Developing a comprehensive ecommerce strategy is important to any business searching for success online – and selecting the right people to support this strategy can be even more important. We answer some of the key questions you might have when selecting the right internal resources for your ecommerce business.
Even if most marketplaces have an efficient back-end (like the eBay Seller’s Centre) and different tools to make the selling process more simple, you will still need to hire specific internal resources to properly manage and scale your marketplace activities. This individual will need to automate, manage and maintain a reliable integration between your stock and the marketplace’s feeds to maximise online sales.
Your ecommerce strategy and familiarity with selling online will, to some extent, determine the most important resources for your business. If selling online is a completely new channel for you, then you need to make sure you have an IT Specialist and an Online Merchandiser.
This is the person who will take care of your ecommerce strategy from a technical point of view, acting as more than just a developer. Your IT Specialist needs to have a deep understanding of the different platforms, tools and systems used in the industry, so that they can advise and select the right tools for your business and manage complex integrations.
This person also needs to be familiar with the different marketplaces’ technical requirements and respective API or FTP integrations. Without having a firm understanding of how your different systems talk to each other, setting up new online channels or resolving technical issues, such as mistakes to stock allocation, can become a huge headache.
Your Online Merchandiser is responsible for managing your stock on a day-to-day basis and developing the sales strategy for your products. They will define prices, confirm online promotions and be on top of stock availability. As you can see, an Online Merchandiser is a crucial part of any successful ecommerce strategy, so it’s best to choose a person with solid experience.
After having tasted the sale growth you can gain through your chosen ecommerce platforms, you will be looking to build upon your success. Expanding to a new country is a good example of a second phase of development. But this can then pose a whole new series of obstacles, for which you will need to expand your ecommerce team.
There are broad regulations variations from country-to-country when it comes to online trading. Setting up an ecommerce shop or even selling on a marketplace in India, from the UK, is very different to setting up an online business in France. Customs, product regulations and foreign business are always tricky – and this is where you need a lawyer to navigate the legal jargon.
Presenting your products in the best light to meet a marketplace’s high expectations is an important part of any ecommerce business. Also, if you want to present your shop with something extra (think about Amazon A+ content, for example) or you want to fully replicate your brand on a new channel, you will probably need a good designer on board.
Search on marketplaces is key. In order to promote your products, inside and outside your chosen channel, you need to make sure you are applying the correct key terms to your product listings and in product descriptions. This will help distinguish your products from hundreds of similar offers.
By hiring a dedicated optimisation specialist, you can guarantee your products will have the best possible chance of ranking for key search terms and you can develop effective AdWord campaigns to further promote your products.
When you are successfully established in a specific territory or market, you may want to allocate resources to product development and product sourcing for particular markets, to really maximise local opportunities.
If you are lucky enough to have a large budget you can invest in more experienced resources, so that the projects can progress quicker. You can also invest in bigger teams with multiple IT specialists, accounts managers and developers that can create specific tools, so that you can run multiple channels successfully at the same time. Alternatively, you can outsource your labour to a team of specialist who are experts in their field.
Working with a partner can be useful at different stages of your ecommerce journey. Both at the very beginning or as you are looking to expand:
When you start selling online you need to build up trustworthiness. Trading with no errors is fundamental to success, which is why an experienced hand can help. An ecommerce partner will have specific experience of different marketplaces and markets, meaning they can provide that all important insight into local buyers expectations, helping you to build up trust.
Marketplaces evaluate their sellers on a number of strict KPIs. For example, good customer service is a key KPI for most marketplaces. It is an important performance indicator for players like Amazon and eBay, along with fulfilment. Other marketplaces might have other KPIs like the payment security or require brands to supply a guarantee that they are selling genuine products. Not everyone – especially at the beginning – is able to excel in these activities, so you need to know each marketplace’s specific criteria to allocate the resources accordingly to the KPIs that they value the most.
In more advanced phases, a partner can be a smart solution to take away some of the pressure from a growing and demanding project; particularly when they are set up to scale quickly. Working with a partner creates a team that collaborates in a better way, as it places all specialist knowledge in one location. When looking to scale, this means making things seamless for all those involved; even the customers.
If you want to find our more about scaling your ecommerce operations, get in touch with the team on: +44 (0)20 8940 5392 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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