What is eCommerce management? (Definition and principles)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 13 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Ecommerce is one of the fastest growing industries today. If you're looking to sell products online, it's important to know and understand how to build brand awareness, attract new customers and look after existing customers so that they purchase with the business again. Knowing how to employ these different strategies can help you decide if a career in eCommerce management is right for you. In this article, we answer the question 'What is eCommerce management?' and explain what the fundamental principles are, what challenges you can expect and which tools are available for addressing these challenges.

What is eCommerce management?

The answer to 'What is eCommerce management?' is that it's the process of managing an online business from start to finish. The main objective of eCommerce management is to put all the tools in place to ensure that the business achieves its goals. These goals could include selling a product or service, acquiring new customers or keeping existing customers. The primary focuses are on discovering and employing useful tools, hiring the right people and managing all the different channels of a business to ensure all aspects of the wider team work together to achieve their goals.

Read more: E-commerce marketing defined (with 11 implementation tips)

What are the fundamental principles of eCommerce management?

As eCommerce management involves looking after all aspects of an online business, there are many different strategies and principles to discuss. These include:

Products

An eCommerce manager is involved in all aspects of a product's lifecycle, such as planning new product development, managing advertising and marketing budgets and deciding how to price and discount items to ensure they sell. An eCommerce manager may work closely with the buyer and logistics teams to create or source high-quality materials and products. They also work with the marketing team to build effective marketing strategies that push a product out to the right audience.

An eCommerce manager may not be directly involved in logistics. But they make sure that customers receive their products efficiently and at a competitive cost. They're constantly benchmarking competitors and monitoring new tools and technologies that can help improve the business model and help the team be more productive.

Related: What is a channel strategy? (With types list and FAQs)

Customer acquisition

One of the most important aspects of an eCommerce manager's role is to ensure that there are always new customers discovering the business and its products. After ensuring that the product is available and marketed well via a user-friendly website, they work with the wider team to build and constantly improve all aspects of the user experience. They work with the operations team to ensure that there's always a stock of relevant products and that there are no issues on the website or in the checkout experience that could affect sales.

Ecommerce managers also work with the marketing team to create effective digital or social media marketing strategies to boost brand awareness and sales. This can be via advertising, paid social media, influencer marketing or affiliate programmes. Powerful strategies may work across multiple channels and require different budgets that an eCommerce manager monitors from a top-line level.

Related: The benefits of social commerce and tips for engaging in it

Customer retention

After customer acquisition, the next important principle of eCommerce management is to look after existing customers to ensure they stay with the business. One of the main channels for retention is email marketing and subscription channels. The eCommerce manager oversees the user journey and puts strategies in place to personalise the experience for new and existing customers to provide more targeted offers. They also have an excellent idea of who their core customer is, can analyse customer behaviour to identify trends and provide recommendations to their teams to improve performance and customer loyalty.

Related: A guide to how to sell online and why it's a good idea

What challenges can you expect from eCommerce management?

Here are some of the challenges you can expect from a career in eCommerce management and how to overcome them:

Building a customer profile

When a business is just starting out, it can be difficult to gather enough data on who the core customers are. This is especially true for direct-to-consumer brands who may start their business without knowing which specific demographic is best to target. As you learn more about a product's key audience, it can become easier to build up a powerful business model and make sales.

Related: How to build an e-commerce website (and the benefits)

Gaining trust

If you're working on a new business, it can be really challenging at the start to get potential customers to trust you and purchase from you as a brand. New customers may feel uncertain as to whether they can trust a brand with personal details or deliver the product they're paying for. Building more brand awareness through positive reviews and reputation can help new businesses compete with brands that have been on the market for longer or who have a brick-and-mortar presence in trusted retail stores.

Related: How to write an e-commerce manager cover letter: a guide

Data and cybersecurity

Cyber security is a huge concern for individuals and businesses alike with the threat of hackers lurking and waiting to steal data and install a virus on your device. Some customers still prefer shopping at a physical store rather than experimenting with new businesses online. But when customers feel that the shopping experience on a website is secure, they're more likely to make a purchase.

Related: A complete guide to e-commerce jobs (including salaries)

Acquiring relevant leads

While bringing new traffic to a website might be fairly easy to achieve through discounts and other marketing strategies, ensuring you're attracting relevant leads can be challenging. As online websites have a much wider reach, it's much harder to localise than with brick-and-mortar stores. If you're attracting the wrong customer, then it is much harder to get them to convert into sales.

What are the best eCommerce management tools?

Here are some of the best eCommerce management tools that can provide further solutions to many of the challenges listed above:

Machine learning tools

Using artificial intelligence and machine learning can be a great way to start out if you don't have a clear idea of who a customer or target market is. If you have the right tool, you can leverage machine learning to build important data about customers in a short space of time. Using an algorithm, these tools cans build a profile of customers based on their actions, location, age and interests.

Related: What are the technology trends shaping businesses today?

Build reviews

One of the main things a customer may check when visiting a new website is their customer reviews. Having credible reviews for each product you sell makes a difference. Consider partnering with review sites and encourage customers to leave reviews. You can do this by offering discounts or rewards in return for leaving an honest review. You can also hold a sale for friends and family and use referral schemes to get people to try a product and leave honest feedback.

Related: Best e-commerce platforms: 5 online selling site options

Invest in security

There are various ways to build a reputable website that feels safe for consumers to shop. Make sure you have all the right security measures in place, such as having an SSL certificate, installing firewall software and plug-ins that safeguard against SQL injections and switching to HTTPS protocols can help build credibility. Get Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCIDSS) accreditation and work with trusted payment partners to provide a reliable payment method to keep customers' identity and transaction details safe and secure.

Related: What is the bricks and clicks business model? A guide

Develop a targeted marketing approach

To ensure you are reaching the right audience and building relevant leads, it's vital to keep marketing methods targeted. There are various ways to ensure that the majority of website visitors fall within the right criteria and are more likely to convert. You can use search engine optimisation (SEO) to ensure that a website is ranking for key search terms related to certain products that you sell. You can also use paid social advertising to target a specific audience base. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is another solution to reach like-minded consumers.

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