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We are working with Kicks USA in their search for a world-class Ecommerce Operations Manager based in Philadelphia. The Ecommerce Operations Manager will provide operational ecommerce management of and while creating and supporting the execution of web processes that provide a delightful user experience. Additionally, the Ecommerce Operations Manager will assist in streamlining Kicks USA’s back-end processes to reduce redundant operations and optimize the efficiency of the firm’s direct to consumer business.

One of the coolest Philadelphia ecommerce jobs this year!

HARRY’S COMMENTS: The size and scope of the US athletic shoe market has been well documented on this blog. The Athletic Shoe Stores industry has rebounded strongly from recessionary challenges and industry analysts estimate that revenue rose 8.4% in 2012 as rising disposable incomes allowed consumers to afford premium-priced shoes. Average industry profit expanded from 3.6% of revenue in 2007 to roughly 10.2% in 2012. The industry is expected to grow consistently as Americans are increasingly health-conscious and gain confidence in their financial stability, facilitating purchases of expensive, high-quality shoes. Revenue is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 4.3% in the next five years to $12.3 billion in 2017.

What’s interesting is that, despite the successes of the industries best established players (Nike, Reebok, Adidas, etc.), there are still many opportunities for explosive growth in this category – both on the manufacturing side AND on the retail side of the space.

Kicks USA is a brick-and-mortar retailer of athletic footwear selling mostly to millennials (primarily males age 17-30) throughout the Newark, Philadelphia, Trenton, Camden and NYC corridor. The firm has more than 30 stores (and counting). Despite Kicks USA’s urban image, the firm sells to a much greater audience — plus it’s a top-tier Nike partner approved to sell Nike’s most coveted new sneaker releases, the kind kids will camp-out overnight to buy. Yo, player! Check out last weekend’s new release, the Nike Air Force 1 “Tiger.”

Without getting into Kicks USA’s pricing and allocation of this type of inventory, it’s safe to say that offering these sneakers confers coolness and street credibility to Kicks USA’s brand. The company is required by Nike to hit certain sales levels to remain on Nike’s list of approved vendors for these products, and to date Kicks USA has had no problem moving this merch to its core clientele.

While the firm’s store retail business is very promising, Kicks USA is extremely excited about its ecommerce prospects and has begun to invest heavily in that business. It’s easy to understand Kicks USA’s excitement: According to Internet Retailer’s 2012 estimates, Footlocker’s ecommerce revenues exceed $600 million; Nike’s ecommerce revenues exceed $400 million; and Finish Line’s ecommerce revenues exceed $150 million. There’s money to be made in this category.

This spring, Kicks USA hired a new Director of Ecommerce, and the firm’s online business has grown large enough to substantiate a full-time Ecommerce Operations Manager to put structure around its logistics and supply chain; warehousing and fulfillment; data analysis and reporting; and technology initiatives. Normally, I would say that any ecommerce operations role is about “making the trains run on time.”

But this job involves more than that.

Essentially, you’ll be the new Director’s right-hand. She’ll be responsible for growth, and you’ll be responsible for efficiency. In this case, however, “efficiency” doesn’t merely apply to Kicks USA’s ecommerce processes. It means bringing an efficiency oriented mindset to the rest of the company, too. Which will mean designing and running operational reports to help everyone understand how everyone’s activities can impact the customer experience.

With the right reports, everyone at Kicks USA should be able to understand at a glance: How many products came in last week; What products are in inventory; What products the firm has had issues with in terms of sizing, defects, etc.; Shipping related issues (order to ship, order to delivery – meaning, how fast are customers getting orders?); and more. These reports should provide a “state of the union” for the rest of the company, and they should help improve “buy-in” for ecommerce around the organization.

It’s all about the customer experience, and the data should inform how that customer experience can be improved across 1000 far-flung customer touch points. It’s everyone’s job to delight the customer profitably.

The thing is, the Millennial marketplace is what marketers would call “self referencing:” These people talk to each other, and you can bet that when one of these Millennials is wearing a brand-new pair of Nike Lebron James sneakers, his friends will ask “Where did you get those shoes? They’re sold out all over town!” For brands like Kicks USA, such instances represent a “zero moment of truth” when word-of-mouth can be a brand’s best friend — or its worst nightmare.

You can’t talk your way out of problems you behave yourself into.

Whether or not customers are delighted can be reflected in metrics like repeat customer rate; percent of sales from repeat customers; returns as a percentage of sales; customer service cost per order; and more. As Kicks USA’s new Ecommerce Operations Manager, it will fall to you to make sure that the entire organization makes good on the promises that its marketing department makes to its customers.

