How to Build an Ecommerce Team: A Best Practices Guide

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March 30, 2021
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Building an Ecommerce Team: a Best Practice Guide
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To ensure the success of any project, it is essential to effectively assemble and structure a team that will lead you to accomplish your goals. This aspect is as critical as your ecommerce website, technology, and the products you sell. 

Your ecommerce team must be knowledgeable about the industry, committed to your business’s success, and possess the necessary skills to tackle the project tasks. To help you with this issue, we present a best practice guide on building an ecommerce team.

What Makes a Good Ecommerce Manager?

The role of an ecommerce project manager is extremely important. Usually, in companies, this specialist is responsible for:

  • monitoring and optimizing online sales.
  • defining, implementing, and synchronizing trading strategies in collaboration with other departments responsible for tasks such as online marketing and content management.
  • defining the budget for different sales channels.
  • managing the members of the ecommerce team.
  • reporting to top management, CEOs, owners, etc.
  • activating accounts and profiles.
  • collecting the online customer feedback.
  • managing communications.
Source

What Roles Need to Be on Your Team?

How big does the team need to be to make it a sufficient backbone for an online store to work properly? After all, no one wants to pay money for extra staff. Let’s figure out which team members you definitely can’t do without.

Ecommerce CEO

This high-ranking employee oversees all ecommerce transactions and makes sure that each employee or an entire department keeps exactly to the workflow scripts and performs their duties.

In particular, their area of competence includes monitoring online sales and contracts, managing partnerships and reporting, participating in strategic decision-making and budgeting, and generating profit and loss statements.

For small businesses, the ecommerce director is responsible for completing sub-tasks (such as digital marketing and site administration).

Web Engineer

It’s important to make sure your web developer is ecommerce-specific. On top of that, it is obvious that they must be able to work on both the frontend and backend, as well as have experience in the field of mobile integration. As we reviewed in our Magento developer hourly rate guide, the rates depend on the expert’s skills, as well as their location.

In general, the main task of this specialist is to create an attractive marketplace that can accept all possible types of payments and has a good search engine. Besides, the site should have a well-structured catalog of products or services, be connected to a database, and have reporting tools.

While you may not need your own web developer (usually, third-party specialists are responsible for all site development and modernization tasks), there should still be someone on the team who is responsible for all the changes and updates.

IT Specialist

An IT specialist helps your team members make the right use of digital infrastructure resources. This person also ties data from the inventory and logistics teams together to streamline the delivery of goods. On top of that, the IT professional is responsible for the storage and security of data.

Wondering if you need a Magento solution architect if your store is based on Magento? Read our guide on the topic
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Do You Need a Magento Solution Architect to Design Your Ecommerce Store? 

Logistics Manager

The logistics manager is responsible for the safe, high-quality, and timely delivery of bulk orders from suppliers (either to your warehouses or directly to the customer). This employee is also involved in the design of international transportation, transport insurance, and quality control.

Inventory Manager

The main responsibilities of an inventory manager are to keep track of goods and, in particular, to ensure that the number of goods displayed on the website matches the number that is stored in the warehouse.

Customer Support Specialists

Online retailers often hire people to communicate with customers through chat, phone calls, and chatbots. Customer Service is also responsible for handling returns and customer complaints.

Accounting and Finance Specialist

The financial side is often outsourced to third-party specialists, although sometimes large marketplaces have their own staff to assist the ecommerce director with budgeting, market speculation, and income statements.

Business Analyst

Business analysts help ecommerce companies make key strategic decisions, such as entering new markets, developing new products, and scaling the business. These positions are usually occupied by senior consultants or industry veterans.

Source

How to Hire the Best People 

Now, let’s move on to the next part of our best practice guide on building an ecommerce team and tell you how to find the best specialists for your online store.

Set a high bar for potential candidates

Before you start looking for new staff for your online store, decide what your ideal group of employees would look like. There is a good rule of thumb: only hire people who are better than you. Never compromise. Mediocre workers, like bad politicians, have a toxic effect on the entire team, and it will take a long time to train them or remove them from the team.

