Hiring Tips for Ecommerce Brands Who are Just Starting Out in 2021

By Gaurav Belani

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With the governments announcing lockdowns in major cities around the world and facilities like gyms, theaters, malls closing, it’s not wrong to say that we are living in unprecedented times. Non-essential businesses are being closed temporarily and people are limiting their visits to public places to ensure their safety. The implications of this pandemic are going to last at least for a decade.

Lockdowns have left people isolated and the level of uncertainty is at an all-time high. And in response, people are bulk-buying, panic buying, and shopping online. The pandemic has caused a major upheaval in consumers’ shopping habits which has directly impacted the growth of the eCommerce industry. 

Now major shopping is done online, especially for essential goods and major eCommerce brands have adapted to the changing trends and needs by offering contactless delivery options, restricting the cash on delivery options, and temperature checks of their delivery personnel.

This shift in behavior and habits added around $41.54 billion to eCommerce revenue in November-December, according to Digital eCommerce 360. Moreover, according to NASDAQ, it is estimated that 95% of all purchases will be done through eCommerce sites.

All these are the positive indicators that the eCommerce industry is going to experience an unprecedented amount of growth in the coming few years. As for retail commerce, they will be forced to either shift online completely or adapt to an omnichannel strategy.

Building an eCommerce brand differs vastly from building or running a retail store. It requires different expertise and skillset and an experienced eCommerce team.

If you are one of such business owners who is just starting out with their eCommerce business, then this blog is for you.

We are going to share a few expert tips on how to hire for your eCommerce business or how to build an eCommerce team in 2021.

Before we start,

Let’s set ground rules for expectations. No matter what position you are hiring for, it’s always better to do a reality check of your expectations. Setting unrealistic expectations from candidates is the recipe for disaster. You’ll only end up wasting your time.

What you can do: Seek competence instead of excellence. And remember perfectionism is a myth. No candidate is going to tick all the boxes. Look for candidates with potential and eagerness to learn rather than their current roles and responsibilities or their experience.

Before we talk about hiring, let’s first explore the must-have members in your eCommerce team. Without these key members, it’s impossible to run a successful eCommerce business. So, if you haven’t opened positions for the below-mentioned roles, then it’s time to change it.

Key Roles to Hire for Your Ecommerce Team

1. Web Developer

Your estore or website is the first impression of your eCommerce brand. Even though eCommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce have made it easier for people from non-tech backgrounds to manage estores, after a certain level of success, you will need to hire a web developer.

And with the rise of M-commerce, it’ll be getting harder and harder to manage even the basics if you are not from a technical background. 

Summary of their responsibilities: Developing and designing your estore, adding necessary functionalities, ensuring the proper flow of data, and keeping a close eye on the website’s downtime.

2. Supply Chain Manager

The supply chain manager is the person responsible for inventory, order fulfillment, warehousing, and last-mile deliveries. This is one of the most important roles in the eCommerce business as they handle the entire process between order placement and delivery.

Their role has a huge and direct impact on the success of any eCommerce business. Amazon’s success can be attributed to its impeccable supply chain management.

Summary of their responsibilities: Sourcing of raw materials, placing orders with vendors and manufacturers, quality checks, managing shipments and delivery partners. This person needs to have an eye for details, high patience level, and excellent negotiation skills.

3. Digital Marketing Manager

“A man who stops advertising to save money is like the man who stops the clock to save time.” - Henry Ford

A digital marketing manager drives traffic and leads to your estore and converting them into paying customers. Without this team member, you can forget growth altogether. They are the ones creating awareness for your brand, managing your brand’s reputation, educating your target audience, and interacting with them via various means.

Summary of their responsibilities: Communication and messaging strategies, social media management, customer experience of your website, creating content, search engine optimization of your site, and reputation building. To do all these tasks efficiently, the person needs to have an analytical approach for fetching insights from heaps of gathered-data.

4. Customer Service Reps

What if your customers have some complaints regarding the quality of the product, delayed deliveries, or their buying experience? You are definitely not going to address all of them. Maybe at the beginning stage, but once you reach the growth stage, you will need customer service representatives.

