by Amba Wilkes
With 28 percent of all UK retail sales taking place online, eCommerce presents an attractive growth opportunity for businesses. Requiring a different team set-up and infrastructure from traditional brick-and-mortar brands, getting it right is key to succeeding in the competitive world of eCommerce. While team structures naturally vary based on the scale of your business, your revenue, budgets and objectives, it’s crucial to understand what roles you need within your eCommerce team and what value each will bring.
With 28 percent of all UK retail sales taking place online, eCommerce presents an attractive growth opportunity for businesses. Requiring a different team set up and infrastructure from traditional brick-and-mortar brands, getting it right is key to succeeding in the competitive world of eCommerce.
While team structures naturally vary based on the scale of your business, your revenue, budgets and objectives, it’s crucial to understand what roles you need within your eCommerce team and what value each will bring.
Originally founded as an eCommerce business, we not only lean on our experience of working with leading brands but also on the many years spent as retailers ourselves. In this blog, we explore how you can construct your eCommerce team for maximum efficiency and productivity based on the roles and structures we see succeed.
Strategy and leadership
Starting at the very top, it’s important to understand how your leadership team will work alongside the rest of your eCommerce structure in helping you reach your goals.
CEO or Managing Director
The highest-ranking executive in a business, your CEO will primarily be responsible for making major corporate decisions, managing overall operations and, depending on the size of your business, working closely with other members of the senior management team.
With the support of other teams in the business, the CEO will work towards delivering the overall objectives of the brand while always looking towards future opportunities.
Head of eCommerce
The overarching role within your eCommerce team, this individual will be responsible for overseeing the entire operation and ensuring each department is doing what’s needed to deliver against your eCommerce objectives. Keeping in mind the future vision and growth opportunities, you’d expect your Head of eCommerce to work alongside the relevant specialist teams to achieve success.
Retail or Commercial Director
Working closely with the Head of eCommerce, your Retail or Commercial Director will deliver your commercial goals. Operating in the competitive and constantly shifting eCommerce market, this person needs to have commercial aptitude to help your brand progress along a path of growth.
Ensuring your systems are performing at their best, your technical team is key to protecting customer data and creating a secure, safe online shopping experience that will scale with your business.
Making sure your systems are fit for purpose to meet business objectives, this person will lead on your technical . This architecture could include factors such as accounting, logistics or eCommerce platforms.
An important part of your eCommerce store, this role will be responsible for working with website administrators to map out and maintain integration structures. High priority tasks could include ensuring order and customer information is correctly flowing between your eCommerce platform, finance and fulfillment systems to verify that customer data is being safely transferred between systems. They would also be expected to identify and work with the necessary personnel to rectify system issues.
Key to ensuring your customers’ shopping experience is the best possible, your trading team covers business operations including merchandising, customer service and fulfillment.
Responsible for sourcing products, your buying team will always be thinking ahead to the next season. Working closely with your data analysts and merchandisers to forecast and make informed decisions based on historical data and trends, it’s their job to ensure your brand carries the right lines at optimum quantities. They’ll also be responsible for managing the buying supply chain, purchasing stock at the right price to satisfy profit expectations.
Defining and overseeing the promotional calendar and onsite product presentation, web merchandisers cover planning for future events such as summer promotions, Black Friday and Christmas. This role will also lead on stock forecasting, working closely with your logistics team to ensure optimum stock levels while monitoring active and inactive stock.
Crucial to the shopping experience, your customer service team will take care of customer queries. They’re expected to proactively respond to customer needs including product selections, orders, returns management and complaints across multiple communication channels. This could include social media platforms which is an important method of managing consumer communications, brand protection and your reputation. It’s essential to build a streamlined internal process for your customer service team to work with your fulfillment team in order to coordinate orders and returns efficiently.
Fulfillment and Logistics
While the eCommerce shopping experience takes place online, getting your products out of the door and into your customers’ homes is the responsibility of your fulfillment and logistics team. Working with suppliers, they ensure the correct goods arrive from your manufacturers, manage stock in locations, stock counts and the pick and pack process ready to ship goods out to customers in a timely fashion.
A web administrator or team of web administrators will be your go-to people for internal website maintenance. Conducting administrative CMS tasks along with content uploading and editing, this role looks after day-to-day website maintenance. If you have the support of a web agency, this role will typically work closely with them when necessary.
