Ecommerce specialisation and dedication has evolved exponentially in recent years. Yet, despite these incredible advancements, the industry still struggles with questions about how to participate in and organise around ecommerce.
At WunderTalent, we specialise in ecommerce and SaaS recruitment, and nearly every executive we talk to looking to hire staff ask questions like:
- How big is a typical ecommerce team?
- How is that team structured globally?
- What activities are most critical to in-source versus outsource?
- How many people are out in the field?
- Where can I find the most experienced people?
One good thing is the fact that most companies are still in the early stages of building out their ecommerce teams. Organisational and staffing issues seem to remain a work-in-progress, with their evolution continuing to evolve over time as the sector grows and digitalisation is imbedded.
Adding ecommerce headcount
At WunderTalent, one of the biggest issues we see executives struggle with is determining headcount. They want to know how many people are necessary to successfully perform in the channel.
We wish we had the answer, but unfortunately there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. There has been extensive research in this area, which yielded some guidelines by industry vertical, role and staff level, but the appropriate level of resources varies widely depending on several factors, such as:
- Short and long-term performance objectives. For example, do you want to aggressively invest in a grab for share? Or just enough to sustain share while prioritising channel profitability?
- Customer and brand portfolio. In most cases, the more retailers you intend to support, plus the larger your product catalog, the more resource-intensive staffing model you’ll need.
- Level of internal versus external resourcing. Outsourcing some functions instead of adding internal headcount is a good way to build up your ecommerce business from the onset, or even on an ongoing basis.
The question remains in terms of what to do when you want to increase your ecommerce team. It can be difficult to know where to even begin your search for the ‘right’ people. Agencies are one route, with most candidates pre-vetted and tested.
Here at WunderTalent, we only put the highest rated people in front of employers, matching our client’s needs and wishes to the candidate we believe is best suited for the job. But we’re just one option. There are other avenues when it comes to hiring the right staff.
Another way is to hire from retailers. For example, many professionals looking to expand their ecommerce team hit LinkedIn and hire somebody from Amazon. It makes sense when there’s a key new retailer you need to understand and accelerate your performance with, and what better way to speed up that process than to hire people with experience at that retailer?
Winning the talent wars
Another ecommerce staffing challenge companies face is winning the talent wars.
The demand for experienced ecommerce talent outweighs the supply in today’s marketplace. The industry itself is also well-networked, enabling competitors to easily find and attempt to poach your best talent.
Engaging with a recruitment team like WunderTalent will save you time and stress, but we also recommend that organisations consider and deploy the following hiring and staff retention initiatives if we aren’t an option:
- Advertise the benefits of an ecommerce career and the progression opportunities it creates for internal candidates.
- Implement long-term compensation incentives to encourage loyalty.
- Allow for ‘positive redundancy’ in key areas to limit disruption if a sole contributor leaves the team.
- Ask strong candidates for referrals and recommendations. High-performing teams often travel together.
- Attend ecommerce conferences and recruit from other companies.
To learn more about how to build a high-performance ecommerce organisation, please get in touch with us at WunderTalent here. We pride ourselves on our expertise in the industry and our ability to build a high quality, high performing team.