"I don't pay good wages because I have a lot of money. I have a lot of money because I pay good wages."--Robert Bosch
While traditional retail still accounts for most sales, growth in eCommerce is expected to be 8-12% in 2017, compared to 3-4% for physical retail. NRF This trend will only continue. Both retailers and manufacturers are looking for ways to remain competitive in an increasingly digital marketplace. It’s not surprising that experienced professionals are in high demand.
A great product and best of breed technology won’t give you a competitive edge without the right talent in place to operate your business.
A Swiss Army Knife Won’t Give You an Army
"If you think hiring professionals is expensive, try hiring amateurs."--Anonymous
Because traditional channels still account for most sales, many businesses treat digital channels as a lower priority. Perhaps this is the reason that some create positions that combine several important skillsets into one FTE. Jack of all trades, master of none applies to these scenarios. A job description from a recent ad calls for the following:
Strong experience with SEO & paid search, develop content market strategy, proficiency with Word Press, graphic design & video editing skills, social media marketing experience, manage the Magento platform and optimize website performance. Develop email campaigns……
This job description calls for technical, creative, and strategic skills that would require a platoon to perform all these tasks competently. Or a Swiss Army Knife generalist that has some of the required skillsets but couldn’t possibly perform at a high level in all of them.
You may think that you’re “running lean” or “maximizing productivity” with such an approach – choose your favorite cliché. You’re more likely to be getting exactly what you pay for, to the detriment of your bottom line.
In previous blogs we’ve discussed that end to end eCommerce requires experience and skill sets in the following areas:
- Technology – this includes experience with customizing, implementing, and maintaining a technology platform, as well as add-ons.
- Fulfillment – eCommerce fulfillment is different from shipping to partners. (See this blog for more on the subject)
- Customer Service – multichannel support (phone, online chat, email)
- Digital Marketing – expertise in SEO, social media, and analytics.
VP level executives and specialists in IT and digital marketing have the highest demand. The median salary for a VP/eCommerce is $177k. UX (user experience) is the new battleground for differentiation and winning customers. Median salary for a UX designer is $73k. Digital commerce platforms often need integration and customization to fit your organization’s requirements and increase efficiency and profits. Salary range for a Magento developer is $72-104k. (Salary.com, Payscale, Glass Door) We’ll get to marketing salaries later.
It’s not practical for most organizations to manage all operational components in-house with full time hires. There are many viable outsourcing options, but selecting and managing a multitude of outsourcing vendors can create another set of problems.
Which component is most critical to the success of your business? Which might be easiest to manage in-house? Make an honest assessment of the skillsets you already have in-house measured against the priorities and demands of your operation. Where are the gaps? This will guide you in determining your staffing requirements. Does this mean should hire an army of FTEs to fill every gap?
No. For many companies, a hybrid approach makes the most sense – hire the expertise for the area that’s most important to your business, and outsource the rest.
In this model, you start with a VP or department head that owns the overall strategy and direction, and who hires a core team focused on the component that you view as the most essential, or the area that’s easiest to manage.
Crunching the Numbers
Forrester Research has projected that digital marketing will top $100 billion and account for 35% of all marketing spending by 2019. Suppose that you’ve determined that marketing is the area that’s most critical to your business and requires an internal team. Let’s consider the median salaries involved to build a team:
- eCommerce Marketing Director -$150k.
- SEO Manager – $64k.
- Social Media Manager – $48k.
- PPC Manager - $50k/Yr
That’s over $300k/yr in salaries. Do the scale and budget of your operation justify this? If not, you’re back to DIY, or outsourcing to an agency. And you’ve already outsourced fulfillment, customer service, etc. Coordinating and managing all these pieces might become unwieldy. You’d prefer to centralize. Is there another alternative?
Turnkey eCommerce companies can provide a completely integrated end to end solution. A lot of buzzwords in that sentence – what does it mean? A turnkey solution provides complete managed services for all the eCommerce components. The infrastructure, best practices, and resources are already in place. There can be a high degree of flexibility in designing a solution mix tailored to your needs. Bottom Line: it doesn’t require heavy investments in FTEs and infrastructure, and your time to launch will be accelerated because you won’t be reinventing the wheel.
When evaluating a digital commerce initiative, take a reality check on what you’ll need to recruit the talent needed to make your business a success. Given the many outsourcing and turnkey options, there are ways to maximize ROI without breaking the bank on FTEs.