As the E-commerce machine known as Amazon continues to change the way the world shops, manufacturers, established businesses, seasoned entrepreneurs and aspiring retail moguls are cashing in on the opportunities created for third-party sellers. Never before has a single company made online selling so lucrative and never before has a single company made online selling so competitive. Winning the Buy Box, getting premium organic search results and maintaining an inventory of hot-selling, high-margin products are the ambitions of all Amazon merchants.
Behind the curtains these goals are accomplished by managing seller feedback and product reviews, creating sponsored product ad campaigns, constant repricing, inventory management, shipping, handling returns, responding to customer emails, optimizing listings, sourcing new products or making your own all while adhering to Amazon’s terms of service and customer-centric policies.
Whether you represent a company’s presence on Amazon or you are an individual seller, it’s important to understand that it’s hard to grow your Amazon business if the CEO or E-commerce Director is also the customer service rep, shipping clerk, accountant, marketing specialist, merchandiser and manufacturing technician.
Many sellers seem to be unaware of the innovative services and software solutions available to them that can cut costs, increase sales and save time. It’s far too common for sellers to get caught up in the everyday mundane tasks that they lose sight of the big picture and prevent themselves from expanding their Amazon operations.
Knowing which tasks to outsource versus what to do in-house isn’t always immediately obvious and of course differs from seller to seller but we recommend you do two things to help make your decision on what, if any, services you should outsource:
- Make a list of all of the things you do to run your Amazon company and
- Add to the list all of the things you would like to do or need to do but currently don’t.
Now rank these tasks based on:
- How much you like doing them
- How much you would like to dedicate more time to them for the long-term benefit of your business.
The tasks at the top of the list should be somewhat enjoyable and rewarding as well as strategic. The items at the bottom of the list are usually mundane, repetitive and labor intensive, albeit necessary. These items are often repricing, soliciting and monitoring product reviews, writing product descriptions, managing inventory, mining data and accounting. Lucky for Amazon sellers, these are also popular services offered by third-party solution providers and software companies.
THE VALUE OF TIME:
The next thing to do is to put value on your time. How much do you want to make an hour? Remember there’s no time-and-a-half or benefits. Now take your earnings from last month and divide it by how many hours you worked for the month. This number can be depressing, especially if you realize you would have a higher wage with a job that involved you saying “Do you want fries with that?”
Many Amazon merchants may be happy with their income but they’ll tell you that they work overtime and on weekends, especially when starting out and around the holidays.
To give an example of how a service or technology can save you time or give you a raise, let’s look at repricing software. Let’s say you have 1,000 SKUs and you check to make sure you have the lowest prices several times a day every day. This takes 30 minutes a day. That’s 15 hours a month. Last month you pocketed $3,200 working 40 hours a week (160 hours/ month), that’s $20 an hour. Assuming you’ll have a repeat performance this month, if you buy a repricing service for $40 that automatically monitors and adjusts your prices for you 24/7 for the whole month, you’ll earn $3,160 and work 145 hours for an hourly rate of $21.79. Congratulations, you just gave yourself a 10% raise. Conversely, you can still work those 15 hours but spend your time on more pressing issues. One can imagine that by investing in these time-saving services you can eventually increase the worth of your time to your target wage.
THE FACTS OF OUTSOURCING:
A recent survey showed that inventory and repricing services are the most popular, but there are also tons of other services available that cater to any level and type of Amazon seller from mom and pop operations to international brands. On a site like Amzaar.com you can find services to translate your product listings so you can sell internationally.
You can find lawyers, manufacturers and industrial designers to help get your private label products off the ground. You can find software that solicits and monitors product reviews. You can find apps and software that can tell you the profitability of a product if you do online arbitrage. You can even find personal assistants to manage customer service for you. Amazon account suspended? Get help with the appeal and get it reinstated.
When it comes to selling on Amazon, if something has to be done and you don’t want to do it, chances are you can affordably outsource it. By leveraging technology, the expertise of others and innovative services you can automate and streamline your operations which leaves you with more time to focus on the big picture of growing your Amazon business.
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