You want the job done well, you do it yourself. Well, there is a grain of truth in this philosophy. But starting up an eCommerce company and shouldering all the responsibilities, one can find 24 hours to be absolutely insufficient for a day. What is more, or what is worse for a business, taking on multiple tasks, one will probably fail to do any of them competently.
If a team is a must, how large should it be to keep a web store operating properly? We understand that it is essential to be especially scrupulous about expenditures at the beginning of an eCommerce journey. That’s why we want to talk about the key roles in an eCommerce team. We suggest taking an eCommerce platform as an example to create a more complete picture and see what possibilities each role will get there. As we primarily focus on startups in the article, Magento seems to match our idea – Magento Open Source offers viable eCommerce software for free while customization capabilities will allow to adapt to increasing business needs as a company grows.
As each of the roles described below will be responsible for a specific set of functions, there must be someone in a company who will take a broader view on business development. Without digging into details, a manager needs to stand at the helm, clearly see how the company evolves and guide the team in the required direction. This role implies:
- Making strategic decisions and drawing up a roadmap for future business development
- Deciding upon product assortment
- Analyzing current results and making informed decisions on eliminating drawbacks and improving the performance
- Managing the team
- Developing the budget
- Designing and correcting a pricing policy
- Keeping up with the trends in the industry and communicating them to the team
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However well-managed, an eCommerce business is a success only if it attracts visitors and efficiently converts them into customers. Having a marketer in the team is crucial for that. Keeping in mind a highly competitive market, they need to engage a variety of techniques, including but not limited to:
Efforts invested in achieving high positions in organic search can deliver excellent results. Marketers develop a company’s SEO strategy, including elaborating targeted keywords, customizing descriptive URLs and building links. Conveniently, Magento comes with various SEO features like layered navigation, meta tags, descriptions and many more, so marketers hold all the cards to top their website in Google search.
As Magento doesn’t excel in efficient content management, marketers need to think over their approach thoroughly. If they don’t seek to go beyond the scope of sales and only need to upload product information, they can easily get along with the default functionality. But once they aim to diversify customer experience with a lookbook, testimonials, a blog, a photo gallery or whatever idea they have, they need to consider a custom solution – a CMS-oriented plug-in or even an integration with a separate platform.
Social media and influencer marketing
To expand the outreach to the target audience, marketers can actively develop the company’s social media accounts and engage influencers in promotional campaigns. For example, Magento Social, a plug-in developed by the Magento in-house team, automatically connects a web store to a Facebook account allowing selling products via social media advertisements. When potential customers click a product on Facebook, they get redirected to the store and can proceed with shopping there.
Emails have long become a part of daily life as a convenient way to get notifications of discount campaigns, new products, loyalty bonuses and more. To stay in trend, marketers need to personalize this kind of customer communication. This, in turn, calls for Magento integration with email marketing software (like MailChimp) or an advanced platform that will assist throughout marketing activity (like Salesforce Marketing Cloud).
Knowing the benefits of generating a pool of loyal customers, marketers can not only target at ongoing improvement of their experience in a web store but can come up with loyalty programs to award repeat buyers with special offers and attractive prices. In Magento, retailers will need a custom solution or settle for a ready-made plug-in to launch rewards programs.
Web store administering
A web administrator is basically an engine that sets the whole eCommerce machine in motion. Admins have a whole bunch of daily duties that vary from store to store but typically include uploading and updating all product information, publishing content, managing image library, and media objects, controlling SEO settings and more. As customer experience strongly depends on how well they full fill their job, web administrators must be able to cope with multitasking under minimal supervision and with maximum accuracy.
Administrators closely cooperate with other eCommerce roles:
- Web administrator + management. Often, the responsibility of monitoring eCommerce KPIs falls on a web administrator who then reports to a manager. This allows the latter to reduce the time spent on generating reports and focus on planning the development path.
- Web administrator + marketing. While marketers are responsible for the strategic and creative aspects of marketing campaigns (thinking over promotions, creating banners, etc.), web administrators can take on the implementation part. For example, in Magento, they need to set catalog and cart price rules for discounts, special offers, and other customer benefits.
- Web administrator + order execution. Administrators are free to assign customized order statuses to have a clearer picture of the order flow. For example, they can add the Partially paid status to Processing state to separate the orders consisting of several items – some are paid and some are not.
- Web administrator + technical support. Working with the back end of an online store every day, an administrator can evaluate what system improvements will be beneficial and closely cooperates with the development team to incorporate them. Besides, detecting and reporting any arising operational issues, the web administrator helps to fix them faster and minimizes inconveniences for customers.
Now that everything in eCommerce is about great customer experience, companies separate customer support from an administrator’s typical duties for a reason. Being overloaded with product-related tasks, Admins will find it hard to respond to customers’ queries promptly. Meanwhile, promptness is the key here.
The main responsibility or we can even say a mission, of customer support agents, is to assist web store visitors and customers throughout their shopping journey. Whether buyers have stumbled upon an issue, need more details on product assortment or company services, want to confirm order dispatch or seek follow-up support – they expect a customer support team to address their question swiftly.
With some customization, Magento allows for multiple communication channels; retailers can add customer support forms, a live chat, a blog or run social media accounts for customers to contact them in the most convenient way.
Business owners need to give due consideration to the process of order packaging and shipping. Generally speaking, they may choose between two options; outsourcing this to a third-party logistics provider (3PL) or handling the task internally. Startups or companies with moderate trade volume are likely to tend towards the second option for reasons of cost. In this case, they will need a warehouse and a team member responsible for timely and accurate order execution.
We have included technical support as a key role in an eCommerce business, though retailers don’t need to have developers in the in-house team. Typically, this task is outsourced to a development company.
As a web store goes live, a Magento support team will monitor it for bugs, detect and fix malfunctions before customers encounter problems. Besides, some additional customization may be required as the company grows or business needs change. This is where the expertise of Magento developers comes to the fore.
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P.S. Start with six job roles and grow further
We understand that businesses are different. So, we have built our eCommerce team template following the workflow of a typical online store. Ensuring the fulfillment of the six basic functions (management, marketing, web store administering, order execution, customer and technical support), business owners put their company on track. As they move towards a wider assortment, more customers and larger revenue, they will naturally engage more roles to comply with an increased workload.