Shopify Virtual Assistant: e-Commerce Owner’s “First Hire”

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If you own an eCommerce business in Shopify, BigCommerce, Squarespace, and other shopping platforms, then you need a Shopify Virtual Assistant (VA). Before going further with your search, however, please continue reading this detailed guide on searching and hiring a Shopify VA to ensure the success of your online business.

What is a Shopify Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant or VA is a remote worker hired to perform a collection of tasks for a business owner, manager, or supervisor. Depending on the tasks assigned to a VA, they can be called accounting VA, marketing VA, real estate VA, and lots more. 

A Shopify VA is specifically assigned to handle tasks related to the management of a Shopify, or similar platform, store. These tasks can include e-commerce website maintenance tasks such as product upload, data entry or inventory update, and product listing revision. Other Shopify Virtual Assistant jobs can also be order-related such as processing, tracking, and customer service. 

Any task that needs to be done to maintain the smooth operations of an online store can be included in a Shopify Virtual Assistant job description. By having a Shopify VA as your first hire, you as the business owner can free most of the administrative tasks off your plate. Although these tasks are critical to your business’s success, you need to delegate them to other capable people so you can focus on growing your business.

Why hire a Shopify VA?

A Shopify VA, and VAs in general, are more affordable, a benefit that is critical for any business at a startup or developing stage. With the remote features of Shopify and similar platforms, VAs can efficiently perform tasks at a fraction of the rate of on-site employees. All of these are without mandatory employee benefits and liabilities.

A Shopify VA is also flexible in terms of work assignments and work hours. You can choose to assign any tasks you cannot spare your time on and get billed only for the amount tasks done. Unlike regular employees that you need to hire for a set of hours per day or week. Most Shopify VAs work with time-tracking and project-tracking tools like Hubstaff or Clockify. These ensure that you pay them only for the time spent on the work you assigned. You can also easily track their performance and budget your weekly spending on your VA.

Shopify VA Tasks to Assign

The number and types of Shopify tasks you can assign Shopify VA depends on your business needs and hours requirements. Below are the most common tasks an e-commerce business can assign to their VA.

  1. Product Upload and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – An online store’s sales depend on the website’s product listing and search engine visibility. If provided with the right reference and instructions, a skilled Shopify VA can be assigned to write product listing content. They can also use SEO keywords to rank high on search engine rankings and increase traffic to the online shop.
  2. Stock and Order Control – The e-commerce business also relies on properly managed stocks, orders, and delivery processes. A Shopify VA can perform data entry to update stock levels so customers can order accurately. A Shopify VA can also help process orders, track shipments, and provide you with updates on low-level stocks for replenishment.
  3. Customer Service – All e-commerce business owners know that dealing with customers can take more than a day. A Shopify VA can handle customer service tasks such as responding to product inquiries, complaints, and returns through various channels: email, chat, phone, social media, etc.
  4. Marketing and Advertising – Shopify shops can boost their sales with regular campaigns on social media, Google Ads, and similar platforms. Even with minimal marketing and advertising experience, a Shopify VA can help create effective content and promotions to increase the shop’s reach.
  5. Consolidate Reports – Most e-commerce platforms like Shopify already come with features that analyze website engagement, traffic, sales, and other metrics. However, business owners rarely have the time to set aside to study these analyses and make decisions based on them. Thus, they can assign their Shopify VA to collect and summarize these analysis results so they can review them when they are available.
  6. Product and Supplier Research – An essential part of keeping an e-commerce business is keeping a constant supply of new items and suppliers for the shop. A business owner can assign a Shopify VA to collect supplier contacts, details, and product offerings for potential product opportunities.
  7. Competitor Research – Similar to supplier research, competitor research is also beneficial to improving product listing and making other business-related decisions. A Shopify VA can take the time to scour through similar products and help you stay ahead of the competition.

