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We are working with Pep Boys in its search for a Director of Online Operations based in Philadelphia, PA.

This role is an integral part of Pep Boys’ online efforts.  Director, Online Operations is accountable for execution of PBY’s online strategies and tactics, including the coordination of PBY’s online efforts among cross-functional teams to deliver on-time and on-budget results, and the achievement of revenue and profitability goals.

HARRY’S COMMENTS:  Last year I closed my 100th ecommerce search, and one of my philosophies is that there are six conditions that determine whether a job can provide a candidate with opportunities for professional growth.  They are:

  1. The job itself is future oriented, meaning the skills required to do the job will be more important and more marketable in the future than they are today. For example, a deep knowledge of robotics is future oriented. Knowing how to fix fax machines is not (because we are likely to see fewer fax machines in the future).
  2. The job itself is critically important to the team.
  3. The team’s work is central to the company’s strategic thrust.
  4. The candidate can do the job now, and is likely to scale with the job over time. Meaning, the candidate is not in over his head today, nor is he likely to be in over his head in the future provided he lives up to his potential.
  5. The company is growing.
  6. The industry is growing.

Candidates, if you are considering applying for any job, make sure that these six conditions are satisfied.  This is just my opinion, based on my own experience. I didn’t read this anywhere …

For this write up, I’ll start with No. 5:  The US demand for auto parts is massive and growing.  US retail sales for motor vehicle and parts dealers, a potential measure of demand for auto parts, increased 8 percent in the first month of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.  But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The total market for auto parts in the US is estimated to be $200 billion. Online, the market for auto parts is $10 billion. That’s billion with a “B.”  eBay accounts for $5 billion of this volume. Amazon accounts for $200 million. US Auto Parts controls $500 million, and AutoAnything is said to control $75 million.  And then there’s …

Pep Boys – Manny, Moe, & Jack.

To compete against firms such as AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, and O’Reilly, recently Pep Boys agreed to be acquired by investment firm Gores Group for $1 billion, including debt.  According to the LA Times, Gores aims to apply its operational expertise to bolster Pep Boys’ margins and grow its retail business.  The firm plans to retain Pep Boys’ current management and does not anticipate closing locations or reducing its workforce.  In other words, Gores thought (No. 4) Pep Boys was simply a great investment.

Which leaves us with conditions Nos. 1–3.

Reporting to Malcolm Davidow this is a new role “without which the company would be under-resourced.” In other words, this job is critically important to the team.

Currently, there are five groups involved with Pep Boys’ online business: Marketing; Online operations; Store operations; IT; and Merchandising. Each of these teams has a vested interest in seeing ecommerce succeed yet each has its own agenda that needs to be integrated with all others. We need a realist! The ideal candidate will be VERY analytically-biased and able to speak factually about each of these functional areas. In particular, a deep knowledge of analytics, logistics, retail operations, and technology will be valued.

As will strategic literacy.

And that’s what makes this job so future oriented. In most companies, the Director of Ecommerce Operations is responsible for making the trains run on time. That’s an important job, but it’s not exactly fodder for a sexy resume.

Things will be different at Pep Boys: The company’s strategy is based on providing trust, value, and convenience to its customers. That’s easier than it sounds: How many auto mechanics do you trust?  Few, I’d imagine.

Yet Pep Boys’ is working to change that.  The company’s entire value proposition hinges on providing these things in its store and service operations – and it seeks to ensure that its associates are accessible and trained, both in technical areas as well as in customer service.  Indeed, the very concept of a porous, high-touch organization relies on accurate and accessible information, whether customers retrieve it themselves or Pep Boys’ reps provide it.

And that’s where you come in.

As Director of Online Ops for Pep Boys, your job will be to leverage digital tools bring that trust, value, and convenience to life across every customer touch point.  Pep Boys is a service business: It sells auto parts and accessories to consumers and commercial businesses, and it also offers auto maintenance and repair services.  Your job will be to increase Pep Boys’ level of intimacy with each of its stakeholders in ways that combine these products and services in unique and profitable ways.

If that’s not sexy, I don’t know what is.  Apply below.


  • Manage online-related projects among cross-functional teams from Information Technology, Merchandising, Marketing, Store Operations and Finance
  • Execute online strategies and tactics, including scope of functionality for future releases of the PBY Web site
  • Assist in the development of online strategies and tactics
  • Assist in the formulation of budgets and capital expenditure requests
  • Evaluate third-party software applications and services
  • Identify and report online-related KPIs and metrics; monitor and analyze those data to identify and take action on opportunities improve operational results and site performance

Skills, Experience, Qualifications and Certifications

  • Bachelor’s degree required; graduate degree in a related field preferred
  • Over five years of previous online experience required; online retailing experience preferred
  • Demonstrated commitment to customer satisfaction, including appreciation for customer experience, required
  • Demonstrated ability to achieve goals and manage time to meet deadlines
  • Demonstrated ability to work unattended and as a member of a team
  • Demonstrated ability to manage, grow and cultivate teams under your direction
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, combined with ability not to get lost in details
  • Analytical, organizational, decision-making, problem-solving and written and verbal communication skills required
  • Thorough understanding of the Internet, and ability to use the Internet and Internet technologies to perform job functions required
  • SEO experience required
  • UI experience a plus
  • Online-related infrastructure and testing experience a plus
  • Internet technology open source and proprietary middleware experience a plus
  • Adobe Omniture product suite experience a plus
  • Open source content management system experience a plus
  • Business process re-engineering experience a plus
  • Online and/or offline marketing experience a plus
  • Automotive-related experience a plus
  • Well-developed Microsoft Office product suite skills required

Applications for this position are being coordinated by Harry Joiner. To apply, CLICK HERECandidates, please be sure to email Harry Joiner for a packet of market research and company / competitive intel that will differentiate you in your candidacy. Due to the intensely competitive nature of this search, thorough preparation for these interviews with this proprietary material is strongly recommended.

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