As our clients look to maximise the value of their online channels, they often seek our advice as to whether their existing structure is fit for purpose.
Our approach is to consider how well the 4 pillars of ecommerce are being addressed within their organisation: Acquisition, Conversion, Retention and Measurement.
We then advise on whether the gaps are best filled through training, recruitment, or outsourcing to a 3rd party.
Whether you are using PPC or affiliates, acquisition marketing requires specialist skills and tools, and greater ROI can often be achieved through outsourcing to agencies unless you have the budget to recruit a great team.
In functions where a deep knowledge of your product is essential, such as pricing or visual merchandising, it’s often advisable to skill-up the existing members of your team through training, as an outsider may lack the required insight. On the other hand the continuous optimisation of the customer experience on your site needs the skill-sets of an analyst and UX designer.
Similarly, while the communications calendar and content of marketing messages are often inside jobs, the segmentation of your database and optimisation of email delivery are best performed by specialists in this area.
Without a thorough knowledge of how your website is performing, and how your customers are interacting with your business online, you are effectively operating in the dark. The web analyst is your solution – hire one if you can afford it, or go to an agency, but don’t make do without.
There’s no magic bullet, and all businesses have different requirements and budgets. One key consideration is the real shortage of experienced ecommerce talent in the marketplace, and the cost of hiring the best people is often prohibitive.
The most important factor when resourcing your ecommerce business is the ability to recognise the skill gaps in your team, and taking measures to fill them. Whether by training staff, recruiting new talent, or outsourcing, don’t ignore the problem.
Martin Newman is chief executive of ecommerce specialist Practicology