Building a Successful E-commerce Team Structure

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In today’s world, e-commerce has become integral to the business landscape. With the ever-growing number of online shoppers and increasing competition, businesses need a well-structured team structure for e-commerce. 

Building a successful structure requires careful planning and consideration of various factors such as business goals, team members’ skills, and available resources. A well-structured team can help businesses achieve their online sales targets, improve customer satisfaction, and drive growth. 

This article will explore the key elements of building a successful structure of an e-commerce business and provide valuable tips for businesses looking to create an effective and efficient team.

What is An E-commerce Team?

The e-commerce team consists of professionals working in collaboration with others to complete tasks successfully. It includes management, marketing and promotion, help desk functions, order fulfillment, and more. These major tasks can be multifaceted according to the expertise of team members and the scope of work. 

The primary goal of an e-commerce team is to create and execute effective strategies to drive sales, improve customer experience, and optimize the overall performance of the online sales channel. The close collaboration within the team ensures the successful integration of the e-commerce channel with the overall business strategy.

Benefits of Having a Structured E-commerce Team

Having a structured e-commerce team can offer numerous benefits for businesses, including:

  1. Improved efficiency: A well-structured e-commerce team can streamline processes, increase productivity, and reduce errors.
  2. Better collaboration: Organized and structured teams can promote improved communication and collaboration between team members, resulting in better outcomes.
  3. Better customer experience: A structured e-commerce team can help businesses better understand their customers’ needs, improving their experience and increasing loyalty.
  4. Increased sales: A well-organized e-commerce team can develop and execute effective strategies to increase online sales and revenue.
  5. Improved data analysis: With a structured e-commerce team, businesses can effectively collect and analyze data, helping to identify trends, areas for improvement, and new opportunities. 

Types of E-commerce Company Structures

The six major types of e-commerce structures are:

Functional structure

This is one of the most widely used team approaches apart from the hierarchical structure. Within this structure, the teams are turned into groups based on their skills and knowledge. These groups are vertically structured within the departments from top to bottom. 

Each department is responsible for a specific area of the organization’s operations and may have its own manager or team of managers. The functional structure allows the organization to focus on its core competencies while keeping management costs and bureaucracy minimal.

Functional structure is usually required for:

  • Field experts
  • Team accountability
  • Organizational growth 

Flat structure

This structure is intertwined with multiple departments. It includes all leadership tiers, from executives to middle managers. A flat organizational structure typically has a low hierarchy. There are only a few middle management levels between the executive and operational levels. 

A flat structure is best suited for teams who want to establish a centralized network that links back to the common goal. 

Functional structure is usually required for:

  • Higher productivity
  • Aligned goals
  • Organizational clarity 

Geographic structure

This structure focuses on geographical regions such as territories, districts, or any specific area that can be organized to separate divisions. It creates clear boundaries among different geographies and best suits companies dependent on customers or supply chains.

The geographical structure is usually required for:

  • Serving local communities
  • Communication with customers or supply chain partners
  • Team collaboration

Product-based structure

It is a structure that categorizes each function into separate divisions. The entire organization is divided according to the products it produces. It has a variety of specialized areas, with each product line responsible for the product’s design, production, and marketing. 

This structure enables organizations to focus on the production and marketing of individual products and allows them to develop more specialized expertise in those areas.

The product-based structure is usually required for the following:

  • Semi-autonomous divisions
  • Continuous product improvements

Market-based structure

It is somewhat similar to a product-based structure in which the organization focuses on individual markets. It ranges from different industries to customers, and the company uses this approach when they undertake multiple brands under one roof. 

The market-based structure encourages competition between suppliers, customers, and other businesses. 

The market-based structure is usually required for

  • Focusing on one market at a time
  • Team specialization
  • Individual accomplishments

Process-based structure

This structure emphasizes the internal process instead of cross-departments. It follows a hierarchical structure with leaders connected to different processes. It is often used in organizations that require a high degree of specialization and where there is a need to ensure that everything is done efficiently and on time. 

The process-based structure is usually required for: 

  • Efficiency
  • Company growth
  • Assistance with different processes

Departments within an E-commerce Team

The team structure of e-commerce encompasses different teams. These are as follows:-

Development team

The development team is the company’s core and is responsible for developing the brand’s image and ensuring everything runs smoothly with the customers. They are responsible for building the company’s image and should include individuals passionate about its growth and thoroughly understanding objectives. 

