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 are highly specialized fields.
In this article, we round-up 7 common mistakes that business owners tend to make while hiring new talent and how to tackle them successfully:
Mistake 1: Hiring all-rounders
A common mistake is to find all-rounders for different roles which leads to loss of both topline and bottomline. In the past 12 years experience, no matter how senior a person would have been, I have not found even a single person who is good in all these – Google ads, Facebook ads, SEO, social media, content marketing and email marketing. Average Joes will give you average work and average work is not going to give you the growth you are aiming for. Always go for specialized team members with a focused skill set.
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. You may not have the right skills to evaluate a person technically for e-commerce. But that should never be a blocker. Do not go by the utterance of technical jargons in an interview. 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. I have seen that both these teams normally work in silos and easily blame the other team if a product gets out of stock or excess inventory is piled up. The solution to this 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 and margins are maximized. Your category and sourcing teams should be involved with your marketing teams in their discussions.
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 with them. Getting them on board will help you acquire the strategic know-how required to propel your online sales. From our past experiences, I have found that even our junior team members put in a lot more effort when the clients consider them as partners who are experts in their field.
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 making payments, collecting costs and filing taxes. Each e-commerce transaction involves multiple levels of transactions such as product cost, warehousing costs, packing, shipping, returns, marketing costs, discounts and promotions, transaction charges, returns etc. Extensive analysis of the costs and gap identification helps different teams optimize their processes extensively.
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 rest of the skill sets, your app/website releases get delayed and significant errors tend to happen. As a result, you end up making a huge loss due to low traffic, engagement and conversion rates.
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