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9 Steps to Effective Amazon FBA Virtual Assistant Hiring

Threecolts
Geri Mileva
Published
April 8, 2024
Modified
May 24, 2024
Steps to Effective Amazon FBA Virtual Assistant Hiring

Selling via Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a multi-faceted operation. As your business grows, you'll have more tasks to accomplish than your waking hours allow. When fatigue sets in, differentiating the urgent and important from the urgent but not important may become hazy. As an entrepreneur, you can't afford to fail your existing customers or miss out on opportunities due to brain fog.

Thanks to Amazon FBA virtual assistants, you don't have to single-handedly manage your business or navigate the marketplace through trial and error. Depending on the expertise you hired them for, Amazon VAs can help you save up to 78% on annual operations costs.

You know it's time to get the services of a virtual assistant or freelancer for your Amazon FBA business when:

  • Repetitive tasks take up time that could have been spent on creative thinking and growth planning. These actions can include listing products or maintaining your Amazon seller account.
  • Business is stagnant, and you feel stuck or overwhelmed with your current workload.
  • Customer complaints come more often resulting from delays or a bad experience.
  • You had to turn down orders due to inadequate inventory.

Read on to discover the nine steps to effective VA recruitment and tips on nurturing your working relationship.

9 Steps to Hiring an Amazon VA or Freelancer

1. Create a detailed job description

Productivity through delegation is your top goal when hiring a virtual assistant or freelancer. Therefore, their job description can be based on the most repetitive and time-consuming tasks you can delegate to someone else affordably. 

Your answers will help define the specific responsibilities of your future assistant and the skills required to fulfill them. In the next section, we discuss the various functions where Amazon VAs can provide expert support.

You can also include a unique question with specific instructions so you can filter candidates with an eye for detail from those who ignore them. For instance, "What is your favorite (book, time of day, song, pet)? Tell me about it in three sentences."

2. Set your budget

You typically pay virtual assistants based on the number of working hours they render. However, you must also consider other factors, including specific skills, experience, and the type of tasks you'll assign them to do. Virtual assistants with more specialized skills and experience tend to charge higher.

The asking rate starts at $15/hour, although the average range is from $20 to $50 per hour. The average salary of a US-based Amazon VA is $22 to $30 per hour. The higher limit for more experienced VAs starts at $100/hour.

3. Explore platforms featuring employable Amazon virtual assistants

These sites include:

4. Shortlist candidates

shortlist va candidates

After eliminating the applications that didn't follow instructions, review resumes based on the person's skills and experience in the areas relevant to your needs. Then, identify those who meet the initial criteria and ask additional questions. This can be about their internet speed and their standard of written English.

At the same time, check what other clients say about them. While positive reviews are a good sign, make sure to check negative reviews to determine recurring issues.

5. Conduct interviews and a "test task" to assess real-world skills

Conduct interviews and a "test task" to assess real-world skills

Here are some points to consider when screening your shortlisted applicants:

  • Interview preparation: Create a question list and evaluation criteria before the interview to help you stay organized and focused. Get more details about their availability, internet connection, proficiency in Amazon Seller Central, its automated features, and other tools, as well as how they approach day-to-day challenges.
  • Interview proper: Pay attention to the candidate's communication skills. Ask them to describe specific tasks they have handled in the past. Let them also share examples of how they solved problems or found faster ways to complete processes for an Amazon store.
  • Work simulation: Give the applicant a task to complete that's relevant to their future role. It could be anything from evaluating financial information to handling a customer query or developing a solution to a hypothetical problem. 
  • If you're hiring a VA to answer emails, your test could be: "Here are three typical emails I receive from shoppers. Please answer each email." to see how they respond. 
  • If you want your VA to handline online research, your test could be: "Go to Amazon's book department. Find the top best sellers in the History category and list the top five titles along with the publisher." 
  • If you’re getting a VA to help you with content creation, your test can go this way: "Create a week's worth of social posts and graphics."
  • Work style/ethic: Assess candidates based on how they align with your work style and schedule. Get insights into their personality (ideal working environment, strengths, and weaknesses) and daily routine (how many clients they currently handle, prioritization).
  • Evaluation: For communication skills, note your candidates' listening abilities (accurate interpretation of questions), responsiveness (how quickly they reply), clarity (understandable, precise explanations of past job experiences), written expression (email etiquette, grammar, and spelling), and verbal fluency (conversational skills based on phone or video interview).

For problem-solving tests (via role-playing or small projects), assess how applicants identify potential risks, take proactive measures, and plan mitigation strategies to safeguard your business when unexpected situations occur. Check their software proficiency when the test involves platform usage.

