By Joanna Perry | Head of Marketing

I’ve noticed lately that conversations with clients have not only included the usual topics of ecommerce best practice, driving up conversion rates and usability, but also building effective teams and what the optimal ecommerce team structure should be.

In Australia, we have clients running what are considered commercially successful ecommerce channels, who are now starting to focus on more complex and sophisticated sales, customer acquisition and optimisation strategies. However they often still have small or inefficient teams driving the channel; and at times decision-making is based on an immediate need, rather than long-term plans for the brand.

This can result in additional and unnecessary pressure around the simplest of tasks and the execution of projects at all levels; not to mention the lack of ownership, or accountability that often ensues.

I have seen examples of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars of a retailer’s bottom line lost on ineffective processes, manual handling, poor choice of technology, staff turnover and the stagnation of the digital growth strategy due to a lack of accountability. But unless you understand your existing ecommerce team structure you can't optimise it. 

Analysing your ecommerce team structure

Fortunately, there are simple and effective ways for you to achieve clarity and effectiveness around workplace and capacity planning.  At a high level, these steps include:

  • Develop a master list of all the tasks you undertake to run your ecommerce channel and the frustrations with each
  • Document how exceptions occur and how they are managed
  • Define who executes each task, and identify overlapping and manual processes
  • Develop high level process maps for all activities, manual and automated
  • Define (if not clear) who is ultimately accountable for the entire ecommerce channel

What will come out of your ecommerce team structure research may be one or more of the following:

  • Bottlenecks of issues and issue resolution
  • Points of confusion as to how things work
  • Skills gaps
  • Lack of resources
  • Overlapping tasks
  • Unnecessarily manual processes
  • Too many (or not enough) team members responsible for each task

Issues are more easily identified and you can start to build focus around each inefficient task, prioritised according to the needs of the business.

 

RACI for team structure

Organisational process mapping can be painful, so employing an organisational change model such as RACI (responsible, accountable, consulted, informed) may be a good way in which to frame your resource plan, and realign accountabilities.

In the simplest form, the result should be an effective and streamlined ecommerce channel with clear roles and responsibilities, processes, and accountabilities.  Once this has been defined you can then start to scale your ecommerce channel for further growth.

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