Who to Hire for Your Growing FBA Business?
- September 8, 2015 | Marcus DeHart
If you’re like many sellers on Amazon, you might have started selling your products out of your home. As your business grew you came to a crossroads: take on the added expense of hiring staff to help manage the increase in sales or outsource your logistics by enrolling in Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)?
Many find that the scalability of FBA helps alleviate some of the growth pains of expanding their business. And while switching to FBA can help manage growth, it also gives you selling advantages, such as eligibility for winning the Buy Box, Amazon Prime, and Amazon customer service.
These advantages can accelerate the growth of your business, so at some point you may need to again ask the question: should I hire someone to help?
If you’ve reached that point or think you might soon, the obvious question is “Who should I hire to do what?” The answer will vary from company to company. With that in mind, we’ve assembled a few primary roles you might consider hiring out when you can no longer do it all yourself.
A business analyst might not be the obvious choice as a first hire, and you might have the skills to do this on your own, but these professionals can help facilitate the growth of your business. Amazon provides a lot of data about your FBA business, and having a good number cruncher on hand can make or break your growth.
A good analyst will be able to help with forecasting product demand, setting competitive prices, profit analysis, and budgeting for hiring. They can take large amounts of data and turn them into a business plan. If you’re not sure what to look for in a business analyst, take a look at this job description provided by Villanova University.
While FBA takes on the high-paced, day-to-day role of shipping orders to your customers, you still need to send your inventory to Amazon’s fulfillment centers. As your business grows, the frequency and size of shipments will grow as well. You’ll need someone who can facilitate receiving inventory from suppliers, package it for safe delivery to Amazon, coordinate shipments to the fulfillment centers, and troubleshoot issues with the carrier and Amazon.
The number of people you could hire will depend on the volume of inventory you go through, the amount of prep you need to do, and the frequency of your shipments to Amazon. For a smaller, less frequent replenishment cycle, you could conceivably hire one person capable of running the whole process. Or you could have seasonal or part-time workers who come and go as your need arises. But for higher volumes and frequency, you might need to hire a full-time staff with dedicated roles.
Customer Service Rep
A dedicated customer service rep (or team if need be) can serve as your emergency response to issues customers have with your orders. Some businesses overlook this role, since FBA offers customer service for the orders Amazon fulfills for you.
But FBA’s service primarily covers the shipping and handling of orders. When a customer is not satisfied with your product, you need to be able to respond within 24 hours to their questions and other communications. A good service rep will be customer-focused and able to communicate and negotiate with customers.
The need for a marketing manager might come after the growth pains have eased and you find yourself in a rhythm; a steady rhythm maybe, but one that no longer trends up. This person will need to find ways to drive more traffic to your products and convert shoppers into buyers.
Assessing your listings to make sure product titles, descriptions, and bullet points contain keywords that shoppers will be searching for is a good start. This person can also leverage Amazon’s promotions tool to help clear out old inventory or feature seasonal or holiday products. Similarly, he or she should be able to master Sponsored Products and have the ability to bid on ad placement using targeted keywords.
Taking the Lead
There are many ways you can slice and dice the roles and responsibilities of a business, and you should only decide on your hiring after you have answered the more important questions: “What do you want to do?” and “What do you do well?”
Most often I find that the answer to these questions is the same. People like to do what they do well. And whatever that is for you is not the role you want to hire out. Keep the best part for yourself.