Development team members should fully grasp the company’s necessities and visual appeal.  They should also be dexterous with tools such as Magento, WooCommerce, Shopify, etc. 

Business analyst team

Business analyst teams are responsible for constructing decisions for new or previous projects. They work closely with issues and try different approaches to solve them. This team is the backbone of the software development team and is mainly in charge of the market and business domain.

Some other core functions of the business analysts team are: 

  • Gather and analyze data on customer needs, market trends, and competitors to identify business opportunities and develop strategies.
  • Develop detailed business analysis and documentation, including requirements, process flows, and models.
  • Develop and execute tests to ensure that proposed solutions meet business requirements.
  • Identify potential areas of improvement and develop strategies to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. 

Project management team

This team involves team members responsible for delivering project tasks and deliverables on time. Project management teams ensure clear communication and should be able to complete the task satisfactorily. They are the connectors between team members and stakeholders. 

Marketing team

The marketing team is responsible for building the company’s name, product, promotions, social media presence, and more. They are among the most influential teams in the corporate structure of e-commerce business as they carry the heavy responsibility of attracting customers through their designed marketing campaigns. 

Here are some essential activities that the marketing team undertakes:

  • Competitor analysis involves researching and analyzing the strategies of similar businesses to understand their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  • Social media marketing aims to achieve marketing and branding goals by creating and sharing content on social media networks, which can include image updates, videos, and other types of content that encourage audience engagement.
  • Email marketing includes promotional offers, product updates, event invitations, and other types of content. 

Sales team

This team communicates the company’s products with clients and customers. Sales representatives are the revenue bearer of the company, and their main objectives include:

  • Achieve sales targets and generate leads 
  • Develop customer relationships
  • Increase market share 
  • Educate customers and clients 
  • Follow up with existing clients

Accounting team

They are responsible for the financial aspects of the business and accounts for expenses, taxes, financial reports, salaries, and more. The accounting team handles the crucial financial tasks that keep every other department in order.

Customer support team

Customer support teams are mostly available 24X7 to cater to existing and new customers. This team regularly checks the customers and resolves issues that arise. Some live chats or chatbots come under this department.

HR team

The sole purpose of the HR team is to bind all the team members together and listen to their queries. They maintain the company’s internal processing and provide e-commerce businesses with friendly individuals. The HR department includes a resource director, human capital head, people partner, and recruiter. Their major functions are:

  • Recruiting, hiring, and onboarding new employees
  • Developing and managing employee compensation and benefits
  • Training and developing employees
  • Maintaining employee relations
  • Ensuring compliance with laws and regulations

Legal team

The legal team protects your business from any legal actions that might emerge. Having a full-fledged legal team in prior always helps your business in case of sudden risks. 

Developing an Effective Team Structure

Establish clear goals and objectives

The main goals and objectives of an e-commerce business structure are to increase sales, improve customer service, increase customer satisfaction, and expand customer reach. You should clearly define goals and objectives, establish long and short-term business strategies, set achievable goals, and make the employees understand the team vision. 

Assign tasks according to skillset and expertise

When assigning tasks, it is important to consider the skillset and expertise of those performing them. The tasks should be assigned to the most qualified individual who can complete them efficiently and effectively. 

This can be done by assessing the current skill level of each employee and then assigning tasks that are within their capabilities and expertise. Once you are able to understand each person’s value, you will be able to allocate them decisively. 

Utilize cross-functional teams for successful collaboration

Cross-functional teams consist of individuals from various organizational departments or functions. They can increase collaboration and foster successful collaboration between departments or functions. 

It is the antidote to the methodical organization that builds harmony across the function. Cross-functional teams amplify creativity and innovation, as members can work together openly and collaboratively. 

Create a positive company culture with an emphasis on communication & efficiency

Creating a positive company culture impacts employees’ efficiency required for the success of any business. Providing clear instructions helps members better understand their responsibilities and deadlines. Fostering a recognition and appreciation culture will help boost morale and create a positive environment. 

Utilizing recruitment strategies that attract the best talent

Recruiting the best talent is essential for organizations to remain successful and competitive. To do so, an organization must leverage recruitment strategies’ tools and technology to engage and attract top talent. This includes using social media, job boards, and professional networks to expand the organization’s outreach.