Reporting, monitoring and reflecting on business KPIs is a must for ongoing eCommerce success. Driven by commercial focus, Data Analysts produce and monitor key business trading reports to establish how well your business is performing. Whoever takes on this role will dig deeper into customer behaviour, identifying segments and trends to create new initiatives for your online channels. Working closely with marketing, merchandising and buying functions, insight should be shared by Data Analysts to shape planning and strategy for your business.
Marketing and Acquisition
Driving brand awareness and customer acquisition, the ideal structure of your marketing team will very much depend on your audience but key specialisms to consider to ensure your marketing efforts work in synergy with one another include:
Core to driving website traffic, investment in SEO ensures organic visibility in the search engines. Considering technical SEO and onsite optimisation, a good SEO strategy will see your business rise through the SERPs, gain competitive advantage and maximise ranking potential for relevant keywords. To outperform your competitors, you might also want to consider enlisting the support of a specialist SEO agency whose experience will not only drive traffic but boost revenue.
Supplementing your organic listings, paid media advertising is a highly effective way of reaching buyers at each stage of the purchase journey. From prospecting through to acquisition there are many paid channels that can extend the reach of your brand including PPC, remarketing, paid social, display, YouTube and even Out of Home. Whether you choose to take care of paid in-house or with the help of a digital paid media agency, PPC can be leveraged to attract and convert both new and returning customers.
To get the most from your store, conversation rate optimisation (also known as CRO) is designed to maximise potential from your website. Identifying barriers to conversion, continuous analysis and testing will unlock website opportunities to improve onsite elements such as layout, call to actions and more to encourage conversion.
Social Media Manager
Your social presence is only growing in importance and should be high on your agenda. From impactful visuals showcasing your latest products to announcing offers and promotions to running campaigns designed to start a conversation, social media is capable of reaching and engaging consumers while they actively look for distractions. Even better, as social channels continue to evolve, many offer the ability to make eCommerce purchases without having to leave the platform.
Email Marketing and CRM
73 percent of marketers rank email as the best channel for delivering an ROI. Email offers a key channel to communicate offers, seasonal events, new stock and sales with your audience. Workflows featuring abandoned carts are an easy way to encourage conversions while working alongside the merchandising team to promote relevant products. It’s not uncommon for this role to also manage your customer data. Data accuracy is key to success and an individual with CRM experience is ideal. Interrogating and segmenting your data will help inform your marketing activities alongside considering your GDPR compliance to ensure customer data is always used responsibly.
The creative lead on website and other marketing assets, accompanying photography and static design elements, graphic design is an important role to consider. From brand presence and continuity to style and positioning, your image is key to communicating with your audience across all marketing channels.
We live in an ever more visual world and finding ways to stand out against your online competition is difficult. Showcasing your products, video is an effective format to communicate the quality of your offering while conveying brand messaging and driving customer engagement. Suitable for cross-platform use, from your store to social to paid advertising, video content should be an important part of your marketing strategy.
How can an agency support your eCommerce team?
A successful eCommerce team structure is clearly defined yet flexible based on your business needs. The range of required roles will vary from business to business, but each will bring value and ensure you are best prepared for ongoing online success.
Considering the many roles that are beneficial when creating an eCommerce team, it can take a lot of time and money to find the right members. Working alongside an eCommerce agency can alleviate some of this pressure with the support of an external, experienced team.
An agency will have the processes in place to collaborate effectively alongside your internal teams. Armed with expert insight into industry trends and the best technical systems, a specialist agency is a valuable ally to have in the eCommerce world.
How can we help?
We understand the retail challenges you face because we’ve been there. With our roots firmly in retail, we bring a commercial edge into the agency world, applying our experience as online merchants to the brands we work with. Whether it’s acquiring customers, fulfilling orders, growing repeat custom or all of the above, our team of in-house specialists are geared up to help you navigate the challenges of modern retail.
Trusted by leading brands including NEOM, O’Briens, Hotel Chocolat, Taylors of Harrogate and Slendertone, we deliver eCommerce stores backed by retail experience. It’s our aim to become an extension of your team, get in touch to find out more about our success with retail brands.