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Alina Virstiuk
Written by
Alina Virstiuk
Content Manager at Gepard
CONTENTS
eCommerce eCommerce Strategy eCommerce team

Building A Successful eCommerce Team To Outrun Market Competition In 2022

10 min read
March 8, 2022

The old saying about safety in numbers comes in especially relevant when we are talking about the market as competitive and unforgiving as eCommerce. Valued at a difficult-to-comprehend USD 9+ trillion, it is a highly profitable area of operations where everybody is eager to grab their own piece of profits. This is why having a reliable eCommerce team by your side is essential to your project, product, or company success in the field.

Where to start, how is an efficient team usually structured, and what are the major ins and outs of gathering eCommerce specialists under one roof? We are here to find out, but let’s start from the beginning.

What Is An eCommerce Team All About?

In eCommerce, teams are composed of professionals set to handle a range of tasks and aspects, including management, marketing and promotion, online store administration, Help Desk functions and customer support, order fulfillment, etc. At the same time, those major tasks can be multi-faceted based on the overall scope of work, requiring, for instance, different types of managers to handle operations, accounting, and customers (we dive into the details concerning specific job titles a bit further below in the article).

eCommerce Challenges Standing In The Way Of Your Team

With the mentioned market value numbers and the ever-rising demand in the field, eCommerce cannot but be quite challenging, risky, and work-intensive as a whole. There are delicate moments and pitfalls to watch out for on multiple levels, including:

  • Cyber & Data Security

The field of digital commerce is highly prone to all sorts of cyber threats and one of the main eCommerce challenges here is figuring out the priorities and deciding in what order to hire specialists – does a security guy come before managers or vice versa? (It depends on a lot of specifics, but a project or a business gets an immediate need of a security specialist once it accumulates enough valuable/confidential data and/or assets).

  • Customer Loyalty

Loud promises and fake reviews mustn’t be anybody’s customer loyalty-stimulating tools – delivering on the high quality guarantee and having savvy marketing and support specialists are the things to help you conquer your target audience’s hearts (the most challenging part here is to find professionals who are not only properly qualified but are also creative and passionate in their approach to customers).

  • Customer Experience

The overall quality of the UX is shaped by a range of underlying aspects (from the web/app functionality outline to the quality of support), yet the main thing is to grant a wholesome, intuitive, hassle-free digital commerce experience in and out (which is usually achieved by savvy management and alignment of workflows).

  • Price & Shipping

Deciding on the type of shipping method is one of the essential aspects that form product/service pricing in a major way (today, many providers opt for third-party dropshipping services instead of hiring dedicated specialists and handling shipments with their in-house strengths).

  • Increasing Number Of Regulations

Depending on the type of products you work with and region of operations, your commercial activity may fall under various regulations which seem to emerge by the day so you should be ready to handle data compliance across departments.

  • Automation & Product Data Management

Reaching a balance between automated and manual workflows can be a challenge of its own where it is most important to delegate workflows based on their underlying specifics (such as data accuracy, the routine factor, human-factor errors, etc.).

Getting to the core of it all, in reality, most eCommerce challenges are overcome with a segmented, well-prioritized approach to building an eCommerce team, which is why a lot of preliminary research is always a must at the early planning stages. On top of that, an efficient team structure is certainly a deciding factor in terms of streamlining further operational consistency, withstanding issues, and preventing future risks.

What Are The Challenges Of Building An eCommerce Team?

Structuring eCommerce Department: Traditional & Emerging Roles

What is an eCommerce team in a nutshell? It is a segmented gathering of specialists that have different levels of responsibility and tackle different tasks, providing a complete eCommerce workflow. Traditionally, building a team from scratch, you’d want to fill the following positions.

Web Engineer/IT Specialist

Responsible for the performance of the digital infrastructure, as well as for in-house user experience (in administration software and the like) and alignment of data across specialists;

Marketing Manager

Responsible for conducting marketing studies and developing marketing strategies, analyzing various marketing patterns, and finding new ways to introduce products/services with a bang;

Graphic Designer

Responsible for a huge part of the overall eCommerce experience – visual outline of the user interface, alignment of various graphic elements, color schemes, and underlying site/product designs;

Content Writer

Responsible for copy on the website/in the app, including headings, CTAs, product descriptions, and all other essential pieces of text;

Logistics Manager

Responsible for the shipping and delivery specifics, as well as for supply management and efficient routing of various deliveries;

Inventory Manager

Helps handle logistics by managing a warehouse (digital or otherwise), registering and keeping track of materials and products, and settling other inventory-related stuff;

Customer Support Specialist

Responsible for communicating with customers, accessing requests and submissions, resolving conflict situations, and other support tasks;

