If your eCommerce store has started the year with a bang bringing in record sales, congrats! 8 out of 10 eCommerce stores fail, so you’re doing well.
However, with success comes problems. For online stores, the more success you have, the harder it becomes to manage that success. Just like any other business, once you begin to scale and expand, it’s time to start hiring.
The thing is that there’s a knack to hiring so you can meet your goals throughout the year. Get it wrong and you’ll lose time and money. Get it right and start using expert freelancers, and your store could really take off into the stratosphere. In this article, I’ll be covering what you need to know about the future of hiring in the eCommerce world. I’ll be covering:
- The skills you need to look for
- The roles you need to create
- How to find and manage the best freelancers
The Most Sought-After eCommerce Skills
Marketing skills are the lifeblood of your business. If you can find a red hot marketer, you’re halfway to success.
Marketing has always been a key skill in business, and this is never truer than in the eCommerce world in 2019. The future of hiring is about finding marketers who are able to write interesting product descriptions, engage with people on social media, outline promotions and so on. Most of the best marketers for the digital sphere live in the digital sphere – independent freelance contractors.
How do you get the attention of stubborn buyers and persuade them to take action? Two words – sales skills.
Sales skills are like gold dust in the eCommerce world. Let’s say a customer has added a few items to their cart – but then abandoned that cart at checkout. Don’t think they’re out of the game, because they’re not. After you’ve retargeted them using their email, you can use a superstar salesperson to write the copy that persuades them to go back and make that purchase. What’s more, the future of hiring involves experienced digital sales contractors who know how to do more with that customer contact.
Without good customer service, any business would fall apart.
Customer service skills are what increase consumer loyalty. 33% of Americans say they’d probably switch to another company after just one poor customer service experience. If you know that you’re just bad at talking to customers online and listening to their problems, it’s time to hire someone who has amazing customer service skills.
In particular, millennials are used to super-fast customer service. They want answers as fast as they can flip though stores on their smartphones. The future of hiring is getting someone who understands their need for speed and can keep up with them.
Customers need to know you’re committed to them and their needs. Their happiness should be paramount. If it isn’t, they’ll move on to one of the many other eCommerce stores that make them feel special.
Typical Roles in Retail eCommerce
The biggest factor in the future of hiring is the massive move to location-independent work. The majority of the American workforce will be freelance by 2027. Here are some of the essential roles they’re already fulfilling:
An SEO manager helps to drive more traffic to a site from various sources so that conversions and sales can improve. This happens predominantly around Google, but Amazon is making strategic moves to take a bigger slice of the search population. As long as the rest of your website is up to scratch, you can use a good SEO strategist to gain digital territory.
A web developer will ensure that your site is easy to navigate and provides the functionality that customers are looking for. The future of hiring is gaining access to digital talent that can innovate to make your website stand out from the competition.
Social Media Manager
All eCommerce stores need to have a strong social media presence. A good social media manager will target potential customers with engaging content that builds rapport and relationships. Over time, these potential customers will be nurtured into long-term customers.
A data analyst sifts through your metrics and data to assess what’s working and what’s not. They’ll use data to gain bigger insights into customer behavior and trends so that you can start pumping out more relevant marketing campaigns. In the fast-paced digital world, the future of hiring is finding someone who lives where the customers who generate this data live.
The Future of Hiring is Greater Stability with Freelancers
It may sound counter-intuitive, but it is true that hiring freelancers has become the more stable option in today’s connected world.
Lots of factors have instigated this. For one thing, as mentioned above, more than half the American workforce will be freelancing within the next decade. This means that the traditional idea of employment is dying.
Take a look as well at the positive effect that globalization has had on costs. Online stores like yours are able to scale more easily with freelancers. You can hire people from all over the world to suit your changing needs. You can end these short-term contracts easily when projects are and opt not to work with a certain freelancer again if you find that someone isn’t the right fit. This level flexibility is either not possible or too painful when applied to a traditional long-term employee.
If you are fortunate enough to hire an excellent regular worker, you could lose them sooner than you think. A few months down the line, they might start to dream about leaving the office behind forever and becoming a freelancer. With their talent and skills, they would make a highly marketable freelance contractor. Even if they didn’t end up doing it, it’s more than likely that their performance would suffer because they would no longer be happy with the 9-5. Either way, you’d need to start looking for someone to replace them. And this trend is becoming highly contagious.
