What is a Director of Ecommerce?
A Director of Ecommerce is responsible for working across teams and departments to manage and oversee all aspects of an ecommerce business. Their goal is to improve the customer experience of the online store, increase revenues, increase margins, and ensure that operations run smoothly.
Their role requires several functions, including: managing a company’s ecommerce operations, identifying new strategies and opportunities, working with marketing to promote the store, building partnerships and promotions, and monitoring all facets of ecommerce analytics.
This person is usually in charge of managing a cross-functional team that includes digital marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, website development, design, merchandising, and operations.
These team members may be a part of the dedicated ecommerce team or report to other managers but be looped into this project.
For example, a digital marketer may report to the VP of marketing and have certain tasks that help achieve the ecommerce objectives or there could be a dedicated digital marketer that roles solely to the director of ecommerce.
This role is usually found in larger organizations where online selling is one of many sales channels.
For instance, an ice cream brand with 10 physical locations and an online store would hire a director of ecommerce. The same is true for a cosmetics brand that has physical stores, placement in high-end boutiques, and an online presence.
This person often reports to the CEO, COO, or head of marketing. The Director of Ecommerce, Senior Director of Ecommerce, and Vice President of Ecommerce are all related titles. The title used and who they report to comes down to the nuances of individual companies and situations.
Responsibilities for Director of Ecommerce
The director of ecommerce role is a unique one. Most managers and leaders have a clear department that they are running. For example, a controller or director of finance is part of the accounting or finance team. A director or VP of marketing is tasked with leading marketers.
That said, a director of ecommerce supervises a wide range of employees and independent contractors. You can think of them as a project manager working with cross-functional teams and across several different internal and external stakeholders.
This person is responsible for managing all aspects of the ecommerce business including business planning, website design, website development, custom services, analytics, fulfillment, logistics, and digital marketing.
They act as the primary point of contact and the key decision maker in all matters that relate to the online store.
For example, marketers may want a new tool to improve the quality of advertising audiences and the finance team may want to use software to automate their monthly reporting.
The ecommerce lead would have to build and maintain a roadmap of new features, functionalities, and partnerships in order to achieve these goals. Ongoing projects like improving website navigation, reducing page load times, increasing site content, and managing sales are a part of this role.
While there are subtle differences whether you are selling to businesses (B2B) or consumers (B2C), the overall work is rather similar. You need a proven leader who can make strong business decisions and improve the quality and business value of the ecommerce store.
How to Become an Ecommerce Director
There are several ways to reach any given job title. But given our personal experience, we have seen two common ways to become an ecommerce director.
The most common way to become an ecommerce director is to start in digital marketing. Success in ecommerce is heavily driven by fundamentally understanding how the internet works, down to the details of digital marketing, attribution, analytics, SEO, and more.
Something as simple as setting up your product descriptions incorrectly could lead to reduced revenues and profits for an online store. As such, it’s no surprise that many directors of ecommerce started off in demand generation or performance marketing.
It’s common for us to see digital marketing managers or directors of marketing transition into a director of ecommerce role. Lastly, it’s important to remember that ecommerce is more cross-functional than marketing, which takes us to our next point.
The other path we see for directors of ecommerce is having a strong foundation in operations and finance. Online stores are challenging due to the sheer number of teams, systems, and partners that must work together.
Even if you work for a large company that prefers to build internal tools, you will still be relying on partners for your website, hosting, payment processing, shipping, insurance, online communication, and more.
Most likely, you will have dozens and dozens of partners. In our podcast interview with Clark Nowlin, we talk about this very thing.
"In food and beverage, the successful brands typically had five key relationships that set the pace of their viability. These relationships could be with a manufacturer, a fulfillment partner, distributors, and retailers. You need all of these together to make your brand happen." –Clark Nowlin, Founder & CEO of Golden Ratio
This person would feel very comfortable automating internal processes, managing 3PL, shipping partners, distributors, and more. They would need to get up to speed with the growth side quickly in order to succeed as an ecommerce lead.
Director of Ecommerce Job Description
This is a sample job description for a director of ecommerce position. You can copy this job description without any attribution back to Alluxo. Feel free to make any adjustments to fit your specific situation.
Job Description for Director of Ecommerce
Title: Director of Ecommerce
Reports to: Chief Operating Officer
About the role
- We are looking for a proven leader who can take Example Company’s online store to the next level. This person, alongside the executive team, will manage all aspects of ecommerce in order to increase revenue and improve overall operations. The ideal candidate is comfortable working with a wide range of stakeholders including executives, managers, internal teams, and external partners. We are looking for someone with a proven analytical capability who can use data to create a dynamic roadmap.
In this role, you will:
- Oversee all aspects of the ecommerce strategy. Combine marketing, software, analytics, and management skills to deliver an excellent user experience (UX) for all customers.
- Run the company’s online store and maintain the roadmap for how the store evolves and adapts. Work with designers, developers, third-party solutions, and partners to create a world-class experience.
- Manage all aspects of digital marketing for the online store, including paid ads, search engine optimization (SEO), organic social media, influencer partnerships, email marketing, SMS marketing, and marketing analytics.
- Actively hire, train, and manage the ecommerce team. Build a cross-disciplinary team that can solve problems as they arise across marketing, technology, and operations.
- Implement industry-leading software and best practices to optimize the process of managing inventory and fulfilling orders.
- Continually look for opportunities to increase revenue, margins, and cash flow. Play a key role in expanding the product catalog, opening up new markets, and identifying new areas of opportunities.
- Create and update quarterly targets for the online store and the ecommerce team. Track budget to actuals and improve process based on these findings.
We are looking for:
- A proven leader with 5+ years experience in ecommerce, digital marketing, or a related field. Someone who is comfortable rolling up their sleeves and solving problems as they arise.
- A strong communicator who is able to work with external partners, other team leads, and employees across a wide range of disciplines (marketing, sales, operations, finance, design, and engineering). Past experience with Shopify is a plus.
- A seasoned professional who can set key performance indicators (KPIs) and use data to implement new ecommerce strategies. Someone with experience analyzing metrics such as revenue, margins, conversions, AOV, LTV, CAC, etc.
- An effective leader who places an emphasis on getting the best out of a team and setting a positive workplace culture. Someone who has led teams of 4-8 people before.
- A self-starter who can create detailed plans and carry them out. College degree is optional, but not required.
- An opportunity to join a fast-growing company that is looking to [your mission/vision]
- Competitive salary
- Health care including medical, dental, and vision
- Generous paid time off (PTO) and sick leave
[Your company name] is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, genetic information, and/or veteran status.
There are a wide variety of business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) companies that have online stores today. As we wrote in our blog post on ecommerce trends, businesses are using online stores to make five figure and six figure purchases.
Everyone from your local clothing brand to national suppliers are turning to ecommerce. That’s why you are seeing the director of ecommerce openings pop up more and more. Like a project manager, this person is tasked with running a small team that spans many different tasks.
They need to know a little bit about marketing, software development, design, partnerships, finance, and operations. They need to feel as comfortable digging into website visitor demographics and checkout rates as they do with profit margins and cash flow.
This person may report directly to an executive, such as the CEO, COO, or President of the company. In larger organizations, the most senior ecommerce leader may report to the VP Marketing, who in turn reports to a C-level exec.
There is a high demand for this role, which increases the average salary. In the United States, we believe the salary range for a director of ecommerce is $140,000 to $180,000 depending on the company’s stage and the candidate’s experience.
While many job listings today require a bachelor’s degree, we believe that this will subside. We did not make a college degree required in our job description above to reflect this change.