06.04.2022 11:30

E-Commerce Organizational Structure - A Complete Guide

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Structuring your e-commerce organization will depend upon the type of operation you run. When you’re running an eCommerce business, organization is key. The three main types of e-commerce operations are B2C (Business to Consumer), B2B (Business to Business), and C2C (Consumer to Consumer). 

That said, some of the key functions actioned by any e-commerce department will be very similar regardless of the type of operation.

These include:

  • Product procurement
  • Stock and product management
  • Product shipment management
  • Designing product information and online content
  • Designing and creating the UX website experience and managing the front and back-end development
  • Strategizing on price and promotions, given the American craze for extreme couponing and saving money 
  • Monitoring and reporting on digital, web analytics
  • Developing and actioning marketing campaigns

As well as these areas, IT support, and financial management is required to ensure the smooth running of the operation. We’ll take a look at how you can structure your eCommerce team for maximum efficiency while saving more of your hard-earned cash.

There are some guiding principles that can assist you greatly in successfully structuring and managing your e-commerce business and make your online business a success. These include:

Focus on Your Primary Goals

In the beginning, keeping it simple and focusing on defining and managing your primary goals is critical.

These primary goals should fall under one of three categories; product, acquisition of customers, and retention of customers. 

From this perspective, all decisions and hiring moves that you make should center around these key directives. 

Smart e-commerce structure does not depend upon traditional hiring methods for new business ventures; instead, it is essential to hire adaptable staff with specialist skills to facilitate the primary goals.

Generally speaking, sites that operate purely digitally are overseen by the owner or brand director. In contrast, click and mortar sites (businesses with both on and offline operations) are typically managed by a combination of marketing and operational staff.

Consider Hiring Remotely

Leveraging expertise of people who have a large experience can be an important factor for your online store success or failure. Having an eCommerce team is key to your success. Ideally, your director or e-commerce manager will reside locally, but other than that, the world is your oyster.

Many specialist roles, such as graphic designers, email marketing managers, or social media experts, can be procured by hiring remote workers or via remote agencies. 

With video conferencing exploding in popularity and greater access to exceptional-quality remote working options than ever before, e-commerce staff no longer need to be in-house to make their mark. 

Hiring remotely also allows you to widen the talent pool of potential candidates exponentially. 

The key to success with hiring remotely is to commit to regular, effective communication to stay well connected to each and every staff member to keep everyone focused on the same objectives. 

Embrace Modern Technologies

E-retail sales surpassed 4.2 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide. And the advancements in recent technologies have allowed this exponential growth in the e-commerce sector, helping not only drive sales, but also improve lead generation, customer service, and order fulfillment. 

While fully automated operations may be some time away for now, there are many technologies that can assist with streamlining workflow processes and maximize efficiency and optimize opportunities. 

Using new technologies means taking advantage of every available way in which you can promote your online presence. This includes tools like social media marketing, mobile applications, SEO enhancements and much more – anything that helps increase the quality and quantity of visitors on your site will add value.

It’s also about getting involved with other businesses who may have complementary services or products offering opportunities for collaboration and cross promotion. You need to put your business at the very center of any new technology you use.If your online business hasn’t yet made the most of the digital transformation best practices, it’s not too late to get started. There are plenty of ways you can benefit from integrating “new” technologies into your strategy.

Standardize Your Workflow

Structuring a successful e-commerce venture typically involves remote workers, third-party suppliers, and agencies. This can be challenging when juggling a variety of language barriers and time zones. 

When there are so many individual parts to manage, it’s vital to focus on having one central point of team communication where possible.

Of course, this may not be achievable across every supplier; for example, a third-party buying agent may need to utilize an online chat platform to communicate with a manufacturer, and then relay critical information to your venture’s production team via email. 

But, when it comes to in-house communication, ensure that all correspondence is primarily conducted in the same way. For example, it can cause unnecessary communication issues when one team member communicates solely over email while the rest of the team uses a collaborative platform that promotes transparency and efficiency towards end goals. 

Structuring your organizational communication in a holistic, centralized way promotes enhanced understanding and inclusive business culture. This all works well towards greater productivity and less avoidable errors in the work process. 

Focus on Optimizing Onboarding

Hiring remote workers requires introducing and acclimating new team members to your operations virtually, which can have its challenges. 

It is essential to the smooth running of your e-commerce business that new workers are efficiently brought up to speed on comprehensively understanding their roles and company objectives. For this reason, it is essential to compile an effective plan when it comes to onboarding new hires as quickly as possible.

The more accurate the objectives given, the easier it will be for remote workers to effectively work towards their assigned goals. 

Cultivate a Strong Company Culture

A strong company culture is vital to your business and the happiness of you and your employees. It sets the tone for your entire organization. Culture can make or break a business; it can guide you down the path towards success, or away from it… fast! The effects of company culture impact everything else about how your company functions.

You can hardly have a successful online business without having a strong company culture.

With such a fragmented workforce, it can be challenging for e-commerce businesses to develop a strong company culture; all the more reason, then, to focus more on it. 

