How to Outsource eCommerce Operations in 2020

How to Outsource eCommerce Operations in 2020

This post was written by our friends at FreeeUp for the TurnKey Playbook for Amazon Blog


While demand planning can be intimidating, it is the backbone of any eCommerce site. Inventory forecasting will help you increase profits, plan your sales goals, and show you when you need to order merchandise.

Outsource eCommerce Operations


Turning to freelancers and boutique agencies to outsource eCommerce operations is not a new concept. It’s been around for a while and it persists to this day because it is one of the most cost-efficient ways to manage certain business processes.

This is particularly true for eCommerce businesses. In 2020, eCommerce businesses can reap a variety of benefits from outsourcing.

For starters, outsourcing lets you focus on your core competencies. Let’s face it, there’s a lot that goes into running an eCommerce store and we don’t always have the skills or the resources to do it. Outsourcing also helps you increase productivity since you don’t have to spend time learning tricky details of eCommerce that are outside of your core competencies. 

When you outsource eCommerce operations, you also reduce overhead costs and manage your company’s resources better. Furthermore, you can hire freelancers depending on your current needs so you can save on basic salary, taxes, and benefits.

Over the years, the role of freelancers has evolved particularly in the eCommerce arena. Today, we’re listing down five ways to outsource eCommerce operations in 2020. Let’s get started!

Trend #1: Social Commerce

Now more than ever, eCommerce customers are spending the majority of their time on social media platforms. In 2020, social commerce continues to become an integral part of the eCommerce sphere. It not only supports brand awareness building through social interaction but it also assists customers in their purchasing journey.

Outsourcing Solution

In a nutshell, freelancers can help create a pleasant social eCommerce experience that will encourage users to complete their purchase.

A freelancer can help you capitalize on social commerce and bring in more profit. They can make your brand more relatable and authentic by using visuals that resonate with your customers’ social feeds.

A social commerce expert can also help you monitor your fans’ purchase intent and help you make a move when the enthusiasm for a product is at its peak.

Trend #2: AR and VR Experience

Outsource eCommerce Operations


Augmented reality or AR lets customers envision your product in their own spaces. This experience helps build their buying confidence and engages your customers better. This year, more customers are being introduced to this concept, and soon, this will be a crucial part of marketing products and services.

Implementing an AR and VR experience in your online store motivates shoppers by offering them more product guidance. It also provides users with a more customized shopping experience right in the comfort of their own homes.

Moreover, it’s an excellent way for retailers like you to provide incredible value to confused or undecided shoppers. 

Outsourcing Solution

While AR and VR are no longer considered an emerging technology, it isn’t always part of every eCommerce business owner’s core competencies. But the good news is you can always outsource this service to enrich your customers’ shopping experience.

Freelance AR developers can help differentiate your brand from your competitors. If you have a mobile app store, they can incorporate AR capabilities. Alternatively, if you have a Shopify store, you can seek the help of an AR developer to get your 3D products into your store using Shopify AR.

Trend #4: Influencer Marketing

In 2020, consumers are shifting further away from traditional advertising and are relying more on recommendations and reviews for their purchase decisions. In fact, 68 percent of people said trustworthy reviews were the strongest influencing factor on where they decided to shop online. Moreover, product reviews turned out to be the most popular type of user-generated content submitted by online shoppers.

Influencer marketing or social media marketing involving endorsements and product placement from people who have expert knowledge or social influence in their field takes center stage this year. 

Outsourcing Solution

If you’re new to the influencer marketing game, outsourcing this service is a better option than trying to do it in-house. 

A freelancer who specializes in influencer marketing can help you in a number of ways including:

  • Developing and executing influencer marketing strategies and creative campaigns
  • Identifying and building relationships with prominent influencers and thought leaders in your industry
  • Developing content ideas, writing, and curating content for your social media platforms
  • Researching relevant industry experts, competitors, target audience, and users
  • Brainstorming creative approaches to influencer campaigns
  • Staying up to date with emerging trends, technologies, and influencers



Trend #4: Customers Have More Expectations with Order Fulfillment

Outsource eCommerce Operations


This year, customers have more demands when it comes to order fulfillment. Customers are expecting pricing transparency and are becoming more wary of unexpected prices and fees. People are also expecting financing options, particularly for big purchases. Moreover, free shipping and multiple shipping options are major customer demands these days.

Your customers also expect to be able to track their orders on your store and to have real-time visibility into the status of their orders. Furthermore, consumers tend to expect a standard delivery period of 3 days. If it takes more than a week, then they are likely to abandon their carts. 

