Bridging the Gap: Solving the Amazon Skills Shortage


In this episode, Asha Bhalsod of Etopia Consultancy joined Paul Sonneveld and explored the origins of the shortage and why it is challenging to find talent in the Amazon space.


Skill Shortage in Amazon Market

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The podcast episode discusses the skill shortage in the world of Amazon and the challenges businesses face in finding and retaining Amazon talent. The speaker explains that the shortage is due to the rapid growth of e-commerce, accelerated by COVID-19, and the limited pool of resources available to manage Amazon effectively. They emphasize the importance of having the grit and backbone to navigate Amazon strategically and the need for continuous learning and staying updated with the rapidly changing platform.

In terms of recruitment, The speaker, Asha, founder of Etopia Consultancy, advises businesses to understand their three-year plan with Amazon and the specific skills they require before hiring. They suggest categorizing Amazon's skills into strategic leads, marketeers, analysts, and operations personnel. The speaker also highlights the benefits of outsourcing certain tasks to agencies while still maintaining internal talent. They emphasize the importance of finding a balance between in-house expertise and external support to drive sustainable growth.

Outsource elements, not entire business

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The podcast episode discusses the dilemma faced by businesses when it comes to hiring for Amazon operations. The speaker suggests that businesses should consider outsourcing certain elements of their Amazon operations to expert agencies instead of hiring new employees or outsourcing the entire Amazon business. This approach allows for sustainable growth and gives businesses the option to add more skills to their team in the future.

“I think there are differences because of course the platforms are different but the underlining skills I don't think differ. You do still need to have somebody that's building and executing the strategy. I think it is a less strategical work I'd say in the fact that with vendor. The person that's leading the strategy needs to understand how Amazon is placed as a huge against all your bricks and mortar or your independence or all the other channels. Whereas with seller, you are more in control of your price. You are more able to be reactive.“ - Asha Bhalsod, Founder, Etopia Consultancy

While Amazon Vendor Channel and Amazon Seller Channel platforms may be different, the underlying skills required are similar. Both channels require someone to build and execute a strategy, but the vendor channel may require a deeper understanding of how Amazon fits into the larger market landscape, while the seller channel may require more hands-on doers.

Importance of carefully evaluating business needs and developing internal talent to drive Amazon growth. It suggests that businesses should outsource specific elements of their Amazon operations to agencies, allowing them to benefit from expertise and flexibility while maintaining control over their operations.

Importance of external agency expertise

It is crucial to develop internal talent and have a deep understanding of the business, there are certain benefits that external agencies can provide. One key advantage of working with agencies is that they bring external influences and experiences to the table. This allows them to provide fresh perspectives and insights that can help businesses stay current and innovative. Additionally, agencies can offer expertise and knowledge that businesses may not have internally, helping them avoid common pitfalls and make informed decisions.

"…use an external agency, to support this person that could potentially even train, coach, and develop but an agency that could also manage for things like Amazon advertising, content listings, optimization, and even strategy consultancy.- Asha Bhalsod, Founder, Etopia Consultancy

Businesses often struggle to retain their Amazon talent, leading to frequent turnover. This is partly because senior leaders may not fully understand the importance of Amazon and how to effectively manage it. However, it is crucial for businesses to recognize the value of retaining and nurturing their talent. This can be achieved by providing strategic guidance and support, as well as allowing them to stay fresh by engaging with external agencies.

The podcast highlights the importance of carefully evaluating business needs and developing internal talent to drive Amazon growth, while also leveraging the expertise and flexibility offered by external agencies.

Develop talent, seek external support

The podcast discusses the misconception that businesses have buyers for their Amazon products and emphasizes the importance of seeking opportunities and testing and analyzing what works and what doesn't work in the Amazon business. It suggests that businesses should focus on talent development and seek external support to nurture and develop their own talent. This can be done through training programs or seeking help and support in specialist areas.

“I actually do believe that businesses should be given the opportunity to their own internal candidates fast and give them the opportunity to develop and learn in this Amazon space. ”- Asha Bhalsod, Founder, Etopia Consultancy

The podcast highlights the need for businesses to have a hybrid model, where they have both an internal team and an external agency to support their Amazon operations. It emphasizes the importance of giving meaningful job titles and opportunities to junior employees, or "opportunists," to retain talent. By providing growth opportunities and seeking external support, businesses can ensure the development of their internal talent.

"Amazon mindset is about balance."

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The conversation revolves around the understanding and utilization of Amazon as a marketing platform rather than just a sales account. The speakers emphasize the importance of balancing the reliance on Amazon with other sales channels and investing correctly in areas such as Amazon advertising.

“So it's actually about understanding where to balance, where to allocate stock, but the implications of if they then allow independent sellers to sell through Amazon Marketplace and what that impact would be then on their brand or the impact of not investing correctly in the space of Amazon advertising as an example.”- Asha Bhalsod, Founder, Etopia Consultancy

The Amazon mindset involves understanding the capabilities of the Amazon platform and what it can do for a brand. It requires businesses to allocate stock strategically and consider the implications of allowing independent sellers to sell through the Amazon marketplace. Additionally, investing correctly in Amazon advertising is highlighted as a crucial aspect of developing the Amazon mindset.

The speakers stressed that adopting an Amazon mindset does not mean putting all eggs in the Amazon basket. They argue that it is unhealthy for a business to solely rely on Amazon or have a significant percentage of their business tied to it. Instead, they emphasize the importance of finding a balance between Amazon and other sales channels.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, the podcast discusses the Amazon skills shortage and the challenges it presents for businesses. The rapid growth of e-commerce and the increased demand for Amazon management skills have created a limited pool of qualified professionals. The podcast emphasizes the need for businesses to carefully evaluate their own needs and develop internal talent to navigate the Amazon marketplace effectively.

It suggests that businesses should consider outsourcing specific elements of their Amazon operations to agencies while maintaining control over their overall strategy. By doing so, businesses can benefit from the expertise and flexibility offered by agencies while ensuring their Amazon growth aligns with their long-term goals.


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