Partial WFH: VP of Ecommerce (Midwest Crafting Brand)

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One of the coolest ecommerce jobs around!

HARRY’S COMMENTS: We are working with a major manufacturer of crafting supplies in their search for a WFH / partial-remote VP of Ecommerce.

With more than 1000 employees, the company is one of the largest firms of its kind anywhere, and its portfolio of brands makes it a favorite with both its DTC consumers and retail channel partners alike. Not only does the company sell-through national accounts like Walmart, Michaels, Jo-Ann Stores, Hobby Lobby, and Meijer — but also it sells its products through pure-play etail channels like Amazon.

About the Market

According to IBIS World, the crafting industry (which had grown at a CAGR of 16.5% since 2015) was a mixed bag last year: Schools and offices closed and retail store footfall was down. On the flip side, pure ecommerce and BOPIS showed a lot of promise.

These last two things were of particular benefit to my client, which is financially solid, vertically integrated, owns several beloved consumer brands, and sells on both its own DTC site as well as through its wholesale online partners.

Going forward, it’ll be YOUR job to capitalize on these things.

Now then: When I take a new ecommerce search, one of the first things I’ll ask my client is, “Amazon: FRIEND or FOE?” This search is one of those increasingly rare instances when I can say that Amazon is a really great thing for my client — although blended 1P/3P selling on Amazon can be like riding a runaway bull.

The fulfillment issues alone can be a full-time job, but that’s why you’ll have a first-rate team.

The fact is, how big of a problem Amazon can be will depend on how you let your relationship with Amazon impact your strategy with other retailers who never took the Amazon threat lying down.

As the firm’s VP of Ecommerce, Job One will be maximizing the brands’ strategies for Amazon 1P and 3P, plus everywhere else. Yes, the client wants to grow on Amazon, but it’s looking to do so in a “pie-enlarging” — not “pie-rearranging” — way. Meaning, it’ll be up to you to understand the tradeoffs between these channels, cost them out, AND sell your strategies internally.

Some candidates avoid such ecommerce roles, which makes sense if one’s tendency is to frame such issues as “managing TRADEOFFS” versus “weighing one’s OPTIONS.” But remember, my client is a vertically integrated industry leader. Ultimately, my client — not Amazon — calls the shots.

Think of it this way: Two years ago I saw a PPT deck by Rand Fishkin at Moz who said “The best way to get ahead on Google is to mean more to Google than it means to you.” Well, the same applies to Amazon.

Your job is to pull together a future-oriented digital strategy for the company, gain buy-in (which every ecom VP should know how to do anyway), and make it happen. The company already has an eight-figure multichannel ecom business, so you won’t be starting from scratch. And it’s not like there’s chaos and infighting going on in my client’s business.

They simply need someone deeply experienced to help them choose their shots.

In the last five years, my client’s retail channel partners have gotten super sophisticated about ecommerce. In fact, my client’s CEO tells me that it’s not uncommon for the firm’s retail channel partners to know a lot more about digital than his sales reps — about ecom logistics, planning, forecasting, promotional calendering, digital marketing, and so forth.

Your job is to put a stop to that. Not by making changes to the sales team, but by being 2-3 steps ahead of these retail executives.

For example, is ecommerce a net positive or negative for my client’s retail partners? Answer: Mostly positive, but it can vary. You’ll need to understand which partners will do better (and why) and allocate your resources accordingly.

At the end of the day, my client seeks a more holistic approach to ecommerce, where it can achieve its CX, marketing, operational, and financial goals in a more balanced way. When it comes to omnichannel ecommerce, the team is reacting to problems and opportunities, rather than triaging them. Be prepared to mentor them (and all of the firm’s stakeholders) with a well-informed and teachable point of view.