Outsourcing Solution

Hiring a freelancer order fulfillment manager can help you stay on top of your customers’ demands this year. They can manage all of your orders across multiple sales channels to increase sales and customer satisfaction.

They can help process orders as they are submitted to your store. They will regularly check on new orders throughout the day so they are processed and shipped out to customers as quickly as possible.

A fulfillment specialist can also be responsible for adding tracking numbers to orders and letting customers know when to expect their package. Finally, they can deal with issues on orders that your customers may come across.

Of course, you can also automate some of these processes. You can always hire a freelance developer who can incorporate features into your online store that will satisfy the needs of your customers.  

Trend #5: The Power of SMS

Outsource eCommerce Operations


When you decide to outsource eCommerce operations, you should also consider the role of SMS in your customers’ daily lives.

While text messaging isn’t a new concept, not many brands are taking advantage of this medium to communicate with their customers. Did you know that text messages have an open rate of 98 percent, compared to 20 percent for emails?

SMS can be used in a variety of ways including informing users of in-store or online promotions, advertising opening hours, announcing new stock, and requesting customer feedback.

What’s more, SMS is an excellent addition to your customer service strategy. It allows for multi-channel contact points that people can use if they need after-sales support.

Outsourcing Solution

An SMS marketing specialist can help you reach more customers who are glued to their smartphones for most of the day. Some of the tasks they can do for you include:

  • Choosing the right keyword that’s relevant to your business and will resonate with your customers
  • Writing automated text message responses and scheduling them to send to subscribers once they join your list. 
  • Creating valuable messages to convince visitors to opt-in.
  • Growing your list by sharing fantastic offers that customers can’t say no to.
  • Posting promotions on social media and inserting sign-up widgets and banners on your website
  • Developing deals and sending them out to customers regularly to reward subscribers for their loyalty


Start Outsourcing with FreeeUp Today

If you’re looking for the right freelancers that can help you achieve your scalability goals, then look no further than FreeeUp. As a freelancer marketplace, it caters to thousands of businesses all over the world looking to save time and money in the hiring process. Sign up today and create an account to outsource eCommerce operations for your business today!


While demand planning can be intimidating, it is the backbone of any eCommerce site. Inventory forecasting will help you increase profits, plan your sales goals, and show you when you need to order merchandise.

What Is Demand Planning? 

Demand planning utilizes inventory forecasting to improve planning accuracy and align inventory levels with the demand cycle. In short, inventory levels are coordinated with customer demand. You want to have enough inventory to meet demand but avoid overstock. Solid demand planning lowers costs and leads to increased sales margins and profitability.

What Can Inventory Forecasting Do for Your Company?

Inventory forecasting is essential to profitable operations and increased customer satisfaction. Without accurate forecasting, maintaining a lean and nimble inventory can be challenging. Here is how your business can benefit from inventory forecasting:

Reduced Inventory Costs

Accurate inventory forecasting means lean and responsive inventory. In that way, businesses only purchase and store what will sell. Forecasting enables merchants to keep track of sales and anticipated demand.

When you have the right inventory amounts, you don’t need to order more than what will sell, and customers can enjoy accurate and timely delivery of their products.

Plan Your Goals

Know what your goals are for your inventory and ensure that they are realistic. There are many variables in your stock, and you must consider these when goal-setting. If you don’t have some reasonable idea of what will be needed, you run the risk of tying up your capital unnecessarily. Leading you to spend money that will not earn you an immediate return in the form of unsold inventory.

Determine Profitability

Inventory forecasting also makes it easier for you to project anticipated margins. You can determine how much will sell, what revenue you anticipate to receive, and how much profit you will eventually make.

Proper forecasts mean critical business decisions can be made with greater accuracy. For example, decisions regarding business expansion, cutting costs, or requesting outside funding can be made based on projected inventory and sales.

Insight About Your Current Stock

Forecasting provides a framework for obtaining detailed information. If you manage multiple warehouses, you can track the demand and availability of a particular product to determine the quantity you need. Forecasting allows you to plan for the pricing and movement of specific products in advance. For example, a product that sells well on the West Coast might not sell as well on the East Coast. Demand forecasting allows you to optimize your stock so that the right products are always in the right place.

Forecasting gives you visibility into your current inventory so you can make better informed and more strategic decisions. In seeing demand trends by category or product option, you’ll have more information to decide which new products to add to your catalog. For example, if red dresses show increased sales month over month for the last year, you can forecast that demand will continue to grow.

