Managing an ecommerce operation is a tremendous undertaking.
To keep a business afloat, an online brand needs to track inventory, manage fulfilment and shipping operations, and oversee products getting to their end destination.
That’s why an Ecommerce Operations Manager plays a critical role in the success of a direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand.
This article provides an in-depth look into the responsibilities of an Ecommerce Operations Manager, the job implications, potential income, and tips for success.
What is an Ecommerce Operations Manager?
An Ecommerce Operations Manager is responsible for overseeing an ecommerce business’s logistics operations and manages, improves, and optimises different stages of the ecommerce supply chain.
Based on the business’s needs, responsibilities can vary, but overall an Ecommerce Operations Manager is in charge of overseeing and finding ways to further optimise the supply chain, such as:
- Supply chain planning
- Managing inventory
- Order fulfilment workflows
- Customer service
- Developing a shipping strategy
For example, an Ecommerce Operations Manager might collabourate with the Warehouse Manager to perform regular ecommerce inventory audits. Other responsibilities could include pullinginventory reports, invoicing, budgeting, and finding ways to optimise operations for efficiency.
Additionally, someone in this role may also work with the Director of Fulfilment or the ecommerce shipping team to oversee labour training, processes, and supply chain technology where it’s most needed. This includes implementing end-to-end ecommerce solutions to ensure that all of these disciplines work together seamlessly for the ecommerce operations to function as desired.
What is the job description of an Ecommerce Operations Manager?
The primary purpose of this role is to ensure that the day-to-day operations of the ecommerce business are running efficiently and effectively.
The Ecommerce Operations Manager also oversees a wide range of cross-functional operational processes and facilitates efficient collabouration between operations, marketing, finance, and retail fulfilment teams, as well as third-party logistics partners and vendors.
There are various obstacles an operations manager faces in this critical role. In order to overcome these challenges, the following basic prerequisites must be met by an Ecommerce Operations Manager:
- A comprehensive understanding of the logistics systems
- Experience in end-to-end process management
- Excellent communication skills
- Strong problem-solving skills
- Solid troubleshooting skills
- Familiarity with leading ecommerce platforms
- Experience in ecommerce sales
- Good leadership and people management skills
What does an Ecommerce Operations Manager make?
Talent.com reports the median salary for Ecommerce Operations Managers is $80,000 per year with entry-level positions starting around $49,000. Those holding senior positions in robust supply chains can earn up to $115,000 annually.
Factors such as size of the business, years of experience, location(s), and the level of supply chain complexity are also considerations that influence compensation. For instance, some brands operate out of a single warehouse, whereas other brands store inventory in multiple locations across the globe and operate a multichannel distribution infrastructure.
As the ecommerce landscape continues to grow, demand for Ecommerce Operations Managers is also expected to increase.
The Bureau of Labour Statistics predicts that about 2,300 new jobs will be added for general and operations managers in ecommerce between 2016 and 2026. That means job seekers can anticipate more openings and promotion opportunities for this role.
Two to 4 years of experience is typically necessary to qualify as an Ecommerce Operations Manager. To grow into senior-level positions and eventually become a Leader of Operations, at least 5 to 7 years of experience is required.
Top tips for current and aspiring Ecommerce Operations Managers
Whether you’re aspiring to be an Ecommerce Operations Manager or looking to advance in your current operations role, here are some tips on how to succeed.
Build an internal knowledge base
One of the primary parts of this job is to facilitate team cooperation by building an internal knowledge base. Communication can be challenging to maintain when so many different aspects of the business intertwine.
Keeping all the necessary information in a centralised repository streamlines and organises the internal communication process. This also allows you and your team to work independently, reducing the need for constant supervision, and making your job easier.
For instance, ShipBob makes it easy for operations managers to track inventory, fulfilment, and shipping performance all from a single dashboard. Since ShipBob’s entire logistics network is powered by the same warehouse management system (WMS), activity data is updated in real time.
“I used to have to pull inventory numbers from three places everyday and move all the disparate data into a spreadsheet. ShipBob has an analytics tab in their dashboard with all of this information, which is great for end-of-month reconciliations. It’s really nice to not have to operate three 3PLs.
Between inventory forecasting tools and the ability to auto-create WROs, we don’t have stockouts much anymore. I sleep better at night.”
Wes Brown, Head of Operations at Black Claw LLC
Lean on outside experts
Third-party experts can help you streamline and automate different aspects of your ecommerce operations, making your job easier and your processes more efficient.
Managing a fulfilment team, optimising shipping strategy, and overseeing warehouse management are complicated tasks that can hold an operations manager back from focusing on areas that need improvement.
By outsourcing fulfilment to a 3PL, an operations manager is able to focus their time on improving supply chain efficiency, such as finding ways to allocate inventory efficiently, save on logistics costs, and enhance the customer experience.
ShipBob partners with Ecommerce Operations Managers to help take time-consuming and complicated tasks off their plate. This way, they can focus on logistics growth, rather than feel bogged down by day-to-day operations.
“If it weren’t for ShipBob, we wouldn’t have the resources to offer the Foundations collection at scale. The resources provided, the time and cost savings, and the shipping speeds that ShipBob provides has been a game-changer for 100 Thieves.”
