March 7, 2021

How to choose an Ecommerce Manager

Dr Peter Mowforth

The Role

An Ecommerce Managers role is to oversee, manage and optimise a company's online sales and presence. They are responsible for conveying a consistent brand image. An ecommerce manager is responsible for the continuous improvement of all online activity. They will manage the day-to-day online store operations. They optimise performance to ensure the online sales targets are reached. They promote the continuous development and improvement of existing touch points – including desktop, mobile and tablet. Finally, they should help identify new and emerging opportunities and be the primary point of contact with third party suppliers. It’s usually necessary for the Ecommerce Manager to have operational management of the digital marketing for the website.

Key Skills

  • Highly Organised
  • Technically minded
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Able to interpret analytical data  
  • Experience with business marketing would be beneficial
  • Keen attention to detail
  • Motivated, enthusiastic, result-oriented with entrepreneurial spirit
  • A strong and disciplined work ethic

Duties

  • Evaluate customer journeys, improve customer experiences and look at ways to improve their ecommerce experience.  
  • Managing online advertising campaigns by maximising paid/natural search traffic and order conversion.
  • Prioritise tasks based on the biggest return on investment and the quickest solutions
  • Track the online presence on the site and use analytics to establish trends.
  • Maintain the website in terms of quality, performance, and compliance.
  • Build project plans and scopes of work to effectively implement ecommerce initiatives.
  • Manage, analyse, and improve performance of marketing channels via email, SEO, SEM, retargeting, social media, and other web-based marketing programs.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

  • Profit (i.e. not turnover, traffic, social media visitors etc). This can only apply provided the ecommerce manager has executive management of the digital marketing. This doesn’t mean that they have to actually do it but that they have executive control.

Personality

  • Either ESTJ or ISTJ (www.16personalities.com) (ISTJ is around 13% of the population).
  • Show integrity and responsibility, practical logic and tireless dedication to duty.

Things to Avoid

If you exclude fashion and celebrity-led niche markets, working the social media is unlikely to be the main driver for sales and profits. Personalities for those heavily involved with social media are invariably orthogonal to those required for the role of ecommerce manager.

Bonus packages

It is important that any ecommerce manager be highly motivated so as to generate the maximum profit for the business. Offering a small performance-based bonus as part of the package can help ensure you get the maximum performance from the employee.

Interviews

Good experienced Ecommerce Managers can be difficult to find; just because they are experienced does not necessarily mean they are good. Detailed checks and diligence should always be carried out. Trust is an important characteristic. Items on the CV that assist and reinforce trust and honesty are an advantage.The best ecommerce managers are able to combine broad technical/analytic skills with good business understanding. Quickly being able to understand business spreadsheets or primary tools such as Google Analytics are a big plus. Programming skills, social media expertise, design talent or traditional marketing knowledge should not necessarily be counted as positive. In some situations, they can lead to ecommerce managers focusing their day-to-day efforts around tasks that are not critical to business success or might be better done by third parties.The best ecommerce managers are able to follow the ecommerce managers mantra:

Frequently and repeatedly, ask yourself:

“What single thing could,

with the least effort,

and in the shortest time

and at the lowest cost

create the largest profit?”

Do it.

Repeat.

In-house, professional or Rough Diamond?

Appointments come from one of three categories of people.

  1. In-house selection is where a mature company can identify an existing member of staff that has the right set of characteristics and personality to do the job. This can often work well provided the new Ecommerce Manager is able to get the support and skills training necessary to do the job. See the last part of this article for one solution for this.
  2. Hiring an experienced Ecommerce Manager can work out well. The all-important issue to establish with these individuals is why they have left their current/past employer. One further issue to establish whether their acquired skills are right for your own business. For example, if your business is selling chainsaws then would an ecommerce manager from a fashion retailer whose focus had been social media be appropriate - or vice versa?
  3. Recruiting a rough diamond can sometimes be a good choice. A fresh recruit from University can often be the right choice provided they have the right personality along with the right approach and basic understanding of both business and digital technology. As with the in-house choice, getting professional assistance to help with skills transfer can be helpful. A final point about the ‘rough diamond’ approach is that telling the new recruit that their job is Ecommerce Manager could well be daunting. We would always recommend bringing them in as a digital assistant or something similar and then quickly promoting them from there once they have proven themselves.

Sources for candidates and Links

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