Order What You Need, When You Need It

Want to determine which products will be available and in what quantities? This is another reason to use demand planning. This ensures that you order items only when they’re needed, thereby saving on inventory costs and improving cash flow. More efficient ordering enables you to order the right items at the right time for customers. This leads to effective cost management and continuous growth.

How Does Inventory Forecasting Work? 

To determine what inventory you should have, begin with a forecast of future sales. Sales for the coming 30, 60 or 90 days are based on past sales velocity and seasonality of the products.

Consider the following for an accurate sales forecast:

  • Sales velocity is the rate of sales, minus stockouts (days out of stock). Use sales velocity rather than average sales over the past 30 days because you want to know the rate of sales when inventory is available for sale. If you don’t omit days when inventory was out of stock, then you could underestimate future sales.
  • Seasonality will inform you if the emphasis for past sales should be on the most recent months or should be on trends from 12 months prior.
  • Sales trends show you if demand is holding steady or increasing in recent months.
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While many factors come into demand planning, you simply cannot afford to ignore it. Inventory forecasting lets you to have the fingers on the pulse of your business. Your inventory will be adequate and nimble, making for greater profit margins and more money for you to invest in your business.


About Inventory Planner
Inventory Planner launched in 2012 to help eCommerce merchants save time and money when purchasing inventory to better meet customer demand. Inventory Planner supports merchants as they grow to see information from all of their sales channels. Merchants use Inventory Planner’s replenishment recommendations and assist with inventory planning, forecasting, reporting, and purchase order creation. Learn more about how Inventory Planner helps Amazon sellers to forecast demand and improve profits.

Inventory Planning: Get the Right Items to the Right Customers at the Right Time!

Inventory Planning: Get the Right Items to the Right Customers at the Right Time!

This post was written by our friends at Inventory Planner for the TurnKey Playbook for Amazon Blog


While demand planning can be intimidating, it is the backbone of any eCommerce site. Inventory forecasting will help you increase profits, plan your sales goals, and show you when you need to order merchandise.

What Is Demand Planning? 

Demand planning utilizes inventory forecasting to improve planning accuracy and align inventory levels with the demand cycle. In short, inventory levels are coordinated with customer demand. You want to have enough inventory to meet demand but avoid overstock. Solid demand planning lowers costs and leads to increased sales margins and profitability.

What Can Inventory Forecasting Do for Your Company?

Inventory forecasting is essential to profitable operations and increased customer satisfaction. Without accurate forecasting, maintaining a lean and nimble inventory can be challenging. Here is how your business can benefit from inventory forecasting:

Reduced Inventory Costs

Accurate inventory forecasting means lean and responsive inventory. In that way, businesses only purchase and store what will sell. Forecasting enables merchants to keep track of sales and anticipated demand.

When you have the right inventory amounts, you don’t need to order more than what will sell, and customers can enjoy accurate and timely delivery of their products.

Plan Your Goals

Know what your goals are for your inventory and ensure that they are realistic. There are many variables in your stock, and you must consider these when goal-setting. If you don’t have some reasonable idea of what will be needed, you run the risk of tying up your capital unnecessarily. Leading you to spend money that will not earn you an immediate return in the form of unsold inventory.

Determine Profitability

Inventory forecasting also makes it easier for you to project anticipated margins. You can determine how much will sell, what revenue you anticipate to receive, and how much profit you will eventually make.

Proper forecasts mean critical business decisions can be made with greater accuracy. For example, decisions regarding business expansion, cutting costs, or requesting outside funding can be made based on projected inventory and sales.

Insight About Your Current Stock

Forecasting provides a framework for obtaining detailed information. If you manage multiple warehouses, you can track the demand and availability of a particular product to determine the quantity you need. Forecasting allows you to plan for the pricing and movement of specific products in advance. For example, a product that sells well on the West Coast might not sell as well on the East Coast. Demand forecasting allows you to optimize your stock so that the right products are always in the right place.

Forecasting gives you visibility into your current inventory so you can make better informed and more strategic decisions. In seeing demand trends by category or product option, you’ll have more information to decide which new products to add to your catalog. For example, if red dresses show increased sales month over month for the last year, you can forecast that demand will continue to grow.

Order What You Need, When You Need It

Want to determine which products will be available and in what quantities? This is another reason to use demand planning. This ensures that you order items only when they’re needed, thereby saving on inventory costs and improving cash flow. More efficient ordering enables you to order the right items at the right time for customers. This leads to effective cost management and continuous growth.

