Management & Finance

8 Key Personnel Roles for Ecommerce Success in 2020

The basics of an online store include a solid ecommerce platform, excellent customer experience, products that consumers want to buy, traffic, and a memorable brand.

It is easier than ever to launch an ecommerce business. Sourcing products is not a problem.  Sophisticated global supply chains and distribution networks allow small businesses to obtain almost any type of product and operate in any market.  Platforms — Shopify, Miva, many others — equalize the capabilities of competing stores, making it difficult to stand out.

Success, therefore, depends on your execution.

Success, therefore, depends on your execution.

Certainly your brand and user experience offer opportunities. Merchandising is critical. Delivering relevant content and promotional offers can be a huge differentiator. Becoming a reliable source of product information could attract and retain customers. Social media can generate viral growth. And using analytics to improve site performance continuously is essential.

But executing on these tactics requires assigning responsibilities to talented staff. Technology and design can only take you so far.

Here are eight critical personnel roles for an ecommerce business in 2020. Some of these may require more than one person due to their sophistication and complexity. Conversely, smaller businesses may combine roles into a single position.

8 Essential Roles

Marketing Manager

  • Responsible for outbound and inbound marketing to attract and retain customers.
  • Works closely with merchandising manager to deliver promotions in various channels.
  • Supervises paid and organic channels, including search engine optimization.
  • Works with other stakeholders to define market segments, customer personas, and mapping customer journeys.

Usability Manager

  • Oversees website design and user experience.
  • Implements branding on all channels.
  • Works with marketing and merchandising teams on landing-page design and development.
  • Assists with SEO.
  • Ensures site performance.
  • Works closely with other stakeholders to ensure ecommerce capabilities are aligned with business goals.

Merchandising Manager

  • Directs site navigation, cross-sells and up-sells, landing pages, home page content, category page content, curated collections.
  • Creates and manages all on-site promotions.
  • Optimizes site search.

Data Analyst

  • Owns site tagging and data collection.
  • With other team members, identifies key performance indicators.
  • Tracks and reports on KPIs and other metrics.
  • Develops insights from data for continuous site improvement.

Product Manager

  • Responsible for product catalog.
  • Works closely with merchandising manager to curate the best items.
  • Creates product content and metadata.
  • Works with merchandising team on pricing and promotional strategies.

Technical Director

  • Works with usability manager on site performance and security.
  • Owns the development of new capabilities and integrations.
  • Coordinates ongoing site maintenance and third-party upgrades.
  • Responsible for uptime and technical infrastructure.

Customer Service Director

  • Owns post-sale support activities and overall customer satisfaction.
  • Oversees fulfillment and quality control.

General Manager

  • Has profit responsibility for the entire ecommerce channel.
  • Directs overall strategies and works with other team leaders on execution.
  • Ensures branding, operations, and execution are aligned.
  • Coordinates the identifying and tracking of KPIs.

Overcome Inertia

As a company grows, it’s crucial to have proper staffing and skills to cover these roles. Each has become specialized and increasingly requires training and the ability to evolve across rapid changes.

Worried about budget impacts? You should be. But if your site is underperforming in any key area — conversion, traffic, average order value — it’s expertise that will move the needle. If your monthly sales are, say, $100,000, adding a $60,000 merchandising manager is a small investment to increase average orders by 20 percent.

Many ecommerce owners have a solid store with popular products. But their business is not growing. Frequently it is because the site is stale with no new products, content, or merchandising offers. Adding the proper personnel can overcome inertia to attract and retain customers.

Dale Traxler

Dale Traxler

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