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Challenges in Hiring Ecommerce Executives
It is well documented that online retail has seen a meteoric rise over the last 10 years as consumers shopping habits have changed. As a result, ecommerce directorships have become an integral part of most organisations, with an ever-changing expectation and view of what a good hire looks like.
Whilst the online channel is still growing, increasingly the market is moving to a more oligopolistic position. A small number of extremely large companies are winning at the expense of all else. In 2008-2011 every digital director we spoke to was gaining double digit growth with a rising tide of web traffic that was lifting all ships. Some careers and reputations soared over that period of stratospheric growth.
Now that most of the innovative services that made ecommerce so ground-breaking are the norm, the focus is on creating a seamless customer journey across all channels, marrying both on- and offline, the responsibility of which generally sits with the ecommerce director.
Consequently, the ecommerce director arguably has one of the most difficult roles in retail. Not only must they be an expert in all things ecommerce and digital, they are the core representatives of digital and multi-channel, tasked with acting in the interest of all stakeholders within the business and more importantly – the customer, whilst being pulled in polar directions by marketing and trading.
With a more mature market and changing priorities, the behaviour and ability to identify the right game-changing individuals to take on such a responsibility are becoming increasingly difficult. The ability to drive traffic, grab (profitable) sales and win in the market is tough. It is no longer the done thing to “increase turnover by 900%” or “double the business within 12 months” (both commonly detailed on resumes) by relying on advancements in technology that allow increased access to online shopping.
The role of the head-hunter has become more important. Rather than the title assessment, there is a need for the specialist to understand in depth what can be a complex and technical area. After a time of trajectory growth in the careers of Ecommerce Directors, it is crucial to now realise those who genuinely made an impact and drove the growth of the brand without relying on the natural market evolution. The winners of tomorrow are those who can see and act with a holistic brand strategy rather than purely focussing on the online aspect. Difficult for those who have grown up focussing on online alone.
It is the responsibility of the head-hunter to accurately assess market vs. individual capability and the overall impact on the organisation. Hiring game-changing ecommerce executives is tough and will only get tougher. Challenges with supply vs. demand mean that salaries have shot up in the last couple of years in comparison to other functional heads so an expensive mistake to make by getting the hire wrong.
In order for you to maximise your return in your human capital you need to work with a partner who has an in-depth understanding in this area and can offer you consultative advice, feel free to contact me for a confidential discussion on +44 207 269 2592 or [email protected]