How Does Inventory Forecasting Work? 

To determine what inventory you should have, begin with a forecast of future sales. Sales for the coming 30, 60 or 90 days are based on past sales velocity and seasonality of the products.

Consider the following for an accurate sales forecast:

  • Sales velocity is the rate of sales, minus stockouts (days out of stock). Use sales velocity rather than average sales over the past 30 days because you want to know the rate of sales when inventory is available for sale. If you don’t omit days when inventory was out of stock, then you could underestimate future sales.
  • Seasonality will inform you if the emphasis for past sales should be on the most recent months or should be on trends from 12 months prior.
  • Sales trends show you if demand is holding steady or increasing in recent months.
/var/folders/q2/xnf904rs3711vnjjzf3j_7040000gn/T/com.microsoft.Word/WebArchiveCopyPasteTempFiles/QjmfbuE4U8kGVLhFkR6HXP9r6yFsk1hbmqXFh5I-RWB02cxnxJQgqmghh_NrjGdPLZQKmCISv1-ggEPLn7zHlklrG-Z03ns52XLSZ6ACYwnb36foHo0iyB-XSZh0EKZm0ph_eux7

While many factors come into demand planning, you simply cannot afford to ignore it. Inventory forecasting lets you to have the fingers on the pulse of your business. Your inventory will be adequate and nimble, making for greater profit margins and more money for you to invest in your business.


About Inventory Planner
Inventory Planner launched in 2012 to help eCommerce merchants save time and money when purchasing inventory to better meet customer demand. Inventory Planner supports merchants as they grow to see information from all of their sales channels. Merchants use Inventory Planner’s replenishment recommendations and assist with inventory planning, forecasting, reporting, and purchase order creation. Learn more about how Inventory Planner helps Amazon sellers to forecast demand and improve profits.

9 Steps to Reaching Your Customers Through Social Media

9 Steps to Reaching Your Customers Through Social Media

This post was written by our friends at Nine Supply for the TurnKey Success Blog

Every social media strategy should be as unique as the brand it represents. Approaches will vary based on what you’re selling, who you’re selling it to, where you’re selling it, and of course, how much of a marketing budget you’re working with. A little planning can go a long way toward making your social accounts a valuable asset for your brand. Not sure where to start? 

Here’s our 9 steps to a confident social media strategy:

Decide on KPIs

It might seem counterintuitive, but a larger follower base and higher engagement (things like likes and comments) don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. It’s common for engagement rates to drop off as you rapidly gain followers, both due to algorithms and to the fact that social media platforms want to get you to pay to boost your posts. This is why it’s important to decide what your priority is on each social media platform. Do you value higher engagement versus just wanting to have a ton of followers? Or does your volume of followers speak louder to the companies you are pitching too? Maybe you’re an online magazine, and the daily goal is clicks back to your articles. Find out which key metrics are of the most value to your business, and let those determine your strategy and spend.

Settle on a Budget

Simply put, your budget will determine who you can work with and how much money you can put behind boosting posts. If you already have a full marketing team (i.e. with a marketing director, photographer, designer, copywriter, etc.) and if they’re active on social media and good at staying on top of trends, you might find it best to run your social account in-house. If you only have one or two marketing people on your team (or if you’re running it yourself!), consider hiring an outside team to manage this piece of the pie. In that case, they should do the next 6 things for you, with as much or as little input as you want to give. Just make sure you shop around and choose an agency with a good social media aesthetic (their Instagram page should wow you) and a portfolio of brands that have goals similar to yours.

Split Testing

At Nine Supply Social, we always talk about consistency. But, it’s important to play around a little, too, so you can make sure you’re confident in the practices you adopt. The things that perform best for one brand aren’t always a slam dunk for another. Choose a few things to keep consistent while you play around with variables like imagery, tone, scheduling, and hashtags. When you find a good formula, keep refining it until you’ve built a polished look and feel for your brand. Rebrands will happen, and algorithms change, but it’s important to lay a foundation that your customers come to trust, and this testing early on can help you figure out your secret sauce. 

Find Your Audience

Do a quick inventory of the followers your brand already has. Who is following you? Is this your target audience, and if not, you need to either rethink your social strategy, or who your target customer is? Figure out if there’s a particular region where these people live, where they work, where they spend their money. When you have a solid audience nailed down, this will help determine the look and feel you want your social media posts to have.

