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Strategy Centre

The Role of an IRP Ecommerce Manager

 
  
27 October 2014
  
  
16 November 2016

The Role of an IRP Ecommerce Manager

To identify, appoint and confirm an ecommerce manager is one of the most important steps that a pure play or multichannel online business can make.

The ecommerce manager role should be separate from other roles within the business.

While it is important to liaise with all channels and to have a joined-up strategy, the role of ecommerce manager should not be adopted by the same person who performs the shop manager function or any other function in the business.

Responsibility for overseeing your ecommerce site, utilising sales channels, online branding and other related tasks falls to one key player in your organisation — your ecommerce manager.

This person must be trained to take commercial ownership of your profits and losses. They need to be responsible for overseeing, leading and effectively managing the ecommerce business and ultimately driving it forward.

The ecommerce manager will ultimately be accountable for:

  1. The creation and delivery of the company’s ecommerce strategy — alongside the company management.
  2. Monthly reporting within the business. This is a key part of the role, to ensure that stakeholders are aware of all aspects of performance and strategy.
  3. The overall revenue of the ecommerce operation.

As a business owner, you need to be confident that your ecommerce manager has the right mindset and an ability to
create the right commercial environment in your company.

Your ecommerce manager must have a strategic mind

An ideal ecommerce manager:

  • Envisions long-term market potential and business opportunities;
  • Generates strategies for addressing future market scenarios;
  • Positions the business to capitalise on them using innovative and analytical thinking.

Further, the right strategic thinker will be competent at:

  • Employing research and customer data;
  • Drawing upon best practices to drive the business;
  • Seeking out opportunities, making improvements and suggestions that will positively improve your business.

Your ecommerce manager must know how to drive results

Strategic thinking is indispensable but an ecommerce leader also must have an excellent track record of driving results.

Results ultimately mean SALES and SALES alone. The ideal candidate cannot only project the goals, mission and strategy — they must also know how to turn it into a viable plan to deliver on the commercials.

Personality traits that serve this role well are pragmatism and flexibility. The candidate will also possess the ability to focus and execute in a competitive and fast-paced selling environment.

Ecommerce management touches on so many areas that it's unfortunately easy for key players to get distracted with time-consuming tasks that do not affect the bottom line. Successful leaders in this field will be able to focus on the key issues and make useful and sensible recommendations outside their area of expertise to their team or partners.

Like a good Project Manager, a good Ecommerce Manager will work towards a key goal, but rely on strong teams and experts to help get them there. They'll gain efficiencies by allocating internal or external partners to carry out key tasks. They'll take responsibility for these partners, but learn to trust and take actions based on results, rather than micro-management.

The right ecommerce manager is one who steps up and accepts responsibility for results — whether good or bad — and expects the rest of the ecommerce team to follow suit.

Successful operational leaders can balance the drive for business urgency with the ability to motivate, attract and retain strong talent that will form the backbone of a successful team.

Your ecommerce manager must be a skilled influencer

The ability to influence is a critical skill for success in ecommerce, as ecommerce often requires strong partnerships with merchandising, marketing, technology and retail operations.

Without strong, effective coalitions, processes and relationships, ecommerce will not thrive.

The most successful people in this sector possess both personal confidence, a willingness to listen to other ideas and act on them when relevant.

They are confident and tenacious but also have high emotional intelligence. These are traits that allow them to push the business forward while building consensus along the way.

Example job description for an ecommerce manager

You will need to be confident, energetic and enthusiastic with the energy and ambition to help the business grow. You will be expected to:

  • Set and deliver the company’s ecommerce strategy
  • Set the website KPIs in line with business requirements
  • Support product and site development strategy
  • Oversee, manage or liaise with warehouse, fulfilment, content, design, marketing and sales
  • Utilize IRP World for knowledge, strategy, accreditations, partners and the IRP Roadmap
  • Maximise and adopt as many areas and features of the IRP as possible
  • Have a relentless focus on, and a passion for, traffic generation, conversion and customer retention
  • Manage, delegate or outsource activities to drive traffic to the website
  • Manage, delegate or outsource changes to drive conversion optimisation
  • Manage, delegate or outsource changes to increase repeat customers
  • Optimize marketing activities to ensure maximum return on investment
  • Adopt multichannel optimisation (if appropriate)

As ecommerce manager you will:

  • Provide monthly reports on key KPIs and the actions taken that month
  • Implement change based on site performance to maximise site traffic and conversion rates
  • Provide regular competitor intelligence
  • Liaise with the content team for the website
  • Create efficiencies by growing your Service Provider network, always measuring performance based upon results
  • Manage and grow the ecommerce team

The successful ecommerce manager will be passionate about the digital environment and have the vision to drive the digital strategy forwards:

  • You will be customer focussed, starting with the customer’s needs and working back.
  • You will also understand the importance of service delivery excellence, with a proven ability for delivering strategic growth.
  • You will be commercially minded, be able to build rapport and communicate effectively at all levels.
  • You will have extensive knowledge of the online environment. You'll understand when to action tasks yourself and when to delegate to experts.
  • You will have a clear understanding of key online marketing priorities and have excellent communication and team management abilities.

Conclusion

For your online business to succeed, you must be confident that your ecommerce manager is performing on each of these functions, without any excuses.

Digital commerce is all about growing sales in line with company strategy and objectives — technology is just a tool for achieving that end. Therefore being able to manage and implement changes effectively are key drivers for success in this role.

Although the ecommerce manager is the evangelist for your company, the key to any successful online business is their ability to improve your sales.

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