If you are the lucky owner of an eCommerce business and haven’t yet taken advantage of eCommerce freelance VAs, then this article is for you. You probably already know how much work is involved in the daily operations – especially if you are looking to scale and grow your business. From copywriting to product sourcing and from customer service to drop shipping, there is no shortage of tasks that must be done.
And if you aren’t currently attempting to do it all on your own, you must have at some point, and probably still have too much in your plate.
If you are looking to scale your business in 2018, hiring eCommerce freelance VAs may be just the answer you are looking for. But what if you have no idea what an eCommerce freelancer does, how to find them, how much to pay them and when to hire them?
In today’s blog post, we will be answering these questions about eCommerce freelance VAs.
Who are eCommerce Freelance VAs?
Freelancing has become quite popular in the past decade and is growing in popularity by the day. Small businesses and large companies alike are taking advantage of hiring experienced professionals online to handle much of their growing to-do lists.
eCommerce businesses are no exception. In fact, eCommerce freelancers are one of the most popular categories of online freelancers. This should come as no surprise to you, an eCommerce business owner, since you are likely aware of the never-ending task list that comes with running this type of business.
eCommerce freelance VAs are online professionals who specialize and have specific skillsets in the different areas that drive eCommerce operations. They may specialize in a certain area of expertise, such as customer service, or they may have experience in multiple zones such as Amazon fulfillment and product market analysis.
You can choose to hire one eCommerce freelance VA who’s more of a generalist on your chosen sales channel. This type of virtual assistant can help you keep the basics under control so that business runs smoothly.
Or, you can hire an entire group of eCommerce freelancers who are niched down in different areas to meet the specific needs of your business. These freelancers will lend their expertise to streamline operations and push growth.
Where Do You Find Them?
One of the beautiful things about the online world is that you are not limited by geographical boundaries. No longer do you have to choose from only those who happen to be available in your location. eCommerce freelancers may live in your city or state, or they may live in another country. They may be in your time zone, or they may be in a completely opposite one.
There are many advantages to hiring freelancers who work at different times of your day and night. And so many more over and above hiring online so you can keep your business operating smoothly around the clock.
eCommerce freelance VAs live almost exclusively online, maintaining a presence on one or more hiring websites or social channels. This is where they network with clients and other freelancers. Your best bet at finding the best ones to work with are on the most reputable online hiring marketplaces.
FreeeUp, of course, is one of these best options, specializing in eCommerce and making only the top 1% of freelance applicants available to clients, among other perks like free premium class support and the chance to earn referral fees.
How Can eCommerce Freelance VAs Help Your Business?
Whether your business is doing well and ready for more growth or suffering and needing an infusion of time, energy and expertise, eCommerce freelance VAs can help.
If your business is doing well and you are looking to grow or expand, freelancers enable you to take on more business and keep your customers happy. If your business is suffering or if you are stuck trying to do all of the work yourself, eCommerce freelancers can help get your business out of whatever rut it’s in and free up your time to focus on getting your business to a healthier and more stable level.
Time, Skills, Growth
eCommerce freelance VAs are skilled professionals who can contribute a great deal to your business’s brand and image. From simply taking tasks off your plate to bringing in valuable skills and perspectives that you don’t have, they bring life to places where previously there was only stagnation and frustration. They deliver quality work with focus to help you maximize every effort and spend – including what you pay to have them on board.
Here are just a few tasks that eCommerce freelance VAs can take on to raise productivity in your business.
1. Inventory Manager
Keeping up with inventory best practices is necessary to help you avoid drops in sales that can damage your seller ratings. Even if you’re not on a marketplace like Amazon where seller ratings are algorithmically calculated and publicly displayed, consumers are constantly evaluating sellers.
To keep customers happy and recommending your store, you must always have enough product in stock to meet their demand. Too much inventory, however, can be bad for business. Mainly, it becomes expensive to invest in stock that won’t move fast, especially if you need the credit to make other things happen in your business.
eCommerce freelance VAs with inventory management expertise can keep all your products at just the right stock levels. They know how to analyze sales trends and calculate supplier turnaround to make sure you can always meet orders without incurring additional fees or risking damage with long-term storage.
