How to Build a Successful Ecommerce Team Structure

Guest post 26.12.2023. Reading Time: 7 minutes

Building a successful team is a skill that can enable an Ecommerce business to thrive. Assigning the appropriate role to the correct department comes from identifying their psychological traits and their skill set.

In this article, we will look at the building blocks of what makes a good team. We will look at theories that examine the various structures you can choose from and then select the one that is the most appropriate for your business.

Then, these strategies will be explored within the context of Ecommerce, how they can be adapted to a range of contexts, and how to start implementing your plan of action once you have decided upon your direction.

Now, let’s start to put this all together by first identifying what an Ecommerce team structure is. Then, how to leverage it to increase your ROI.

Understanding E-commerce Team Structures

team structure
Free to use image from Unsplash

A core factor determining the failure or success of an e-commerce business is a team structure based on careful research and preparation. Before building your team with an outreach strategy using phone or email, this is a step that organizes how they will operate.

The result is a higher level of communication between departments, enhancing their collaboration and better execution of your business and marketing strategy. There are various models that organizations adopt, each with its unique advantages.

  1. Product-focused: Here, teams are organized around specific products or product lines. This allows for a focused approach to product management and marketing, ensuring each product gets the attention it deserves.
  2. Geographic: This structure suits businesses operating in diverse markets across geographies. Teams are set up based on regions, ensuring strategies are tailored to local tastes and preferences.
  3. Functional: A model that emphasizes the organization of teams based on their specializations. These include marketing, sales, design, and development.
  4. Market-based: Here, teams are formed around specific market segments or customer demographics. This approach matches the business’s structure to best cater to the target audience.
  5. Process-oriented: The emphasis is on the workflow. Teams are built around order fulfillment, customer support, or returns.
  6. Flat: This is a more modern approach where there are few or no levels of middle management between staff and executives. It encourages direct communication and quicker decision-making.

Choosing the proper structure depends on the business’s nature, size, market, and long-term vision. However, ensuring that you have an employee wellness program in place from the start will allow you to build a team with strong foundations.

Essential Departments and Core Roles in a Successful E-commerce Business

A successful team structure isn’t merely about having individuals with their talents. It’s about organizing these talents into interconnected departments, where each functions effectively with the next. 

A well-thought-out e-commerce team structure ensures that every part of your online business, from website management to customer engagement, operates efficiently. Here’s a deep dive into the essential departments and their core roles in a successful e-commerce venture:

E-commerce Management Team

  • E-commerce Manager: This individual oversees the entirety of the e-commerce operation. They set the strategy, establish key performance metrics, and ensure that all departments work together to achieve the business goals.
  • Chief Marketing Officer (CMO): This role focuses on the whole operation from the perspective of the marketing funnel. They seek to optimize each department to maximize customer acquisition, conversion, and retention. 
  • E-commerce Project Manager: These professionals are the organizers – ensuring that every project, be it a site overhaul or a marketing campaign, is executed on time and within the budget. They will be the department that will make the best use of an online telephone service, to reduce the higher prices associated with landlines.

Development Team

  • Web Engineer / IT Specialist: They ensure the website’s backend is robust and secure and supports the front end appropriately. UX and design are additional specialties found within this team.


  • E-commerce Business Analyst: Their task is to study market trends, customer behavior, and site analytics. They provide the data-driven insights that guide decision-making and the formulation of strategy.

Marketing Team

marketing team structure
Free to use image from Unsplash
  • Marketing Manager: They create and oversee the execution of marketing strategies, ensuring that the business attracts and retains customers.
  • Content Writer: Engages the audience with compelling product descriptions, blog posts, and other website content. These can be deployed through email and social media to create additional reach into the target market.
  • Graphic Designer: Responsible for all visual content, ensuring it aligns with the brand and is attractive to customers.
  • Specialists: For larger operations, SEO, PPC, CRO, SMM, and email automation specialists can be employed to maximize the effectiveness of each marketing channel.

Sales Team

  • Sales Manager: While e-commerce is a digital platform, the art of selling remains human. The sales manager designs strategies to maximize sales conversions and revenue.
  • Sales Operatives: These people will carry out the guidelines within the manager’s strategy. These include cold-calling, contacting warm leads, and working on customer support to increase cross-selling and up-selling.

Human Resources (HR) Team

  • HR Manager: This person ensures the team remains motivated, manages conflicts, oversees hiring, and retains talent. They understand that the success of e-commerce lies as much in its people as in its technology. Their ability to properly leverage technologies such as enterprise HR to streamline the hiring process can make this a worthwhile investment for a rapidly growing business.

Logistics Department

  • Logistics Manager: Ensures products move efficiently from warehouses to customers, aiming for timely deliveries and minimal issues with the delivery process.
  • Inventory Manager: This role ensures the right products are in stock and manages supplier relationships.

Customer Support Department

  • Customer Support: They are the face of the business for many customers, addressing queries, resolving issues, and ensuring overall customer satisfaction. Customer service managers lead teams to ensure excellent support and satisfaction.

