There are few generalizations that can aptly apply to all of us across the board. People are so unique and varied. We all have different priorities in life but being successful is one of the uniting features we collectively strive for day in and day out. No matter your chosen career path, you probably want to be good at whatever it is you’re doing. Those involved in eCommerce are no exception. However, this isn’t always the easiest feat for company owners. Building a thriving business, especially in an era so marked and defined by competition, takes a lot of time, know-how, and resources. Above all else, you need the right people to support you, and form the basis of your company. The talents and positions needed are so vast that it’s easy to give up before you ever even lay a proper foundation. Don’t want this to be you? We’ve got your back. Here are some of the things you need to know and key roles you need to fill for a successful, long-lasting eCommerce company.
Starting the Building Process
Before you can ever get an eCommerce shop off the ground, it’s vital to understand what is needed to make it work and make it work well for years to come. At its most basic level, a successful company requires solid knowledge about everything, from product design to digital marketing to advertising to fulfillment logistics and more. Naturally, even the most talented among us can’t do this on our own. A skilled team is the only thing that can make it happen. Building this team is undoubtedly a daunting task, though. After all, when your employee roster is empty, where are you supposed to even start? The best answer is with an eCommerce manager – someone who can develop budgets and strategies, optimize sales, manage supplier agreements, and manage team members. They’ll have the vision needed to help you form the rest of your company, including its employees and general direction.
Once you have a manager in place to help with the primary responsibilities, your plans can be slightly more up in the air and flexible. It can (and should) look different than others out there, so the order and specific hires you make will also be different. This should remain strategic, however. ‘Flexible’ does not mean ‘random.’ Several factors should be considered before moving forward with choosing new employees. Some of them are:
- Your product catalogue – While it shouldn’t come as much of a shock, your product catalogue will ultimately help decide the direction of your key roles. For example, do you have a long list of offerings, and are there several variations? Are your sales cyclical? For those who answered ‘yes,’ employing good supply chain managers, logistic companies, etc. will take on particular importance to keep everything well managed and effectively scaled.
- Budget constraints and profit margins – Could you have a money bath if you wanted or do you find yourself barely able to afford ramen after business expenses are figured? Obviously, this plays a major role in who, how many, and when you can hire.
- Advertising/marketing style – How do you like to reach your audience and inform them of your products? Do you use paid advertising? Social media? And how are you trying to achieve? What’s your target demographic? Odds are, if you’re primarily using new medias and are targeting a younger crowd, you’ll require more copywriters, social media specialists, and the like than others might.
- Where you’re selling your products – Mainly focused on one small area or are you looking to expand your market worldwide? If it’s the latter, you’ll need to take that into consideration and hire someone who knows how to distribute to those countries, how to accept payment, etc.
- Your plans for fulfillment and logistics – Wanting to focus on taking care of everything in-house, or are you planning on outsourcing? Do you want just to outsource bits of the responsibilities, or do you want a provider who can practically do it all? All these questions will inevitably influence the decision of hiring individuals versus outside logistics companies.
- Number or type of support needs – Need somebody on hand to regularly process returns, or is someone with tech guidance more necessary? Do you even need support other than general customer service? The type of support offered would be entirely guesswork without mulling these over.
10 Key eCommerce Roles and Hires
Knowing how to get the ball rolling and understanding the factors that go into the initial hiring process is instrumental in early success. It’ll help you determine which roles you need to prioritize from the start of your company’s history and which ones you can put off until later – something integral to your success. However, you might still be a little foggy about the specific key roles you’ll need to embrace throughout your years in business. If that’s the case, here’s a thorough breakdown of each hire that will be needed.
1. Web Developer
Ecommerce kind of demands a properly working and designed website. Unfortunately, this doesn’t just magically happen. You’re going to need a team member who can take up this particular task. A good developer should at least know your eCommerce platform, HTML, CSS, and your specific scripting. Although, any extra language knowledge is a well-appreciated bonus. Also, don’t skimp when it comes to this role. Remember: your site is your store. Developers may cost a significant amount, but without them, your store literally can’t survive. Find the right match, pay them well, and let them do their thing.
2. Digital Operations
Much like web developers, digital operations managers or team members monitor the site and ensures all works properly. However, their focus is primarily on the customer’s perspective, verifying that product listings are correct, checking discount code function, and testing load speed. They’re what translates customer wants to your content management system.
3. Logistics Manager
It’s true that the eCommerce experience is an online one, but everything behind the scenes functions on a more physical level. Products have to be ordered, manufactured, stored, transported, and shipped somehow. Logistics managers translate this into action. They’re the reason your products ever make it into your consumers’ hands. Using a 3PL or other outsourced service? They’re also your go-between.
4. Customer Service Reps
Regardless of the type of product you sell or particular eCommerce business you run, customer service representatives are an absolute must. They play a crucial role in customer happiness, answering any questions they may have, attempting to offer technical solutions, processing refunds, and handling any potential complaints.
5. Digital Advertising
Advertising is in constant flux and has changed significantly in the years it has existed. No matter what form it happens to be, it’s still how your brand gains visibility, customers, and a strong reputation. Even brands with intense interest and revenue need good advertising, so having a diverse digital advertising team is a necessity.
6. Social Media Managers
Nowadays, there is a clear overlap between digital advertising and social media teams. Both are responsible for getting your company into the public eye, but social media managers obviously specialize in a more specific niche. They work extensively to create engaging platforms on Facebook, Instagram, and other popular media sites and create content that potential buyers will connect with.
7. Content Developers
Stores, eCommerce ones included, aren’t just stores anymore. Buyers expect more than just products they love. They expect meaningful content they can interact with on a deeper, less superficial level. Images, descriptions, blogs, mission statements, and more all fall under this category. Content developers create these, which serve to shape brand image and customer experience.
8. Business Analysts
Business analysts may be more behind the scenes than some other positions, but they play just as important of a role. These team members are the ones who come up with business strategies in conjunction with other departments and ultimately help expand the business, evaluate market trends, and inform product development.
9. Finance and Accounting
Finance and accounting roles take on precisely what you would expect. They’re here to ensure that finances are in order and assist the eCommerce manager with market speculation. This person or department can be part of the company, but they’re often outsourced from a third-party.
10. Graphic Designers
Graphics are often front and center since they provide a cohesive brand image, and their work can attract potential customers. Graphics can be included in everything from your general site design to your advertisements and beyond. As such, it’s a good idea to have a designer in-house whenever possible.
Article written By: Sawyer Wood