The popularization of e-commerce has brought new profiles to the job market, many of them as an evolution of profiles based on traditional commerce, but also others of new creation.
E-commerce operations in the definition of job profiles
An e-commerce project is a complex project that, from a human resources perspective, requires the participation of people with different skills and knowledge.
Who we are going to sell to
There are currently various forms of e-commerce, each with its own specific characteristics. We will point out the most important ones:
B2C (Business to Consumer): These are online stores that offer their products to end customers. In general, they have a certain level of stock of their products that they make available to their customers and have their own or outsourced logistics infrastructure to deliver their products to the buyer. A particular case of this model is dropshipping, in which the online store simply acts as an intermediary between a manufacturer or warehouse and the end customer, with the manufacturer or warehouse being in charge of all logistics processes.
B2B (Business to Business): These are online stores that sell mainly to companies. They may have their own or outsourced logistics.
DTC (Direct to Consumer): This is a model in which a manufacturer sells directly to the end consumer without going through an intermediary, either wholesaler or retailer. It is usually used by small e-commerce companies that tend to sell highly customized products or by large brands that prefer to have a direct relationship with their end customers, without intermediaries.
There are other highly specialized e-commerce models or hybrid models, differentiated mainly by the profile of their customers.
The profiles related to these models range from analysts who determine the different customer profiles (audience determination), as well as their evolution over time, demand generators, those in charge of planning and executing the necessary marketing campaigns to attract new customers and build loyalty among existing ones, price controllers, etc.
How we are going to sell
All e-commerce requires a technological platform on which transactions are managed. In this sense, the offer of technological solutions has been advancing in recent years to create solutions adapted to each e-commerce model. Depending on the technology and management model, we can classify the platforms as follows:
Own platform. This is when the company manages sales on its own technological platform, either custom-developed or using third-party solutions (WooCommerce, PrestaShop, Magento…). It has the advantage of total control over the e-commerce cycle, with the possibility of customizing the sales process, but it has the disadvantage of requiring a set of professional profiles ranging from the purely technological (developers) to the aesthetic (designers).
Rented platform. This is when the company manages sales on a platform built and maintained by third parties (Shopify, BigCommerce…). It has the advantage of not needing excessive technological support but makes it difficult to customize sales processes.
Outsourced platform: This is an extreme case in that all operations are outsourced, while the company is dedicated to designing and manufacturing its own products (Salvatore Ferragamo, Wizards of the Coast, Square Enix).
Depending on the choice of platform, the profiles required, related to e-commerce, can be more or less demanding: developers, designers, UX/UI experts.
How we are going to distribute
With the exception of online digital distribution products, physical products have undergone a major logistics revolution in recent years. The pandemic was a logistical accelerator that transformed it into one or more models that, once overcome, are here to stay.
Many traditional stores where the customer was the one who went to the point of sale to pick up the product have been overtaken by those who have not incorporated logistics into their structures. Here we can distinguish some models:
Null logistics: This is the case of e-commerce based on dropshipping, of which we have already spoken.
Basic logistics: In the case of traditional commerce, whose logistics capabilities were limited to receiving and storing products for direct delivery to the end customer.
Distribution logistics: This is the most common in small/medium-sized e-commerce. To the basic logistics they incorporate the assistance of a third party, the carrier, who is in charge of picking up the product from the warehouse of origin and taking it to the end customer.
Integral logistics: This is when all the logistics processes are carried out by the company itself or subcontracted to an integral logistics company. In this way, the logistics processes of goods reception, storage, order processing and dispatch are carried out within the same logistics structure. Here we can include international logistics processes, in which the logistics structure is distributed in different areas of the world.
Consequently, all processes related to procurement, warehousing, order management and distribution require specialized profiles.
How we are going to get paid
One of the limiting factors of e-commerce back in the 1990s was the absence of payment gateways. Until the advent of PayPal, payment for e-commerce transactions was limited to traditional payment methods such as wire transfers, money orders or cash on delivery.
With the advent of payment gateways, online payment processes were facilitated, and a myriad of solutions appeared that boosted e-commerce. All of them were cash payment solutions.
More recently, however, deferred payment solutions have appeared, allowing payments for a purchase to be split into several payments. Recently, a Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) system has also become popular.
On the other hand, international e-commerce has shown that there are no universal payment systems, as not all payment gateways operate in all countries for various reasons.
The emergence of all these payment systems has been compounded by a new problem: electronic payment fraud. Lists of credit card numbers and account thefts are circulating on the Internet and are not always easy to detect.
All this has generated a set of new professional profiles related to the management of payment gateways and possible frauds.
How we will resolve incidents
A successful e-commerce will inevitably have to deal with a myriad of issues. From those arising from platform availability to dealing with capricious customers, there is a wide range of issues that are reported on a daily basis in any e-commerce business.
It is, therefore, very important to create a customer service team that is capable of detecting, attending and solving any incident, no matter how minor it may be. This team includes both technical profiles and those with interpersonal skills.
A basic e-commerce team
Under e-commerce management there are five areas that are fundamental to guarantee the success of an online store:
- Technology: In charge of managing the technology platform.
- Marketing: In charge of attracting new customers and retaining existing ones.
- Logistics: In charge of procurement and distribution
- Financial: In charge of managing collections and payments.
- Customer service: Responsible for resolving incidents
All the profiles that integrate these areas must have solvent digital skills, which allow them to develop their activity through the Internet.
Outsource or integrate
This is a big strategic question that arises for any company that wants to reach its customers through the Internet. And it does not have an easy answer.
If it is a new company, it will probably have to access the new profiles it needs in the labor market, while if it is an established company, it will be able to train part of its staff, with previous experience in traditional commerce, to perform their tasks in the digital environment.
It will be possible to outsource those tasks that the company cannot assume, as long as they are more distant from the management with the customer. It is easier to outsource technology and logistics than marketing and customer service.
E-commerce offers new job opportunities due to the emergence of new profiles. However, training plans are not always in line with market needs and it is not always easy to find profiles with the right training to cover these profiles.
The youth of e-commerce does not favor the presence of highly experienced profiles either, something that will be solved with time, if not because each e-commerce has its own rules.