Although it may start out as just a small venture, selling on Amazon can quickly take up a huge amount of your time. Many of the activities you need to undertake are likely to be routine and require minimal knowledge of your business. You may end up needing to spend hours on these tasks — time you could be dedicating to growing your business. There’s a solution to this problem: hire a virtual assistant.
In this ultimate guide to hiring an Amazon virtual assistant, we’ll explore when and how you should hire a VA. Plus, we’ll look at how to manage the person you contract and how to determine if the virtual assistant you choose is the right fit for your business.
What Does an Amazon VA Do?
First of all, what is an Amazon virtual assistant?
An Amazon virtual assistant is a person who works remotely — whether full time, part time, or for just a few hours a week — carrying out any tasks related to your Amazon business. As well as completing tasks that are a waste of your time, a virtual assistant can help with activities for which you lack the skills.
Here are a few examples of such tasks.
1. Administrative Tasks
Much of running an Amazon business is administrative. An Amazon virtual assistant can assist you in tasks like order processing and managing FBM orders.
2. Customer Service
Depending on your business, you may spend many hours on customer service — or you may leave everything up to Amazon. If you do rely on Amazon to handle your customer service, you could be missing out on an opportunity to see serious growth. A virtual assistant can help you by carrying out tasks like:
- Creating templates to input into the message system
- Answering queries in a timely manner with accurate information about your products, shipping procedures, and anything else customers want to know
- Responding appropriately to reviews, both positive and negative
- Matching reviews to orders and taking any necessary action
- Dealing with refunds
3. Product Sourcing
Product sourcing isn’t just one of the most time-consuming aspects of running an Amazon business, it’s also one of the more challenging. If you want to outsource this activity to a virtual assistant, you’ll need to either find someone with experience or be willing to dedicate some time to training.
Even better, you may be able to find someone who knows new ways to find wholesale products to purchase and who is excellent at negotiating with vendors. This could be the key to increasing your product range while decreasing costs.
4. Market Research
When you conduct market research, you gain a better idea of how to expand. A virtual assistant can examine what your competitors are selling and which products are performing best on Amazon.
Your virtual assistant will also keep a close watch over your listings. This is useful for detecting if sales of a certain item start to drop, figuring out when it is worthwhile to lower your prices, and determining how you could update listings to improve sales.
A virtual assistant who specializes in copywriting will be a huge asset for creating new product descriptions. The VA can also optimize your Amazon listings to make them more appealing to customers and to help you gain greater visibility.
An Amazon seller virtual assistant who is right for this job will have a good understanding of keyword research. The VA should also know how to fit keywords into product descriptions in a way that ensures the copy still sounds natural.
If you’re able to find a virtual assistant who also has experience in email marketing, even better. Your VA can write a newsletter to send to customers who want more information about your products and new releases.
If you want to start selling on an Amazon marketplace for another country, a virtual assistant who is fluent in more languages than just English may be able to act as a translator. In addition to translating product descriptions, this could involve communicating with customers.
The first thing customers notice about a listing is its picture. A virtual assistant with knowledge of photography can take better pictures, use editing software to improve your current photos and increase the number of pictures for each of your products.
8. Amazon Ad Campaigns
You’ll reach a wider audience if you run ads on Amazon. A virtual assistant with experience creating campaigns could be hugely valuable. Your VA will set up campaigns using Seller Central tools, input negative key terms to eliminate unnecessary spending, monitor analytics to check the performance of your campaigns, and make appropriate adjustments to ads.
An Amazon FBA virtual assistant can do much more than send products to Amazon for shipping. The job can also involve inventory management, tracking shipments, downloading barcodes and shipping labels for units, and confirming that there are no missing units.
When Is the Right Time to Hire an Amazon Virtual Assistant?
If your business is big enough to need a professional seller account or if you are using Amazon FBA, you should consider hiring a virtual assistant.
Still unsure if hiring an Amazon virtual assistant would be worthwhile? Make a list of all the tasks you complete throughout the week and how long you spend on each. Now, look through these tasks and think about which you could outsource to a VA. Add up all the time you would spend on these tasks normally — that becomes free time you can dedicate to more productive business activities.
How to Choose Which Tasks to Outsource
Use the same list to figure out where you most need help. Consider:
- What is taking up most of your time
- Which tasks are the most monotonous
- What activities someone else could do better than you
Being clear about what tasks you want your Amazon virtual assistant to cover will ensure you find someone with expertise in the right areas. If you have a large amount of work across a diverse range of tasks, you may even decide to contract more than one Amazon virtual assistant.
Where to Find Amazon Virtual Assistants
Once you’ve decided that you do need a VA, the next step is to find the right one for your business. This brings us to the Amazon virtual assistant hiring process.
The first step is to search in the right places. You have three main options.
1. Virtual Assistant Agencies
A VA agency will have a large number of potential candidates, including experienced Amazon FBA virtual assistants. Hiring through an agency is also a safe option and you have a guarantee of high quality. The greatest advantage, though, is that you can change VA at any time, such as if you need someone to carry out more complex activities later.