Establish a Voice

For instance, if the audience you’ve decided to target is young moms, develop a persona based around this psychographic. Make sure that their values and your company values line up, and that you’re communicating this in a tone that they’ll want to engage with. Besides captions, you can showcase your brand personality in your actual posts with motivational quote graphics, funny memes, statistics, or other types of short, easily digestible written content. 

Choose an Aesthetic

What’s going to stop the scroll? If you’re a CPG brand or product, you’ll want to take into account the type of packaging that you have, and the colors and branding you’re already working with, so that you can maintain a cohesive look. Look into current design trends and find a color palette that both complements your packaging and can act as a bridge into the trendy world that is social media. 

Establish Some Content Pillars

When someone scrolls through your posts, they should see a variety of content, such as lifestyle and studio shots. It’s good to keep things dynamic — for instance, many brands will choose to alternate these two types of shots so that the way the posts line up (by threes), there are never two of the same kind next to each other or on top of each other. 

Get Into a Rhythm 

Some brands post at the same time every day, while others might post three times a week, supplementing with daily stories. Play around and see what works for your brand. If you notice that you get great engagement on your posts but actually tend to lose followers every time you post, maybe you’re overwhelming your audience by posting too often. At the same time, algorithms often reward freshness and frequency. Try working up toward a more frequent cadence as you accumulate imagery, UGC (user-generated content), and followers along the way. 

Tap Into the Talent Pool 

Influencers are a great way to get introduced to new audiences and collect UGC that you can repurpose on your own page. Your budget will determine the volume and star-power of the influencer you are able to work with, but even if your budget is $0, you can still find quality partners with whom to collab. Reach out to micro-influencers who seem to resonate well with your intended audience, and offer them free product. Many will do stories for free even if they won’t do a dedicated post. Ultimately what you’re looking for is results, right? Once you find the influencers that give you great results and are easy to work with, nurture those relationships and collaborate with them long-term! The partnership will seem more and more authentic as time goes by and their audience will become very familiar with your brand. 

We hope these nine steps will help you build a successful social media strategy even if you’re a newbie to the scene. And if you need help along the way, head to Nine Supply’s social and website for more in-depth blogs and quick social hacks!

How Can an Amazon Business Loan Help You Get More Reviews?

How Can an Amazon Business Loan Help You Get More Reviews?

This post was written by our friends at SellerFunding for the TurnKey Success Blog

 

Fund your growing company with an Amazon business loan, and watch as you organically gain more 5-star reviews than your competitors.

How many 5-star reviews do your best products have on Amazon? Now search your targeted keywords, and scroll to the top listing. Notice a difference? More than likely, the items taking up the front page on Amazon have hundreds, if not thousands, of customer reviews. Even though you offer a superior product, you struggle to obtain reviews from your customers. As a result, it’s impossible to stay relevant in keyword searches.

Reviews are powerful. Potential buyers take the time to read reviews from your past customers, both good and bad. The more 5-star reviews you have, the more likely you are to close a sale. But, without the proper funding, you may not have a way to gain new customers and get more reviews. Taking out an Amazon business loan could be the boost you need to improve upon the customer experience your company provides.

 

Providing the Ideal Customer Experience Requires Money

The most successful small businesses are the ones that offer the best customer service. They know how to make every shopper feel like a member of the family. But, you probably don’t have much manpower to help run this aspect of your business. You’re busy behind-the-scenes wearing other hats, so your customer service department often gets overlooked.

However, if you want to succeed on Amazon’s platform, you need to reevaluate the customer experience you provide. Investing in an automated customer service platform is often the best decision, but you need money to accomplish this. A business loan can help you get the funds you need to grow a loyal customer base.

Instead of taking out a high-interest rate bank loan with ambiguous terms, it’s best to work with a lender who truly understands the demands of running an e-commerce business. Look for an online lender who specializes in financing for Amazon sellers like you. With the right amount of funding, you’ll have enough leverage to improve your customer experience and surpass your competition.

 

Want More Reviews? Create a Raving Fan Base

Think about the businesses you frequent. What makes you come back time and time again? You most likely get amazing service and find everything you need. Coffee drinkers enjoy the experience they get from their favorite barista every morning. They come in for the caffeine boost but return because of the customer service.

However, as an Amazon seller, it’s trickier to personalize your company. The anonymity of shopping online reduces how much face-to-face contact shoppers have. Without any personalization, they are less likely to become loyal fans.