6. Sign a contract, onboard, and train

Once you feel confident about a candidate, discuss and finalize the terms of your working relationship, including payment structure. Formalize your partnership with a contract outlining their duties, working hours, and all your terms, conditions, and expectations.

Before onboarding, set permissions on your tools to allow your VA to access specific features they need for the tasks you'll assign them. Make a schedule outlining the discussion points you must cover during your onboarding meetings.

During onboarding, give them an overview of your business—your products, business goals, and clientele. Clarify their tasks further by establishing your standards and growth targets. Also, introduce them to the platforms they must use, including your Amazon Seller account. Add your VA as a secondary user on your inventory management software, customer relationship management tools, email marketing platform, and analytics tools. 

7. Establish and provide communication channels

Establish and provide communication channels

Your collaboration's success will depend on communication, so define your channels from the start. Include email, messaging system, or video conferencing—choose what works best for you. Using time-tracking and project management systems can help ensure alignment on tasks and priorities between you and your VA. Have detailed instructions and due dates.

8. Monitor performance

Use key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine how your virtual assistant contributes to your Amazon store's growth. Share these metrics with them so they can understand how their work can impact your business. These KPIs can include:

  • Customer response time: time taken to reply to customer inquiries or resolve issues
  • Order processing time: speed in processing and fulfilling orders
  • Inventory accuracy: keeping stock levels and product listings updated
  • Sales growth: sales revenue increase
  • Customer satisfaction ratings: feedback and ratings collection from shoppers

Schedule regular check-ins wherein you can provide feedback and constructive advice when they commit errors. Don't forget to acknowledge their achievements and highlight their strengths. Then, develop action plans together based on identified areas of improvement.

9. Scale gradually

Start by delegating small, straightforward tasks. As your VA gets the hang of things, move on to more complex tasks. 

You may also opt to add more members to your virtual team. As your business grows, you can determine where you need additional assistance. For example, your current VA might be excellent with customer service handling but is having trouble keeping up with inventory management. You can consider hiring another person who specializes in this area.

Top Tasks of an Amazon VA or Freelancer

Top Tasks of an Amazon VA or Freelancer

What tasks can Amazon FBA virtual assistants handle? They can manage several aspects of your account based on their capabilities. The list below can help you decide what expertise you want in your VA.

Product sourcing and vendor relations 

You can give your VA a list of items you want to sell and ask them to research suppliers and vendors that sell these goods. List your specific requirements—purpose, price range, style/design, and color—so they can find you the best products and suppliers.

Your VA can create a product list for your review based on trends and demand, communicate with suppliers, secure samples, get quotes, collate prices for your final assessment, negotiate the best deals, initiate orders, and monitor logistics.

Product listing optimization 

Your VA can generate product titles, details, images, and other content for your product listings. Optimized listings convince shoppers to buy through clear images and wording that follow Amazon guidelines. Pictures should be eye-catching, while product names and descriptions should be informative and engaging instead of vague and bland.

You can share your current SEO-related requirements if you already have a process that works for you. VAs can search for and apply the most competitive keywords to your product or ad copy. At the same time, they can identify and add negative search terms that you should exclude from your ad campaigns. This way, your ad only shows up in searches relevant to your product, and you avoid paying for clicks by people with no interest in your goods. For example, if you sell children's garments, you can add "men's" and "women's" as negative keywords so your ads won't appear in search results for either adult clothing type. Reducing irrelevant traffic can improve your Amazon metrics, particularly click-through rate and conversion rate.

VAs with expertise in this area may also be able to conduct A/B testing to determine the type of copy and images that will attract the most buyers. This involves simultaneously showing two versions of a product page to predefined visitor segments and then using the variant that drives more sales.

Inventory management

Ensuring your store always has enough stocks available for purchase ensures customer satisfaction. When your store doesn't have what shoppers are looking for, they quickly seek out alternative sellers. Inventory management apps allow you to track and even predict demand based on past orders. You can find a VA adept at your current system or train them with its use. They can notify you about any low-running stocks so you can re-order unless you have also delegated this task to them. 

You can also ask your VA to remove unfulfillable merchandise (damaged items, product recalls, or expired inventory) from Amazon's warehouse or transfer the goods to a non-Amazon facility. At the same time, they can help prevent overstocking, saving you from excessive storage fees and other expenses.

Repricing

VAs can use automated repricing software, such as SmartRepricer, to ensure your store offers your products at the best selling price. Repricers identify all your competitors' prices and apply rules to help you achieve the highest profits. You can schedule when these price adjustments occur or let the software do it automatically, depending on the conditions you choose to trigger the changes.