2. Freelance Platforms
If you’d prefer to vet candidates yourself, use a freelance platform. You’ll be able to search for someone with the skills you need and read reviews from other businesses who hired the VA.
3. Direct Hire
Your last option is to search for a direct hire. You can find candidates on job sites, by reaching out on social media, and through referrals.
How to Interview Amazon Virtual Assistants
The interview process differs according to where you look for your virtual assistant.
If you choose to hire through an agency, you can likely eliminate the interview process entirely. Instead of evaluating different VAs yourself, you’ll provide the agency with information about what tasks you need the Amazon virtual assistant to undertake. The agency will then match you with the most appropriate candidate.
In the case you use a freelance platform, it’s important to create a job post where you lay out the main responsibilities of the VA. It’s a good idea to include some questions in your job post. Candidates can answer these questions to show they’re qualified for the position — plus, it will demonstrate that they have read the post in full. Platforms often allow both users to apply for the job and you to search for candidates yourself.
Once you’ve found a few people, interview them. Ask them for more information about their experience and skills. You may be required to perform the interview within the platform, either just through messages or also with video chat.
Hiring a VA directly can be similar to using a freelancer platform, in that you have the chance to create a job post and weed out unqualified candidates. However, you have more freedom how you conduct interviews. For instance, you can ask the virtual assistant to chat with you on Zoom. This is useful for ensuring the VA has a good internet connection — which may be necessary, depending on the tasks you need.
What Should You Expect to Pay an Amazon VA?
The cost of an Amazon virtual assistant depends on factors like what tasks you’re looking to outsource, how much experience the virtual assistant has, and where the VA is located. At a minimum, you should expect to pay someone overseas $5 an hour and someone in the U.S. $15 an hour. For this amount, you can often find a virtual assistant for admin, fulfillment, and customer service tasks. You’ll pay more for activities that require skill and experience, like photography, market research, and creating ad campaigns.
Managing a Remote Amazon Virtual Assistant
Once you’ve found the right hire, all that’s left is to onboard your virtual assistant.
If you have a specific way of doing things, your virtual assistant will need some training. Depending on the complexity of the task, a list of instructions may suffice or you may want to create a tutorial video.
You’ll also need to provide your VA with details about your business and products. This is particularly critical if your Amazon virtual assistant will be carrying out customer service tasks.
From the beginning, specify how you and your virtual assistant will communicate. It may be worthwhile using a business communication platform, especially if you need to message back and forth often or involve other members of your team in communications. If the virtual assistant is handling many different tasks, project management software can also be useful. For more consistent work, email along with periodic video calls could be sufficient.
It’s common for business owners to use time-tracking software with their Amazon seller virtual assistants. This will show you how much time your VA is spending on each task and ensure you only pay for time spent working.
Paying Your Virtual Assistant
If you hired your VA through an agency or freelance platform, payment is simple — you can use a credit card and there are no exchange fees for paying virtual assistants located in another country. Also, there’s no need to worry that the VA could disappear after you’ve paid for work, as the agency or platform will only release funds to the VA once the work is complete.
In the case of a direct hire, you’ll need to discuss payment options with the VA. If you’re both in the U.S., a bank transfer will be the simplest option. Even paying someone overseas is also much easier than it once was. You have far better options than Western Union or even PayPal. Newer services allow you to transfer money from one currency to another with far lower fees.
If you’re contracting an Amazon virtual assistant for just a few hours a week, you may not need to discuss time off. However, if you expect your VA to work full time — or even part time, but for set hours — you will need to take time off into consideration. Your virtual assistant may want to take several days of vacation a year and will likely expect to have national holidays off. Bear in mind that these holidays will differ from your own if you’re hiring from abroad.
How to Tell If Your VA Is a Good Fit
After you’ve been working with the same Amazon seller virtual assistant for some time (perhaps weeks, maybe just days — it depends on the workload), it’s a good idea to assess if the VA is a good fit for your needs. Of course, you’ll need to give the virtual assistant enough time to learn the processes. However, if the VA is struggling, making mistakes, or taking much longer than you would on a task, consider hiring someone else.
This is the simplest when you’ve hired through an agency. Just request to change your virtual assistant and you’ll receive a new hire immediately. There’s zero downtime, and the agency will pick someone who is qualified in the exact areas you need.
Hiring through a freelance platform is slightly more complex. You’ll need to post another job (you may like to adapt the description from last time to avoid running into the same problems), search for candidates, and run interviews. The whole process is likely to take a couple days, during which you’ll need to continue working with your current VA or take on the work yourself.
A direct hire is the most inconvenient of all, as you may be locked into a contract. You may need to wait as long as a month before you can replace the VA with someone else.
Hiring an Amazon virtual assistant is one of the best ways to grow your business. Initially, you may outsource just the most monotonous tasks, but as you own responsibilities increase, you may like to ask the VA to take on more work. In addition, as your profit margins increase, you may like to invest in more specialist activities, like translating, market research, and Amazon ad campaigns. This can create new and exciting opportunities for your business.