What are Virtual Assistants?
Virtual Assistants are people from anywhere in the world who do freelance work in tasks they specialize in. These tasks can range from data collection, to product design, to writing newsletters.
The great advantage is that virtual assistant work independently, meaning that you as an employer have less responsibilities. You do not need to provide them with office space, offer them health plans or paid vacation.
As ecommerce companies are booming, the popularity of remote work is soaring too. Virtual assistance is the link that unites the two, helping both sides to grow. This is because, selling online comes with a great deal of behind-the-scenes tasks. They often involve rather straightforward procedures that demand time and concentration, but not so much expertise or knowledge.
Say for instance, you sell products on eBay. Every day you are busy checking orders, updating your inventory, sending tracking information, handling customer service and checking your marketing metrics. Yet, these day-to-day activities probably are not the reason you once started your online business. You want to spend your time adding and improving your products. In other words, you want to focus on the core activity of your business.
This is where virtual assistants come in. Having (remote) help can free up time so you can concentrate on the jobs that you enjoy and matter to you most.
Which Jobs to Outsource to Virtual Assistants?
Which tasks you outsource depends on your personal strengths and preferences. In addition, you are free to choose how much of a job you leave in the assistants’ hands.
Below is a list of jobs that are frequently done by remote assistants. Consider how filling one of these roles would impact your business. On the one hand, look for virtual assistance that can save you time. On the other hand, finding an assistant with a lot of expertise in a certain niche can also help elevate your business.
Once your business takes off and it has reached a certain size, having a clear overview of your store’s activities can be challenging, yet important.
A remote store manager is someone who is familiar with all the standard procedures that come with an online store. They know how to streamline those procedures and manage your team.
Managing inventory virtually
It goes without saying that every business, including yours, wants to make sure they are selling products that are in stock. As your business grows, keeping track of your inventory can be challenging. There is a lot of data you need to keep track of and it takes time to process it. Having a virtual assistant to update inventory levels and communicating with your suppliers can be a huge help. This does not require a huge amount of knowledge, but it is important to find someone who is precise and disciplined.
Listing and updating products
Managing your inventory is one thing, adding that information to your online market places is another. Listing and updating product information is a time consuming job, especially if you are not using bulk upload strategies. Hiring someone to do this work for you will ensure you are never selling products you don’t have. Finding a virtual assistant specializing in product listing can also be interesting if you want to improve the quality of your listing descriptions.
Customer service is a broad term. It includes managing returns, cancellations and customer feedback. It involves answering emails, live chats and phone calls.
As a business owner, you want to keep in close contact with your customers. However, that doesn’t mean you have to take on the entire customer service load. You could, for instance, deal with phone calls and feedback and find someone else with good administrative skills, to take care of the paper work for you.
Happy customers are the best customers and that means you have to serve them correctly and quickly. Especially if you are selling on different sales platforms, perhaps in different time zones, responding to customers and shipping quickly can be a challenge.
Having someone on hand to take charge of your order fulfillment processes might be the key to keeping your customers happy.
Running promotions and sales
Seasonal sales and promotions are big in the online marketplace. You do not want to be the only ecommerce business missing out on a holiday deal or seasonal trend. Trends, however, need to be spotted and seasonal sales need to be prepared. These business aspects are easy to overlook when you are busy running your daily business.
A virtual assistant can help you keep track of the holidays, organize sales around each upcoming holiday, and implement them on your store. It seems like a small job, but it really makes a difference when it is done correctly.
Google ads and Facebook ads
It can take some time to fully understand how online advertising works. And your time is precious! If you have not been trained to work with Google or Facebook ads, hiring an expert is often cost-effective. Take your time to find an expert who can create the right ads for the right audience.
Graphic design for product images
Looks matter, especially in the online world. When customers can’t see your products in 3D, it is up to you to add an extra dimension to the 2D-images in your shop. Customers are drawn to professional and high quality product photography in a clean layout that resembles your product image. A remote graphic designer can make sure that your product images meet those standards.
Search engine optimization
Undoubtedly, a lot of your customers are finding you through a search engine search. And if they aren’t, they should be!
Drawing search engine traffic to your store can make a tremendous impact on your reach and sales. The bad news is, it takes time and knowledge to update your store pages to its fullest potential. The good news is, there are experts out there that can help you!
If you are feeling a bit stuck on how to expand your shop, a product sourcing virtual assistant might be able to help. Either by contacting suppliers of those products you have been meaning to look into for so long. Or by scanning the marketplace for you and finding promising products to add to your shop.
Consider whether any of these virtual assistants can help you and your business. There is good help out there, it is up to you to use it!