Ann Marie Puig


Ann Marie Puig provides strategies for monitoring efficiency in an eCommerce environment

It is possible to structure an eCommerce team using a mix of team members who are in the same place and remotely, as well as third-party service providers to minimize unnecessary costs and increase profitability. In addition, it is possible to do this while caring for its people and creating an inclusive company culture. Structuring an eCommerce team to achieve maximum efficiency and save more money may require work, but it is possible. Ann Marie Puig, an entrepreneur and philanthropist from Costa Rica, breaks down some crucial components of a successful eCommerce operation and explains what can be outsourced and what functions should be maintained in the company in order to increase efficiency.

Saving money isn’t about switching to your team or using inferior products. It’s about managing all your assets as efficiently as possible and investing in the people who matter. Being profitable isn’t about not spending money; it’s about being strategic and using data to delegate tasks to the right people, or software, on your computer. Every eCommerce business needs to address three main groups: product, customer acquisition, and customer retention. Many roles will fall under these three umbrellas.

An effective structure that works for your team must grow organically, based on the needs of your business. Each new role must add value to your business. That’s why, before you expand and make new hires, you need to define the tasks that are done daily, monthly and annually. Then decide whether you want to hire full-time employees or use contractors.

Success does not depend on the size of the team. Explains Puig, “A recent survey found that 84% of Amazon sellers run their business with fewer than five eCommerce employees. Part of that is the intelligent use of the software. For example, Opticsrev used Sellbrite, a multi-channel sales management software, to increase store revenue on Amazon by 40% in a single year because it automated low-priority daily tasks.”

Whether you’re working in a shared office or scattered around the world, you need to hire people you can trust to get the job done and actively look for opportunities to improve process efficiency. If you’re not sure how to get the right people for the job, take a paid test before you commit. This allows you and your potential team member to test the relationship and determine if you are a good candidate.

Creating a structured onboarding program saves you time and money. Rationalization helps you get a new team member from rookie to veteran quickly and efficiently. “Build your basic employee training program,” asserts Puig. “With each new addition, you can improve the process until it’s perfected. It is crucial to be as clear as possible about each step and understand the challenges of remote employee training.”

You may never know certain employees in person, so it’s important that this is reflected in your program. You need to have a strong brand identity for employees to cling to it so they have an interest in the company’s success. If a significant portion of your team is remote, it is essential to establish clear channels of communication and create links between team members.

No matter the size of your equipment, the type of products you sell, or where you sell them, you need to establish a clear workflow that’s used by your entire team. To lead a successful, efficient and money-efficient eCommerce team, focus on process optimization. It’s important to create a workflow that everyone uses, whether they’re localized or remote. Otherwise, you risk alienating a large part of the team and interrupting clear communication.

In many cases, the founder/CEO can work remotely once a solid workflow has been established. Many of the decisions executive management makes are conceptual, so they don’t need to be in place to perform well. The other key member of this team is a war veteran. A talented virtual assistant (VA) can wear many hats, from keeping the entire team on track to being the first member of the customer service or marketing team to bring on board. However, before hiring a VA, it is crucial to define what tasks the CEO needs to handle and what the CEO should do.

Products are an essential part of any eCommerce business. How your company handles product discovery, manufacturing, and acquisition depends on your business model, product type, and where you sell them. Adds Puig, “Many of these steps can be automated, including managing inventory and automatically placing new orders when inventory is low. But you’ll still need someone to negotiate with suppliers and monitor order fulfillment.”

Lastly, if your company makes most of its acquisitions online, then you can be a remote candidate. However, if you need to get local products, it’s a better idea to place the role in the same place.