Being an eCommerce virtual assistant has become popular in the past 10 years because there are so many eCommerce entrepreneurs popping up all around the world.
Everywhere you look, there is another eCommerce business starting online marketing their products to the masses within their given demographic.
I know all about this because I’ve been a direct player within it.
I started drop shipping online in 2009 as my buddy and I discovered the power of the rapidly growing Amazon Marketplace.
It’s been quite a journey and I now know (possibly too much!) the ins and outs of running a profitable, multi-million dollar drop shipping business.
A core way that we were able to reach such success was tapping into the talent pool of eCommerce virtual assistants.
As we got deeper and deeper into drop shipping, we realized that there were far too many tasks for us to maintain on a daily basis if we wanted to still focus on growth.
And of course we wanted to focus on growth…who doesn’t?! It’s more FUN!
So, once we got to a point where we were overwhelmed with the amount of tasks each day, we looked to hiring to solve our problems.
And solve our problems it did.
In this article, I want to teach you 11 eCommerce virtual assistants that you should eventually hire and have on your team so that your drop shipping business can grow consistently.
Here are the eCommerce virtual assistants that we’ll cover in this article:
- Product Sourcer/Researcher
- Supplier Outreach Specialist
- Drop Ship Supplier Set Up Assistant
- Product Manager
- Product Lister and Copywriter
- Social Media Manager/Digital Marketer
- Order Fulfillment Specialist
- Tracking Manager
- Customer Service Rep
- Email Campaign Manager
- Conversion Rate Optimizer
When you look at it in the form of a picture, the eCommerce virtual assistants that I’ve outlined really follow the pipeline of how a drop shipping business works.
Refer to the image below to see what I’m talking about.
Once you have the supplier contact information, you need a smart VA who can reach out to them asking for a partnership.
Assuming you or they land the relationship, you then need someone to get the drop ship supplier set up. I’ll explain more of what that means below 😉
In that set up, you receive all of the data for the suppliers products that you can drop ship. Now, you need someone to transfer all of that info into an organized Excel doc so you can list easily.
With the information ready, you need a product lister and copywriter who can make your product pages compelling and salesy…but not too salesy 😉
Products are listed. Now what? Market them to your target market of course. Luckily, there are eCommerce virtual assistants that specialize in that. (Who would have thought?!)
Nice job! You got a sale. And now you need someone to send that info to the right supplier…
Supplier accepts the order and sends it out. They then send you tracking info. You’ll need someone to send that to the customer.
There’s always a chance that the customer has a question or wants to set up a return. That’s where your customer service rep comes into play.
What about when your customer is happy with their purchase? Do you just leave them alone? I think not. That’s when you come in with your email campaigns.
This may be icing on the cake, but if you want more sales, you need more conversions. To increase conversions, you need someone that knows what leads to them.
There is a pipeline when it comes to running a drop shipping business and there are many moving parts.
If one of those moving parts isn’t handled by someone, you are the one handling it and that pulls you away from working on growth specific strategies.
Do you see why I say that these 11 eCommerce virtual assistants are so important?
If you don’t, allow me to further explain how these 11 eCommerce virtual assistants will make a major impact on the growth of your drop shipping business.
1. Product Sourcer/Researcher
First and foremost, you need products to sell for your drop ship business.
It doesn’t matter which platform you choose (Amazon, eBay, Shopify, BigCommerce, etc.), you need good products to sell so that you can get the business off the ground.
At the start of the business, you’ll be the one to spearhead the process of finding suppliers within your target niches that you can reach out to and form a drop ship business relationship.
But you can’t be the one doing that forever. You’ll run out of time to do all of the other tasks I’m going to tell you about in this article 🙂
At some point (usually within 3 months of you starting the task), you want to create a systemized process for researching new product opportunities and put it down on paper (I like to use Google docs.)
When you get this process into a Google doc, you can hire an experienced product researcher or sourcer that can take over this aspect of the business for you.
Now, this doesn’t meant that you 100% remove yourself from this aspect of your business, but it should be 90% removed so you can focus on other aspects of growing your business.
Here’s how it may look…
You hire an experience product research/sourcer and you give them the process that you created.
