Ecommerce is a lot more forgiving to one-person startups than other industries, but even so, there’s still a limit to how much one person can accomplish. At some point or another, your ecommerce company will need to expand its staff.
But if you’re used to doing things on your own (or with a small team), the concept of hiring more staff might be confusing or fill you with doubt. Whom exactly should you hire? What positions should you fill? Is it smarter to hire someone full-time or freelance?
In this article, we answer these questions and more, so you can prepare for growing your business, inside and out. Below we explain 7 ecommerce roles to consider filling, but first let’s look at the differences between hiring full time or freelance.
Full Time vs. Freelance
For ecommerce entrepreneurs looking to expand their staff, the big question is should you hire full-time or freelance? Really, it’s not a complicated question — it just depends on finding the perfect balance between your needs and resources.
Essentially, you only want to pay for what you need. If you only require part-time services, hiring full-time is excessive. Likewise, if full-time attention is required, and the results proportionately benefit your business, then its money well-spent.
Freelancers are almost always cheaper — to the tune of 20-30% annually. However, in some situations, there are other criteria worth considering aside from brass tax. In particular:
- Training and Supervision — If you have a complicated way of doing things that requires abundant hours of training, it may be more time-effective to hire a full-time employee and only train them once. On the other hand, if the task is always the same, you can hire the same freelancer every time, but that’s assuming their work is consistently satisfactory.
- Customers Relations — For creative work like social media or blog writing, your customers and followers may develop an affinity to a certain personality or voice. In which case, it may be worthwhile to “lock down” the person responsible with a full-time package.
- Future Planning — Sometimes a freelancer will blow you away with their talent. If you’ve stumbled upon someone special, it may be in your best interests to hire them full time. Freelancers don’t always stay freelance forever, so if you don’t pick them up full time, someone else might.
Of course, you don’t always have to choose between the two. One of the best advantages of freelancers is that you can “try it before you buy it,” so-to-speak. In other words, you can hire a freelancer on a trial basis, and if they work well with your company, offer them a full-time position. If they don’t, then you can just start again with another freelancer until you find your fit.
Top Roles to Consider
Who can help ecommerce businesses the most? Depends on what you need. Take a look at the seven positions below and see if they seem like a good match.
Maintaining an ecommerce site requires a lot of busy work, and not all of it can be considered executive-level. If you find yourself so overwhelmed by the daily maintenance that you struggle to perform your managerial tasks, then it’s time for an administrative assistant.
Product Sourcing Specialist
If your weak point is finding products or suppliers, a product sourcing specialist could be a good fit. These experts are the best at discovering products that perform well, as well as the most cost-effective channels for acquiring them. If you want a tighter and more effective supply chain, this position is worth looking into.
Digital Marketing Strategist
Low traffic? A digital marketing strategist knows how to bring people in and raise brand awareness. This is a leadership position with ride-reaching responsibilities including social media, blogs, guest posts, influencer marketing, and online advertisements. Often, these are in-staff employees, but there is a stable of specialists who freelance.
Social Media Manager
This digital marketer specializes exclusively in social media — they know how to rally followers and raise Likes (and brand awareness). Because they’re only limited to their specific area of expertise, you should only hire one if social media is integral to your strategy, or if your brand’s social media is critically failing.
If you have a blog, content writers work closely with the digital marketing strategist to create compelling articles that both attract new visitors and promote your brand goals (i.e., articles can highlight certain products, services, or policies that might otherwise go unnoticed).
However, ecommerce content writers are also important for site copy. Product descriptions, cohesive navigation titles, a strong narrative in your About Us section — a professional content writer can handle them all. Consider hiring one if you want to take your SEO to the next level.
Data Entry Specialist
For ecommerce brands with an enormous product range, hiring a data entry specialist could be a huge time-saver. If you’re spending huge chunks of time filling in spreadsheets instead of more important, big-picture duties, its best to outsource the data entry and focus on building your brand.
Of course, these tasks could also be handled by an automated inventory management software; under certain circumstances, automated software could be both cheaper and more convenient than hiring an extra worker, depending on your needs.
Customer Service Specialist
Returns, inquiries, complaints, and other interactions with customers are not only time-consuming, but they’re also high stakes — one wrong word, and you’ve lost a customer forever. Sometimes it’s better to let a professional people person handle these areas. Don’t underestimate the technical skill required in calming down an angry customer or convincing someone not to make a return.
There is no universal “must-have” team for ecommerce. The employees that would benefit you depend on your unique goals and struggles. One company might triple their profits because of an effective digital marketing strategist, but another might go under paying their fees. Consider your brands strengths and weaknesses, and which areas to prioritize, before determining whom to hire.