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E-Commerce Virtual Assistants

You have your e-commerce platform idea and the products that you want to sell. New sellers have the traditional option to organically work on their e-commerce site and build as the brand grows. But that significantly impinges the customer experience while shopping on the site.

E-commerce sellers now have a myriad of options to outsource functions or tasks of the business to low-cost efficient specialists known as virtual assistants, resulting in quicker turnaround and growth in the business. The options can be classified according to important pillars of any e-retail business:

Design

Website: Your website is the face of your brand. If the design and feel of the website is unprofessional or generic from free templates, it could turn away the customer from shopping or dampen their experience. Once there is an understanding of who the target market is, websites need to be designed to capture their attention and foster brand recall. The design of your website can be outsourced to virtual assistants based on your requirements and description.

Graphics & Media: To support a well designed website, eye-catching, high quality photos and videos are important elements. Outsourcing graphics and media content to graphic designers, photographers, and/or videographers ensures that your website creates awareness and brand recall with customers, the first stage in the consumer buying journey. Undeniably, video marketing has become very popular. Just look to most social media platforms enabling their users to create short videos or stories. CISCO says video marketing will drive 82% of the growth in traffic in the near future. “Tiger Fitness says video marketing helped them achieve a 60%  returning customer rate, which is three times the norm for their industry.”

Content Marketing: To back those powerful images and videos, engaging and continuous content is imperative to empathize with your target audience. They can be vlogs, blog posts, articles on how-to, the-best-of, top-10 or even infographics that showcase the brand as relevant and knowledgeable in order to gain the trust of customers. Content needs to not only be managed on the website but across the e-commerce seller’s social media accounts, with scheduled releases to convert your visiting potential customers into buying customers. Virtual assistants in the form of content writers and content managers support this part of the e-commerce strategy.

The content ties in with keyword research and SEO tactics, where virtual assistants have the tools to place and update appropriate keywords, in line with current industry trends so that customers can be directed to your e-commerce site. There are virtual assistants for specific tasks such as social media managers, PPC (pay-per-click) specialists, digital marketing experts, ad campaign managers and email marketers.


Back End Operations

Back end operations can be outsourced to virtual assistants for:

Order Fulfilment: The entire customer buying experience includes how quickly and efficiently their order is processed and received. The e-commerce seller needs to ensure the right product is shipped to the right customer, in a safe and timely manner. The product should not be damaged, of wrong specifications or size or delivered to the wrong address. Fulfilment specialists are virtual assistants that track orders and returns and are especially useful when shipment sizes and volume of orders can become overwhelming.


Website & IT maintenance: E-commerce sellers can lose money and opportunity when websites crash, particularly around holiday seasons. Fortunately, there are virtual assistants who help to maintain the website, the e-commerce platform and other crucial IT infrastructure so that the website is always running smoothly. 

Sourcing & Inventory: Virtual assistants who manage sourcing and inventory ensure availability of the products for an e-commerce business. Sourcing assistants ensure quality and timely delivery from suppliers to the e-commerce business while virtual inventory managers balance adequate stocks and mix of the products to save costs and avoid inventory losses. A just-in-time practice helps e-commerce sellers to minimize excess inventory and inventory carrying costs.

Front End Operations

Front end operations manage the customers directly.

Customer Service & Retention: These assistants use chat, call, or email to interact with clients to manage their queries and concerns before and after sales. There may be instances where customers are upset with the order process and raise complaints. In such instances, virtual customer retention representatives resolve the complaints in the best manner without further agitating the customers and losing them altogether. Retention specialists can also manage the most loyal customers by offering incentives for repeat purchases.

Refunds & Returns: In the event of refunds or returns, virtual assistants track the process for the customers, updating them of the status, in order to ensure that the entire experience is smooth and does not irate the customers further.

There are many more types of virtual assistants who specialize in certain tasks or functions for e-commerce businesses to consider. While specialists offer the expertise and refinement to a task, virtual assistants offering a bouquet of services allow e-commerce sellers to focus on other aspects of the business. Choosing them is an important decision as this a long-term partnership that can determine the success of the business.

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