E-commerce for Brands
E-Commerce Scaling in the “New Normal”
More Specialized Talent Is Needed to Scale in Digital Commerce
This topic is far from self-explanatory, and listeners quickly discover why. Yoni answers questions brands don’t even know to ask. Scaling itself is hard, and with the rapidly-changing landscape of digital commerce, knowing how to scale on shifting ground is even harder.
Yoni started his own career in operations optimizations with brands like Sony and Mastercard. The experience was invaluable, but Yoni was drawn to e-commerce. The opportunities for optimizations and strategies in the changing landscape were a challenge he was eager to take on.
A few years later, Yoni now heads two companies each poised to help e-commerce brands with operational needs. One of them, MultiplyMii, is focused on a unique kind of outsourcing.
Everyone knows that outsourcing is a valuable way for brands — especially smaller ones — to access the talent they otherwise couldn’t. Sometimes, that’s because the brand only needs a small volume of work. Other times, it’s because the brand can only afford overseas talent.
As Yoni points out, most of the roles e-commerce brands are filling today are for jobs that didn’t exist five years ago. This is what brands have to understand in order to outsource right and position themselves to scale.
The Professional Landscape in E-Commerce
Not that long ago, e-commerce itself didn’t exist. With rising adoption and the growth in technology over the last decade, however, a new professional ecosystem has been born.
Technological and social advancements always do a number on the job landscape, but the changes in the last several years that effect has been especially pronounced.
Roles like Funnel Specialists, Chatbot Specialists, and even UX and CX professionals have become essential to brand operations today. Data scientists are in hot demand now, because e-commerce brands now have access to so much data that none of it makes any sense without someone to connect and render it usable.
Even after a brand learns what each of these new roles could bring to their business, by 2030 the professional landscape will look different once again.
Jobs will be even further disrupted by AI, for example, but in a good way. Processes that were once managed manually will be done faster and without error by machines, like AI to optimize product data. There will always have to be an employee in the driver’s seat, and with the manual labor done by a machine instead, that driver will be a strategic employee instead of an administrative one.
Beyond the disruptive introduction of new technologies, jobs are also changing thanks to new sales models that businesses are adopting. More manufacturers and brands than ever are selling direct-to-consumer, or DTC. That sales model became the preferred sales experience for consumers last year. As a result, this tendency has required its own new roles for brands to hire.
So, how does a brand get started on all that hiring?
Brands: Identify Your Needs First
It’s early in the interview that Yoni throws titles out the window and says that brands must “identify needs first.” Maybe a Chief Marketer is what you think you need, but after outlining the scope of work you realize you actually need a Chief Growth Officer. Focusing on titles will just add unnecessary noise.
Brands might also be tempted to think of only the manual work they need. Freelancer websites where a brand can connect with graphic designers, copywriters, and more are in no short supply, and for some, that might seem like the right fix.
What it turns out most digital commerce brands really need is executive-level talent. Otherwise, hiring piecemeal manual talent, the current leaders in an organization will be taking on new project management responsibilities in addition to their existing workload.
Hiring executive-level talent does require better screening and a bigger investment, but once a brand finds that perfect strategic partner, the returns are exponential.
How to Scale in E-Commerce
In the second half of the interview, Yoni gets into some of the key signs that an e-commerce brand is ready to scale. Ideally, a brand can recognize the signs before high-producers burn out. Listen to the full episode for more about these signs.
Scaling also requires “picking your battles,” Yoni says. Prioritize what has to get done now while also planning long-term, even though you’ll definitely have to change some steps along the way. That, Yoni assures us, is the nature of digital commerce. Just look at how fast e-commerce moves.
Brands should be prepared for today’s talent costs going up. Professionals in these never-before-seen digital roles are getting even more specialized at what they do, so brands will have to make bigger offers to attract them.
All that expertise is then in-house for brands to maximize.
The biggest challenge in scaling, Yoni explains, is the transitional phase when leaders get their processes documented. This is also the moment when a brand has to get more deliberate about creating a company culture.
Turns out that’s where Yoni’s company Escala comes in.
Take just a little bit longer in these strategic steps and it will be well worth it, says Yoni. In the interview, he even evokes an Abraham Lincoln quote to back him up: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.”