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    What Is the Best Ecommerce Team Structure?

    April 30, 2024
    9 minute read
    What Is the Best Ecommerce Team Structure?

    You want to build your brand authentically in a way that rings true to your founding mission or the problem you’re here to solve. You want to do so in a way that resonates with your existing and future customers.

    You want to be known as trustworthy through the times and agile despite the shifting demands of the physical and digital shelves.

    Ecommerce leaders need ecommerce team structures first built for internal success — only then can they hope to answer to external success. But how do you build the best ecommerce team structure? What does that look like in practice?

    Here are critical considerations for building your ecommerce team and how to identify the right fit for your organization. 

    Overview: Best Ecommerce Team Structure

    Ecommerce or commerce, the expectation of seamless, omnichannel experiences and blending of physical and digital shelves, means that consumers are anywhere and everywhere.

    This means your customers can also be anywhere and everywhere. Hopefully, they can find your products there too.

    But tracking these transactions and optimizing how your brand and products appear across all these channels is no small feat. Having the best ecommerce team structure is your best chance at digital shelf excellence.

    Getting to know the roles is an important first step.

    What Essential Ecommerce Roles Are and What They Do

    There are technically more than five essential roles for building a successful ecommerce team. However, all of the essential ecommerce roles can fit into the following umbrella categories based on their functions and responsibilities.

    1. Director of Ecommerce (Director of Commerce): Responsible for leading strategy and executing ambitious, aligned goals, serving as a supportive authority for establishing product experiences via a powerful ecommerce tech stack.
    2. Digital Marketing Manager, Graphic Designer, and Copywriter: Serve vital functions in the development, monitoring, and optimization of product and brand content and provide the basis for building a customer base and goal identification.
    3. Ecommerce Business Analyst: Formulate and deliver insights on performance, identify future opportunities, and liaise between departments to help foster alignment between executives and contributors.
    4. Ecommerce Developer, Software Engineer, and IT Manager: Help lay the foundation for content success through systems and solutions, such as product information management (PIM) and product experience management (PXM) solutions, that foster a single source of truth and establish data governance and security.
    5. Ecommerce Program Manager: Empower teams and individuals to work effectively by creating project outlines, implementing deadlines, and safeguarding the organization’s time and resources.

    Critical Considerations for Building a Team

    Whether you have a long-established brand that’s recalibrating or a fledgling brand that’s just finding its footing, you need to build a great team — but what should be top of mind as you do so? 

    Lauren Livak Gilbert, director of the Digital Shelf Institute (DSI) and ecommerce expert, shares that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” team structure.

    The first question Livak Gilbert says to ask is if your organization is sales- or marketing-led.

    “This might sound like a strange question because all organizations are trying to sell products, but there can be more influence from one function over the other,” she says.  

    There are many different models, according to Livak Gilbert, and the model usually correlates to the digital maturity of the organization.

    “When thinking of something like ecommerce that isn’t yet fully ingrained into the organization and requires adoption, change management, and internal champions to make it successful, you want to fit it in the more influential function of the organization,” she says.

    In addition to the model your organization leans toward, here are three other considerations for building your ecommerce team structure.

    Data Readiness

    Team aside, a non-negotiable for any successful brand is a single source of truth for their product content and data.

    Maybe you have a ton of data to work with but not the right folks to work with it, or no clear director of ecommerce to lead the charge, or maybe not enough data to work with (or not enough that’s any good).

    Or, maybe your brand falls somewhere in the middle — a few people at your organization know what’s going on with your product content, but they don’t feel confident in it. If anything, they feel confident it needs some work.

    This is where committing to the best ecommerce team structure can help you revamp your brand’s performance two-fold: both through the teams working on your product content and the product content itself.

    “With ecommerce, there are so many channels, so many pieces of content, and a lot of complexity, so it requires clear, data-driven prioritization to understand what’s going to move the needle for the business,” Livak Gilbert says.