The future of hiring is as appealing to the working population as it is to business owners, if not more so. Think of it this way – you probably went into business because the freedom it promised was much more preferable to being stuck in the corporate grind.
The future of hiring is freelance mostly because this way, people have more and more opportunities open to them in the digital world. To adapt, you need to start hiring freelance to catch the best talent before someone else does.
Here’s how to do that.
How to Find, Manage and Keep the Best Freelancers
You can start hiring and firing freelancers at will right now. If you really want stability and maximum growth, however, you need to understand that the future of hiring means more than the end of long-term contracts and employee benefits.
You need to focus on hiring the right freelancers, and make sure you treat them right so they remain happy with you. Enjoying their freedom and doing something that they love, these freelancers have the potential to turbocharge your business like you wouldn’t believe.
There are a lot of amazing freelancers out there who are self-motivated, reliable and skillful. They wouldn’t be able to survive living project to project if they weren’t able to deliver at a high level. The problem for you is that the best freelancers tend to pick and choose who they work for. It’s the same enviable position that motivates many entrepreneurs. So how do you convince them to work with you?
Find the Best Talent
There are lots of places to find freelancers online. You can look into global freelancing platforms like Freelancer and Upwork or niche-specific marketplaces like FreeeUp. They advertise on social channels like Facebook and Twitter as well as the more professional LinkedIn and even their own personal websites.
Most of the time, some digging will need to be done, but you can increase your search efficiency by using the right keywords to find them. Then you’ll need to develop a good system for weeding through potential candidates and learn how to spot the best ones.
The easiest thing to do is to use a hiring platform like FreeeUp that matches clients with freelancers so you can forget about the search and vetting altogether.
Whichever you choose, make sure you attract the best talent. This brings us to the next step.
Sell your Company to Them
The best freelancers aren’t likely to sign up to work for an eCommerce store that has no traction, no brand, no direction, and thus no future. A freelancer has to sell themselves to you, but you also need to sell yourself to them. The future of hiring is work transitioning from a superior-subordinate relationship to one that’s more like a B2B transaction.
Work on your brand. Make it attractive to people so that they think “this is someone I want to work with.” Outline your company values for potential freelancers. Sell your vision to them and where you’re planning to take things. Be visible and active on social media and demonstrate that your company is able to offer greater value in terms not only of work type but also your company culture.
Details are important. Be innovative and show that your company is going to be here for the long haul by staying on top of trends. For example, show that you’re aware of the emergence of the omnichannel shopper and that you have prepared by installing a point of service card reader and advertising these improvements on your online profiles – especially LinkedIn. Perhaps your eCommerce store may be implementing the newest AI technologies by utilizing software such as Clarifai to build smarter apps to provide your customers with advanced image and video recognition. If your business is always pushing the boundaries of what is possible, you will attract the best talent.
A freelancer is going to lose interest in a project if your communication skills are poor. If you go missing for days or weeks on end, you’ll lose their interest. You also want them to communicate effectively with you. By showing them your respect in terms of holding yourself accountable to the same standards you expect them to meet, you will gain their respect.
When you do communicate with freelancers, be personable. Give feedback in a constructive way and recognize contributions. Be very clear as well about everything you need done, give them guidelines on how you prefer things to be done, and show that you value their time by keeping messages short and to the point. Download an instant messaging app like Telegram or Skype to keep in touch with them.
Bring Freelancers Together on a Collaboration App
Research has shown that freelancers feel more left out than their office-dwelling counterparts. This is hardly surprising because of the physical distance, and it can have a negative effect on morale, and consequently, performance.
To remedy this, bring freelancers together on a collaboration app such as Slack or Trello. This way, everyone can meet each other and see what everyone is up to. A simple introduction from each freelancer can go a long way to making everyone feel more like a real a part the greater whole. Organize monthly video conferences too, and don’t just stick to business topics. You may never get to shake their hands, so it’s even more vital to remember that they are still warm-blooded humans.
All in all, the future of hiring in the eCommerce world centers around freelancers. It’s important that you find the best ones and understand how freelancers are different from what you might be used to. If you build rapport and involve them in your businesses visions and goals, their loyalty will increase. Spend some time identifying the roles you need, find and hire the right freelancers and then communicate and foster a positive atmosphere.
Michelle Deery creates copy and content at Heroic Search. She specializes in writing about eCommerce and content marketing. Her advice has been featured by Crazy Egg and Entrepreneur. See what she is up to on Twitter @MichWriting.