Developing a solid company culture is essential to creating a successful brand. Implementing a collaborative culture can do wonders to keep your team engaged.

This may require establishing a management structure in which each team member feels an equal responsibility to the success of the brand; a structure in which each team member feels that their recommendations and strategic opinions will be respectfully considered towards the success of the brand. 

Commit to Gradual Expansion

It’s understandable to daydream about sudden and dramatic business growth, but growing too quickly can expose your operation to devastating errors and weaknesses. 

Firstly, ensure that your hiring decisions remain in accordance with your business plan and financial capabilities. 

The best way to ensure that you stick to a gradual pace of growth is to develop a timeline plan for growing your brand and assessing what staff and resources you will need for each stage of your business’s progress. 

It is prudent to use agencies and freelancers initially; this helps you ensure that your operation is financially ready before you commit to taking on full-time employees. Ideally, your business will have up to six months of capital cash reserves before committing to full-time staff, to protect you from folding during any unforeseen downturns. 

Key Operational Functions of E-Commerce Ventures

Depending on the nature of your particular e-commerce business, there are a variety of business functions to consider when it comes to how to structure and staff them. Organizing your eCommerce team structure is clearly crucial for success. It’s built around a specific workflow and designed to help you fulfill orders as quickly and painlessly as possible. Hiring efficient team members and providing effective onboarding will determine your level of growth.

Sourcing and Production

Experienced staff is required to fulfill these roles. The production staff is often remote or freelance, while sourcing managers are typically locally-based. 

Sourcing manager

Ideally, a sourcing manager will have a degree in business administration or logistics, as well as the skills to assess financial risk and lower expenditures. 

A valuable sourcing manager should be able to recommend optimized sourcing strategies and leverage existing relationships to negotiate more favorable terms.

Production agent

Your production agent should hold a business license and ideally have existing relationships with suppliers and manufacturers. They must also possess exceptional communication skills.


To run a successful, efficient, and money-savvy eCommerce team, focus on optimizing processes. An e-commerce director or manager needs to have a comprehensive skill set to successfully oversee operations and logistics, merchandising, web development, and more.

Therefore, they need to be able to demonstrate a proven track record of successfully launching campaigns and a comprehensive understanding of e-commerce and social media platforms and the relevant analytical tools. 


Along with the director/manager, a specialized digital marketing director is often also required and will improve any eCommerce teams. Every eCommerce business needs to tackle three main groups; product, customer acquisition, and customer retention. The marketing department is important for the latter 2.

Every online business needs to attract visitors, convert them and retain them. This person should be a digital native with broad ecommerce experience, a creative mind, highly data-driven and analytical, and proven experience developing teams. 

Specialized digital marketing, growth, and acquisition directors need to possess a sound knowledge base of e-commerce marketing tools, and experience in lead generation, email marketing, social media strategies, and customer relationship management. 

Web Developers

Web developers are essential elements to your eCommerce team. Web developers require both front and back-end knowledge in order to work effectively with designers and create optimal e-commerce online experiences for consumers. 

Of course, you will need a web developer who has experience with your venture’s platform. They must also have up-to-date skills regarding the development of mobile-first options. 

IT Staff

Skilled technology staff is essential to the success of an e-commerce brand. 

A valuable IT team can develop efficiently running sites that provide seamless online experiences for consumers in conjunction with web developers. They also must manage third-party plugins and APIs and any other issues efficiently to prevent disruption to customers. 

Logistics Manager

Keeping your eCommerce business healthy requires a lot of moving parts working together seamlessly. A successful logistics manager will be able to develop and execute a variety of operational and shipping strategies. 

Experience, adaptability, and a flexible attitude are essential to successfully managing e-commerce logistics. 

You should focus on hiring a logistics manager who has experience working with warehouses, couriers, etc. They should also be familiar with inventory management, forecasting, and delivery performance.

An effective head of logistics will possess strong organizational skills and the ability to manage all aspects of the supply chain successfully and work closely with your order fulfillment team. 

Finance Manager

Unlike many staffing needs, when it comes to e-commerce, a good finance manager needn’t necessarily possess direct e-commerce experience. So long as they are skilled in reporting, budget allocation, handling VAT and planning, and forecasting budgets, a good finance manager will be able to apply those skills to the e-commerce sector. 

Final Thoughts About E-Commerce Organizational Structure

Organizational structures in business, especially in e-business are a must. Once your operational e-commerce structure is fully formed, there may be many moving parts that must be expertly managed in synergy with each other. It’s important to know that eCommerce teams will help you make your online business a success. THAT’s how you build a high-performance ecommerce business!

The best way to arrive at such a smooth-running operation is to grow slowly and implement each aspect of the operation with careful consideration.

Start by relying on freelancers where possible until your business has the financial security to support full-time staff. Then, ensure that you develop smart, streamlined processes for each role and team as you grow, to keep onboarding and daily processes functioning optimally. 

Work to your budget and take the time to forecast for growth while allowing for unforeseen challenges. Hire skilled staff and cultivate a company culture that promotes teamwork, transparency, and efficient communication across all teams. Start the way you mean to go on for the best results. 

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