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Bring in some etail experts

Online growth will be on the agenda for many retailers this year, but in-house resources may not be enough

The start of a new year brings with it forward planning and new strategies, and as businesses become increasingly aware of the importance of online, many will want to expand their etail expertise.

Roles within ecommerce still differ widely from business to business, and many companies struggle to choose between training their existing staff and bringing in ecommerce experts.

Martin Newman, chief executive of ecommerce consultancy Practicology, thinks bringing in external resources is a must. “If a retailer staffs its ecommerce function with people who don’t have any experience of it, they can only expect the channel to fail to deliver.”

However, Lauren Stevenson, PR director at premium etailer My-Wardrobe, believes internal candidates can be a better option. She says: “Obviously with senior appointments and those roles within specific departments such as web development, marketing and design, you need to bring candidates with relevant experience. But there are roles where we’ve been able to train existing staff who are interested in moving to another department, or furthering their career.

“You will find that by recruiting internally, you have are already halfway there with the training, as they will already have a good understanding of the business and the department processes.”

Deepak Saluja, managing consultant at recruitment business Success Appointments, claims the type of ecommerce role a business should create depends on its size and that smaller companies should look for experienced ecommerce staff, while larger firms should seek a mix of individuals with specific expertise.

When looking for the ideal candidate, Newman believes good technical skills are a must. He adds: “I would also look for people who are retailers at heart because, irrespective of their roles, I want them to be commercial, obsessed with numbers and sales and focused on driving growth,” he adds.

Individuals with this expertise are often in demand. Jonathan Hall, founder of etail recruiter Cranberry Panda, adds: “Joining a great team with a strong ecommerce director who encourages creativity and interaction can definitely attract the right people.”

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