You work closely with them for the first week to make sure that they are the right fit and then you set them up with clear expectations and hours that you would like them to work.
Each week, you check in and make sure that they are on the right track with their research.
As you have new ideas of products that you’d like to look into, you communicate it to them and they perform the research.
Over time, you build a great relationship with this eCommerce virtual assistant and that area of your business is really strong.
Do you see how much of an impact that can make on the growth of your business and on the time that you’re spending each day?
A similar logic of building a system and then passing it off to an eCommerce virtual assistant will follow us throughout this article.
If you haven’t already, get that philosophy into your head…
Do not spend more than 3 months on any given task in your business. It’s not worth your time!
With that now beaten into your head, let’s talk about what to do with the information that this person is researching.
2. Supplier Outreach Specialist
Well, you now want to contact those suppliers that the product researcher found, right?!
Of course you do! Your goal is to create a relationship with the supplier for the products that you want to sell so that you can get them up onto your store and increase your overall sales.
The supplier outreach specialist is going to be someone that has a strong understanding of English, has experience reaching out to suppliers in the past, and who understands the drop ship business model so that they can respond intelligently to the supplier reps.
As this eCommerce virtual assistant reaches out to suppliers and gets responses, they’ll need to be able to talk about a selection of topics:
- Where will you be selling the products?
- How often do you need inventory updates?
- Are you prepared to sell the products at MSRP or at least above the suppliers MAP?
- Why should we work with your eCommerce business?
- Do you have a website or social media channel where I can learn more about you?
- Who are your customers?
- What other suppliers are you working with?
These are all good topics that you should consider and talk to your eCommerce virtual assistant about before getting this process rolling at a high level.
Suppliers get reached out to by hundreds of eCommerce companies every single week so you need to make sure that you’re on top of your game.
You don’t want to stutter while answering an important supplier question…they may simply say “No thanks, we’re not interested in another drop ship relationship right now.”
You don’t want to hear that.
This supplier outreach specialist will be a huge helper in your sales process of bringing on new products and drop ship relationships.
Once you have them set up, make sure to connect them to the product researcher/sourcer so that they are on the same page.
They will need to work closely together and you will need to manage both of them closely.
After some practice, this eCommerce virtual assistant will be a major part of your drop shipping pipeline.
And it’s another important aspect that you won’t have to deal with on a daily basis.
Again, you’ll be involved for 10%, but it will be leading, managing, and motivating the worker to keep going into different niches that you want to work within.
Awesome! So you have this new eCommerce virtual assistant set up…what’s next?
Well, now you need someone that can get the drop ship relationship completely set up so that all i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed.
3. Drop Ship Supplier Set Up Assistant
Once you’ve created the relationship with the supplier, there are still steps before you can start to list their products. This is where your Supplier Set Up Assistant comes into play.
You are going to introduce the new supplier to your Supplier Set Up Assistant and they are going to make sure that they have all of the information needed to pass along to the next eCommerce virtual assistant in the process of listing a new supplier.
This individual is going to have a system by which they can collect all information about the supplier and record it in a place where you can access it in the future.
Here are some of the details that this individual is going to be responsible for collecting:
- Contact information
- Distribution agreement –> this says that you are allowed to market and sell the supplier’s products on your online store(s).
- Pricing for the products
- All product information, details, images, and videos
- Any MAP or MSRP information
- Customer service information –> how to set up returns, how to handle poorly handled packages, how to handle products sent to the wrong address
- Inventory information –> how to stay up to date with inventory levels of products
- Order and tracking –> how to submit and order and get tracking
Organization is such a key factor to the drop shipping business model and this Supplier Set Up Assistant will be vital to keeping your supplier relationships as organized as possible.
Once you have all of the information, the Supplier Set Up Asssistant passes it off to the next eCommerce virtual assistant that you should have in your business.
4. Product Manager
The Product Manager is the eCommerce virtual assistant that is responsible for taking the information provided by the Supplier Set Up Assistant and organizing it into your company’s standard template so that the products can be easily listed.
Let me give you an example…
When you have a drop ship company and you work with different suppliers, they are all going to provide you with their information in a slightly different manner.