The average candidate doesn’t select significant resources for training and, most likely, as a result, begins to show results not higher, but significantly lower than average. Only 10% of applicants will be great employees, so do more interviews and consider more applicants.

Ask the team to help with recruitment

The best source of good candidates is employee references. Ask well-established employees to methodically go through all of their Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn contacts to find suitable candidates for vacancies. Ask general questions like “Do you know anyone we could hire?” and make the request as specific as possible: “Do you know someone sensible for the position of ecommerce manager?”

Assess candidates objectively

Don’t let managers make staffing decisions. Some managers lend themselves to being influenced by and hiring their friends or relatives, despite their lack of professional skills. Finally, allowing managers to make talent decisions will give them too much power over team members. Have a group of unbiased people make the real hiring decision.

Involve future subordinates and colleagues of the candidate in interviews. A professional recruiter must be present at the interview. Make sure the interviewers make adequate notes. Return to your notes from time to time and compare them with the success of the new employee to hone your assessment skills.

Ask behavioral and situational questions

The purpose of interviews is to predict how candidates will perform when they become members of an ecommerce team. There are two types of interview questions: behavioral and situational. In the first, the candidate is asked to describe past achievements and explain how they relate to the requirements for the position.

Here are some examples of behavioral interview questions

  1. Tell us about a time when your behavior positively influenced your team.

Follow-up questions: What was your initial goal? Why? How did your colleagues react? Do you plan to work on your positive team influence?)

  1. Tell us about a time when you effectively led your team and achieved your goal. What approach did you take? 

Follow-up questions: What were your goals? How did you achieve them personally and as a team? How did you adapt your leadership style to different people? What was the bottom line of this particular situation?

  1. Tell us about a time when you had difficulty interacting with someone (colleague, classmate, client). Why was it difficult for you to work with this particular person? Follow-up questions: What steps did you take to solve the problem? What was the outcome? What could have been done differently?

In situational interview questions, a hypothetical situation related to the position should be proposed. An attentive interviewer will dig deep to gauge the validity of the answers and the thinking process based on what the candidate is saying.

Remember that your job is not just to evaluate the candidate. You should strive to make them love you. Turn the interview into a wonderful adventure so that the candidate feels that you care about what they care about and, in general, that this is the best day of their life.

Recruiting is the most important task in HR policy, and keep in mind that most of us are not at all as effective as we seem. If you redirect resources to improve recruiting performance, you will get a higher return than almost any training program.

How Do You Retain the Best Talents? 

Decent employees may be a dime a dozen, but stellar employees are worth their weight in gold. The talent you keep on your list has a big impact on your ability to scale your business efficiently and keep customers coming back for more. Once you find a team that meets and exceeds your expectations, they are well worth the effort to make them stay.

Offer growth prospects

Your employees need to have professional prospects, as repetitive tasks can lead to reduced productivity. You don’t have to give your people promotions right away, but a good way to stimulate the development of ambitious employees is through the opportunity to learn a new skill or explore another business line.

That being said, you should already be ready to answer general questions about promotions, compensation, and your overall goals for your team when asked.

Bet on flexibility

Given that many people work remotely, flexibility is essential for those looking to balance their careers with their lives outside work. Allowing your staff to pick up their children from school, make it easy to see a doctor, etc. is a signal to them that they are valued and trusted. These days, you can do a variety of jobs remotely, and the sooner your company adapts to a flexible model, the faster it becomes competitive.

Promote a healthy and honest work environment

Many people quit their jobs not because they didn’t like their responsibilities, but because they could no longer tolerate the work environment. As a manager, it is your responsibility to create a convenient working environment and then to ensure that the guidelines you set are adhered to.

Almost every company has a harassment and discrimination policy, and your flexible scheduling will help your employees meet their own needs.

However, you can go beyond what is required by law and set the stage for a space that does not allow rash comments, aggressive political conversation, or other behavior that could alienate certain employees. Toxicity in the work environment is the real reason people quit their jobs.

People standing on a chart and coordinating the work.
Source

Can You Build a Successful Team Remotely?