    Investing in your ecommerce team can improve not only the quantity of your data, but especially the quality, accuracy, relevancy, security, and return on investment (ROI) of your data.

    Company Size

    Though there are five categories of ecommerce roles highlighted previously, it may not make sense for your organization to hire one of every position or multiples in every position, and so on.

    “The most common question I get when organizations are building out a team is, ‘What level should this role be?’” Livak Gilbert says. “I challenge brands that instead of asking the level of the role, ask, ‘What are the jobs that need to be done?’ Even one step up from that, ‘What are our goals and what are we trying to achieve?’”

    There will likely be some overlap between the roles as you grow and scale between certain ecommerce professionals, especially among your ecommerce leaders, as they commonly flex multifaceted skill sets relevant to marketing, technology, user experience (UX), analysis, and more.

    When the time is right, however, it’s important to prioritize support for this department and be open to new hires and digital transformation — it could mean the difference between your brand reaching a whole new audience or burning out at the starting line.


    As the adage goes: Invest in what matters. When it comes to the success of your brand, your ecommerce team sees the frontlines. Their importance can’t be overstated.

    To best determine the budget you need when hiring ecommerce professionals, it’s important to research compensation for comparable roles, either at similar companies or those in your area, especially if you’re hiring locally.

    While it may not be feasible to offer way above the going rate, you want to build an attractive offer that top talent will flock to, leave room for them to grow and excel, as well as want to spread the word for more hires down the line.

    How Ecommerce Leaders Can Identify the Right Fits for Their Team

    Finding the right fit for your ecommerce team is crucial. To do so, it’s equally important to identify your organization’s gaps.

    Questions To Ask To Best Build Your Ecommerce Team

    In best preparing your organization for the next stage of growth, identify future fits and current gaps by asking the following questions:

    1. Do we have strong, forward-thinking ecommerce leaders who are experienced in marketing, sales, technology, and management?
    2. Do we have enough creative force in our organization to generate, refine, and distribute the product content we need to cultivate our brand story and grow?
    3. Do these creative teams have the infrastructure and support needed to produce content that’s clear, accurate, up-to-date, and legally sound?
    4. How well can we translate and distribute our brand’s messaging and goals into compelling, engaging user and shopper experiences?
    5. Do our teams have the internal support needed to optimize their time and reach independent and organizational goals? 

    Answering these questions one by one highlight that ecommerce success is built on interdependent relationships between your organization's people, processes, and technology.

    More Tips for Hiring Ecommerce Professionals

    If the questions above leave you with more questions, especially if you’re new to building your ecommerce talent, here are a few bonus tips for finding the right candidates:

    1. Work closely with your organization’s talent team, finance team, or next-best executive to ensure alignment on each job description;
    2. Exercise transparency and be straightforward when detailing job requirements;
    3. Highlight other attractive perks of working at your organization in job postings, ensuring that these are clearly communicated; and
    4. Infuse your brand’s personality and company’s culture in these materials — the goal is to stand out and attract candidates who resonate with your unique rhythm.

    Regardless of where your organization is or what comes first, you need great leaders, great support for those leaders, support for these contributors, and great product content to round it all out.  

    The Best Ecommerce Team Structure

    Frameworks can lay the foundation for any structure you desire to build. Ultimately, however, the best ecommerce team structure for your organization is unique to your brand, as is your journey to excellence on the physical and digital shelf. 


    Ecommerce Team Role Templates

    Download the ecommerce team roles templates to help get your organization that much closer to building your best ecommerce team yet.


    Written by: Yvonne Bertovich

    Yvonne Bertovich (she/her) is an editor and writer at Salsify, reporting from Knoxville, Tennessee. With a longtime passion for research, she enjoys flexing her perspective on ecommerce, trends in consumer behavior, and health and wellness.

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    Ecommerce Team Role Templates Download the ecommerce team roles templates to help get your organization that much closer to building your best ecommerce team yet. DOWNLOAD NOW