While you may think brand loyalty is a dying concept, this couldn’t be further from the truth. According to Forbes, 37% of customers make up brand loyalists. What loyalists want are personal and meaningful engagements with a brand.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Now that you finally have the funds, you can afford to invest in providing a better customer experience. Outsourcing your customer service department may mean the difference between receiving a trickle of compliments or an avalanche of 5-star reviews. Best of all, it all happens organically. Here’s what you can expect to see in return:

  • Customers receive top-notch service from your automated customer service department.
  • Shoppers feel appreciated and more connected to your brand.
  • They become repeat buyers, or better yet, raving fans.
  • Your loyal fan base wants to see you succeed and leaves glowing 5-star reviews.
  • You sit back and watch as your product listing rises in search rankings.
  • Sales soar, and you exceed your quarterly goals.

 

Great Customer Service Never Goes Out of Style

Whether you are a new Amazon business or have been on the platform for years, customer service should remain at the forefront. Excited, satisfied customers leave 5-star reviews. Obtaining additional funding with an Amazon business loan makes it possible to personalize your customer service department and transform average shoppers into Beatlemania-like fans.

 

About the Author: Ricardo Pero, Chief Executive Officer of SellersFunding, received an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and has 20+ years of experience in Corporate Treasury and Wealth and Asset Management. As an investor and advisor to companies in the U.S. and Latin America, he enjoys helping start-up e-commerce businesses of all sizes to achieve success.

Need a bit more help generating the reviews you need to gain sales? Check out our Review Generation Accelerator for step-by-step strategies to increase your review numbers!

5 Tips for Hiring Freelance Virtual Assistants in e-Commerce

5 Tips for Hiring Freelance Virtual Assistants in e-Commerce

This post was written by our friends at FreeeUp for the TurnKey Success Blog

 

So you’re ready to consider hiring freelance virtual assistants for your online business – Congratulations! Hiring remotely is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. They will help you get unstuck and fuel the growth of your business.

Here are 5 tips to keep in mind as you begin the process of looking for and hiring freelance virtual assistants for eCommerce.

 

1.  Value Your Time

Delegate Simpler Tasks

When you find yourself spending too much time working on repetitive tasks, you are hurting your business. As the owner, you might want to spend some time systematizing those tasks by SOPs. You need these to keep things optimized as you aim to automate what you can — this is how eCommerce businesses like yours can get ahead.

Once you’ve created the different processes and systems to execute repetitive tasks, you are ready to outsource them to freelance virtual assistants.

Avoid Becoming Overwhelmed

Another sure sign you’re in need of a virtual assistant is that you find yourself completely overwhelmed by the number of tasks on your to-do list. You may hesitate about delegating these tasks because you’re good at them or you enjoy them, but you need to spend your time focus on what tasks that cannot be handled by anyone other than you. If you continue to perform these tasks you run the risk of getting burned out because there’s just not enough hours in the day. As a result, these delegatable tasks won’t get done properly anyway.

Hiring a virtual assistant will allow you to regain some freedom in your business and give you time to focus on growth and help you maintain the passion that you had for your business at the beginning.  Not only that but if your business is reliant solely on you to complete every day-to-day operational task, how will you ever take a break? You need to have the flexibility to get away when you need to and spend time with friends and family, or at the very least know that your business can function in case of an emergency.

 

2.  Know Your Weaknesses

As you look into different areas of your business, you will encounter different tasks that you continually performing, but aren’t necessarily good at. You can continue trying to develop the skills needed to perform these tasks, but that may not be the best way to tackle it. If you’re not an expert in these areas, you won’t be able to complete them with excellence or create the best processes for their completion.

Your business deserves the best! Hiring people who are experienced in the areas where you lack knowledge is a worthwhile investment. From creating the process or system to performing the actual work, you need freelance virtual assistants who have made careers out of doing these exact tasks. With the boom that eCommerce has experienced over the past decade, these professionals are easy to fins. Moreover, hiring them will save you the time and hassle of learning eCommerce tasks, which are usually highly technical.

 

3.  Prepare a Detailed Description

Before you even begin to look for freelance virtual assistants, you need to know exactly what you’re hiring for and exactly how to enumerate these tasks. The more attention you give to the task description you’re going to post online, the better your chances are of attracting the right candidates.

Since you usually do not speak to freelancers face to face, a proper description of the position you are hiring for will help both of you determine whether or not it’s a good fit.

If you’ve spent some time creating systems and processes within your business, then this shouldn’t be too much of a burden for you. Just make sure to be as clear as possible about what you want done and how you want it done. Be sure to add in any other requirements you have, like specific skills and experience, along with your personal preferences. Being clear from the outset will ensure that you are able to find the perfect match for your tasks and your business!