Crafting a winning e-commerce strategy

A winning e-commerce strategy involves taking a comprehensive approach to online retail. You need to focus on customer experience, optimizing product pages, leveraging digital marketing tools and techniques, focusing on delivery and returns, and creating a strong customer service team. Implementing the latest trend in the market helps you resonate with the audience and keeps you ahead of the competition in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Understanding your target audience and market segmentation

Target audience and market segmentation are important concepts in marketing. By understanding both concepts, businesses can better tailor their products and services to meet the needs and preferences of their target customers. This can help them reach their target audience more effectively, increase their sales, and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace. 

Analyzing competitors to perfect your positioning strategy

Analyzing competitors is an essential step in perfecting a positioning strategy. It helps to identify what is working for competitors and what potential areas of improvement there might be. Competitor research includes scrutinizing competitors’ products, pricing, marketing strategies, and customer experiences. 

Developing competitive pricing strategies for maximum profits

Pricing strategies must balance the importance of generating profits and maintaining customer loyalty. Competitive pricing strategies mean the company needs to consider the market conditions, competitors’ prices, and cost structure when setting prices. To create a perfect pricing strategy, you can execute– price skimming, penetration pricing, and price discrimination to optimize their prices and profits.

What it Takes to Build an E-commerce Team From Scratch

1. Determine staffing site

It is crucial to build a successful team structure for e-commerce businesses. You must accurately determine the staffing needs, which roles you should hire, and where your team members should be.

2. Identify the HR investment

The organization’s hiring fluctuates according to the scalability and demand of customers. A rapidly growing company also focuses on multiplying quickly and devotes time to excellent hiring. Without HR investment, companies might fail to recruit some of the best people with the most accurate skillset. 

3. Distinguish between in-house and contract talent needs

It is imperative to distinguish between in-house and outsourced contractors. Businesses can start and stop hiring anytime they want, which comes under in-house contractors. However, it is the outsourcing contractors who may not be available when companies need them the most. Therefore, e-commerce businesses demand a significant human resource investment to tackle the need for more talent. 

4. Consider what resources are needed for onboarding and training

Always remember to practice training sessions for new team members. It is likely that whenever a new team member joins your company, it will be slightly tricky to understand the company’s objective thoroughly. Training sessions bring them on the same page as everyone, thereby improving strategy and growth. 

5. Plan for ongoing HR management

Lastly, ensure that everything runs smoothly once the team has been established. Make sure that each department is not alienated in silos and is prepared for market fluctuations. As the team expands, managing members and building relationships with each of them becomes complex and crucial. 

How to Make Your E-commerce Team Structure Cost-Effective

Aim to keep costs down

A cost-effective e-commerce business structure is imperative to form the organization’s foundation. It doesn’t mean holding your employee’s paycheck. Instead, concentrate on the best strategies to help you cut costs and maintain a systematic budget. Some of the ways wherein you can implement cost-cutting strategies are as follows:

  • Set clear budget parameters for the e-commerce team
  • Monitor spending regularly to ensure that the team does not exceed its budget
  • Utilize automation to cut down on manual labor costs
  • Leverage existing resources
  • Negotiate with vendors for the best possible prices
  • Track performance to ensure that the team is on track to meet its goals and budget

Remember your business goal

This is the stage where you guarantee the integration of your business objectives into the workflow. It is crucial to maintain consistency with the vision and ensure that all team members are aligned with your goals.

Weigh up In-house staff or external freelancers

New-age businesses have become more flexible with their workflow. It ranges from full-time employees to freelancers. The decision between in-house staff and external freelancers will depend on the project and available resources. 

A full-time employee may be preferable if the project requires a large team, as they are familiar with the company’s processes and culture. On the other hand, freelancers may be preferable if the project requires specific skills or a shorter timeline. 

Hire people who share your brand’s goal

Matching the brand’s ethos and the team’s attitude is a fortune and can guarantee you phenomenal results in the future. You need to acquire those candidates who can fit in your company carefully. Hiring people who share your brand’s goal is essential to ensure that everyone on your team is working towards the same outcome. It’s essential to look for candidates who are passionate about the company and clearly understand its mission. 

Allocate time for onboarding

Onboarding is an important step in the employee lifecycle where employers know each new hire has the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to contribute to the organization. Therefore, it becomes imperative to dedicate a decent time to onboarding procedures. It should include all possible steps required to mark their eligibility. These are test sessions, group discussions, interview rounds, etc. 

