Building a Team for Online Business from Scratch

Awareness of your online startup's financial statements is important

The e-commerce industry has emerged as one of the fastest-growing forms of business in recent times. This has opened new doors of opportunities for small and medium-sized business owners to capitalize on the digital gold rush. With such massive growth opportunities, a need for human resources and infrastructure that are often different from its brick-and-mortar counterparts also arises.

Why does your online business need accurate team building?

It is important for all enterprises to determine their staffing needs accurately to ensure maximum productivity and high performance. Recruiting the right person for the right job can promote business growth, continuity, efficiency, and better utilization of human resources. Getting qualified personnel may also allow organizations to focus more on other important tasks that benefit the organizations in the longer run.
Building a Team for Online Business from Scratch

How to build your online business team from scratch

The hiring needs of your organization are dependent on the scale of your business. Since SMBs may often lack an HR department, company leaders may need to devote extra time to find the right hires and train the existing ones. Subject to compliance with applicable laws, while hiring contractors to build a team for your online businesses can be cost-effective, it is essential to understand your business needs before heading towards outsourcing. It is also important to note that online presence may open up unprecedented growth opportunities and, with passage of time; managing large teams can be complex. Thus, it would be beneficial to know about building and managing teams with efficiency.

Another great option would be to simply register as an online seller in a reliable marketplace. Some of the e-commerce marketplaces have vast networks of logistics, fulfillment centers, web development facilities, reliable partnerships, and the best expertise. This would considerably reduce the amount of time, money, and effort you spend on hiring the right talent for such jobs. However, if you still decide to go solo in your team-building process, here are few basic steps that you may choose to follow initially:
Recruiting for Startups
  • Research and understand your business needs.
  • Decide which positions need to be filled and what pay scale and qualifications can work best for the job.
  • Run advertisements to communicate your needs and connect with the right talent.
  • Carefully analyze the applicant’s profile and supporting documents to select those who meet your needs.
  • Run background checks and ensure the authenticity of the claims made by applicants.
  • Sign needed contracts and begin onboarding.
  • Conduct necessary training programs if needed and you are ready to go ahead!

Key Roles that an Online Business Team Should Have

Every business has a unique way of working. Building a team for an online business can involve unique hiring based on your business needs. However, to have an effective e-commerce team, here are a few key roles that you can consider:
Key Roles that an Online Business Team Should Have


Your business departments are not just individual silos, rather they are inter-related complex units that require careful management. Manager's role in an organization is typically toward such a purpose, and they are expected to work towards ensuring that business units (with the associated people) work effectively and efficiently together in a seamless manner.

Such managers are responsible for overseeing the complete operations. The tasks for this person may include supervising the buying process, overseeing online sales, managing partnerships, contributing to strategy decisions, and handling budgeting and contracts.

Web/App Developer

Your website is akin to your storefront. Therefore, it is advisable for it to be easy to use, aesthetically pleasing, and be able to offer multiple filters for improved customer experience. Preferably, it should be efficient to manage, allow easy sharing of products on social media, connect with inventory, and be flexible enough to add more versatility when needed.

Web developers are vested with the responsibility of creating such customized online stores. Also, since mobile apps are being increasingly used by shoppers, it is important to hire a web developer or an app developer who is well versed in mobile integration.

Digital Interface Manager

The digital interface manager or digital operations manager ensures that the website works seamlessly at the backend. They input and manage SKUs, ensure proper and accurate display of listings, and verify discount codes. Additionally, they monitor a customer’s shopping journey, A/B testing layout options, and other elements to provide the ultimate digital experience.

All-in-all a digital interface manager is in charge of the content management system and maintaining a seamless user-interface.

IT Head

IT heads are the pivots around which the entire team rotates. They are responsible for the proper utilization of digital infrastructure by employees. IT professionals also link the inventory and logistics teams to facilitate smoother orders. However, their most important role is to ensure robust cybersecurity including safe data storage.

Logistics Manager

Logistics managers play several important roles right from the time one receives an order to the point the product is delivered to the customer’s doorstep. They take bulk orders from manufacturers and transport the same to the warehouses. In addition to that, they monitor product deliveries and often manage third-party delivery services for timely shipments.

Inventory Manager

The inventory manager works in close association with the digital operations manager to ensure the product information updated on the website matches with physical products in the store. They also oversee product packaging, manage inventory, and move products to the logistics team.

Digital Marketing Manager

Companies involved in online businesses typically rely on paid search campaigns, social media, influencer, and email marketing. These marketing solutions boost brand awareness and attract more customers. It is the responsibility of the digital marketing manager to plan the same and ensure that these campaigns bring traffic to the site and meet revenue and ROI goals. The digital marketing manager is also responsible for monitoring activities like content creation, loyalty programs, search engine optimization, search engine marketing as well as deciding to outsource digital marketing services if it deems necessary.

Customer Service Representative

Since online businesses do not enjoy the benefit of face-to-face interactions, the communication with the customers follows a different approach compared with traditional businesses. Typically, online businesses hire customer service representatives for handling live chats or calls to handle queries, complaints, and return requests.


Just like in any other business, brands involved in online business need an accountant for budgeting, market speculation, and P&L reporting. Their role is similar to brick-and-mortar store accountants but having a website designed to integrate a real-time list of expenditures and revenue can make their job easier.

Business Consultant

Key strategic decisions viz. new product launches, ways to grow business, and understanding market trends are something senior-level business consultants or experienced industry veterans can help you with. Their experience and expertise can prove instrumental for your business to bloom.

Changing Trends

The E-commerce sector is dynamic in nature. To survive in the same, one needs a flexible work model. Digitization can be the key to increase the flexibility and resilience of your business. With a plethora of digital solutions available, automating repetitive and manual tasks through AI-based solutions has been a popular trend. Business automation and advanced machine learning tools can serve as cost-effective, efficient, and smarter alternatives and can even complement your workforce. For example, chatbots can be used to communicate with your customers; you may choose to incorporate digital tools to track your P&L, and manage inventory, shipments, and process payments using tools based on advanced analytics. You may also make use of different open-source software to streamline various business processes in this manner. However, incorporating digital tools would not necessarily mean completely doing away with the human workforce. The secret of success lies in carefully balancing both.


Building a team for an online business from scratch is equivalent to constructing a resilient wall. The stronger the base, the higher it can go. With the right expertise and guidance, you can easily kick-start your ecommerce journey with a strongly knit workforce and the necessary digital support.
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