The balance between being well stocked yet not overstocked is a fine art. A freelance inventory manager will take care of this vital aspect of online selling without costing you more than the trouble is worth. You only pay them to set up the stock monitoring system and check in to make sure that new units are ordered at the right time.
2. Order Fulfillment Specialist
eCommerce freelance VAs can make sure that your order fulfillment is done professionally and quickly. Keeping your customers happy is key to business growth, and getting orders delivered fast and in great condition with lots of good vibes and no hassles is a huge part of this.
Hiring a skilled fulfillment specialist will ensure you don’t end up with bad reviews from customers because you couldn’t keep up with these demands. We all know that one bad review can overshadow several good ones. And it’s hard to get over the negative effects it brings, so you want to do all you can to avoid getting any in the first place.
If you have been balancing order fulfillment on your own, then you already know that it can eat up precious hours every day. Consider outsourcing this task to an eCommerce freelancer. It will get done more efficiently and expertly while freeing up your time to take care of what really needs your special attention.
3. Listing Optimizer
Product page optimization means persuasive, keyword-rich titles, bullets, and main descriptions to capture their attention and convert before they drift away. A listing optimizer has the right SEO skills for your particular sales channel.
These ecommerce feelance VAs have skills and experience working on different platforms with different tools to perform keyword research and select the best ones to target based on your product, sales, and platform trends.
Compelling product pages are a must for you to succeed in the eCommerce world. Customers have lots of options, and their attention spans are short. With all the competition out there, you need an experienced eCommerce freelancer with a talent for creating effective marketing copy for specific channels. This will both help your listing stand out from similar products and give shoppers confidence in your credibility as a seller.
An eCommerce copywriter knows how to appeal to the shrewd online shopper of today as well as incorporate the best keywords in cooperation with an SEO.
5. Content Writer
If you have more than just listings on your website — and you really should — then you’ll also need a content writer. You don’t want to ask a copywriter to compose blog posts or website content because their skills and writing style are not always going to be applicable.
Having optimized informational content on your website is an important part of a good marketing strategy. It allows you more chances to be found by customers when they do online searches, and gives them the information they need to know about your brand before they commit to a purchase.
An experienced website and blog content writer will know how to speak to your audience in your brand voice and express your message clearly while making all content easily searchable and sharable.
6. Designer and Photographer
You need great images to optimize your product pages. You should have high resolution photos taken at multiple different angles. You should also have a few pictures or videos of the product in use.
Hiring an experienced eCommerce freelancer can take your images from mediocre to standout. This is essential if you want to carve out a decent share of sales in your niche.
Depending on the platform you’re selling on, there may be additional guidelines that you need to follow to get these images right. Following these guidelines can make a huge impact on how well the images convert. If you’re going to invest in having professional images done, you really should make sure that they’re done right from the get-go.
7. Customer Service
Happy customers come back over and over. They leave good reviews that later convince new customers to buy from you. On the flip side, unhappy customers will go out of their way to leave bad reviews and tell people about their bad experience. This can be quite costly for your business.
Having a dedicated customer service VA will ensure that no one walks away unhappy. They can answer questions and concerns quickly and appropriately and follow up to ensure that everything is addressed to the satisfaction of customers. This assurance that customers have enjoyed their shopping experience at your store and are enjoying their purchase is vital to your image.
Since customer satisfaction is such an important factor in eCommerce, hiring the right eCommerce customer service freelancer can actually skyrocket your success.
8. Returns and Refunds Specialist
Sometimes, it makes sense for a business to have a service representative who focuses on customer returns and refunds. These are not your ordinary customer inquiries, and can require specialized knowledge of how to properly handle returns and refunds. There’s a particular way to communicate with customers so you can find out the truth behind a return request, and you do want to know this because it’s very valuable knowledge about your product and service.
An expert on returns and refunds can make the most out of these otherwise costly transactions so that you can at least obtain the information that you need to improve to reduce returns in the future.
9. Amazon Reimbursement Specialist
Similarly, if you sell on Amazon, you can be losing a lot of money if you aren’t monitoring reimbursements. There are a lot of cases where you can request Amazon to reimburse you for a product, especially if you use FBA.
