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on November 30, 2016 by Whitebox in Uncategorized

How Many People Does it Take to Run an Online Store?

As a small business, you do as much as you can in-house. When it comes to ecommerce, it can be tempting to take this route. Why not handle the shipping and customer service yourself? Or, if things are looking promising, why not bring on one person to manage this side of your business?

 

Sometimes, this works out fine, especially early on. Once you start working with increasing numbers of products and high order volumes, it can quickly become unmanageable.

 

At Whitebox, ecommerce is our job, and it shouldn’t be yours. We believe that it’s difficult to hire one person – or even a few people – to cover all the bases as effectively as a company designed to do this. Sure, we’re a little biased, but we’ve also shipped 500,000 orders.

  

 

As a follow up on last week’s post on Seller Central, we’ve collected some ideas to show you the complexity of ecommerce and staggering amount of expertise needed to run your ecommerce smoothly, and why we think for many businesses, investing in ecommerce experts like us is more efficient than new hires.

 

An Amazon policy expert

 

If you’re already selling on Amazon, (and if you read last week’s blog) you’ll understand that having an Amazon expert is integral to a brand’s success. From setting up individual products to constantly shifting policies, it’s important to have an expert in the field. Juggling the Amazon system means meeting all of Amazon’s selling criteria. It is, of course, possible to take the “learn as you go” method – but the curve will be steep.

 

And employing outside help, even temporarily, is pricey. Most cannot afford to hire this job internally, since it tends to bank in at a whopping $150,000 a year. Depending on your company, a consultant in this position will cost you anywhere from $500-$10,000 per month.

 

At Whitebox, we work with a huge variety of items. We know the ins and outs of the Amazon system, and have experience with initial set-up. Our eye for details – like quality photographs, detailed descriptions, and quality control documents – means that every product shines.

 

A trusted warehouse team that really understands the intricacies of Amazon

 

If you want to sell well on Amazon, your warehouse staff will need to understand your products and how they fit into the Amazon ecosystem. There are a dizzying array of compliance rules. To list just a few:

And remember, even Amazon sometimes has trouble following federal rules for shipping hazardous materials. So, depending on what category your product falls into, it can be especially important to have a robust warehouse team.

 

Setting all the requirements aside, you’ll need to schedule regular shipments and keep track of inventory. This means you’ll need a great warehouse manager to oversee everything. Whitebox’s warehouse team at Belts are pros at complying to Amazon’s needs, and always follow our QC documents and Amazon procedures to the T.

 

Someone to monitor your store, keep tabs on Amazon feedback & returns to be sure you are responding quickly

 

Once your Amazon store is up and running, you’ll need at least one employee to manage the store, keeping tabs on everything 24/7. Oftentimes, negative product feedback ends up in the seller category. As you can read in this blog post, a quick turn around for negative feedback can make or break your product’s success.

 

At Whitebox, we use feedback and returns monitoring tools – and we have a special system in place that ensures any negative feedback that does occur is addressed within 12 hours. If you want proof of our dedication, just check out our Amazon store with 100% positive feedback. Beyond customer management, your items will need to be monitored as well, which can mean dynamic repricing tools to match or beat your competitors, monitor unwanted listing changes and keeping an eye on damaging resellers.

 

Inventory tracking software and/or person

 

Inventory management is an age-old struggle. Fortunately, we’re past the days of paper records and horse and carriages. Unfortunately, you’ll still need a person/persons – or some expensive software – to keep track of your inventory. This is complicated with seasonality, 30, 60, 90-day trends and anomalies like out of stock days or huge orders.

 

Luckily, at Whitebox we offer tools that keep track of items, and offer easy one-click reordering. We also are able to pool inventory from Amazon, eBay and your own site, so your different platforms can be tracked together. Plus, we offer forecasting so your out of stock days are slim to none.

 

An expert in optimization across your marketplaces

 

If you’re working to improve your sales (and frankly, who isn’t?) then you’ll need to work on listing optimization, keyword optimization and also utilize Amazon’s advertisements. This can be a tricky, shifting a whale of a job, since it changes frequently with your competition. At Whitebox, we will set up Amazon ads for you and work to funnel potential customers to your product, whether it’s through keywords or retargeting.  

 


 

We understand that outsourcing is always scary. Even if you set aside the cost of working with Whitebox, moving away from managing your own ecommerce can feel a little like sending your kid off to his or her first day of school. Sometimes, it’s best to hear about success firsthand: check out some of our clients, and what we did to help, on our website.

 

One thing that is undeniable is that happier customers drive your ranking and help your products show up at the top of search results, which means you’ll have more potential customers considering your item as they shop. It’s hard to put a price tag on well-run ecommerce, since success is exponential. 

 

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