Not very long ago, an e-commerce leader at a brand was expected to be an “evangelist,” someone who could help convince others that digital is a crucial part of the sales mix and should be allocated more resources, talent and financial support. Thanks to COVID-19, there’s no longer any persuasion required when it comes to e-commerce jobs.
“You look on any job boards, you will see that there are a lot of open jobs in e-commerce right now,” says Sarah Hofstetter, president of Profitero, a performance analytics platform. “It’s definitely something becoming increasingly more important to brands.”
New roles and responsibilities in e-commerce are just one of many new personnel priorities for marketers brought on by the pandemic. COVID-19 shook up more than just the way people shop and how they get their products delivered—it changed fundamental things like how businesses structure departments, what roles they are hiring for and the types of training they offer.
Companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods are re-evaluating their corporate structure, eliminating silos and promoting flexibility for remote workers. Others, like Anheuser-Busch, are switching up their marketing departments to be more local and closer to consumers.
“You think about what we uniquely provide, which is this inspiration and support that surround the transaction and that’s still relevant and more relevant than ever,” says Frank Crowson, chief marketing officer at Best Buy. “It’s how we deliver it that’s evolving.”
The pandemic helped accelerate e-commerce with online and non-store sales increasing to $969.4 billion, or 22% of total retail sales, in 2020, according to the National Retail Federation. The trade organization predicts that e-commerce will grow between 18% and 23% this year to as much as $1.19 trillion.
Brands are capitalizing on this growth, inventing new positions around categories like packaging and delivery. E-commerce innovation around price pack architecture—such as how certain sized packages may sell better in stores versus online—is a big area of focus for companies right now, according to Hofstetter. Companies are also looking into how they can package items for home delivery in the most efficient, and profitable, way, she says. “That all becomes very interesting when you think about the weight of product and what’s getting shipped and what’s getting picked up in store."