Scale your eCommerce Team | Who to Hire?

The time has come to scale your eCommerce business and the question you have now is who to hire first and why? 

Every eCommerce business is different so no standard answers here. Unless we have a conversation it would be impossible to dispense advice specifically for your business. However, below are some things to consider. 

The Hiring Plan

Your hiring plan will be determined by what type of eCommerce business you are running. Does your business sell a single premium product or do you run a multi-product store,  selling hundreds or thousands of SKU’s?  Is it B2B or B2C focused?  Are your product(s) simple or complex? 

Depending on your answers you might initially need to prioritize supply chain and logistics over marketing, or vice versa? Perhaps your product is complex and requires regular support, hence customer service might be the main focus right now?    

Let us look at the essential team members you will need in order to effectively grow your eCommerce business.  In time many of these early hires will possibly be managing their own teams, hence it is critical to take your time and hire the right people.

Key Hires for your eCommerce Business

Logistics /Supply Chain Manager

This is a huge role and covers all activities related to procurement. They are in charge of sourcing raw materials, placing orders, managing suppliers, and ensuring the journey of the goods from supplier to your warehouses and ultimately on to the customer is a flawless one.  A well-run supply chain that guarantees on-time fulfillment is crucial for meeting the expectations of the customer. 

With the likes of Amazon who run a tight ship, delivering goods the same day or next, no eCommerce business can afford major flaws across their supply chains. Customer expectations have never been higher. 

Digital Marketing Manager

Responsibilities include managing funnels, email campaigns, Google Adword & PPC campaigns,  copywriting, managing company social media pages and analytics, etc.  They need to wear multiple hats and have a broad range of digital skills ranging from content marketing through to SEO and Data analytics.  They must have their pulse on the customer and thoroughly understand their needs. Having some courage to test new ideas and not just blindly following the industry standards could elevate your business to new heights. As the famous Apple slogan goes, ‘Think Different’.

Whether they specialize in Copywriting or generating insights using Google Analytics, it is their job to ultimately drive traffic to your store whilst ensuring site conversion remains high at all times. 

Programmer /Web Developer

They are responsible for the entire build, design & functionality of the store. Their day to day work will also involve monitoring and working on performance optimization of the site, ensuring any broken code is fixed immediately.

The type of Web Developer to hire depends on whether you are using a fully hosted cloud-based solution like Shopify,  BigCommerce, or a self-hosted solution, perhaps using Magento, WordPress, or other.?   
For the likes of Shopify and BigCommerce where most of the tech is taking care of, you may only require customization with some HTML/CSS,  possibly not justifying a full-time hire. 
Self-hosted sites could go down anytime, costing many thousands of dollars or suffer a range of optimization issues with broken code. Even if you are somewhat technical, trying to resolve tech issues can be time-consuming and frustrating when you have so much to deal with.

Customer Service Manager

Responsibilities include live chat, taking phone calls, or dealing with customer support tickets via email. They need to solve the customer’s problems yet be polite, knowledgeable, and treat the customer impeccably at all times.

The customer service team can have an enormous impact on your business. Many customer reviews and feedback is based on how they were treated by the customer support team. 

Director/Head of Ecommerce

Responsibilities include overseeing the eCommerce stores and managing the brands, coordinating with marketing, tech, and support to ensure the customer experience is the best it can be. This role is vast and covers many areas, essentially laying the foundations from which everything else is built on.  

This role is a critical hire and certainly not one to rush. Typically, unless you have plenty of excess budgets you would hire an eCommerce director at a later stage. You are looking for someone with extensive experience and an excellent track record. 

Final Thoughts 

Throughout this growth phase, it is crucial to hire genuine ‘can do’ attitudes who are willing to be flexible and even roll up their sleeves, getting involved in other sides of the business whenever necessary. 

This kind of flexibility and willingness to learn new things is something that cannot be overstated enough at the ramping up stage of your eCommerce store. 

Be wary about hiring senior-level executive candidates at this stage, particularly if budgets are tight. Strategy and big picture thinking is great but focus on hiring hands-on talent where you can delegate key tasks, which are either weak spots for yourself or simply taking up too much of your time, hindering you from focusing on the bigger vision and goals that will ultimately drive your eCommerce business forward.

Remember the point of hiring is to leverage, relieving you of some of the day to day grind so you, the business owner or primary operator can do what you do best.