Must-Have Skills For An E commerce Leader

 

Must-Have Skills For An E commerce Leader

E commerce has come a very long way in a relatively short period of time. What began as a pioneering role in the nascent world of online commerce is now a position that sits at the table with the senior most strategic decision makers of an organization, and in many businesses, represents most of the revenue.

The e commerce leader is the chief steward of the organization’s electronic storefront. Their goal is to drive new traffic, create and deliver an online experience that will endear users to the brand, and turn visitors into customers while maximizing overall profitability of the online business. The responsibilities of the eCommerce “czar” are wide ranging, including strategy, website development, user experience, security, site maintenance, analytics, operations, technology, and oversight of third party service providers. They also act as a sort of internal “diplomat” to rally other operations of the company behind the e commerce side of the business. Ecommerce is big and getting bigger. Forrester Research predicts online sales will account for one of out every ten dollars of overall consumer spending this year.

The best ecommerce candidates I know couple marketing wisdom with technical know-how. E commerce managers work closely with website developers and oversee the selection of ecommerce platforms, online payment systems, authentication, security, and an array of other technologies required to operate a web-based business. But besides the technical skills, what else does it take to be an effective ecommerce chief?

Having a Strategic Mindset. The eCommerce leader holds the company’s ecommerce vision. He or she sees long-term market potential and business opportunities. They’re expert at employing research and customer data to drive the business. They think “beyond the margin, ” as I like to call it. Being strategically adept is one of those attributes that comes only with experience. It’s what truly separates the major leaguers from the under-studies. You want concrete examples from your candidates that demonstrate these competencies.

Strong Aptitude for Data and Analytics. I talk a lot about this in my writings, so I won’t dwell on it much further here. Suffice it to say that online marketing is more about analyzing test results and less about gut instinct. In ecommerce, you can measure what works and what doesnt, sometimes almost instantaneously. Your ecommerce candidate must be highly adept at crunching and interpreting data.

Collaboration/Relationship Making/Influence Maker. Like practically every other job in the realm of digital marketing, ecommerce is ostensibly a team sport. E commerce leaders interact with practically all major departments within the business. They also work with many different outside vendors. Cross-collaboration and interpersonal skills are a key part of the job. It’s essential to understand the candidate’s ability to work effectively with teams ranging from product marketing to sales, and from finance to customer service, plus external partners. In many instances, the ecommerce chief also plays the role of “change agent”, leading the company through a transformational shift from legacy marketing into online commerce. In those environments, forging cross-functional relationships is mission critical.

Operational and Project Management Expertise. What we’re NOT describing here are the pure technologists. Leave that to the coders and hackers. I believe that the best ecommerce managers are a blend of marketing and technology, or “marketing techologists” as they’re often called. To them, technology is a means to an end- converting visitors into paying customers. Choosing the right technologies and projecting the vision and mission of an online business is important, but at the end of the day you want an ecommerce leader who brings a proven track record of driving results. That’s how business leaders will measure the eCommerce leader’s success. At the root, ecommerce leaders need a deep understanding of eCommerce metrics including conversion, AOV (average order value), traffic, shipping and so on. And of course, this includes their ability to attract, hire and retain strong talent, and show demonstrative management and leadership skills (assuming it’s a department of more than one).

Ask about their experience juggling multiple and concurrent projects including the following:

Desktop and mobile website development
Digital content
Online merchandising and launching new products
Brand marketing
Social Media’
Order fulfillment
Budgeting and P and L for positions responsible for revenue versus only operations

The ecommerce manager needs to be able to describe the consumer’s purchase path on the website, and how to optimize that navigation. Also, make sure they’re well-schooled in cross-selling and upselling. Ask how they have tracked the performance of campaigns on various platforms and acted on those results to optimize consumer engagement and create differential brand experiences.

As for technical skills, this is not an all-inclusive list, but I look for candidates who have familiarity with the following:

Web Analytics tools Strong knowledge of search engine marketing, and all of its variations Social media analytics tools Ecommerce platforms like Amazon,Alibaba,Magento, Shopify or Demandware Online advertising tools such as Google Adwords, Google Product Listing Ads (PLA’s) and display ads Experience working with the major social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google

Remember: At the end of the day, the ROI you receive from your investment in digital marketing and ecommerce will depend on the caliber of the people you hire.

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Its not the rats you need to worry about

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If you want to know if a ship is going to sink, watch what the richest passengers do.

iTunes and file sharing killed Tower Records. The key symptom: the best customers switched. Of course people who were buying 200 records a year would switch. They had the most incentive. The alternatives were cheaper and faster mostly for the heavy users.

Amazon and the Kindle have killed the bookstore. Why? Because people who buy 100 or 300 books a year are gone forever. The typical Customer buys just one book a year for pleasure. Those people are meaningless to a bookstore. It’s the heavy users that matter, and now officially, as 2009 ends, they have abandoned the bookstore. It’s over.