 

4.  Don’t Settle

If you’re busy – as most business owners are – you’ll be tempted to hire as fast as you can. For most people, this means picking up the first freelance virtual assistants who respond to your postings and seem “ok”. Don’t make this mistake! 

You need to be careful and patient throughout the hiring process if you want to find the right people for your business. The Internet is a wild world with a lot of scammers lurking around, and because you’re online, there’s a higher chance of attracting them. 

Consider utilizing a contractor marketplace like FreeeUp rather than an online hiring platform. FreeeUp pre-vets freelance virtual assistants with a focus on eCommerce so that you don’t have to wade through dozens of resumes, cover letters, profiles and portfolios (on top of trying to weed out the scammers and spot the true professionals). You submit your request and get introduced to the best match. This allows you to use your valuable time to focus on a final interview before you hire and do a test project to make sure you have the right fit.

 

5.  Properly Onboard Hires

Once you’ve found a few great freelance virtual assistants to work with, don’t just send them off to start working on tasks. You need to spend some time to properly acquaint them with your business. Even though it seems that there are thousands of stores just like yours, every eCommerce store is unique. 

Onboarding is a very important step when working with remote contractors. Freelance virtual assistants don’t have the benefit of a central office location where they can meet everyone they’re going to be working with on a daily basis. They won’t be able to get a feel for the company culture or the work environment unless you talk to them about it. They won’t know what you expect from them unless you tell them directly because there are no conversations to listen in on or water cooler talk to guide them during their transition.

Schedule a time to meet with new hires and introduce them to your business and the people they’ll be working with. Write down your personal preferences and your expectations regarding the tasks they’re going to take on. Then discuss these with them so everything is clearly laid out. Make sure that everyone is on the same page before they get started on whatever you’ve hired them to do. Also, be sure to build in periodic check-ins to state expectations and offer feedback.This will make everything go so much more smoothly and prevent costly misunderstandings.

Final Thoughts

Hiring freelance virtual assistants can be a truly rewarding experience if you go about it carefully. Make sure that you keep these 5 tips in mind as you prepare to search for the people you need for your eCommerce business, hire the right fit for each task, and integrate them into your business operations. 

 

Start Your Virtual Assistant Search Now on FreeeUp

TurnKey Tip: Pair our Inner Circle Coaching with a great hire from FreeeUp! Not only will you get the customized strategies you need to grow your business, but you’ll also get a quality team member to help you implement those strategies!

Increase Profits by Minimizing These 6 Amazon Selling Fees

Increase Profits by Minimizing These 6 Amazon Selling Fees

This post was written by our friends at PingPong for the TurnKey Success Blog

If you sell on Amazon, it can sometimes feel like there’s a different fee hiding around every corner. But what are sellers really paying for and why? Is it possible to pay less in fees and make more money on Amazon? Yes, it’s possible! The first step is knowing what you’re being charged for and what to do instead. 

In this post, we’ll cover 6 types of fees Amazon sellers run into, and how to keep  those fees from cutting into your profits. From FBA fees to high currency exchange rates, we’ll take a look at a few of the costlier Amazon fees and strategic ways to lower them, so you can increase profits. 

 

Amazon Fee #1: Fulfillment Fees

When you have items stored in an Amazon FBA warehouse, they need to be moved around when someone orders from you. Sometimes by robots, sometimes by humans. The items also need to be packaged and sent on their way. Amazon’s fulfillment fees pay for these services. 

Amazon FBA fees are charged per unit of product and based on two factors:

  1. The size of your packaged product (dimensions on each side)
  2. The weight of your packaged product

Based on these two qualities, a product falls into a pre-determined bracket and gets charged accordingly. 

Here, we can see an example of a dry erase board and how the fees are calculated:

How to Lower Your Amazon Fulfillment Fees

It might seem like there’s not much you can do about it, and there’s no point in dwelling on it since Amazon charges according to product size and weight. 

But if you pay close attention, you may be able to make a slight change that puts you into a lower bracket. For example, you can try making your packaging more compact or adjust your product to make it weigh less. 

Obviously, it’s not always an option, but it’s worth examining your products for smart opportunities to reduce their size and weight (and increase your profit margins). 

 

Amazon Fee #2: Multi-Channel Fulfillment Fees

Multi-Channel Fulfillment by Amazon is a service that’s not limited only to orders from the Amazon platform itself. Amazon allows you to use its system to fulfill orders that are sold on other platforms or your own website. 

