of the planet, chances are, there’s a 12 to 13-hour time difference between the two of you. The challenge comes in VAs trying to adjust their body clock to a different time zone, which could impact their performance if they aren’t flexible enough to these changes. One solution is to agree on a work schedule where their working hours overlap with yours.
- Communication. Communication influences how VAs perform. If there’s poor communication, VAs are likely to make mistakes. How you and your VA communicate and how often are some of the most important things to consider when establishing standard communication practices.
- Productivity. Virtual workers can be more productive than in-office employees. However, they tend to work longer hours, and work-life balance isn’t often a priority. Make it easy for your VAs to manage their time using productivity tools and consider holding weekly meetings to discuss projects they’re working on and their work performance.
To help you deal with these difficulties, consider talking to an eCommerce consulting firm. These firms can help you develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) unique to your Amazon business. For example, Escala created SoStocked’s SOPs to build the foundational behaviors that make up a successful business. Our SOPs feature process maps, detailed descriptions, and links to work tutorials that easily allow any new team member to execute their Amazon inventory management tasks.
These SOPs, which we provide to all SoStocked users for no extra cost, and our advanced inventory forecasting software make it highly possible for Amazon sellers to pass off important tasks to their VAs for increased efficiency, profitability, and time savings.
If you want to learn more about SOPs Escala helped SoStocked create, check out our free Inventory Planning Work Party. In this presentation, you will get to see the inventory management SOPs and learn how to implement the SOP in a live working environment with your virtual assistant.
Scale Your Business with Amazon Virtual Assistants
As an entrepreneur, the last thing you want is to get stuck doing all the work that doesn’t precisely generate revenue for you. An Amazon virtual assistant simplifies your FBA processes by helping to manage your Amazon FBA account and associated tasks efficiently, so you can redirect your energy and focus toward income-generating activities.
To hire the most suitable Amazon VA for your business, look at the candidate’s relevant skill-set, experience, and expertise. Give them a test run to determine if what they say in their resume is real.
Incorporate Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) into your business to improve coordination and performance and to minimize mistakes.
Lastly, equip your VAs with the right virtual tools and software like SoStocked to increase efficiency, improve overall service quality, and most importantly, to minimize risks of stocking out and over-ordering, keep storage fees low and increase profitability.
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