The Ecommerce leader is the chief steward of the organization's electronic storefront (transactional website). Their goal is to drive new traffic, create and deliver an online experience that will endear users to the brand, and turn visitors into customers while maximizing overall profitabiity of the online business. The responsibilities of the eCommerce chief are wide ranging including strategy, website development, user experience, security, site maintenance, analytics, operations, technology, and oversight of third party service providers. They also act as a sort of internal "diplomat" to rally other operations of the company behind the eCommerce side of the business. Forrester Research predicts online sales will account for one of out every ten dollars of overall consumer spending by the year 2016.
The Ecommerce leader holds the company's eCommerce vision. He or she sees long-term market potential and business opportunities. They're expert at employing research and customer data to drive the business. You want concrete examples that demonstrate these competencies.
Collaboration/Relationship Building/Influence Maker
Ecommerce is ostensibly a team sport. Ecommerce leaders interact with practically all major departments within the business. They also work with many different outside vendors. Cross-collaboration and interpersonal skills are an important part of the job. It's essential to understand the candidate's ability to work effectively with teams ranging from product marketing to sales, finance and customer service, order fulfillment, content, plus external partners. That's one of the most important questions I ask when I conduct reference checks for these candidates.
Operational and Project Management Expertise
Projecting the vision and mission of an online business is important, but you want an ecommerce leader who brings a proven track record of driving results. And of course this includes their ability to attract, hire and retail strong talent.
In addition, ask about their experience juggling multiple and concurrent projects including the following:
This is not an all-inclusive list, but it hits the highlights.
The ecommerce manager needs to be able to describe the consumer's purchase path on their website, and how to optimize that navigation. Also, make sure they are well-schooled in cross-selling and upselling.
Ask how they have tracked the performance of campaigns on various platforms and acted on those results to optimize consumer engagement.
Here's the check list of required skills for the ecommerce chief:
For sample eCommerce job descriptions, please contact Jerry Bernhart at Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC. We have dozens of specs on file for Manager, Director and VP level positions. We also provide experienced digital marketers, in all categories, on a freelance basis.
For those looking for career and educational guidance in this exciting space, check out Jerry Bernhart's e-book,
"Careers in eCommerce and Digital Marketing."