Finance Department

  • Accounting and Finance: They handle the financial health of the e-commerce business, managing revenues and expenses. They focus on profitability. They are trained to use small business payroll software to make sure there are as few important oversights as possible.

Building a successful e-commerce team involves hiring the right talents and organizing them efficiently. By understanding the core departments and the roles within them, you can choose where to hire first, depending on where the business is currently lacking and where support is required the most at this point.

Designing an Efficient E-commerce Team

ecommerce team structure
Free to use image from Unsplash

Building a proficient team is about more than just filling positions. It’s about creating a structure that can adapt, innovate, and thrive in line with market fluctuations.

Start With An E-commerce Business Strategy 

Before hiring, you need a clear vision of your business goals. Are you aiming to be a niche player or aiming for a broad market? Your team’s structure will heavily depend on this. For instance, niche markets require specialized marketers, while broader markets require a more versatile workforce.

Stay Cost-Effective

While hiring top-tier talent for every role is tempting, balancing your budget is essential. Identify critical skill gaps that require expertise and areas where you can train newcomers. This approach allows for a more financially sustainable outcome aligned with business growth without compromising quality where needed.

Establish Clear Expectations From Your E-commerce Team

Once your team is in place, ensure each member knows their roles and responsibilities. Clear job descriptions and regular performance reviews help everyone to stay on the same page. Remember, clarity reduces the risk of overlapping responsibilities and potential conflicts.

Make Hiring A Collaborative Effort To Assess Candidates Objectively

Engage multiple team members in the hiring process. Different perspectives can help assess the candidate’s cultural and professional fit. This collaborative approach often makes hires more aligned with the company’s ethos and objectives.

Structuring eCommerce Department, Traditional & Emerging Roles

The e-commerce landscape constantly changes, and new technological advancements are constantly rolled out. This inevitably leads to the creation of new roles. 

Stay updated with industry trends

For instance, a few years back, roles like “Chatbot Strategist” or “VR Experience Designer” were unheard of. Today, they are becoming increasingly relevant. Ensure your team structure is flexible and can accommodate these evolving needs. Finding the right candidate might require you to think outside the box to attract talent that might be unimpressed with traditional means of hiring. Your recruitment strategies should match the talent pool you’re trying to engage. 

Especially if you’re looking for specialists for very niche fields, such as business auditors who understand the COSO framework. Specialists who understand what is COSO framework is will allow you to put in place preventative measures to guard against online fraud and your digital presence growth over time.

As you can see, an efficient e-commerce team is the backbone of a successful online business. Invest time designing its structure, and you’ll inevitably reap the rewards.

Building and Sustaining Your Team

Building a robust e-commerce team is the same as constructing a skyscraper; it’s vital to establish a strong foundation. Start by identifying key roles that your business requires, such as product management, marketing, sales, and customer service.

Next, align these roles with your business objectives. For instance, to enhance your online customer experience, consider hiring an expert UX designer or a customer relationship manager.

It’s also vital to have inter-departmental collaboration. E-commerce is a dynamic field, and departments should not work in silos. Encourage regular communication to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Retaining talent can be as challenging as attracting it. Regular training programs can keep the team updated with the latest trends and engage with personal growth to feel a sense of progression in their role. 

Ensure that your employees have a clear path to working up the ladder, which can motivate them to grow within the company.

In-House vs. Outsourcing Hiring: Can You Build A Successful Team Remotely?

team success
Free to use image from Unsplash

While in-house hiring offers immediate control, better alignment with company culture, and direct collaboration, it can be costly and time-consuming. However, quick access to local employees allows for more control over the output and time to completion.

On the other hand, outsourcing provides access to a global talent pool. Wages tend to be lower, leading to better scalability. However, cultural fit and communication problems will more likely occur. However, technology like remote manager software means that communications with dispersed support are easier than ever, making it more feasible to manage outsourced teams efficiently.

Don’t dismiss the Hybrid Approach. This does not need to be an either/or decision.

Rather than viewing in-house and outsourcing as dichotomies, a progressive company might adopt the hybrid model. This leverages the strengths of both approaches: marrying the cultural alignment and direct collaboration of in-house teams with the scalability and cost advantages of outsourcing. This strategy allows for agility and efficiency.

Key Points to Achieve a Successful Team

Once you understand the structure that best suits your e-commerce business and have identified the support you need to drive your business to the next level, you can make decisions based on analysis rather than assumption.

Now, you can design the team based on your current needs, with an awareness of who you will need to take on next when your current KPIs have been achieved.

Action is now the key to getting the results you want and need. So, it is over to you.


Jesse Liszka
Jesse is the Senior Communications Specialist at Paylocity, leading providers of cloud-based payroll and human capital management software. She is a highly experienced communications, client marketing and content specialist, with more than 12 years of experience. Jesse has written for other domains such as ClearCompany and iGMS. You can find her on LinkedIn.