5 tips when hiring someone to grow your retail business online

Online retail sales show no sign of slowing down. Customer buying habits have changed forever. These days, if you can’t offer a slick online experience, you’re missing out on business.

I’ve recently helped several small businesses recruit ecommerce specialists to set them up in the new world of retail.

Here’s what I learned.

Ecommerce specialists are in more demand than ever

Ecommerce skills have always been a hot commodity. These days though, in a post-COVID world, demand is rapidly outstripping supply.

Most retail businesses have realised that investing in their online services is an important move. The trouble is, there’s not many people who have experience in this field, so anyone with this skill set will be employed at the moment. If you’re looking to hire these specialists, you need a very attractive proposition to offer them.

They know how in demand they are

Digital retailers know the value they can bring to your business. They’ve seen the difference their knowledge can make to somewhere that’s relatively new to online selling.

Think about what sets your opportunity apart from others. If it’s a risky opportunity, what rewards will make it worth their while? Will they get to build a team, own a strategy, learn new skills, dominate a market or all of the above? High performers with plenty of options need to be courted and wowed. Take a long, hard look at your business to understand what makes it great, but also what needs to be improved.

Money isn’t everything…but it goes a long way

While the job and the career progression on offer is crucial, compensation is important, too. To even be considered by experienced people, you need to offer a market rate salary as a minimum. Here’s what I’ve found when hiring ecommerce specialists in the South East.

Let’s say you’re looking for someone with a couple years of experience learning from an experienced manager. They’ll be comfortable building online content, assisting with campaigns and can delve into analytics. You should expect to pay around the £35,000 mark.

For someone who’s built up an ecommerce brand, can run campaigns and is confident with implementing an online strategy, look somewhere between £40,000 and £50,000.

If you want someone at a ‘Manager level who’s done all of the above, but also built a team up underneath them, expect £60,000.

If money is tight, think outside the box

Plenty of traditional marketers have skills that are transferable to ecommerce and there’s plenty of them out of work due to COVID-19. If you can’t afford the big money, hire someone with a grounding in digital marketing who wants to specialise in ecommerce. There’s plenty of online courses that will help them pick up the new skills they need.

Alternatively, if you can’t pay a bigger salary now, but have confidence in your offering, offer them an incentive, bonus or equity related to the growth of the business. There’s plenty of people who would jump at the chance for something like this, but it’s very rarely offered.

They aren’t looking at job adverts

As the majority of ecommerce specialists are employed, not many are looking at job adverts. Don’t be surprised when no one with experience applies to your vacancy. You won’t have an employer brand yet, and as you’re looking for someone to build your online presence, there won’t be much for them to look into either.

Consider engaging with a specialist recruiter. Just like you can’t skimp on salary if you want the best, it’s worth investing in someone who’s already engaged with the ecommerce community. They’ll make sure your opportunity is positioned the right way and put in front of the best people.

If only you knew where to find one!

Maisie Sawyer is a Digital Recruiter based near Brighton. She spends her days hiring Ecommerce and Digital specialists for Sussex-based businesses. You can email her at Maisie.Sawyer@hays.com or find her on LinkedIn.

Brighton based digital recruiter