Building an E-commerce Team? Avoid These Common Mistakes
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E-commerce is a multi-disciplinary new-age field and requires team members of varied skills, all working cohesively. You need marketers (of different kinds—branding, social media, ads, SEO, email, creatives, content, etc.), sourcing team, warehousing team, category managers, developers, product managers, data analysts, accountants, etc. Each of these is a highly specialized field.
Over the past 12 years, e-commerce companies tend to make some common mistakes while building their team which ultimately leads to slower growth, losses or even closures. Here is a list of 7 such mistakes.
Mistake 1: Hiring all-rounders
All-rounders are always tempting. One person who can do multiple activities, that is so amazing, isn’t it? Well, I have not found even a single person, no matter how senior he/she is, who is good in all these—Google ads, Facebook ads, SEO, social media, content marketing and email marketing. Yet, we see so many profiles that make the know-it-all claim. But the truth is average Joes will produce average work and average work is not going to give you the growth you are aiming for in e-commerce. It is a new and evolving segment with multi-disciplinary facets. Therefore, always go for focused team members having specialized skill sets.
Mistake 2: Hiring team members without a technical round by an expert
A company thrives because of its team and fails because of incorrect hiring decisions. Do not go by the utterance of technical jargon in an interview. You may not have the right skills to evaluate a person technically for e-commerce. But that should never be a blocker. Involve external consultants to conduct technical interviews for you.
Mistake 3: Poor coordination between marketing and sourcing teams
While extensive coordination is required between different teams, the most common problem faced by e-commerce companies is the constant tussle between the marketing and sourcing teams. In many companies, both these teams work in silos and easily blame the other team if a product gets out of stock or excess inventory is piled up. The solution is to work cohesively and see that no product goes out of stock and excess inventory does not pile up. E-commerce is not about selling what is in stock, but planning your marketing and inventory in a way that your sales, margins and user experience—all are maximized. Your category and sourcing teams should be involved with marketing team meetings and decision making processes.
Mistake 4: Not considering consultants or agencies as part of the team
Good consultants and agencies bring a huge amount of experience and best practices on the table. Getting them on board will help you acquire the strategic know-how required to propel your online sales. Involve them in your strategic decision making process. They can also help bridge the skill gap within your organization.
Mistake 5: Lack of data analysts or giving them lesser importance
Unlike offline retail, e-commerce allows you to capture a huge amount of data from your website and other platforms. This helps you take both strategic as well as tactical decisions. Many e-commerce teams do not have good data scientists or they are not given importance in the overall operations. Analyzing data and taking corrective actions can make or break your e-commerce business.
Mistake 6: Limiting the role of the finance team
Most e-commerce companies limit the role of the finance team to collecting and making payments, and filing taxes. Each e-commerce transaction involves multiple levels of transactions such as product cost, warehousing costs, packaging charges, shipping charges, returns cost, marketing costs, discounts and promotions, transaction charges, etc. Extensive analysis of the costs and gap identification helps different teams optimize their processes extensively. This is crucial especially because ecommerce is generally a low margin business.
Mistake 7: Having only developers in the tech team
Most companies start with just 1-2 developers in their tech team. A minimal tech team consists of developers, project managers, product managers, testers, and business analysts. If your company is not in a position to hire for all these roles, it is better to outsource your technology development work. With just developers and the absence of the rest of the skill sets, your app/website releases get delayed with a significant number of errors and glitches. As a result, you end up making a huge loss due to low traffic, engagement, and/or conversion rates.