If you’d happily hand over simple admin tasks to a virtual assistant, but are wary about handing over more difficult tasks, or putting your VA in direct contact with your loyal customers, you’re missing out – on time to build your business, make new network connections, and even time to take a much-needed vacation. (Yes, I said vacation – no guilt required! While your toes are buried in the sand, your company and customers can still receive the professional and attentive service they deserve.)

That’s exactly what Greg Berry was looking for when he hired Worldwide101 to provide a skilled virtual assistant that could manage his e-commerce businesses. “As an entrepreneur, I was always running a one man show. Once my VA entered the situation I was able to grow all of my companies and focus on new ideas and concepts while trusting that the VA was holding down the fort.”

All you need is the right kind of person to delegate to, a premium virtual assistant that you can trust to handle complex functions within your business. In fact, a business-grade assistant with experience in e-commerce is the perfect solution to keeping your virtual shelves stocked, managing orders, keeping your customers happy, and so much more.

Here are nine tasks you can delegate with confidence to your VA:

#1: Handle Customer Service Inquiries

A virtual assistant skilled in customer service is very capable of troubleshooting and answering customer inquiries via email, live chat, and phone. In fact, not only can your VA handle sales inquiries, but she can also manage sticky customer service challenges – disgruntled customers, lost shipments, broken merchandise, etc. – with tact and professionalism – exactly the way you would.

Note: If your company does not already have a customer service handbook or guidelines, your VA can help you devote a few hours to defining your customer service standards. Not only will this help her understand your policies and expectations, but you’ll soon have a clear and concise customer service manual to distribute to current and future employees.

#2: Process Orders & Interface with Your Fulfillment Company

Perhaps one of the biggest e-commerce timesavers your VA can achieve is processing all your orders, from placement to fulfillment to shipment. Hand over responsibility of collating orders, sending customer invoices to your drop-ship vendors or shipping companies, and other daily tasks.

#3: Handle Returns & Product Exchanges

Product returns and exchanges are inevitable for most e-commerce businesses, but these, thankfully, are another task that your virtual assistant can easily manage. She’ll communicate directly with your customers and suppliers and easily arrange for seamless product returns, exchanges and refunds.

#4: Manage Inventory

Inventory always seems like a task and a half, but your VA has you covered. A business-grade virtual assistant is competent in inventory management, and can take care of monitoring stock levels, alerting you or a team member about when to resupply stock, and even place orders on your behalf.

#5: Order Stock

And speaking of placing orders for more inventory, your virtual assistant will follow your standard procedures for keeping your virtual shelves stocked at all times. She’ll coordinate with your suppliers, send invoices through to accounting, and handle the logistics of getting stock into your warehouse or office or anywhere you need it to be.

#6: Manage Your Website and E-Shopping Cart

In addition to handling the day-to-day tasks of keeping your e-commerce running smoothly behind the scenes, a business-grade VA has the know-how to keep your public face looking pretty, too. Your assistant can perform essential webmaster tasks, from updating your CMS, to entering new products. Need suggestions on new plugins, design or functionality for your site? She can help with that, too.

#7: Research the Competition

Fierce competition can be your best friend, challenging you to make your business stronger, your customer service better, and your offerings more diverse. But part of meeting this challenge is understanding it – understanding your competition, comparing your prices to other companies, and seeing how your customer service stacks up (how attractive is your return policy?) to your competitors.

#8: Source + Add New Products

If you’re in the market to add new products, or simply want to expand your offerings within certain categories, your virtual assistant is a research superhero. She’ll scour the web per your instructions, searching for the highest rated products, the most reliable suppliers, and the best wholesale prices.

#9: Manage Special Offers, Coupons & Promotions

Announcing special offers and promotions can inundate your inbox with customer questions and new orders. Sales are the goal, of course, but in practice, a successful promotion can be a stressful and busy time for a small business – just think of all the details to handle, orders to fulfill, shipments to coordinate, and stock to repurchase. But take heart: your virtual assistant can handle that. All of it. So you can focus on what you need to, and watch the revenue roll in.