When law firms started switching to fax machines, Fedex realized that the cash cow part of their business (100 or 1000 or more envelopes per firm per day) was over and switched fast to packages. Good for them.

If your ship is sinking, get out now. By the time the rats start packing, it’s way too late.

 

 

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Success is a state of mind = integrity + action & balance

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Life is what you make it but it only occurs in the present: NOW. No one forces us to do anything, but every decision that we make has an impact on the quality of our present moment.

Success is a state of mind! and not only of mind but also of body and soul

Successful men and women become successful because they acquire the habit of thinking in terms of success. Get the success habit in the small circumstances you control, and soon youll be controlling the bigger ones. -Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich)

How can we get to that state of mind?

The past should only equal= great memories and experiences while the future should contain our dreams and hopes

You do not believe me? Ask Viktor E. Frankl. He was put into the most limiting conditions that a human been can experience: in a concentration camp during the second world war, but still under this situation and under constant pain and suffering, his memories, experiences, dreams and hopes, kept him alive.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. -Viktor E. Frankl

Life is like riding a bicycle to keep your balance you most keep moving

How right was Einstein! , once again.

He wrote this in 1930 in a letter to …View all here

True professionals dont fear amateurs…

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Professional farmers dont begrudge the backyard gardener his tomato harvest. Thats silly.

And talented mechanics certainly dont mind the antics of the Car Talk guys (or their listeners). Sooner or later, if you need a real mechanic, youll find one, and if you dont, well, thats fine too.

A few years ago, typesetting, wedding photography, graphic design and other endeavors that were previously off limits to all but the most passionate amateurs started to become more common. The insecure careerists fought off the amateurs at the gate, insisting that it was both a degradation of their art as well as a waste of time for the amateurs. The professionals, though, those with real talent, used the technological shift to move up the food chain. It was easy to encourage amateurs to go ahead and explore and experiment professionals bring more than just good tools to their work as professionals.

The best professionals love it when a passionate amateur shows up. The clarity and intelligence of a smart customer pushes both client and craftsman to do better work.

Gifted college professors dont fear online courses. Talented web designers dont fear cloud services. Bring them on! When you need something worth paying for, they say, well be here. And what well sell you will be worth more than we charge you.

If youre upset that the hoi polloi are busy doing what you used to do, get better instead of getting angry.

Think Consumption Is The ‘Engine’ Of Our Economy? Think Again.

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There is a fundamental illogic to the notion that an economy can be grown by encouraging consumption. When a person consumes, by definition, they use things up. The very process leaves us with less than before. Growing the availability of valuable goods and services for society by using them up is not just an impossibilityits an absurdity. Consumption is the goal, but it is production that is the means.

For most of human history, ordinary people had to spend their lives growing food. Today, we have many billions more people on the planet. And yet food is cheaper, better and of greater variety than ever before. Still, almost nobody works in agriculture. We didnt create this wealthy, amazing world… by eating. We did it by saving our seed corn, investing and ultimately inventing our way out of farming jobs. Thank heavens we did.

There are important lessons for public policy that come from these classical insights. Any program which accelerates the consumption of value, or worse, the destruction of value, ultimately make our society poorer. Despite what Keynes and his modern followers claim, Wars, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, faked alien invasions, or programs that encourage us to destroy our used cars — all make us poorer. These schemes reduce the amount of valuable goods and services available for society. Some may consider unemployment benefits to be a necessary policy on humanitarian grounds, but they by no means stimulate the economy. The recipient, after all, is consuming without producing any value for others. Disincentives for people to be productive, which have exploded in recent years, not only reduce employment, but reduce output and growth as well. This last point used to be widely believed by economists–including the immensely popular and polarizing economist, Paul Krugman, whose own 2009 textbook blamed extended unemployment benefits as one of the main reasons for decades of European stagnation and high structural unemployment. Now, I fear that a decade of Keynesian macro follies may have brought Eurosclerosis to the rest of the world.

Savings and investment which enable increased productivity, greater specialization and trade are the true engines of economic growth. Increasing consumption is a result of that growth, never the cause of it. If we want sound and sustainable economic growth, each of us has to discover the most valuable ways to serve others and contribute to the supply of wealth before we can take from it. Much like everyone else, even Santa Claus must produce all year long before people get to enjoy their presents.

Marketing Defined…

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I think that any time reality doesn’t match your expectations, it means that marketing was involved.

Perhaps it was advertising, or perhaps deliberate story telling by an industry. Or perhaps it was just the stories we tell one another in our daily lives.

It’s sort of amazing, even to me, how much marketing colors the way we see the world or our reaction (either way).

Do not take industry conditions as given, set out to reshape them in your favor

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As Steve Jobs put it, You tend to get told that the world is the way it is.. But thats a very limited {View}. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact. And that is everything around you that we call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it. You can influence it. You can build your own things that other people can use.

And the minute you understand that you can poke life..that you can change it, you can mold it. Thats maybe the most important thing —to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you are just going to live in it. And once you learn that, you will never be the same again