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We are working with Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy in their search for a Senior Director of Ecommerce based in Boulder, CO. Pharmaca has 24 stores in five states and over 500 Team Members. Its pharmacies are unique as they integrate the traditional pharmacy and complementary health and wellness solutions.

The cool thing about Pharmaca is that its in-store patrons can talk with licensed/certified naturopaths, homeopaths, estheticians, herbalists and pharmacists free of charge about different products and solutions. The company believes in taking a preventive approach to healthcare, which is why its stores offer advice and products to help customers maintain health, as well as traditional treatment options for times when they’re needed most.

Pharmaca’s new Senior Director of Ecommerce will be responsible for collaborating with cross-functional partners to manage all aspects of the firm’s ecommerce business including business planning, content strategy and development, promotional campaigns and other online marketing, website design, customer service, web analytics and web technologies. Basically, it’s your job to grow the business.

HARRY’S COMMENTS: It’s always a good sign when the client takes my 60 minute project kickoff call seriously enough to put three officers plus the CEO on a speaker phone. It says the client takes ecommerce and recruiting very seriously! In this case, there was a lot of laughter on the call and I could tell that everyone on the hiring committee enjoyed excellent personal chemistry.

Perfect! No politics; No misunderstandings about what the new Director of Ecommerce needs to do to be considered successful in the role.

There are so many cool things about this role I almost don’t know where to begin. It’s in Boulder, Colorado, one of CNN/Money Magazine’s best places to live. Beyond that, the underlying economics of the business are incredibly favorable, and the company’s concept is truly unique — Not in a weird “unicorn” way, but in such a way that I thought “Wow, why wasn’t somebody doing that already?”

At a time when healthcare costs are rising and employer-provided coverage is shrinking, Pharmaca serves it’s customers as an “everyday health resource.” The company provides easy access to credentialed pharmacists, naturopathic doctors, nutritionists, herbalists and more so you can achieve good health without an appointment, insurance or headache. Basically, if you walk in with an ache or a pain, one of these specialists can see you and suggest a remedy on the spot. These are real practitioners, too — not wanna-bees.

According to CEO Mark Panzer, “Pharmaca is reinventing pharmacy the same way a whole foods reinvented the grocery business 25 years ago. In fact, our culture and values are very similar.” Check out this video to see what he means …

Pharmaca makes its money by retailing all-natural beauty supplements and pharmacy products both online and in its own stores. The firm’s customers are 75% female, age 35 to 45 (range = 35/60) who are relatively affluent and have college degrees. These women are interested in empowering themselves, and they greatly value information. They are sophisticated, progressive shoppers who buy for a mix of logical and emotional reasons …

For the most part, Pharmaca’s customers are moms looking to make better choices for themselves and their families, and they are taking a more proactive approach to their health. Generally, they will actively consider more expensive, premium products because they feel that they and their families are worth the investment.

Pharmaca is engaged in private labeling and offers premium products that exist side-by-side with name brands. The company does not manufacture any of its own products. Rather, they are manufactured by the same companies who make Pharmaca‘s suppliers’ products. The products are outstanding and consumers buy Pharmaca’s products because of the company’s demonstrated commitment to their customers’ health.

At $3 million in annual sales, Pharmaca‘s online business shows enormous potential. I’m not authorized to divulge the numbers here, but the online business is in great shape. This is not work out or a turnaround situation. The client simply wants to grow its online business and it believes it needs deeper expertise, especially in the area of online marketing and merchandising.

If you ask management what the problems are due to the position being open, they will cite missed growth opportunities. Basically, these are simple “sins of omission” and there are quite a few quick wins to be had here. Pharmaca needs someone who can think strategically about the business, yet operate in a tactically sound way on a day-to-day basis. It’s the Yang and Yang of big picture versus the granular daily stuff.

The new Director will need to work with third-party providers as well as Pharmaca’s internal marketing, fulfillment, and operations departments to drive the business. The ideal candidate will have demonstrated expertise in CRM, paid search, organic search, social media, web analytics and web design / user experience. You won’t necessarily be expected to do all of these things on a daily basis, but you’ll need to drive results in these critical areas.

To get traction in this search, candidates will need to understand how they will make meaningful improvements to the online business in logical 90-day, 6 month and 12 month increments. It’s all about planning it out in a reality-based, brand friendly way, and then making it happen. Business as usual for my regular readers!


  • Serving as a liaison and primary point of contact within the ecommerce organization for cross functional partners acting as a project manager to evaluate, prioritize, develop, manage, implement and test ecommerce initiatives
  • Participating in the development and execution of strategic and tactical business plans with other members of the cross functional team supporting the ecommerce strategy
  • Managing the user experience of the website including site navigation, content development, checkout funnel and promotional campaigns
  • Developing and overseeing the effective planning, QA and execution of high quality Google-friendly content on the website and online marketing campaigns to ensure efficiency, accuracy and timeliness of all web content publishing
  • Managing all aspects of web analytics related to ecommerce and communicate relevant information to team members, executive leadership and cross-functional partners
  • Partnering with key cross-functional teams to ensure all relevant organizational goals and implications are factored into ecommerce projects
  • Building and directing a cohesive team of internal and external personnel to effectively develop ecommerce solutions
  • Generating and implementing new sales and marketing initiatives to increase ecommerce sales and profitability
  • Providing expertise on current ecommerce industry best practices. Consult on cross-functional projects to ensure ecommerce principles are incorporated
  • Identifying new areas of ecommerce opportunity beyond current organizational thinking
  • Managing and directing website Technical Structure, Design & Aesthetics, Content, Navigation, Information Architecture, Branding/Marketing, Performance, and Functionality efforts to positively impact ecommerce efforts


  • Proven leadership of large ecommerce projects
  • 5+ years Experience with B2C ecommerce
  • Extensive knowledge of e-commerce technology and sophisticated analytics
  • Outstanding analytical skills, strong experience interpreting test results & drawing conclusions
  • Demonstrated strong business judgment and decision-making skills; ability to identify, prioritize, and articulate highest impact initiatives
  • Deep knowledge of Internet best practices and the impact that these have on SEO
  • Deep knowledge of Internet marketing best practices that result in customer acquisition, retention and growth
  • 5 – 10 years experience managing websites
  • Ability to specify technical changes to technical/development teams
  • An in depth understanding of search engines, search engine optimization and factors that influence high rankings in Google
  • Experience with PPC – Management of Pay per click programs
  • Experience with web analytics tools (Urchin, Webtrends, Ominiture)
  • Experience using a CMS and an understanding of the impact they have on SEO
  • Knowledge of Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing and MSN AdCenter
  • Ability to compile and analyze search data and metrics and make decisions regarding campaign direction
  • Ability to perform click through rate, conversion, spend and creative analysis to identify growth/optimization opportunities
  • Outstanding customer service skills
  • Ability to work independently and within a team environment
  • Strong independent decision-making, organizational, planning and problem-solving skills


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