Accounting & Finance Specialist

Responsible for keeping track of, analyzing, and managing all expenses and costs, both internal and external;

Business Analyst

Responsible for business data analytics, including gathering and storing necessary data, processing data through a set of specialized tools, and acquiring invaluable analytics and forecasts;

PIM Manager

Responsible for making all product content centralized and structured in single source to share it easily to the external points of sales; automating product content distribution aligned with retailers’ requirements.

eCommerce Team Roles

As demands grow and responsibilities overlap, however, there emerge new, more complex positions that gradually spread over the industry. Thus, we now also have new roles and responsibilities that you may want to address in order to shoot for market-defining results. These are:

Cyber Security Manager

As hackers and scammers become more and more inventive in achieving their malicious goals, sturdier cybersecurity measures are called for. This is why the best eCommerce team structure may as well be achieved with a separate dedicated Cyber Security Manager by your side who will coordinate all security measures, develop and improve digital protection strategies, and more.

Omnichannel Product Manager

Such specialists help design and incubate new product features as well as manage the existing ones through multi-faceted analysis and strategizing, focusing on omnichannel conversion opportunities.

eCommerce Product Data Analyst 

Product information management is brought to a new level with the help of this specialist that focuses solely on the integrity of all product-related data (informative value of descriptions, proper statement of features and capacities, etc.).

UX Writer

You may efficiently segment copy by assigning a separate specialist to write text on UX elements. Error messages, descriptions on buttons, menu highlights – all of that is called microcopy and is increasingly being handled by dedicated UX writers.

Building An Efficient eCommerce Department Structure Step By Step

In order to efficiently achieve set goals without losing costs or sacrificing quality along the way, you should keep things gradual and smooth. Here are a few pro tips that should point you in the proper direction.

Define Goals And Needs

Always start with thorough planning. The first thing to do is to identify major business needs you are looking to achieve with the help of a team to be gathered. These needs can branch out into secondary stuff – e.g., Management – Project Management – Financial Management – Customer Management. Based on that outline, the required budget may be calculated, scope of work visualized, and further needs settled.

Focus On Cost-Efficiency

The more extra expenses you save, the more investment opportunities you will have. And there are tons of cost-saving opportunities lying around to grab if you are inquisitive enough and regard all the existing alternatives. Thus, up-and-coming companies or even startups tend to delegate, for instance, shipping responsibilities to dropshipping service providers and outsource certain parts of workflow at the beginning.

Set Clear And Realistic Expectations

Filling eCommerce team roles and responsibilities, use the results of your preliminary planning and analysis to pose specific requirements and expectations towards potential candidates. Keep it as clear, concise, and free from big words as possible. Also, don’t forget about the segmentation of responsibilities – providing one position opening for a single manager to handle a range of cross-department tasks won’t be a good idea.

Think Through Incentives And Employee Retaining

To avoid employee turnover and build a long-term consistent team, you need to grant workflow comfort and internal privileges. Employees must be motivated enough to stick to what you have in store. So you may want to add up traditional incentives (career growth opportunities, competitive compensation, free in-house education, etc.) with bonuses and rewards (especially for those who tend to work after hours).

Hire “Your” People

Surely, it is important to see how interested a candidate is in their craft – how passionate they are? Even a geographically spread, a remote team can be the most well-coordinated powerhouse if its members are motivated and excited enough. HRs can usually easily see how active certain candidates are in their thoughts and decisions as a whole. Test tasks should help further make sure that a specialist is able to offer alternative methods and improve the existing process.

Build The Recruitment Process

You don’t want to dive into recruitment specifics alone – instead, make it a collaborative effort that will help you pick the best candidates by stages. This is where it is great to have an HR specialists that would search and pre-select candidates, a manager who would discuss the details and conduct interviews, and a specialist (a dev or a designer, for instance) who would help compose a test task and check its completion.

How To Build An eCommrce Department?

How To Retain Talents?

Incentives should be an essential part of your eCommerce team strategy from the get-go. Even though the best talents out there are quite difficult to retain, you should be able to offer the following “pillars of long-term collaboration”.

Career growth prospects

The important thing is that these must be very real and take place once a hired team talent hits their “professional ceiling”. The best motivation for any eager professional is recognition and stimulation of ideas for their individual promotion and growth

Collaborative flexibility

Specialists, especially experienced ones, don’t like being bothered every other second, constantly monitored, or overly limited in their freedom of action. Remote opportunities, flexible schedule with no fixed hours, and automated monitoring via specialized dashboards are things that make everybody’s life easier.

