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How A Virtual Assistant Can Help With Your E-Commerce Business

Barnaby

Barnaby Lashbrooke

Founder and CEO of Time etc, author of The Hard Work Myth

6 minute read

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Running an online business is a lot of work, and not for the fainthearted. Not only do you need to develop a product or service, you also need to sell it, market it, manage your brand, keep your customers happy, keep track of supplies and stock, chase invoices, the list goes on and on…

No matter how much work you can get done on your own, you’ll always be facing more tasks than you have time for. Without the right tools or resources, many e-commerce entrepreneurs end up getting stuck in the same rut, forced to choose between giving up on their success goals or struggling on alone.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Whether you’re overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks in your workload or want to stay competitive in your industry, a virtual assistant could be just what you need.

Why Virtual Assistants?

Virtual assistants are independent professionals who provide support to their clients from a remote location outside of their client’s business, taking repetitive and time-consuming tasks off their hands.

If you are looking to scale your e-commerce business, you might already be anticipating the growing pains that come with hiring full-time employees to expand your team. The time needed to plan, recruit, and onboard, and the cost of salaries, benefits, recruitment, and office space, can all add up significantly.

A virtual assistant is a flexible and cost-effective solution that can help relieve the pressure and let you focus on the things which really matter – growing your business and making sales – without having to make any compromises or sacrifices in your personal life.

In today’s world, the virtual assistant industry is much more versatile than you might have thought, and VAs are becoming increasingly popular in the e-commerce space. But how exactly can a virtual assistant help? In this article, we’ll be going through the different areas of the broader sales process where a virtual assistant could provide you with valuable support.

General Sales Administration

As virtual assistants are best known for handling administrative tasks, you’ll be pleased to hear that sales admin is no exception.

When it comes to your sales administration duties, it’s worth looking into areas that might currently be lacking. Are there any tasks that you keep putting off? Are there any tasks that could be done better by someone with more experience? Tasks your VA could take care of include:

  • Respond to customer service queries via email or social media
  • Write product descriptions or alt-text for your website or e-commerce store
  • Research products and vendors
  • Log and process customer feedback
  • Respond to reviews
  • Create reports

Leads and Prospects

In order to bring in revenue, companies are always going to need clients or customers. However, the first steps to turning someone into a paying customer can often be the hardest. It takes a significant amount of time and effort to find quality leads and prospects, and this isn’t just a job you can do once and never have to worry about again, this process will always be ongoing.

But with an experienced virtual assistant, you can streamline this process significantly. All you need to do is provide them with a target audience profile or a list of criteria for the types of prospects you’re looking for, for example, based on industry, job title, location, and so on. Your assistant can then conduct research on your behalf, identify potential leads and prospects, and update your lead database accordingly.

Your CRM database is an invaluable resource for your business, but to get the most out of it, it needs to be accurate and up-to-date. Hiring a virtual assistant can help you leverage your CRM effectively. They can input all contacts in your CRM, fill in any additional information, and keep your data as clean and up-to-date as possible by changing contact statuses when needed and removing any duplicate entries. They can also fill in any missing data if needed.

Marketing Materials

Sales and marketing may be two different disciplines, but they both form significant parts of the customer buying journey. Once you’ve planned your marketing strategy for your business, it can be incredibly time-consuming to action all the various different steps. Here’s where a VA comes in handy.

With the right experience and skillset, a virtual assistant could manage tasks ranging from copywriting, proofreading and editing brochures and catalogs, light graphic design for marketing assets, and creating email campaigns, to contacting suppliers, placing orders, and inventory management.

Instead of spending hours on these tasks yourself, you’ll be able to use this time to focus on developing your strategy, bringing in more revenue, and growing your business.

Proposal Creation

A proposal can make or break the early stages of a sales negotiation. That’s why it’s crucial to make sure you have the right support on your side to make sure you can create the best proposals every time. A VA with experience in copywriting and sales can be a valuable asset to help you do preliminary research, gather any other relevant information, and assist in writing the proposal itself.

Alternatively, your assistant can provide a fresh pair of eyes to review a proposal you’ve written yourself, proofread it, make any amendments, and even keep track of the successful and unsuccessful proposals. Over time, this can give you insights into what’s working for you and allow you to implement strategies to create more winning proposals.

Orders and Invoicing

While modern e-commerce platforms have made order processing and invoice generation much simpler, these tasks can still be fairly time-consuming. And a growing business will mean growing numbers of orders and invoices to handle. The good news is that hiring a VA means that you’ll never have to drown in data and your business can run smoothly and never miss a beat.

An experienced virtual assistant can help input orders, manage your records, create invoices for your customers, send the invoices, and more.

Plus, I’m willing to bet that sending payment reminders isn’t your favorite part of running your own business. Not only that, it can eat up a lot of your time. Recent research has found that business owners lose up to 20 days per year chasing late payments!

With a virtual assistant on your team, they can track outstanding payments, ensure bills are paid on time, and contact customers or clients with payments outstanding — making the process so much easier for you, and giving you more time to continue working on bringing in more sales.

What’s The Bottom Line?

When it comes to your business, there are some things that you need to handle yourself, but there are many others where you could benefit from an extra pair of qualified hands. For example, you may know everything about the business side of things, but you might not be as proficient in areas like writing or marketing. As such, a virtual assistant can be a huge asset to your e-commerce business. From the numerous administrative tasks that stack up every day, to all-important research, there are plenty of ways a virtual assistant can help improve your business’s efficiency, boost your productivity, and maximize your success.

If you’re ready to start reaping the benefits, try a virtual assistant for free or speak to our team to help us build a plan tailored to your unique needs.

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About the author

Barnaby
Barnaby Lashbrooke is the founder and CEO of Virtual Assistant service Time etc as well as the author of The Hard Work Myth, recently recommended by Sir Richard Branson. Barnaby is a Forbes Columnist on productivity and is also an accomplished entrepreneur, selling more than $35 million worth of services.

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