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One of the coolest ecommerce jobs around!
ALLAN’S COMMENTS: We are working with a world class MRO distributor in their search for a proven Ecommerce Merchandising Manager based in Columbus, Ohio. Currently, the client is fully remote. HOWEVER, there is a plan for the company to return to the office in the future. At that point, this role will be hybrid / in-office / partial WFH.
You must be local or be willing to relocate.
Having said that, this is a golden opportunity to work for an outstanding ecom hiring manager we have known since 2011, when we placed our first person with him (she’s now a pillar of ecom leadership at Petco). The hiring manager’s background is loaded with famous brands, and he’s been in the ecom space for more than 20 years.
If you’re a rising star who’s looking to make a DIFFERENCE somewhere, keep reading!
The client is a national distributor of maintenance, repair, and operations (“MRO”) products. Which, if you think that’s a dowdy space, you’re dead wrong. Right now, there are 32.5 million businesses in the United States.
Think about it:
How many of those businesses need …
- Chemicals: Adhesives, Application Equipment, Cleaners, etc.
- Electrical parts and supplies: Batteries, Cable Ties, Clamps & Accessories, etc.
- Cutting Tools: Cutters, Blades, Countersinks, etc.
- Abrasives: Abrasives, Bristles, Burs, etc.
- Fluid Power: Brass/Iron/Steel Fittings, Fleet Fluid Power, Hydraulics, etc.
- Auto parts: Body Hardware, Bodyshop supplies, Brake/Wheel parts, etc.
- Material Handling Casters and Wheels, Chain & Attachments, Containers, etc.
- Safety equipment: Clothing, Confined Space, Ergonomics, etc.
- Shop Supplies: Application Equipment, Auto Maintenance parts, etc.
- Hand Tools: Air Tools & Accessories, Chisels, Punches & Picks, Clamping & Holding, etc.
- Storage Equipment: Abrasive Storage, Auto & Fleet Storage, etc.
- Welding: Brazing Alloys, Hardfacing Alloys, Soldering, etc.
- Parts Washing Accessories & Supplies, Equipment, Parts Washer Cleaners, etc.
Short answer: TONS!
At $150 billion, the North America MRO distribution market is more vital than ever, with all companies having come out of Covid with a growing concern for minimizing downtime and getting the most out of their existing assets.
Our client is a $300 million family-owned business that’s been THRIVING for nearly 100 years. And guess what: In all that time they’ve only had ONE down year (2008). With more than 1000 sales reps on staff, the firm markets and distributes more than 51,000 SKUs.
That’s a lot of stuff!
Many of its most promising products are private labels, and it’s typical customer is spending four-figures each month with the firm. Of course, a major key to that kind of selling success is selling to the customer the way they WANT to buy. In the future, that will involve online — not necessarily to replace face-to-face selling, but to compliment it.
And that’s where YOU come in.
By spending at least 80% of its inventory dollars on USA-made products, the client’s commitment to quality is obvious. But those products’ selling stories need to be TOLD.
Likewise, with an industry-leading fill rate of 99%, the firm’s strategically located distribution centers in Ohio, Georgia, Texas, and Nevada are able to deliver 86% of the company’s orders next day. Again: This story must be TOLD.
And here’s another thing.
The company understands that its continued success is a direct result of its ability to make sure its end-user customers are taken care of. Your job is to help remove as much friction as possible between their problem and YOUR solution.
Translation: Your job is to bring these products to life online in a way that’s simple, understandable, and compelling to anyone who sees the product page. It’s really that simple. How do you sell the sizzle when the product is an industrial cleaner? Work with the firms category managers to figure it out. They’ll help you. Not hard.
The company has 20 categories, and there are a gazillion nuances to each product. But nobody is looking at the data to understand how each particular category and SKU are doing on a daily basis. That’ll be your job.
What do web users look at? How long do they linger? When they leave a particular page, are their common pages they go to next? Can the data offer any clues?
There’s plenty of work to be done in the area of product imagery, as well. And some of these products are really information intensive. In other words, there’s a lot to know about a degreaser, for example. Are there ways to photograph the product using before and after photos? Is there some way to showcase the products specific, verifiable results? That’s on you.
We are looking for a FULLY FORMED ecommerce merchant who can help the client tackle problems like …
- Limited reporting and analysis: Currently, the company is not leveraging its ability to generate reports and lean into sales trends.
- Moving beyond a “single product presentation strategy” across 20+ product categories and 51,000 skews: Like I said, there are nuances to the company’s product categories, and there’s loads of potential to sell more products by presenting them in more unique ways. So for example, if you wanted to buy a screw, the site should present a matching washer and nut.
- Lack of product recommendations with “Good / Better / Best” presentation: Currently, there’s an untapped ability to justify premium prices through value-claims and call-outs, as well as cross-sell and up-sell. Low hanging fruit.
- A lack of site search results knowledge: Last year the client implemented a new site search platform. The company is leveraging this tool, yet its power remains largely untapped.
- A primitive product imagery strategy: Many of the company’s categories are information intensive, and these subtle and not-so-subtle differences are not sufficiently called out on each SKU’s image. Worse, the site might list 200 versions of something like a grinding disc, where the materials, size and grit differ slightly from SKU to SKU, yet the photos are the same.
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 …
- The “real” background requirements for this position, along with the top five things all resumes MUST have to be considered for the role.
- 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.
- 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.
- The leading and lagging KPIs that will determine your success in this role. In a nutshell: How you’ll keep score.
- 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, Allan Seibert, at (706) 318-1196 for this info. Or simply use the email link when you apply for the role below.
- Requires 5+ years’ experience in managing B2B or B2C online merchandising programs.
- Proven track record of success as demonstrated through sales growth.
- Data-driven and numbers oriented.
- Experience developing, motivating, and supporting a team of both internal people and agency partners.
- Requires advanced knowledge of ecommerce analytical tools (Google Analytics).
- Experience in site search, merchandising, CMS and PIM platforms.
- Requires the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously according to specific timeline.
- Ability to work independently along with a variety of co-workers including senior leadership and peers.
- Requires the ability to effectively manage and direct the activity of others.
- Requires the ability to make decisions, display conduct and manage others in a manner that is deemed to be in the company’s best interest.
- A working understanding of Web Operations, Product, and Technology as it relates to Site Merchandising Best Practices will be critical as this is a “build out” where you’ll be expected to work cross functionally with Marketing, IT, UX, Ops, etc
- Own the Site Merchandising Strategy and Execution for a 50k+ online catalog
- Optimize Taxonomy and improve on the layers of product hierarchy
- Develop a more differentiated categorization process across major but similar categories
- Assist in the launch of a new PIM system
- Assist in the launch of Product Recommendations
- Build out of better Performance Reporting and Analytics
- Own the relationship with the Site Search and Product Enrichment vendor.
- Improve on content and imagery strategy
- This is a player/coach position. You need to bring the ability to impact the vision and strategy with a roll up your sleeves mentality/ability
- Own the tracking and growth of all major Merchandising based KPI’s with a focus on Conversion and Average Order Value