Honest and healthy workflow

Promote transparency by staying on the same page with specialists and hearing them out. And the staying healthy element is especially relevant these times, so you may think about adding a gym membership to the list of incentives.

How Does PIM Boost Your eCommerce Department?

Ventana Research predicts that by 2024, roughly half of operating eCommerce providers will be experiencing a major shortage of Product Information Management (PIM) workflows. In particular, the lack of PIM will hinder operational efficiency in terms of marketing and promotion through multiple sales channels. And all because products don’t seem to be getting the proper focused treatment that should help them stand out among the crowd and more efficiently grab the attention of the target audience. Having validated, enriched product data, seamlessly syndicated across various channels is a part of a successful eCommerce strategy.

A dedicated PIM system may serve as a one-stop solution for accumulating, managing, and distributing product data throughout marketplaces. So it is kind of becoming a must-have for all ambitious retailers working with a bunch of sales channels at once. As opposed to ERP platforms, a PIM system is mainly tied to a product database with advanced product data syndication, enrichment, and validation capabilities. Increased product data quality and the way it is distributed across channels may affect your sales most dramatically.

The Ultimate Benefits Of PIM

A PIM environment streamlines the performance of multiple essential specialists on your eCommerce team, mostly managers working with specific responsibilities. Let’s take a look at how PIM facilitates workflow for specific professionals.

IT Manager

The PIM functionality gives more control over data, helps avoid data loss, and grants scalability in terms of which no data accuracy or consistency is lost. In the long run, this spawns a major way for an IT Manager to keep things in place and reduce costs even in the harsh conditions of distribution across multiple channels in one marketplace and expansion over new markets.

Marketing Manager

Specialists may find new ways to sweeten up the deal and boost conversions by gaining unified data access, convenient product data organization and exporting tools, as well as guaranteed data consistency kept across product versions and business scales.

Category Manager 

A somewhat novel position of a Category Manager – a specialist responsible for a certain group of goods – can be efficiently introduced to your team if PIM is in place. In particular, such a specialist will be able to more intuitively and efficiently categorize products and proofread product content with automated data verification, centralized data storing, multi-channel product info exporting.

Customer Managers

Managers dealing with customers also get all the comfort of organizing underlying data and receiving input information from customers via a unified platform, which helps them boost the overall customer service quality through data consistency and fast informed responses.

Digitization As Your Push Towards New Horizons

As challenging and filled with nuances as it may be, digital transformation today is the ultimate way to expand and start exploring new vast market opportunities. Statista already predicts an upcoming global data use doubling – we are looking at about 150 zettabytes of data accumulated by 2024. With such a spread, you’d need to really take the way you work with your data and present it to the public to the next level in order to stand out, which works as a great business driver.

At the same time, remote opportunities – both for consumers and providers – continue to grow in terms of value and demand, with roughly 74% of professionals expecting job opportunities to become remote by default in the near future. And, by the way, PIM openings are already quite in demand across the biggest job boards out there. It’s up to you to timely get in the know and really hit the demand through digitization.

eCommerce Team Gathering FAQ

How Does eCommerce Impact The Labor Market In 2022?

eCommerce supports one of the biggest, most essential labor markets today. Almost a million people (747,000 to be exact) are employed in various eCommerce sectors in the US alone. In 2022, the overall impact of eCommerce on the global labor market is only growing in its significance, mostly due to increasing demand for remote opportunities and contactless commerce.

What Are The Highest-Paid Jobs In eCommerce?

Project Manager is the hottest position where specialists’ salaries range $60,000-100,000+ per year. This is followed by lower-level management positions (including PIM Manager), sales people, and technical specialists.

What Does A PIM Manager Do?

A PIM Manager handles accepting and approving, organizing and structuring, improving and delivering all customer-facing product-related information that appears in your online store, including multi-lingual data nuances, geotargeting of content, and more.

Bottom Line

All said and done, we cannot stress enough how important it is to set sail with a trusty crew by your side that’s been gathered in an intelligent, planning-heavy way. The market is fierce so the main thing is to follow the best practices yet approach things somewhat differently as opposed to others. One way is to timely pioneer trends.

And hiring a qualified PIM Manager that will help you achieve the next level of product data consistency is not only important to the overall success of your eCommerce today – it may as well be your pioneer’s ticket in the future. Meanwhile, savvy experts at Gepard are here to help you streamline data management and processing to help you sell more in a faster, hassle-free manner.

Check out how we work in practice without going far – request a personalized demo to see what you get with the help of our expertise.

Why Is Product Data Important To Stay Competitive?

Alina Virstiuk
Written by Alina Virstiuk
Content Manager at Gepard
Passionate about travelling, books & photography. Enjoy working with new things and meeting people from all over the world.

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