A practiced and knowledgeable reimbursement specialist will know exactly which orders qualify for reimbursement and what Amazon will require before approving that request. Sometimes this means getting a customer to complain directly to Amazon or persuading them to send you visual proof of damage to send to Amazon Seller Support.
10. Product Sourcer
When you’re ready to start looking for more products to sell, an extra pair of hands is a great time saver. It takes a lot to go through the whole process from start to finish, as you probably know very well.
A product sourcer knows where to start looking for great products, how to identify them — given that you’ve set parameters for what you want or don’t want to sell — how to establish communications with suppliers and negotiate with them to get you the best deals, and how to manage that relationship so that you always get top quality product from them moving forward. They can also easily spot red flags that you would probably miss because you just don’t have the experience.
11. Social Media Manager
In addition to having optimized product listings and good content on your website and blog, you’ll want to market through different social media channels. It makes a lot of sense to hire ecommerce feelance VAs who have experience locating and communicating with target audiences.
Experienced social marketers know where to find you new customers and establish rapport and how to build relationships with existing customers so they become loyal buyers who refer you and leave positive reviews as well as take the time to give you useful feedback.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire Freelancers?
Now that you are chomping at the bit to go out and hire eCommerce freelancers to help with your business, you may be wondering how much they cost. After all, you have a budget to maintain. There is a wide range of hourly and project fees, depending on experience levels, skills, location and skill sets.
There are many online hiring marketplaces where you can find skilled online contractors to help grow your business. Each marketplace will have its own payment structure and model. FreeeUp, for example, breaks up all skill sets based on three levels of expertise. They also offer freelancers in each category that are both US based and non-US based.
1. Basic Level – perfect for clients with systems and processes in place; require a higher level of onboarding.
2. Mid Level – higher level of experience; need to be set up to work with your business specifically.
3. Expert Level – can independently run projects and manage a group of basic and mid level freelancers.
In addition to the actual freelancer rates, you can expect to pay a fee for marketplace services. On many hiring sites, it can be confusing to know what your bill will be in the end. On the FreeeUp marketplace, what you see is what you get – there are no hidden fees.
FreeeUp wants their clients to know they are getting a good deal. They have done their homework and ensured that the marketplace is highly competitive without being unfair to freelancers. This means that freelancers get to set their own rates, yet a wide range of options is available to clients so they can find a match that suits their budget, among several other factors.
The freelancers are also happier and therefore more productive and not likely to up and quit because they are getting paid what they are worth.
When Is the Best Time to Hire eCommerce Freelance VAs?
How do you know when you should make the leap and hire eCommerce freelancers? While the answer greatly depends on your level of comfort and need, the sooner you outsource some of your daily tasks, the quicker you will reap its benefits.
Many businesses who are wise enough to hire before they are dug down deep in trouble quickly see a good return on their investment. Just think of how much extra time you’ll have to focus on growth or to enjoy life. And that’s just one initial benefit.
If you are cautious, try hiring one or a few freelancers to give it a try. Unlike full-time workers, you can quickly scale up or down with workload or the number of freelancers you keep on. You don’t have to make any long-term commitments, so it’s definitely worth a try.
Hiring eCommerce freelance VAs could be your key to success and happiness as an eCommerce business owner. With so many important tasks to do each day, outsourcing can not only free up your time to focus on growth, but it can also give you the freedom you hoped you’d have as a business owner.
Still think you can handle every business task yourself?
For 2-3 days, log your time. Jot down how much time you spend on each critical task in your business and how effectively you complete each task. After a few days, take a hard look at the number of hours that you’ve worked and what results you got.
What could you be doing with that time if you outsourced work to eCommerce freelancers?
How much better off would your business be if you had specialists with keen focus and solid experience handling each area?
If you’re ready to give an eCommerce freelancer a try, complete the free, 5-minute sign up, and fill out a freelancer request. You can be working with the perfect person for your task within just a couple of days.
Julia Valdez is a professional teacher and decades-long lover of the art of words on paper, the stage and the big screen. She spends most of her time doing freelance eCommerce content and project management, adventuring with the Greenhouse Christian Fellowship, volunteering with the Philippine Advocates for Resilient Communities, and sharing lots of laughs over little crazy things.