These team members handle everything from responding to live chats, reverting to emails, resolving support tickets, and answering calls. They will be the ones directly communicating with your customers and hence, are the face of your eCommerce brand.

Summary of their responsibilities: Solving customers’ problems and answering their questions, creating exhaustive FAQs and other communication material, and proactively collaborating with sales and marketing teams to create effective and educational content.

5. Director of E-commerce

Your director of eCommerce will lead your entire eCommerce team and leading your business through the next growth stages. They are the key decision-makers and responsible for overseeing entire operations, be it marketing, sales, or supply chain management.

Ideally, the director of eCommerce should have extensive experience in customer experience, advertising, online marketing, and empathetic designing.

Summary of their responsibilities: Media buying, coaching copywriters, overseeing marketing and customer support activities, defining brand’s voice, and growth of your eCommerce business.

To attract exceptional talent for these positions, here are some expert hiring tips to build your all-star eCommerce team.

Hiring Tips to Build an All-star Ecommerce Team

1. Start Lean, then Grow

Growth is good but it should be sustainable. One of the biggest mistakes you can do is hiring too many people too fast. Be innovative with utilizing your resources when you gain momentum in your business. Don’t go hiring additional resources at the first sight of slight growth.

Keeping your team lean means there’s better team management, improved productivity, a better understanding of process complexities, and most importantly, greater visibility to stakeholders.

2. Growth Mindset

As much as technical and soft skills are important, a growth mindset should be at the top of your priority list while building your eCommerce team. E-commerce landscape is ever-changing and ever-growing for which you need your team to be proactive, growth-oriented, adaptable, and constant learners.

3. Passionate and Enthusiastic

Ecommerce industry is not like every other industry. As mentioned, it’s in a constant state of change and growth. To cope, your team needs to be passionate about their work. People looking to get “just another job” aren’t cut out for the ecommerce industry. So, always keep passion and enthusiasm among top priorities.

Innovative Questions to Ask When Hiring an Ecommerce Team

1. Tell us how you prioritize, plan, and organize your work

Why this question: Since eCommerce is a challenging industry where everyone has to wear multiple hats, this question will help you understand the candidate’s efficiency to decide and work in high-pressure situations.

2. Tell us about the time you applied new technology and information to your job

Why this question: For a proper understanding of the candidate’s adaptability and tech-savviness.

3. Tell us how you process or analyze large amounts of data

Why this question: As mentioned, every role in the eCommerce industry requires analyzing an extensive amount of data. And this question is directly related to the required skill.

4. Tell us about a time when you had to identify the strengths and weaknesses of multiple solutions while addressing a problem. What was your approach and how did you decide on the solution?

Why this question: To assess the candidate’s ability to look at problems and solutions from multiple and unbiased perspectives. This will give you an overview of the candidate’s problem-solving skills and a basic understanding of their conditions and biases.

5. How do you identify problems?

Why this question: This is one of the most critical questions as it will help you understand the process followed by the candidate to identify problems. You want a person who can identify problems quickly and have a proper process in place for the same.

Apart from knowing what roles to hire for and what questions to ask, to build your all-star eCommerce team successfully, you will need to optimize your recruitment strategy. So, as a closing note, we’ll be sharing 5 easy to implement tips to optimize your recruitment strategy.

5 Tips to Optimize Ecommerce Recruitment Strategy

  1. Display your company culture on social media sites, especially LinkedIn. This will help attract better talent for your open positions.
  2. Don’t forget to track your recruitment content and campaigns using UTM technology.
  3. Always ask for feedback on the recruitment process from unsuccessful candidates. Then huddle to discuss the feedback and revise the recruitment process if needed.
  4. Most importantly, define an ideal candidate before posting any jobs on job portals. And remember to be realistic about the same.

The job market is getting competitive especially for eCommerce growth. To attract and hire the best talent in the market, you will need to be at the top of your game.

Follow the hiring tips, ask the hard, subjective, and deflective questions, and optimize your recruitment strategy to build your eCommerce team.

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