Shopify Virtual Assistant Skills

The following are the skills to look for when searching for the ideal Shopify VA:

  • Communication Skills – Dealing with administrative tasks like writing emails or preparing reports requires excellent command of written and spoken English skills. You may also need a VA with customer service skills and experience if you intend to assign them to deal with your customers.
  • Problem-Solving Skills – The daily running of an e-commerce business involves overcoming problems and issues. You need a Shopify VA who can take care of these issues, someone you can trust to put out fires for you.
  • Organizational Skills – With the varied information and data that a Shopify VA job deals with, you need someone who can organize these data. Find a Shopify VA who can work efficiently by organizing files and information.
  • Time Management Skills – The role of a Shopify VA involves tasks that can change from day to day depending on the demands of the business. Find someone who can manage their time according to the demands of the job.
  • Computer and Technical Skills – Being a remote job, a Shopify VA must have the necessary computer and technical skills that will allow them to work with applications and software to accomplish their Shopify tasks.
  • Attention to Detail – Shopify tasks can sometimes be simple but often require strict attention to detail. Minor errors or mistakes can result in significant effects on the business.
  • Specific Skills – Depending on the other tasks that you intend to assign, you can look for specific skills from your VA applicants. You might want someone with copywriting or graphic design skills. You can also look for a Shopify VA with experience with managing products similar to your listings.

When to Hire and Not to Hire a Shopify VA

Do hire a Shopify VA when:

  • You are always short of time because of unending administrative tasks.
  • Your budget allows you to hire and spend around $400 monthly.
  • You have a specific list of the routine tasks you want to delegate to a VA.
  • You want someone to deal with your blind spots in running your Shopify business.
  • Your business is growing too fast and overwhelmingly.
  • You want to focus on the business tasks that you enjoy doing and delegate the other tasks.

Do not hire a Shopify VA when:

  • You don’t understand the risk of adding a new person and source of liability in your business.
  • You can’t trust them to represent you to your clients, suppliers, and other contacts.
  • You do not have a system in place for the smooth transition of your tasks to them.
  • You have no clear instructions or guidelines for your Shopify VA to perform their tasks.
  • You have unrealistic expectations from a VA and have not presented these for them to set you straight.
  • You don’t intend to provide regular feedback on your VA’s completed tasks and performance.

Steps in Hiring a Shopify Virtual Assistant

Below are the essential steps to follow to successfully hire a Shopify VA:

  1. Evaluate your process.

You can’t delegate successfully if you don’t have a detailed understanding of your process. No matter how skilled or experienced a Shopify VA is, they still need effective instructions and training before they can perform to your standards.

  1. Create instructions and detailed guidelines.

Having every process instruction in writing makes it easier to look for the skilled VA who can perform them. If you want someone to research, make a list of topics to research. If you want someone to create social media content, write a list of the steps to complete this task. You can also create templates or editable responses for them.

  1. Write a job posting.

The Shopify VA job description you write must be unique to the requirements of your business. The more specific your job description is, the more likely you’ll find the ideal VA for the job. Thus, Steps 1-2 are critical for Step 3.

  1. Post your job on varied channels.

Advertising for applications is no longer limited to traditional job boards. There are now various social media channels, VA forums, and other freelance job platforms. You can also enlist the help of remote work service providers like Remote Raven. Remote Raven can tap into its large pool of freelancers to vet potential applicants for you to interview.

  1. Interview your qualified applicants.

Schedule virtual calls with your vetted applicants to further assess their skills and suitability. Provide a brief overview of your business to ease them into understanding your business and what you expect from them. Depending on the interview outcomes, you might need to hold additional interviews until you can zero in on the Shopify VA you want.

  1. Protect your sensitive information.

Before onboarding your chosen Shopify VA, you need to take the necessary steps to protect your business from unrestricted access, unsupervised tasks, etc. You can use secure sharing sites for account passwords, and other sensitive information. You can also limit your VA’s access to your Shopify store by adding specific permissions based on their tasks.

  1. Set up VA monitoring tools and payment channels.

You can now establish communication channels between you and your Shopify VA. These channels can include project management platforms, time-tracking applications, payment-processing tools, etc. You can now train, instruct, monitor, and pay your Shopify VA.

Hire a Shopify VA with Remote Raven

Let our outsourcing experts at Remote Raven take care of the complicated tasks of posting and vetting your VA applicants. You only need to let us know what you need from a Shopify VA, and we’ll find the perfect candidates for you to interview. Once chosen, we’ll also take care of the time-tracking, project monitoring, and payment processing for you. With Remote Raven, searching and onboarding Shopify VAs is easy and fuss-free. Contact us for a free consultation today!