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One of the coolest Analytics jobs around!

We are working with JR Cigar in their search for a Google Analytics Guru based in Whippany, NJ, which is just plain fun to say. Try it: “WHIPPANY.”

JR Cigars (or JR Cigar, as you please) is one of America’s largest retailers of cigars, cigar related products and pipe tobacco. JR began as a small, corner candy and tobacco store in Manhattan in 1970. The business quickly outgrew its original location and transitioned from a “mom and pop” shop to a bustling mail order and internet operation. Through its history JR’s objective has always been to offer its customers an unmatched selection of tobacco products, including over two hundred brands of premium and mass market cigars.

Currently JR seeks a whip-smart Google Analytics analyst with at least 4 years of experience in online retail to fully manage its analytics and insights. He/she will provide cross-channel support for digital analytics, working closely with JR’s Technology, Product, and Content teams. JR’s digital team needs someone with a resourceful, can-do attitude to derive actionable insights gathered from the four corners of this far-flung firm.

HARRY’S COMMENTS: Here’s an online retailer’s dream: How would you like to never have to compete with Amazon? Like, ever? Well, that’s the deal here. JR Cigar sells tobacco, and Amazon doesn’t sell tobacco. Nor does Amazon mail a catalog. Yet JR Cigar’s catalog is a coffee table mainstay for 250,000 cigar aficionados – a fan base so loyal that JR’s suppliers actually pay to advertise in it. It’s a thing of beauty.

For several years in the 1990s, I was an avid weekend cigar smoker. There’s nothing better than a round of golf with a big cigar. And I was into it, too: I thought nothing of paying my buddies who worked in my employer’s Puerto Rican subsidiary 20 bucks for a Cuban Cohiba when they visited company HQ. One-time I even bought a whole box of fresh Cohiba’s from a colleague for $450. Heaven.

The fact that I can remember all of this fairly vividly tells you something about the rabidity of the market. Cigar lovers are just that: Cigar. Lovers.

As usual, I’ve done a considerable amount of digging to tease out the size of this market, and the estimates are all over the place. For now, let’s just say that there are millions of cigar smokers in the United States, broken down into 3 primary groups:

1. The Yong Turks: This is a group of guys who have been smoking for less than 3 years. While they are not loyal to a specific brand, their eagerness to try anything once creates opportunities for brands in this space. While not entirely insensitive to price, this cohort will sometimes pay for premium cigars to show off to their friends. This cohort buys online as well as through smoke shops.

2. Cigar Aficionados: This cohort has been smoking for more than 3 years; are loyal to 3 or 4 brands; and smoke 2 or 3 times per week. They will learn about different products at smoke shops and events and can be influenced by personal recommendations, particularly from smoke shop operators. They have the ability and willingness to pay for premium product.

3. Churchills: The oldest cohort, likely 60+. This individual has smoked for many years and may enjoy one cigar per day. Very brand loyal, and somewhat price-sensitive.

From an analytics standpoint, JR Cigar has been missing opportunities not only to properly segment its database, but also to truly evaluate what the customers purchase journey looks like. Of course, all this represents an amazing opportunity for the analyst who takes this job.

JR Cigar has a new Director of Ecommerce (whom I’ve placed before), and the guy is truly amazing. What this hiring manager seeks is an intelligence officer by his side. The company has loads of great sales analytics through its AS/400 system, and there’s a significant amount of business intelligence on hand for the whole business. Ideally, we’d like to find someone with retail experience who can understand that any brand can have 100 different SKUs based on sizes, flavor, color, packing, and more. The online versus retail service experience is very different, and the context in which customers use the product differs greatly depending on their channel selection.

Marketing Moneyball

This is not going to be a dry analytics job. This is a marketing job requiring a keen ability to create new customer personas and answer high level questions about them, such as …

  1. Which market segments are growing or shrinking?
  2. Is there new blood coming into the market? If so, from where? Why?
  3. Are others like them reachable? Through what means?
  4. What is their demographic profile? What about discretionary income?
  5. Is there a built in bias to the way they make decisions (logic vs emotion)?
  6. What do we know about their price sensitivity?
  7. What can be learned about their direct response behavior?
  8. And more.

Yes, JR Cigar would like you to create dashboards to help management understand traffic trends, average order values, conversion rates, and more. But your responsibilities will go far beyond that. This role is about churning out academically rigorous insights on a regular basis about what’s performing well, what isn’t, and why — not just for promotions, but in terms of site taxonomy, navigation, and the channels through which JR Cigar manages its customer relationships. If you liked the movie Moneyball, then you’ll love this job.

This role is perfect for someone who understands that while all people are created equal in dignity, that’s not the case with customers. Some customers are worth more than others. Some customers buy more stuff, more often, and for more money than others. And some customers cost less to serve.

That doesn’t make the ankle biters bad people.

But it doesn’t make them ideal customers. JR Cigar is looking for a smart as hell Intelligence Officer to look for trends and biases in the house file, while asking hypothesis driven questions and constantly testing their assumptions. We’re looking for someone who will actually lay awake in bed at night thinking about trends they’ve seen both on the site and in the house file.

If that’s you, would love to hear from you.

View Harry Joiner's LinkedIn profileView Harry Joiner’s profile

Primary responsibilities:

  • Fully responsible for JR’s analytics needs across the site
  • Implementation of new digital properties
  • Generation of reports and insights / recommendations based on data.
  • Mining and continual assessment of data to produce regular reports which deliver meaningful for stakeholders and executives, using dashboards and custom reports in Google Analytics.
  • Must continually look at optimization efforts across all digital marketing channels to provide insight and recommendations regarding what can be done to improve existing marketing and operations efforts.
  • Must monitor data quality in Google Analytics and raise key issues to the team.
  • Must troubleshoot and debug analytics implementation.
  • Must train users on Google Analytics and provide resources on Google Analytics to users and Technology.

Desired Skills and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in Business, Marketing, Engineering, or Statistics with 3 – 5 years of experience in digital marketing analytics
  • Strong proficiency in Google Analytics
  • Strong segmentation and data analysis experience
  • Working knowledge of Domo is a plus
  • Working knowledge of Listrak is a plus
  • Excellent technical communication skills to communicate issues and requirements to Technology teams
  • Excellent people and communication skills to deliver analysis and insights to various teams in the organization
  • Ability to multitask and meet tight deadlines
  • Quick learner who can solve problems and self-motivated
  • Candidate MUST have US Citizenship or existing full work authorization


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