You may get an organized CSV file from one supplier, but then an array of PDF’s, Excel, and CSV files from another supplier.
You need to have a system to organize the data quickly and convert it into a standard template that you have in your company so that it can be easily referenced in the past.
It’s also important that you organize all of the data into your own structure because then it is much easier to list the products on your online store.
Almost all of the major marketplaces (Amazon, eBay) and online store platforms (Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce) have their own ways that you can bulk upload products so that you don’t have to list them 1 by 1.
If you want to take advantage of this speedy way of listing products, you need your data to be organized.
The Product Manager is the eCommerce virtual assistant that will make sure that all of your product data is organized for each supplier that you work with.
Without this VA, things can get super messy going into the listing process.
5. Product Lister and Copywriter
The Product Lister and Copywriter! This individual is the one that takes the organized product data created by the Product Manager and lists it on your online storefronts.
The Product Lister is an eCommerce virtual assistant that has an expertise at listing products within the platform that you’re using.
If you’re selling on Amazon, make sure to hire someone that has experience listing on Amazon. For Shopify and other platforms, likewise.
This is very important because the listing process greatly varies depending on the platform and you don’t want to have to deal with mistakes while they learn the new system.
You can easily find someone specific to your platform using a service like FreeeUp.com.
Once the Product Lister has all of the information from the Product Manager, they are going to prepare the bulk upload file for the platform that you’re using and they are going to list the product.
In the case that the supplier does not provide in depth product content (title, description, bullet points), the Product Lister will take the time to create content for each product.
Having your product content and title optimized is HUGE for most of the platforms that you may be selling on.
People react to good copywriting so you want to make sure that this individual has that skill set as well.
Once the products are listed, it’s time to market them and get sales!
6. Social Media Manager/Digital Marketer
The next eCommerce virtual assistant that you want on your team is a digital marketer, social media manager, or conversion specialist.
I mention the three of these eCommerce VA’s because it will vary depending on which platform you are selling on.
If you’re selling on your own website, you’ll want a social media expert and marketer.
However, if you’re selling on a marketplace, like Amazon or eBay, you’ll want someone that specializes in increasing sales on those given marketplaces.The skill sets are different so you want to make sure that you hire the right person.
This individual is responsible for driving more traffic to your products and increasing sales for the products that you’re listing.
There is an endless list of marketing strategies that this VA may deploy to get you more sales and it will be up to you and them to explore all of those options until you find the absolute best.
So, let’s assume that you have this VA set up and they are CRUSHING it!…what happens next?
Well, you get orders of course…and you absolutely need someone who can handle that.
7. Order Fulfillment Specialist
Orders start to fly in…uh oh! Who is going to fulfill all of those orders?
Having too many orders is one of the best problems to have while drop shipping online.
The solution? –> hire an Order Fulfillment Specialist that has experience in drop shipping and has experience in the platform that you’re selling on.
This individual will go through all of the orders that you have, organize them, take notes of their actions, and send the product details to the correct supplier that you are working with to get that specific product.
The supplier will accept the product info, tell you that they have it in stock and ready to ship, and the Order Fulfillment Specialist will inform the customer that their product is on its way.
This can be a repetitive process when drop shipping as you need to send each order to the correct supplier with the product name, customer name, and customer shipping address information.
If you start getting over 100 orders per day, that can take a lot of time out of the day to fulfill those orders and keep them organized in the platform that you’re selling on.
You, as the business owner, don’t have time for that and so you hire this eCommerce virtual assistant to handle it for you.
8. Tracking Manager
After submitting all of the orders, you need to make sure that you are following up with your customers with tracking information.
In today’s world, customers HATE, HATE, HATE when they can’t track their order. They want to know where their product is and they want that tracking information ASAP!
That shouldn’t be an issue though as long as you have a Tracking Manager. This eCommerce virtual assistant is responsible for communicating with the Order Fulfillment Specialist on all of the orders that don’t have tracking information yet.
They will reach out to the suppliers after the orders have been submitted to ask for tracking information. They will then upload it into the order so that it is sent to the customer.