Onboarding sets the tone for the new hire’s time with the company and helps to foster a culture of communication and collaboration.

 

Dedicate to a thorough onboarding process

Onboarding develops the process and makes the organization more effective. To start with a dedicated onboarding process, you have to begin with creating a standard training program for new members to familiarize them with your brand’s identity. 

While onboarding new employees, a document should state a detailed job description and a list of required skills and qualifications. It should also cover the company’s policies, procedures, and culture. 

Create an accessible workflow

This can be done by using new tools to streamline the workflow. Here are some methods through which you can develop an e-commerce business plan:

  • Create a strategy for making your product more approachable.
  • Design and develop features that are accessible. This includes ensuring that all digital elements are readable, have enough contrast, use appropriate font sizes, and are keyboard accessible. 
  • Train your team so everyone knows convenient features and how to use them.
  • Monitor and maintain your product and make updates to ensure that your product remains accessible.

Roles to Hire for a Successful E-commerce Brand

Let’s look at the e-commerce team members’ leading roles and responsibilities that come under each profile. 

Director of E-commerce

  • Develop and implement e-commerce strategies to increase website traffic, customer engagement, and sales.
  • Set and track key performance indicators (KPIs) for e-commerce operations.
  • Oversee customer experience management, including website design, content management, usability, and marketing.
  • The role involves monitoring industry trends and the competitive landscape to ensure that the company stays up-to-date with the latest best practices.
  • Collaborate with cross-functional teams to establish a seamless customer journey.

Digital Marketing Manager

  • Develop and implement digital marketing strategies and tactics to support organizational goals.
  • The responsibilities include identifying emerging trends in digital marketing, evaluating new technologies, and ensuring that the brand stays at the forefront of industry developments.
  • The duty involves optimizing website and social media content to enhance web traffic.
  • Manage end-to-end digital projects, from initial scoping and planning to execution and delivery.

E-commerce Business Analyst

  • Develop and maintain detailed functional requirements and technical specifications for e-commerce projects.
  • Analyze and document current e-commerce operations, processes, and systems.
  • Analyze customer and business requirements to determine the most efficient and effective e-commerce solutions.
  • Work with business stakeholders and technical teams to develop, test and implement solutions.
  • Develop and implement strategies to improve customer experience, engagement, and conversions.

E-commerce Developer

  • Develop e-commerce websites, applications, and platforms using web programming languages such as CSS, HTML, JavaScript, PHP, and SQL.
  • Design and implement user-friendly interfaces with intuitive navigation and clear product descriptions.
  • Optimize website performance and scalability to fortify a seamless user experience.
  • Integrate payment gateway solutions and other third-party applications.
  • Develop and maintain custom web applications such as shopping carts and order-tracking systems.
  • Troubleshoot and debug existing e-commerce websites and applications.

IT Technician

  • The task involves the installation, configuration, and maintenance of computer hardware and software
  • Troubleshoot hardware and software issues
  • Monitor network performance, security, and utilization
  • Provide IT training and support for end-users
  • Perform backups and disaster recovery operations

Program Manager

  • Developing and managing project plans, tasks, and milestones
  • Overseeing project budgeting, resource allocation, and cost control
  • Working with stakeholders to define project scope, goals, and deliverables
  • Building consensus between different teams and stakeholders

Finance and Accounting

  • Ensuring timely payment processing and reconciliation
  • Providing financial analysis and reporting
  • Managing cash flow and budgeting 
  • Working with other departments to corroborate compliance with financial regulations 
  • Developing and executing strategies to reduce costs and improve profitability 

Logistics Manager

  • Develop, maintain, and manage efficient logistic strategies 
  • Monitor and analyze logistics performance to identify areas of improvement 
  • Oversee the shipping, warehousing, and distribution of goods 
  • Manage and optimize inventory levels and stock control 
  • Establish compliance with customs regulations and other government regulations 
  • Monitor logistics KPIs and report on performance 

Inventory Manager

  • Monitor and maintain current inventory levels 
  • Ensure orders are fulfilled promptly 
  • Coordinate with vendors to ensure timely delivery of goods 
  • Adjust inventory counts due to damages, returns, and discrepancies 
  • Oversee the receiving, stocking, and distribution of inventory 

