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HeatAndCool.com is one of America’s largest online distributors of HVAC products and one of Inc. magazine’s fastest growing private companies. The firm specializes in sourcing and installing the world’s best HVAC systems at the lowest possible prices. HeatAndCool.com offers unparalleled bilingual service and technical support. Plus, unlike other HVAC distributors, HeatandCool.com assists its customers and technicians with complicated technical issues that may arise before, during, and after installation.
Evidently, it’s this level of service that has led to some pretty awesome fanboy videos being posted on YouTube. Check out this smokin’ hawt heavy medal guitar ode to HeatandCool.com …
HARRY’S COMMENTS: Remember when you were a little kid? You probably owned a book about the ocean. And somewhere in that book, there was a drawing of the ocean’s levels of depth and the types of sea life that lived that various levels. For the first few hundred feet, the sea life is very pedestrian: whales, dolphins, cod, mackerel, whatever. But as you get deeper, the water gets darker, the resources get more scarce, and the fish take on a more exotic appearance.
By the time you get to the bottom of the sea, there are wild looking sea creatures that glow-in-the-dark. It’s all about structure and function: The sea life at the bottom of the ocean must evolve in interesting ways to survive.
Those drawings remind me of the Internet Retailer Top 1000. The top 200 make money in fairly pedestrian ways (Amazon excluded), and the firms ranked 400 and below must compete in clever ways.
Such is the case with HeatandCool.com, a $6 million Florida company that sells heating and air-conditioning systems online. 90% of their products are private labeled under the name Klimaire. You can find Klimaire products for sale on Sears, NewEgg, BestBuy.com, eBay, and Amazon.
The long term goal of the company is simple (but not easy):
To offer the most user-friendly site on the web that would allow DIY and DIFM customers to enter their ZIP codes and HVAC particulars, and the site would instantly spit out exactly what customers need and prompt them to schedule a local installer (who’d be part of a national network) who would install or service the product faster, cheaper, and with fewer errors than anyone else.
That’s HeatandCool.com’s dream, and so far no company large or small has cracked the code. But HeatandCool.com is on the right track, and there’s no denying the intelligence of the management team nor the magnitude of the market opportunity.
The US plumbing and HVAC contractors industry includes about 93,000 establishments (single-location companies or units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $130 billion. The actual HVAC equipment component of this market is $60 billion, and not many companies are having an impact in terms of advancing, HVAC units are bought and installed.
The HVAC industry is very complex …
… and it’s difficult to integrate an online marketplace that involves brokers, resellers, manufactures, contractors, and installers. HeatandCool.com has a wonderful vision for tackling that opportunity. The firm has been around for nearly 30 years, and its founder has very deep relationships with suppliers, vendors, and factories in Asia. Getting a supply of private labeled product is not a problem. HeatandCool.com’s the management team consists of engineers, and they are a first name basis with all of their suppliers.
Here’s where the heavy lifting comes in …
In part 1 of a 3 phase evolution, HeatandCool.com will relaunch their site to greatly enhance the number of SKUs offered for sale. Phases 2 and 3 of this evolution involve replatforming HeatandCool.com and rolling out the national network of HVAC professionals who can deliver and install Klimaire products. The economics of making this happen are strongly tilted in favor of HeatandCool.com.
Because HeatandCool.com is vertically integrated, it has a huge pricing advantage against its competitors. HVAC systems costing upwards of $6000 can be sold profitably by HeatandCool.com for as little as $2000. Evidence of this pricing advantage can be seen in nearly every aspect of the client’s online business.
My kickoff call with this client lasted more than 2 hours, and we reviewed more than 20 KPI’s from their analytics program, including monthly web visits; monthly unique visits; conversion rates; average order value; merchandise return rate; search engine shopping percentages; affiliate revenues (by product category, by affiliate, etc); email marketing numbers, and more.
Additionally, success in this role will boil down to the right candidate having very strong competence in affiliate marketing; comparison-shopping engines; third-party markets; ecommerce platform integration (Magento); online merchandising; SEM; SEO; Web analytics; and web design / user experience.
There’s a lot of work to do, but it’s all doable.
No doubt, you’ll need to be strategic in how you plan your work, focusing on the high-impact things. For example, the client and I spent a fair amount of time discussing video’s enormous potential for the business. This makes perfect sense given that in the HVAC business, videos that educate / demonstrate are often seen by DIY consumers multiple times before a purchase decision is made. You can imagine what a great resource videos would be for this kind of business, where installers and other DIFM types could consume repair and installation videos on their tablets and smart phones while they are working with an HVAC unit.
Other considerations …
Given the long life of HVAC equipment, odds are low that you will get much repeat business. That’s normal for this industry. Implication: You’ll need extremely sharp skills in organic search, conversion rate optimization, on-site testing, merchandising, and user experience design to make the most of the traffic that you get.
Also: Understand that the HVAC business explodes in the summer, and cools down in the winter. These seasonal trends will impact your promotional calendars for both the DIY and DIFM markets, which will dictate your SEM, banner advertising, and affiliate marketing initiatives. By the time the busy season arrives, it will be too late to make meaningful improvements to your SEO programs.
Is this job for you?
This is a great job for anyone who breaks out in hives when they are not doing something productive. You’ll need sharp project management skills, and a hypothesis driven approach to customer acquisition. Additionally, it will help if you are thoughtful and inventive about customer acquisition, possibly combining ads from multiple channels (postcards, SEO, SEM, mobile, rich media microsites, space ads, blow-ins, whatever) into one- and two-step lead generation campaigns that lower your cost per lead and cost per sale. You’ll need to have a bias for testing, plus a knack for making every marketing dollar look like you spent 10.
- Growing the firm’s ecommerce business by selling more stuff to more customers, more often, for more money. This is Job One.
- Budgeting and planning revenue and cost centers to achieve EBITDA contribution
- Communicating with distribution center on fulfillment issues.
- Communication of plans, programs, and results to the management team and board.
- Ensuring proper selection and representation of merchandise on the web.
- Leading the effort to grow organic search engine traffic and conversion.
- Supervising the customer service function on internet questions, purchases, returns, order tracking, etc.
- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in a quantitative, test-driven field (economics, market research, science, etc.)
- Proficient in Microsoft Excel. You should love spreadsheets and lots of data.
- Proven experience in creating effective teamwork and an environment conducive to developing cross-functional collaboration
- Self-learner with a passion for search engine marketing.
- Ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously, work within a marketing team, and work with other departments in a matrix environment.
- Deep knowledge of ecommerce operations and thorough familiarity with the online space.
- Demonstrated competency in ecommerce technology, supply chain, fulfillment and call center functions.
- Experience managing PPC campaigns across Google, Yahoo, and MSN.
- Expert knowledge of performance marketing, conversion, and online customer acquisition strategies.
- Expert with web analytics tools such as Google Analytics, Coremetrics, etc.
UPDATE: THIS SEARCH IS CLOSED.
PS – If you’re thinking about changing jobs this year (though us or anyone else), you might want to check out this post on why even TOP candidates get rejected.