Our guide on how to structure an E-Commerce team: Part two

5 min

E-commerce is a rapidly growing industry, and businesses that want to succeed in this space ...

E-commerce is a rapidly growing industry, and businesses that want to succeed in this space must have a well-structured E-Commerce team in place. The team should be composed of individuals with the right skills and experience to handle all aspects of the business, from marketing and sales to customer service and fulfilment. 

In part one of our guide on how to structure an E-Commerce team, we delved into the seven types of E-Commerce team structures you could opt for when building your brand. Here, in part two, we'll continue our deep dive into the topic of structuring your E-Commerce team by looking at five key considerations you should make to ensure the long-term success of your E-Commerce business.

5 considerations for structuring an E-Commerce team

There are some key considerations you need to make before pushing forward with building a team for your online brand. From determining the size of your team to thinking about your onboarding process, here are five considerations you need to make when structuring your E-Commerce team.

1. Determine the size of your E-Commerce team

Whether you’re a global brand or an innovative online start-up, one of the first considerations you need to make when structuring your team is to determine the size of your E-Commerce team. 

A good starting point would be to ask yourself and the wider hiring team these five important questions: 

  1. Who do you need in terms of talent and the positions you want to fill?
  2. Why do you need to make these hires? 
  3. How many people do you need and can afford to hire?
  4. What benefits will these hires bring to your business?
  5. When do you need to make these hires to ensure you hit your business targets?

Determining the size of the team for your will depend on the size and complexity of your business, from the number of products you sell and the volume of which you sell to whether you operate in multiple markets and locations and have more than one brand.

Small or start-up E-Commerce business

If you’re a smaller business or start-up with less than £1 million in annual sales, you may only need a few people to manage your operations. The E-Commerce jobs you could fill may consist of the following: 

Head of E-Commerce -  responsible for ensuring the overall success of the E-Commerce business, from creating strategies, managing the team and driving growth for the brand.

E-Commerce Manager - responsible for the day-to-day operations of an E-Commerce brand, supporting with managing the website, overseeing marketing campaigns, while supporting with sales and customer service.

Web Designer - responsible for creating a visually appealing and user-friendly website encouraging customers to buy products or interact with your other services.

CRM Executive - responsible for using CRM software to manage customer relationships, from tracking customer engagement and data to supporting marketing and driving sales.

Online Trading Manager - responsible for the strategic and operational aspects of an E-Commerce business, from developing trading strategies, product and service pricing, marketing, and inventory management.

To gain a deeper understanding of some of the roles mentioned above and to further help you determine the people you need to structure your team, check out our top 5 jobs in E-Commerce blog.

Medium-large sized E-Commerce business

Once your E-Commerce business has grown to make £1 million to £10 million in annual sales and is operating in other locations and markets or has developed into a multi-brand organisation, this would be the time to expand your team. 

Here you could look at splitting your E-Commerce team into different departments; each headed up by a senior-level talent or manager who oversees a team of individuals. For example, you could build out a marketing team led by an E-Commerce Manager with a team consisting of a PPC Manager, SEO Executive, Copywriter, and E-Commerce Assistant. 

As you determine the size of your team, be sure to refer back to part one of our guide and read about the types of E-Commerce team structures you can build your brand on.

2. Focus on your brand's vision and goals

When structuring your team and choosing who to recruit for your E-Commerce businesses, one key consideration is ensuring you focus on your brand's vision and goals. 

Every hire you make for your E-Commerce team should understand and be on board with your brand's vision and be ready to help your business achieve its short and long-term goals. 

For example, global juggernauts Nike have a vision to "Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. *If you have a body, you are an athlete." This statement will be embedded into each member of their E-Commerce team, who will back the brand's vision and work towards making it a reality. 

In terms of goals for your E-Commerce business, an example could be your desire to reduce the checkout abandonment rate and increase the conversions made on your online store. This long-term goal could be a target you set for your team, with incentives such as pay raises or reward schemes in place for when these goals are met.

Ultimately, you need to be smart about who you hire and ensure your team is clear about their roles and responsibilities and the vision and goals of your brand - give them something to believe in and be motivated to achieve. Do so, and your E-Commerce team will be well on its way to bringing you long-term growth and success. 