Jasmine Ortega, Apparel Operations Manager at 100 Thieves
Implement software and technology
Implementing technology might be simple, but finding the gaps in your supply chain that could benefit from a digital transformation takes time to get right.
As an Ecommerce Operations Manager, the use and implementation of technology and logistics automation is a key part of the job. Investing in the right operations tech stack can help create a more agile supply chain and enables an online brand to grow their logistics operations while keeping costs at a minimum.
For instance, ShipBob offers over 30 direct integrations with leading ecommerce solutions. This allows operations managers to invest in a long-term 3PL partnership with the ability to expand without the need to manage multiple 3PLs or supply chain analytics dashboards.
“Our tech stack consists of ShipBob and several of their partners including Klaviyo, Recharge, CrazyEgg, and Shopify Plus. These tools offer us sophisticated flows to drive revenue and maintain great relationships with our customers.
We monitor the ShipBob dashboard on a daily basis, can view our fulfilment metrics at any time, and see if orders are fulfiled accurately.”
Manuel de la Cruz, CEO at Boie
Identify bottlenecks and solutions
In addition to ecommerce KPIs that measure operations performance, having the right data at your fingertips is the first step in optimising new processes and workflows. Ask these questions to better understand performance:
- What is my average shipping cost per shipping method?
- What’s your average inventory turnover rate?
- Where are your customers located?
- How much inventory do you need on hand to meet demand?
- What are the best-selling items?
Once you have the answers, you can work towards implementing improvements throughout the supply chain. In addition to the data, collecting feedback from your team will also help you identify further bottlenecks that can’t be detected by technology.
“About a year and a half after building out our business, we figured it was time to optimise some of our processes, including returns. The ability to work with one of the co-founders of ShipBob to launch a new, custom returns process was awesome.
Returns were taking a lot of time and resources to process on our end, but ShipBob was super helpful and critical in creating a solution for us.”
Nikolai Paloni, Co-Founder of Ombraz Sunglasses
Hear from ShipBob customers who manage operations
ShipBob partners with Ecommerce Operations Managers to help support their logistics operations and team. Here is what our customers have to say about working with ShipBob:
Dana Varrone, the Director of Operations at Organic Olivia, partners with ShipBob to expand their operations geographically and track fulfilment performance from a single dashboard. With ShipBob, Organic Olivia is able to store inventory closer to their customers to speed up transit times and reduce shipping costs.
“Now we’re at ShipBob two fulfilment centres, and being able to have the analytics and see how everything is working together has been extremely helpful for me on the operations end. Even though we’ve grown, I haven’t spent more time on the business from an operations standpoint.”
Dana Varrone, Director of Operations at Organic Olivia.
Marc Fontanetta is the Director of Operations at BAKblade, a long-term ShipBob partner. In the time they have used ShipBob for fulfilment, BAKblade has grown exponentially. Recently, BAKblade expanded into ShipBob’s Canadian fulfilment centre in order to better serve their Canadian customers by offering more affordable shipping and faster transit times.
“As we expand our online presence into Canada, both directly and selling through Walmart, we knew we needed a trusted fulfilment partner with a physical presence in Canada.
We have seen that Canadian customers order more when they know the order ships from within Canada and they do not need to worry about additional taxes if the order comes from the US.
From our history through the years with ShipBob, it was a no-brainer to expand into other markets with them, knowing that they have done their due diligence to meet the ShipBob standard.”
Marc Fontanetta, Director of Operations at BAKblade
Toby Davis is the Director of Operations at Azzuro Group. During the brand’s beginning stages, order volume was much higher than anticipated. As a result, Toby turned to ShipBob for support.
“When you’re dealing with logistics, you want everything to flow, and ShipBob has been able to help out with pretty much every shipping issue we’ve come across.”
Toby Davis, Director of Operations, Azurro Group
Read more ShipBob case studies or take a glimpse into our fulfilment operations below:
Are you an Ecommerce Operations Manager ready to take operations to the next level? ShipBob can help. Get the process started by requesting custom pricing.
Have your own warehouse?
ShipBob has a best-in-class warehouse management system (WMS) for brands that have their own warehouse and need help managing inventory in real time, reducing picking, packing, and shipping errors, and scaling with ease.
With Merchant Plus, brands can even leverage ShipBob’s fulfilment services in any of ShipBob’s fulfilment centres across the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia to improve cross-border shipping, reduce costs, and speed up deliveries.
Ecommerce Operations Manager FAQs
Here are answers to the top questions about Ecommerce Operations Managers.
How much do Ecommerce Operations Managers make?
Depending on the level of experience, size of the business, supply chain complexity, and location, Ecommerce Operations Managers can make anywhere between $49,000 and $115,000 per year.
What skills do Ecommerce Operations Managers need?
To efficiently perform their duties, Ecommerce Operations Managers should have experience with popular ecommerce platforms, have a background in ecommerce sales, be highly skilled in end-to-end management, and be a problem-solver. Additionally, they need to have good communication skills and be highly adept at people management.
How do I become an Ecommerce Operations Manager?
Ecommerce Operations Managers typically have a Bachelor’s degree in business, management, or other related fields and at least 2 to 4 years of experience in the ecommerce operations field.