Is this the right job for you?

Well, it is if you can help the company establish a standard reporting cycle that everyone can understand and talk about constructively. Christine would like to see you develop a scorecard for the “metrics that matter” and establish a reliable reporting cadence. Additionally, we’d like to see you build a roadmap for Kicks USA’s ecommerce operations piece. And finally, we’d like to see you bridge the gap between the inventory Kicks USA has on hand, versus the inventory it needs to grow the business at its budgeted clip.

Here’s a laundry list of traits we will be looking for in our interviews with you:

  • Your ability to deal with ambiguity: Can you effectively cope with change? Can you shift gears comfortably? Can you decide and act without having the total picture?
  • Your ability to manage and measure: Can you clearly assign responsibility for tasks and decisions? Can you set clear objectives and measures? Do you monitor processes, progress, and results? Do you deliver timely feedback on the activities of others?
  • Your desire to focus on the needs and values of the customer: Are you dedicated to meeting the expectations and requirements of both internal and external customers? Do you use customers as a source for needed improvements in products and services?
  • Your ability to manage conflict: Do you step up to conflict and see it as an opportunity for improvement? Are you good at focused listening, and can you understand others’ positions, even if you don’t agree? Can you find common ground and get cooperation with a minimum of “noise?”
  • Your ability with planning and forecasting: Can you accurately scope out tasks and projects, and set realistic stretch goals and objectives? Can you break down work into the process steps needed to get there? Can you anticipate and adjust for problems while measuring performance and evaluating results?
  • Your sensitivity towards total quality management: Are you dedicated to providing the highest quality products and services which meet the needs and requirements of internal and external customers? Are you committed to continuous improvement through empowerment and management by data? Do you create a learning environment around forming the most efficient and effective work processes?

If this kind of role appeals to you, we’d love to hear from you.

Essential Functions and Responsibilities:

  • Manage the ecommerce platforms and related technical operations of the business
  • Project management of key initiatives online and offline
  • Identify and assist in the implementation of tools monitor website activities both inside and outside our firewall to identify issues and implement solutions
  • Track and report on all site metrics/key performance indicators
  • Identify improvements to existing systems leveraging web data to increase operational efficiencies throughout the organization
  • Execute online sales strategy, benchmarking, and measurement in order to increase site conversion, as well as to help build a culture of continuous improvement and constant testing
  • Develop, monitor and execute website process flows
  • Facilitate daily tasks of Processing of Orders, working with Customer Care, Inventory Management, Sales Reporting and Database Management
  • Assist in developing and executing structural and design oriented test plans to optimize the web site experience
  • Create and/or implement business processes and timelines to ensure timely and proper execution of the web production cycle
  • Coordinate/assist product specialists with web production and product photo asset management
  • Assist in third-party on boarding
  • Assure web-based information is archived for future needs and reference
  • Partner with corporate supply chain (planning, allocation and logistics) on inventory flow strategies to support in stock service levels
  • Assist with the establishment of quality control and testing standards to ensure site accuracy for optimal customer experience

Additional Duties and Responsibilities:

Work Relationships and Scope:

  • Regular contact with all levels of employees in the company with the purpose of providing information relating to inventory/customer service.
  • Daily contact with associates for the purpose of obtaining and providing information, solving problems and completing mutual tasks.
  • Other duties as assigned to fulfill the responsibilities of this position.

Performance Expectations:

  • Quality, accuracy, reliability, friendliness, thoroughness and timeliness of services provided to internal and external customers
  • Ability to effectively communicate and develop good working relationships with co-workers
  • Professional workplace appearance and conduct
  • Ability to keep company and customer information confidential
  • Participation in training and appropriate professional development
  • Reliability in reporting to work regularly and on time
  • Understands and adheres to company policies and procedures.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Required:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • 5 – 7 years of marketing experience with proven experience in ecommerce operations
  • Strong familiarity with online marketing best practices
  • Ability to leverage data and analytics to influence marketing activity
  • Exceptional time management skills and the ability to prioritize to meet conflicting objectives
  • Confident and professional presence. Clear, concise and direct communication skills.

Equipment Operated: Utilizes a PC (Excel) word processing, spreadsheet, e-mail, Internet, and other specific applications. Also operates ten key calculator, fax machine, office copier, computer printers, shredder, mainframe computer terminal and telephone.


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