You won’t believe how much we know about this search …

I spent a ton of time on the phone with the client teasing out exactly what you’ll need to KNOW and DO to hit the ground running in this role. Some of the things I can share with highly qualified candidates include …

  1. The “real” background requirements for this position, along with the top five things all resumes MUST have to be considered for the role.
  2. The top five problems that exist due to this position being open. These are the little brush fires you will be expected to put out during your first month on the job. Every ecommerce job has these — and this one’s no different.
  3. What your average day/week will look like in this role. There’s what you read in the standard ecommerce job posting … then there’s reality. We’ve got the reality.
  4. The leading and lagging KPIs that will determine your success in this role. In a nutshell: How you’ll keep score.
  5. The major projects you’ll need to complete by Day 100 to be considered a home-run in this position. We’ve got the lowdown on how you can plug-and-play and drive REAL value in this ecommerce job.

I have a massive amount of proprietary intel to share with qualified candidates. My industry research for this assignment exceeds 100 pages! Be sure to TEXT me, Harry Joiner, at (404) 281-2025 for this info. Or simply use the email link when you apply for the role below.

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Position Responsibilities

  • Manage and develop a team focused on driving profitability across ecommerce, with an emphasis on Amazon, Walmart.com, and category-specific wholesale online sites.
  • Responsibility for a growing $XX million ecommerce P&L.
  • Understand and develop best-in-class channel conflict management strategies.

Customer account management

  • Development and management of relationships with merchants/ buyers.
  • Category management for customers (e.g. product/ assortment, pricing, promotions/ advertising, content, availability, fulfillment).
  • Understanding and adapting to customers’ goals (e.g. margin %, profit-$’s and/ or growth).
  • Oversee all related ecom execution and customer service.
  • Partner with the CEO and SVP Sales on overall ecom strategy, key account coverage and relationship management.
  • Partner with the VP Digital Marketing on the content and ecommerce strategy for the company’s primary DTC site with a driving focus on the best content and overall digital campaigns required to disproportionately win with consumers through our omni and etail channels.
  • Partner and coordinate with the Operations and Supply Chain Leadership to deliver the best fulfillment options that optimizes the short term and a road map for the future growth.
  • Merchandising (e.g. channel management, pricing, assortment, planning & allocation, replenishment, etc.).
  • Marketing (e.g. product content, trade marketing, PR, shows, etc.).
  • Partner with CFO and finance team to develop and manage financial metrics, operational KPIs, budgets, account P&Ls, and other resource/ cost-center planning.

Experience and Qualifications

2-3+ years of experience with a consumer products company in a management role overseeing eCommerce customers, including:

  • P&L responsibilities (e.g. budgeting, pricing, allowances, etc.).
  • Coverage of Amazon and Walmart.com.
  • 5+ years of progressive involvement with and experience in selling consumer products, which have been traditionally sold in brick-and-mortar locations, through online channels, especially Amazon.
  • A successful record of progressive career trajectory with expanding roles and responsibilities.
  • Clear comfort with managing an eCommerce business and understanding of overall drivers of financials, including working capital/ cash-flow management.
  • History of using performance and market insights to inform strategic planning and improve account management and customers’ performance.
  • Algorithmically oriented skillset.
  • Demonstrated ability to recruit, lead, manage, and mentor a high-performing, data-driven team.

Key Personality and Leadership Characteristics:

  • Proactive, responsive and fully engaged. Driven and takes personal accountability. High energy.
  • Brings the gravitas to win the organization’s respect and drive change. Strong team builder and people manager. A steward and cultivator of the best elements of Spinrite’s existing culture.
  • Entrepreneurial spirit and enjoys a fast-changing environment.
  • Data-driven, analytical, and good at generating accurate and understandable data and reports.
  • Direct communication and working style. Advocates and selects the best idea, not necessarily their own idea. Low on ego and apolitical.
  • Collaborative, flexible and open-minded. Able to thrive in a team-based environment. Exhibits a high degree of autonomy with a proven ability to pull disparate pieces together across the organization and ‘get things done.’

Education:

  • An undergraduate degree is required. An MBA would be a plus.

Applications for this ecommerce job are being coordinated by Harry Joiner. To apply, CLICK HERE.  Candidates, please be sure to email Harry for additional information 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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