3. Seek cost-effective solutions

Every brand will look to find cost-effective solutions to each aspect of the business, and the same can be said when structuring an E-Commerce team. We've listed some examples of how you can keep the costs down when structuring your E-Commerce team. 

  1. Outsource tasks: Many tasks can be outsourced to freelancers or third-party companies, such as web design, marketing, and customer service. This can help save you money on salaries and benefits.
  2. Use cloud-based software: You can invest in cloud-based software solutions to help you to streamline your operations and reduce your IT costs. For example, you can use cloud-based CRM software to manage customer relationships, cloud-based inventory management software to track your inventory, and cloud-based accounting software to manage your finances.
  3. Automate tasks: Certain tasks can be automated, such as sending out marketing emails, processing orders, and generating reports. Automating these tasks can save your E-Commerce team time, allowing them to focus on mission-critical tasks while saving your business money that can be spent elsewhere. 
  4. Negotiate with suppliers: Don't hesitate to negotiate discounts and volume pricing to get the best possible prices from your suppliers.
  5. Use efficient shipping methods: Choose cost-effective shipping methods for your business and your customers.
  6. Reduce product returns: Offer clear and concise product descriptions and return policies to help reduce product returns.
  7. Optimise your website for search engines: Optimise your website for search engines to help you attract more organic traffic to your site. This will help you increase sales without spending money on paid advertising.
  8. Track your spending and set budgets: Keep track of your spending and set budgets for your E-Commerce team and its departments (if these have been established) so that you can identify areas where you can cut costs or increase investment.

Adopting the examples listed above could save your brand time and money, which can be put towards further resources for your E-Commerce team.

4. Contract vs Permanent hiring

Another key consideration when thinking about your E-Commerce team structure is whether you want to make permanent hires or hire contractors and freelancers. Of course, you will want some of your employees to be permanent to help ensure the longevity of your brand, but there are certainly benefits of hiring a contractor too. 

Contract vs permanent hiring is a common dilemma that many businesses face. Still, the best way to determine the most suitable option for your brand is to consider your specific needs and budget. For example, a contract hire may be the best option for your brand if you need flexibility and cost savings. Whereas, if you need commitment and want to distribute workloads more seamlessly, then permanent hiring may be a better option. 

To learn more about this topic and which option could best help structure your E-Commerce team, check out our blog: Contract vs Permanent employees: How to scale your business

5. Establish your onboarding process

One final important consideration to make when structuring your E-Commerce team is to establish your onboarding process. 

Establishing an onboarding process is essential for any business, especially for E-Commerce brands, due to the constantly evolving technologies and trends that are always emerging. As a result, it’s necessary to have a process in place that helps new employees get up to speed quickly and efficiently.

Be sure to put time aside to develop your onboarding process, whether you already have one or not, and ensure your most recent and future employees feel welcomed and comfortable when joining your E-Commerce business while understanding what is expected of them. 

Linking back to keeping your brand vision and goals front and centre, you should dedicate time to train and onboard your talent around your brand’s vision and goals - ensuring all your employees are aligned and working toward one common objective. Another thing to note if you offer remote working options is to ensure you have the tools and resources to cater to virtual onboarding.

Once you’ve established your onboarding process, don’t be afraid to tweak it if necessary and make sure you get feedback from your employees on what they like or would improve about the process. Gaining first-hand feedback is essential to your onboarding process - you need to know whether your employees find it useful, as this could go a long way to retaining the members of your E-Commerce team. 

As you now know, many factors should be considered when structuring an E-Commerce team. For example, the size of your business, the type of work you do, and your budget will all play a role in determining the best approach for you. 

By taking into account our five considerations listed in this blog, from determining the size of your team to your onboarding process, you will be well on your way to creating a team that is well-equipped to meet your business's needs and help you achieve your goals. 


Looking to grow your E-Commerce business? We can help

By dedicating time to focus on your E-Commerce team structure, you will be well on your way to securing the longevity and futureproofing your business. If you require an exceptional talent search to help advance your brand, are finding that filling your open E-Commerce jobs is challenging or are seeking to upload a vacancy, we can help you. 

Find out how we can support your E-Commerce team, or get in touch with a member of our team today to discover how we can help elevate your E-Commerce business.  

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