Today, regardless of the industry, you can work with specialists from anywhere in the world. You can easily gather a remote team of high-class professionals while reducing costs and avoiding the difficulties associated with organizing work in the office.

Remote workflows offer many benefits to both employees and employers, but they also come with some challenges. If team members are in different places, the corporate culture will not develop by itself – it will have to be worked on.

Hire the right people, wherever they are. Create an environment where employees trust their colleagues. Implement a monitoring system to ensure that employees are working towards personal and company goals. Using this experience, we have developed a step-by-step system that allows team members to always be in touch, wherever they are.

Hiring

Employees are the heart and soul of your company. This is why it is so important to take the process of recruiting seriously and hire people who can work efficiently whether they are at home or in the office.

We recommend adhering to the following algorithm:

  • Live conversation. If possible, interview candidates in person. This will allow you to assess their communication skills, general behavior, and body language. If the candidates live nearby, invite them to an office or other suitable place, and if they cannot come, arrange an interview via Skype, Zoom, or other video conferencing tool.
  • Proper assessment. If you are hiring an employee for a management or technical position, it is important to take a strategic approach. To get started, take a look at online skills assessment tools. Job sites sometimes offer tests to help assess a candidate’s skills. Also, don’t forget about references from previous employers. Personal recommendations and testimonials on LinkedIn are great.
  • Internal motivation. Your virtual team members won’t have many colleagues to help them focus on the current task. This is why it is so important to keep a potential employee motivated. Ask the candidate a couple of questions to make sure they can work without distractions.

Setting the culture

Nothing contributes to building a corporate culture more than spending quality time in personal communication. Ultimately, the success of a remote team will depend on your ability to create a unified work culture that is both enjoyable and honorable to be a part of.

Here are some tips and tricks on the subject:

  • When holding daily or weekly project meetings, allow colleagues to join with a video call. Of course, this will not replace face-to-face communication, but it will help your employees feel like part of a large, friendly team. Many video-calling services allow you to create multi-conferences.
  • Gathering employees every month or quarter is costly, but the reward – team loyalty – is worth it.
  • Holidays raise the spirits of employees, but it is also important to invest in their professional growth. If you are budgeting for professional events and conferences, consider inviting remote colleagues to join them. This will allow them to communicate with each other, make new acquaintances, and be filled with new ideas. Conferences are not only a source of inspiration, but also a place for the exchange of experience and quality communication with colleagues.

Monitoring

Trust is important, but you shouldn’t completely give up on monitoring workflows. For example, we rely on the following tools:

  • Project management. We use specialized applications for project management (for instance, Zoho Projects) to track tasks and control the responsibilities of employees for their implementation. This allows us to be confident that no project is “lost” and that everything goes according to plan.
  • Work with documents. Even if some (or all) employees are based far from each other, they should have a unified document management system. Such services allow each employee to always be aware of what colleagues are working on at the moment.
  • Video conferences/chats. Communication tools are a great way to quickly connect with remote colleagues. With the help of a video conference or chat, you can do this quickly and easily without a long exchange of messages.
  • Collective meetings. Weekly meetings let employees share personal achievements with the team. Sharing the week’s victories and defeats is a great way to build relationships and establish a sense of team ownership. Zoom allows you to simultaneously see all team members at once: it creates an atmosphere of live communication, which is so important for remote employees.
  • Regular live meetups. One-on-one meetings are also important. They help you track progress towards your short- and long-term goals. At such meetings, each employee gets the opportunity to hear about their contribution to the company’s success, which motivates them and helps them to move forward.

Bottom Line

Managing a remote team requires a constant investment of time and energy. If you do decide to go down this route, consider using the techniques mentioned above. Remember, your team’s success depends on your ability to find talent, keep them motivated, and help them achieve your business goals.

Before you start building your dream team, we suggest reviewing ecommerce team roles to get a full understanding of the topic.
Guides & Advice
Roles in Ecommerce: Building a Dream Team for Your Online Business

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Awesome, thanks for the great guide. It helps a lot.

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