Customer care

Customer support tasks include assisting shoppers with orders and product inquiries, replying to emails or chats, commenting on reviews, and resolving issues. Therefore, you must thoroughly train your VA about your products and store, providing message or response templates and ideal answers for common customer questions. 

You can ask your VAs to respond to negative reviews by offering a solution that may result in an updated and positive review. They can also verify if the customer misunderstood something about your product that led to a poor review. When delegating product replacement and refunds, be sure you have oriented them about refund procedures, including conditions for issuing partial and full refunds.

Gauging customer sentiment on social media using social listening platforms is another way your VA can help improve client experience. These solutions also enable VAs to discover brand advocates within your target market with whom you can collaborate.

Dropshipping and fulfillment services 

Once a customer places an order, VAs can manage the entire fulfillment process to ensure timely delivery. They can download and print Amazon labels and barcodes to ship your inventory to Amazon for fulfillment. When a customer doesn't receive an order, VAs can investigate and track its whereabouts.

They can also assist in applying any necessary discounts, coupons, or reward points. When you're confident in your VA's abilities, you can allow them to respond to negative feedback after they trace the exact order connected to the review.

Advertising and marketing

Planning and running ads on Amazon and social media channels to promote your Amazon store needs time. VAs can use Amazon tools to help you create ad listings and offer promotional deals for brand awareness and sales growth.

When your chosen assistant has experience in this area, they can create custom audiences to ensure your ads target shoppers based on demographics, past purchases, and interests. They can also keep track of your campaigns by reviewing analytics and adjusting your strategy—messaging, creativity, or targeted demographics—based on performance data.

If you use social media to promote your Amazon store, your VA can help by posting content about your products, announcing new product drops, informing customers about sales, and responding directly to follower comments on your behalf.

Factors That Help Your Amazon VA Succeed

Incorporate the following elements in your working relationship to optimize the benefits of having a virtual assistant. Remember, ensuring your VA's success means profitability for your Amazon FBA business.

Trust

Trust your VA's judgment and give them freedom in the areas you tested and hired them for. Allow them to explore new strategies and think innovatively, especially if they have been consistently hitting weekly targets for some time. Autonomy with guided reflection from your feedback empowers your VA to continue successful approaches while stopping or minimizing less effective ones. 

Productivity tools 

Give your VA access to online tools that automate various work aspects, such as:

  • Inventory management 
  • Communication and project management 
  • Price tracking tools and repricing 
  • PPC management 
  • Customer service 
  • Analytics tools
  • Competitor analysis 
  • Review management 
  • Keyword search 
  • Content creation/optimization 
  • Email marketing

Profit calculations

Ask your VA to arrive at your "deal profit figure" by multiplying the anticipated number of sales for an item within a month by the profit to be generated for each unit sold.

Incentives 

Examples of incentives that can motivate VAs include performance evaluations after their probationary period, sales goal payout, or an anniversary reward. You can also offer incentives—such as a pay raise—for earning certifications on Amazon FBA courses.

Flexibility

Be open to changes in your relationship as time passes. You may need to delegate more tasks and learn new ways to do business on Amazon as technology evolves. Adjust your documented procedures as your VA’s role evolves.

Hire Smartly to Level Up Your Amazon FBA Business

While virtual assistants can help streamline your Amazon FBA operations, they're far from being genies or fairy godmothers. They can only be as productive as you enable them to be. Chances are, they can be disorganized and lack clarity in the areas where you lack organization and coherence. 

But one thing is certain—what VAs can do best is to be your second pair of eyes and provide accountability. They can notify or remind you of issues you didn't have time to address due to your core growth-related activities.

Hiring VAs also helps improve your leadership skills as you learn to give up control of little tasks. Clear instructions allow your assistant to inform you about urgent concerns. You can then prioritize activities, offloading tasks your VA can handle. As a result, you can achieve a more well-balanced daily routine.

Although multitasking is admirable among hands-on business owners, working alone in a market as competitive as Amazon isn't sustainable in the long term. Hiring a VA is an effective way to relieve yourself of daily pressures so you can take your business to the next level.

Browse through and read our other blog posts that are data-driven insights with our very own proprietary data and learn more on Mother's Day trends and best practices, Easter sales, price elasticity of demand, Amazon FBA fee changes, Amazon product title optimization, winter seasonal products, Amazon end of year sales, Valentine’s Day trends and best Amazon fulfillment centers by location and throughput.

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