The fees Amazon charges are calculated by unit, which is placed in one of the predetermined fee brackets. They’re based on the product’s weight and size, plus speed of delivery. There are three options:

  1. Priority shipping (next day)
  2. Expedited shipping (2 day)
  3. Standard shipping (3-5 days)

How to Lower Your Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment Fees 

Again, a way you can save money here is by studying your brackets to see if it’s possible to reduce the weight and or size of a single product unit. 

You may also choose to have your products delivered via a longer delivery period. This is a tradeoff, obviously, however, note that your can pick and choose delivery times on a product-by-product basis to maximize profits. 

 

Amazon Fee #3 – Amazon Storage Fees

When you have inventory in an FBA warehouse, you’re essentially paying rent to store your items with Amazon. Unlike the previous fees that are paid on a per unit basis, here you’re charged by the cubic foot of space your inventory takes up.

Exactly how much you pay in Amazon storage fees depends on three factors:

  1. The amount of cubic space taken up by your inventory 
  2. The time of the year
  3. How long the product has been housed in the warehouse

How to Lower Your Amazon Storage Fees

Amazon increases the storage fees during the 4th quarter or the last three months of the year. Not surprisingly, this is due to increased holiday shopping. If your product is seasonal and know you won’t sell many items during the winter, you can avoid higher storage costs during the holidays by having a summer blowout. You can also potentially save money by adjusting your packaging to make your products more compact.  

 

Amazon Fee #4 – Amazon Referral Fees

These are the fees Amazon charges you for successfully selling an item on their platform. It’s charged by the percentage of the total sale price. In most cases, it’s 15%, but for Kindle and digital products it can zoom up to almost 50%.

How to Lower Your Amazon Referral Fees

Consider changing the way you categorize your product with Amazon. By carefully choosing your category, you may be able to find new categories to list your product where the fee is lower.  It’s a potential instant boost to your bottom line. 

 

Amazon Fee #5 – Return Processing Fees

Most items sold on Amazon come with a no questions asked, 30-day return policy, which can be very painful for a seller. Here is what happens on Amazon when a customer returns an item:

  1. The customer gets refunded the total sum they paid from your account.
  2. Amazon refunds you for the referral fee that was charged when the purchase was made. 
  3. Amazon charges you a return processing fee which is equal to the fulfillment fee that was initially charged on the total cost of the product sold. 
  4. Your item either goes back to your inventory or is deemed unfulfillable and destroyed.

So essentially, not only do you miss out on a sale, you also end up paying the fulfillment fee twice on that order (once when it got shipped to the customer and once when it was returned to the fulfillment center by the customer) even though you might not even get to keep the product that got returned. 

How to Lower Your Return Fees

Avoiding returns can be a huge boost to the bottom line for your Amazon business. The best way to combat profit-killing returns is to educate your customers and prospective customers about what your product does and how to use it. 

Educating customers reduces the chances of these two likely scenarios from happening:

  1. The customers buy the product thinking it’s something that it’s not (wrong product)
  2. The customers buy the product without knowing how to properly use it (needs instructions)

Another reason to take returns seriously is to keep in mind that getting too many of them can hurt your seller rating and even get your listing suspended. 

 

Amazon Fee #6 – Currency Conversion Fees

Currency conversion is an important factor in your Amazon business if you sell internationally. Amazon has its own way of converting currency. Although it’s not prominently displayed, there are fees that comes along with this service. These rates tend to be on the high end of the conversion rate spectrum at around 3.5%. That’s quite a chunk of your earnings, especially since it’s taken off your profits after paying the fees you owe Amazon. 

To avoid these fees, you can try to set up a foreign bank account that would allow you to receive the funds in the same currency as the Amazon marketplace where you’re selling in. In the old days, this meant facing the possibility of having to visit that country to set up a bank account, plus provide a business address in that country. Not exactly the easiest option.  

How to Take Control of Amazon Currency Fees

Another option that makes cross border payments easier and cheaper is a global currency account. In one fell swoop, you may be able to slash 2-3% off what you were paying to exchange money using Amazon Currency Converter.

With a global currency account like the one from PingPong, you’ll have an account that’s licensed, regulated, and trusted around the world. PingPong has more than 43,000 customers who rely on them to get the best rates on currency exchange. 

You can also control when you exchange your currency to take advantage of the best FX rates. Better control, lower rates means higher profits for your business. Plus, make free VAT payments and free supplier payments from the same multi-currency account to save even more. 

Setting up a multi-currency account online is a simple fast, process – your account may be approved within 48 hours. You can even ask for a free rate comparison to see how much you’ll save first.