Posted by Drew Melendy on Feb 5, 2020 5:34:51 PM
Key Positions & Roles to Hire for Your Growing Online Boutique
As a business owner, you’re responsible for all of the moving parts of your business. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to do it all yourself!
Successful entrepreneurs understand that there’s a point where it becomes necessary to delegate their responsibilities in order to scale. It’s at this point when it’s most crucial for online retailers to start assembling a team.
Team roles will be dependent on your vision, strategy, and objectives. They can vary wildly from business to business. That said, here are the typical categories you need to hire for and the common roles we’ve seen growing online retailers use to fill them.
Once your inventory arrives at your warehouse, your Intake Processor will be responsible for unboxing items, weighing items, and assigning SKU numbers or barcoding products. They may also assign warehouse locations by entering bin or shelf numbers, which will later help with order processing.
Most challenges and complexities of inventory management can be reduced or eliminated with the use of inventory management software. This is especially true at intake, so be sure to use individuals that can accurately enter and maintain electronic documentation into these systems.
Order Fulfillment Specialist
Order fulfillment specialists, also known as pick packers, assist with processing orders. Once customers place their orders, these specialists will pull items, pack orders, and fulfill them.
Most small business owners choose to delegate this job first since it is one of the most simple tasks to perform. Picking and packing is an entry-level job that any able-bodied worker can do.
If your business uses barcoding and strict fulfillment, it makes order processing virtually foolproof. Plus, you’ll get the tools you need to manage your growing warehouse team more easily.
An Ecommerce Manager’s job is to oversee and carry out strategic marketing for an ecommerce store. Often, they are heavily involved with creating a marketing vision for websites, content, and advertising.
As you grow your online business, it might become necessary to hire an experienced specialist for this role. However, as you build your team from scratch, this person will likely be you and/or a business partner.
Photographer & Videographer
One of the largest pain points customers face with online shopping is that they cannot see and touch products in person. This is why quality product photography and videos are so important for online stores.
Not everyone needs an exclusive job title for this. Many times, this responsibility is shared between a few different people. This is typical because it usually requires collaboration between the business owner, models, and social media coordinators. As long as your employee can create clear, appealing images and videos that clearly show off product details, nearly anyone can do this job.
Look for someone with a keen eye for design and style. If you plan to use media between different sales channels, they’ll need to understand that the photos and videos will need to be optimized for the platforms they appear on.
Choose an established platform to build your ecommerce website if you haven’t already created one. This will be a lot less costly, as it negates the need to have a developer on standby every time you need to make changes. Instead, you can just use a web designer.
A web designer will help you regularly customize your website's appearance to show off your brand style and update it with seasons and trends. Typically this task is outsourced to someone who is skilled in designing website templates and in graphic design.
However, most ecommerce platforms make it easy to design through templates, so no expert is required. Essentially, the person who plays this role should understand how your ecommerce platform works, have skills in design, and can carry out the vision for your website.
Model & Stylist
Lots of boutique owners start out as their brand’s only model. This is excellent for personal branding and building familiarity. However, as your business grows, so will your to-do list. It helps to have another model on hand.
Think of your models as your digital sales associates. Customers want to know how a product looks and feels before buying. Models can demonstrate fit and style through video and photos.
Plus, models can assist you in running much smoother, better performing Facebook Live Sales. Not only is it good to have another helping hand on set, but they can also upsell outfits by demonstrating style tips.
Look for someone who has good communication skills, strong product knowledge, and a passion for fashion. This person must be comfortable for being on camera and working on the fly.
Social Media Coordinator
Having a brand presence on social media is necessary to meet customers where they’re at, but managing social accounts can be a massive time-suck for many business owners. This is why most online businesses must have a dedicated social media coordinator.
A social media coordinator can help you consistently post content and engage with customers, so you can use these powerful platforms without spending all your time on them.
Social media coordinators should understand how to schedule content and inventory to post on both Facebook and Instagram. Since inventory scheduling and content marketing go hand in hand, they may even be involved in your content creation. For example, they may be the person creating Facebook and Instagram Stories, assisting with Facebook Live Sales, or filming fit videos for both platforms.
Customer Service Rep
Between emails, live website chat, social media comments, and social inboxes, there is plenty of customer communication to stay on top of. Like an Order Fulfillment Specialist, Customer Service Reps are one of the roles that you should be filling first. Not only do they free up your time drastically, but they can significantly enhance the customer experience.
Customer service reps should be responsible for monitoring all communication channels. They need to be ready to answer inquiries and initiate returns with a friendly and helpful attitude. If you are using social channels, this person must be social media savvy. Most customer feedback comes through social channels.
If you’re not ready to hire a full-time employee for this position, you can look to a virtual assistant to handle this and other day-to-day activities. Just be sure that they understand your policies, brand messaging, and mission.
Proper accounting is necessary to gather vital information regarding costs and earnings. All business decisions, planning, and processes should revolve around this data.
Many business owners may choose to take this on themselves. Most ecommerce platforms provide detailed reporting for their records. However, if you’re one of those that find themselves struggling with this task, hire someone to take care of it right away.
Bookkeeping will help you create and maintain vital cash flow statements that are necessary to keep your business running. Moreover, these records will keep you out of trouble when tax season rolls around.
How to hire for your growing online business
Running an online business requires a lot of work, but not all of it has to be done on an executive level. However, it can be difficult for some to choose where to start assigning tasks to others. Brandon Kruse, CEO of CommentSold, suggests evaluating your duties as a boutique owner first and foremost.
“As a business owner, the most valuable thing you can be doing for your business is 1) revenue generating activities, and 2) making sure you buy the right inventory and that you have enough of it. Then you can delegate out fulfillment, intake, photos, finance, accounting, and compliance.”
Bare in mind, your first employees will probably play many roles. In the beginning, someone who is your assistant may also be your model or fulfillment specialist.
When it comes to hiring the first few employees, small businesses often do best by filling their teams with people that can wear many hats. Look for people with a variety of skill sets, a good work ethic, and excellent communication skills.
Plenty of tasks can be learned over time, which means that you can train almost anyone with soft skills to handle them. As you grow, you can shift or even promote these people to much more specific roles.
It's good practice to review your current business model first. Discover which areas you do best in and those that require help. Then, make sure to create clear expectations for those key job roles and understand how they function together.
Don't forget to can use automation where you can. Automation can cut down on the number of new hires you need. In addition, it will also help you manage your teams by measuring their productivity. Today, technology is the main driver for an increase and sales and productivity, so be sure to incorporate this into your business strategy as well.