The onset of Covid-19 has legitimized the eCommerce industry quite rapidly over the past 6 months. eCommerce is here to stay and brands that do not wake up to the changing tides will quickly fall extinct. eCommerce is still relatively new so finding the top talent to run your eCommerce operations may prove difficult if you do not know what to look for in an eCommerce manager. After working with hundreds of clients, here are the skills we think every eCommerce manager should hold:
Any capable eCommerce manager must be able to discern between micro and macro decision making. Some problems will be obvious and directly in front of you. Others will require foresight, planning, and agility. eCommerce is complicated and requires high levels of ingenuity and critical thinking. The entire industry is a new frontier. Ensure your manager is comfortable with concept connection, getting the big picture, visualization, problem-solving, questioning, idea generation, analytical thinking, practical thinking/application, and synthesizing.
Cross Department Skills
The responsibilities of an eCommerce manager are quite robust. They must understand the frontend, backend, marketing strategy, sales goals, and ensure all systems are operational. Depending on the complexity/size of the brand, these can be manual processes or automated. Your candidate should be able to move from team to team for consulting advice.
Marketing & Sales Background
In eCommerce, the relationship between sales and marketing may be the most important operational connection. Both teams work hand in hand to optimize the sales funnel, so it’s best if your eCommerce manager understands both sides of the coin. Marketing brings the leads in and sales convert those leads into customers. If your eCommerce manager can understand and be involved through the entire process, clients will react positively, and friction will be reduced.
eCommerce Platform Experience
This may seem obvious, but your eCommerce liaison MUST have in-depth knowledge about the platform in which you currently operate. Beyond that, they must understand the major platform competitors like Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce as well as more niche custom solutions.
The eCommerce industry is highly innovative. Your eCommerce manager must have a good baseline knowledge of all eCommerce platform options. Enterprise brands will have different operational requirements than a small consumer goods agency. eCommerce managers should be able to adapt to a changing environment by evaluating current processes against best practices from around the industry.
Understanding Of Fulfillment & Inventory
This portion of the eCommerce customer lifecycle is often overlooked because of the misconception that it is easy or handles itself. Because of Amazon, many consumers think fulfillment is simple and easy, however, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. There is so much complexity that goes into inventory management and fulfillment. Your eCommerce manager must understand how these operations work and how they integrate with the rest of your business model. If your fulfillment center can only handle 100 orders per day, it would be unwise to allocate marketing dollars past 100 orders. Emphasizing that all business areas are on the same page will pay dividends in the long run.
Understanding Of Entire Development Life Cycle
At Trellis, we deploy a robust development process to help our clients improve their technological footprint over time. Comprehensive discussions regarding strategy, design, development, setup, Q/A, and post-launch support take place to create an eCommerce strategy. A good eCommerce manager understands the development process and can pinpoint which areas need more attention. Any development experience on the backend and frontend is critical. They may not need to be able to write code or execute the tasks themselves, but they should understand the processes and the vision behind it.
Experience Implementing New Technologies
This should not be their first rodeo. Experience reigns supreme and eCommerce experience is more valuable than ever. Ensure your candidate has ample time managing complex technological intervals. Make sure they have had success putting out fires and project managing difficult builds. Find problem solvers but not excuse-makers. A qualified eCommerce manager understands that everything doesn’t always go as planned and new technologies bring road bumps.
All eCommerce enthusiasts should deploy a student mentality at all times. They should desire to absorb as much content and information as possible. Their reach should go beyond what they know now but what they will learn over time. With eCommerce being so relatively new, it’s important to stay humble, hungry, and motivated to innovate. Becoming a data-driven manager will open up new opportunities for growth in terms of cash flow,s market presence, and innovation.
Content Creation Skills
Any capable manager will have high levels of creativity, initiative, and accountability. They should be able to come up with unique campaign ideas, model out the plan, and execute accordingly. Managers shouldn’t be afraid to get their hands dirty and do the work themselves. After all, they probably know how to perform the task best or they aren’t the right fit for the job. eCommerce managers should be able to write great copy, envision graphics and images across campaigns, design