eCommerce has revolutionized business, operating at blazing speeds and incredible efficiency. Products can be seen online with unprecedented fidelity of colors and options, and they can be shipped and received the same day, with seamless payment options integrated into the experience.

In an eCommerce forecast titled 5 Trends to Watch in 2022, the online payment firm Affirm lists five critical trends in eCommerce:

  • Personalization of the online shopping experience
  • Convenience
  • Flexible payment options that include, but are not limited to credit cards
  • Communities of consumers – 71% of consumers prefer buying from businesses that share their values
  • Partnerships for market acceleration

eCommerce is a vital solution in reaching customers.  Any company not fully engaged in a robust eCommerce solution is missing an essential business opportunity.

Whether called the VP of ecommerce, or Director of eCommerce, or by another title, the eCommerce leader is the chief steward of the organization’s electronic storefront. Their goal is to drive new traffic, create and deliver an online experience that will engender users’ loyalty to the brand, and that will turn visitors into customers while maximizing overall profitability of the online business.

The responsibilities of the eCommerce leader are wide ranging, including strategy, website development, user experience, security, site maintenance, analytics, operations, technology, and oversight of third-party service providers. They also act as a sort of internal “diplomat” to rally other operations of the company behind the eCommerce side of the business.

Note that, while there is much for the eCommerce lead to manage, this is a leadership role. In companies that offer multiple channels (e.g., eCommerce, catalog, brick-and-mortar) the eCommerce leader must be very savvy in working with the leaders of the other business units. The website/ecommerce system must often represent the interests of the other business units – while also driving online sales. This can be a real challenge.

For these reasons, certain traits and experiences are critical in recruiting and hiring eCommerce Leaders:

  • Strategic Mindset: The eCommerce lead holds the company’s ecommerce vision, seeing long-term market potential and business opportunities, and employing research and customer data to drive the business.
  • Strong Aptitude for Data and Analytics: Online marketing is more about analyzing data than it is  about gut instinct. In ecommerce, you can measure what works and what doesn’t, sometimes almost instantaneously. An ecommerce candidate must be highly adept at interpreting data and interfacing with Data Analytics to let them know what data are needed.
  • Collaboration/Relationship Making/Influence: Ecommerce leaders interact with practically all major departments within the business. They also work with many different outside vendors. Cross-collaboration and interpersonal skills are a key part of the job. The eCommerce lead must work effectively with teams ranging from product marketing to sales, and from finance to customer service, plus external partners. The eCommerce lead may also need to be a “change agent”, leading the company through a transformational shift from legacy marketing into online commerce.
  • Operational and Project Management Expertise: The best eCommerce managers are a blend of marketing and technology. To them, technology is a means to an end- converting visitors into paying customers. Choosing the right technologies and projecting the vision and mission of an online business is important, an eCommerce leader must drive results. eCommerce leaders need a deep understanding of eCommerce metrics including conversion, AOV (average order value), traffic, shipping and so on. And of course, this includes their ability to attract, hire and retain strong talent, and show demonstrative management and leadership skills).

While experience, credentials, and technical knowledge are important in hiring an eCommerce lead, leadership is the most important attribute to be looking for and this is where a high-level recruiting firm, one with wide experience in finding candidates can be invaluable. After meeting and interviewing numerous candidates, an experienced recruiter will be able to sort for the best qualities of leadership along with all the other requisite attributes.


BrainWorks is a prominent boutique executive search firm offering a 30-year track record of successfully sourcing and placing top talent. We solve your hiring challenges by leveraging our vast network of highly skilled talent and our extensive, time-tested industry expertise. To learn more about how Brainworks can help you, contact us.

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