The Tracking Manager is another person in the drop shipping equation that is super important to the overall organization of the system.
Without the Tracking Manager, there is a much higher chance that orders get lost, customers get mad, and you start to get negative reviews.
Negative reviews KILL eCommerce companies and you can’t afford to get them…nor do you want to have to deal with them.
Hire a Tracking Manager and your worries will be drastically minimized.
9. Customer Service Rep
After the Tracking Manager sends the tracking information to the customer, it’s time for the Customer Service Rep to stay on top of the order and make sure that the customer is happy with their purchase.
The Customer Service Rep will be responsible for the following:
- Watching tracking information to see when it arrives to the customer. At this time, they reach out and make sure that the customer is happy.
- Soliciting positive feedback. Once the customer says they are happy, the Customer Service Rep can ask for a positive review of the company or the product.
- Answering customer questions and inquiries. Customers often have questions before they make a purchase…your Customer Service Rep will be there to handle those questions and push the customer towards a purchase.
- Handling returns, cancellations, and exchanges. Returns and exchanges are common in online retail. Your Customer Service Rep will be there to make sure that they are handled smoothly.
These are all tasks that scale as you get more orders and get bigger as an eCommerce company.
It’s SO important to have someone on your team that you can trust dealing with customers so that you don’t get sucked into the mess of customer service.
10. Email Campaign Manager
The customer completes their purchase, gets the product, and is happy with their order. Objective complete!
Now, you want to work to turn that customer into a REPEAT customer.
The best eCommerce companies and entrepreneurs understand that you can derive more value out of an already satisfied customer than trying to bring in a completely new customer.
An Email Campaign Manager is responsible for making sure that your customers remember your business and are in the know about new products and deals that you’re offering.
You want to hire someone that has experience with the given email manager that you’re going to use (Mailchimp, Aweber, etc.) so that they can craft campaigns that speak directly to the customer and pull them back into your business for more purchases.
If you sell someone a set of 6 water glasses, your Email Campaign Manager can follow up by offering them other similar kitchenware that may interest them and compliment the water glasses that they purchased.
Get a customer to have an amazing second experience as well and they’ll start to come back to you for other purchases that they need to make.
11. Conversion Rate Optimizer
The final eCommerce virtual assistant that you want on your team is someone that makes sure that you are converting as many customers as possible.
When selling on your own website, you are going to be focused on driving more traffic to your site and product pages.
You may be able to drive 1,000 users to your site every day, but if you can’t convert them at a high level, it will be worthless traffic.
When dealing with eCommerce conversions, you have a number that you need to focus on consistently.
- Converting traffic into add to cart –> this is when a customer comes to your site and adds a product to your cart. That’s a big first step.
- Converting add to cart to check out –> lots of customers will add to cart and then never make it to the check out. You need someone that is focused on making that conversion optimized.
- Converting check out to making a payment –> some customers even get lost once they are in the check out process because it is too confusing or they think that they don’t need the product any longer. You don’t want that to happen and there are ways to make sure that it doesn’t.
The Conversion Rate Optimizer is a key part to optimizing the sales that come out of your drop shipping online store.
They will edit designs, add new features to push the customer along the check out process, and communicate with your Email Campaign Manager to follow up with customers that make it to certain points of the process, but don’t make it to the purchase.
Get $25 of Free Workers With FreeeUp.com
When you sign up to FreeeUp.com today and mention ConnorGillivan.com, you’ll receive a $25 credit on your account to try out an eCommerce virtual assistant.
FreeeUp is a freelance marketplace that specializes in helping eCommerce entrepreneurs find and hire reliable and experienced eCommerce virtual assistants.
The marketplace is different from other freelancer platforms, like Upwork and Fiverr, because they don’t accept everyone into the network. FreeeUp interviews and vets hundreds of eCommerce freelancers each week then only allows the top 1% into their network.
When hiring with FreeeUp, you know that you’re getting introduced to an eCommerce virtual assistant that has years of experience, can speak English fluently, fits within your budget, and can work the hours that you require.
If you ever have any questions about hiring online, feel free to email me at Connor@ConnorGillivan.com.