Customer Support Specialist

  • Respond to customer queries and complaints about products, services, and website issues via phone, email, and live chat.
  • Troubleshoot customer issues and provide solutions promptly 
  • Proactively reach out to customers to clinch satisfaction 
  • Maintain customer records and updated account information in the system 
  • Follow up with customers after an issue is resolved to ensure satisfaction 
  • Research and analyze customer feedback to identify trends and improvement opportunities

Graphic Designer

  • Creating visually appealing images, logos, and promotional material for e-commerce websites 
  • Designing attractive layouts and page structures for e-commerce websites 
  • Creating wireframes and mock-ups for e-commerce websites 
  • Testing and validating e-commerce websites before the launch 
  • Integrating e-commerce applications with third-party services 

Content Writer

  • Manage online product catalogs and listings 
  • Implement search engine optimization (SEO) strategies 
  • Analyze and optimize website content for improved search engine ranking
  • Assist in developing and executing marketing campaigns 
  • Monitor and analyze competitor activities 

Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant is an invaluable asset for any CEO. They provide assistance with organizing day-to-day tasks and activities, from scheduling business meetings to creating and maintaining routines. 

How to Incorporate E-commerce Into Your Company Structure

The best way to intertwine e-commerce into your business structure is to align the company’s e-commerce strategy with yours. Standalone e-commerce would be feasible for SMEs where the entire team reports to the CEO. For enterprises, e-commerce can be incorporated into marketing and management. This includes merchandising, marketing, and operations. 

E-commerce with Multiple Brands

E-commerce allocation depends on your many brands and how frequently they sell. It also depends on the scalability and size of the company and whether it can assimilate e-commerce. For instance, if one brand stockpiles more sales than another, you can allocate the e-commerce resources to that brand. 

E-commerce Within Marketing or Operations?

E-commerce is a part of both marketing and operations. In marketing, e-commerce attracts customers, builds relationships, and promotes products and services. In operations, e-commerce manages the online store, processes orders, and handles payments.

Should I Hire Development In-house or Outsource It?

An in-house team includes internal employees completing the tasks. They reside within the company’s culture and contribute to the internal business strategies. Moreover, they have an in-depth understanding of your firm.

Outsourcing means delegating tasks to third parties or freelancers. In the e-commerce business, it is common for employees to outsource tasks such as website development or marketing to third parties. 

The ultimate decision will depend on your specific requirements and budget. If you need a dedicated team who can be on-site and available to you, then hiring in-house may be the best option. However, if you are looking for a more flexible and cost-effective solution, then outsourcing is the one. 

Conclusion

To summarize, having a solid and effective e-commerce business structure is essential for enabling businesses to capitalize on the opportunities presented by online markets. With careful planning, businesses can create a team structure that will enable them to make the most of the digital opportunities available. 

FAQs

How do you manage an ecommerce team?

To manage an e-commerce team effectively, you should establish– clear goals and expectations and provide adequate training and resources to your delegates. Gathering feedback is another important segment in managing e-commerce.

How do you build a high-performance ecommerce team?

You should focus on hiring the right people with the right skills, fostering skill development, and promoting collaborations and communication. Recognition and appraisal are other vital elements of building high performance.

What is the channel structure of e-commerce?

These are:-

  • Business to consumer (B2C)
  • Business to business (B2B)
  • Consumer-to-consumer (C2C)
  • Mobile commerce (m-commerce)
  • Social commerce

Why is a strong e-commerce team important for your online business?

1. Improves customer experience and satisfaction

2. Increase sales and revenue

3. Optimize website performance and user experience

4. Develop and implement effective marketing strategies

5. Manage inventory, logistics, and fulfillment effectively

What is KPI for ecommerce success?

Here are some of the most important KPIs of e-commerce success:

  • Conversion rate
  • Average order value
  • Customer acquisition cost
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Cart abandonment rate

What are the five best practices of high-performing teams?

The five best practices of high-performing teams are:

  • Clear communication and collaborations
  • Clearly defined roles and responsibilities
  • Trust and respect among team members
  • Ongoing learning and development
  • Focus on results and continuous improvement

What is a functional organizational structure in e-commerce?

It is a hierarchical arrangement of employees based on their areas of expertise or job functions, such as marketing operations, customer service, and IT.

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