The disruption from the pandemic has been pervasive. One clear consequence is an acceleration in digital transformation, emphasising the importance of ecommerce for business success today. Digital is driving an ever-faster pace of innovation, and the need for an agile digital strategy and capable workforce is unmistakable.
We know that securing skilled digital talent is vital for success, yet it’s a scarce commodity as the pace of digital still outstrips the supply of qualified workers. Currently, this is one of the hardest issues to solve as companies race to implement digital transformation strategies and remain competitive.
Organisations focused on D2C and B2B commerce, especially, struggle to attract the right talent for specialised roles in niche markets. So, how should businesses be tackling these tough talent challenges? While recruiting new, highly-qualified employees is desirable, it’s fundamental that core capabilities need to remain in house to enable the business to be agile and move quickly in order to drive success.
It’s an exciting time for the industry, as brands have progressed from the legacy agency engagements and are switching to the Inside Agency model, where they build their teams and deliver commerce from the inside.
The future for faster and more efficient delivery
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Businesses now want more control over their delivery and need to be equipped for faster action and agility, so they invest in people and build dedicated teams. However, it’s not only the scale of investment that distinguishes top performers. They are also more agile in the way they use their digital talent, reallocating these employees across the organisation more frequently.
This mobility facilitates rapid movement of resources to the highest-value digital efforts; an efficient use of resources to meet the changing demands of customers. This strategy, when combined with a clear understanding of the capabilities the business needs to generate value, can dramatically improve the effectiveness of an organisation’s digital workforce.
The key here is to identify the technical skill sets required and analyse your organisation’s skill gap in the present, while planning for the future. It’s impossible to hire everyone based on current growth and demand in the ecommerce sector, therefore it’s vital that the talent strategy focuses on reskilling and upskilling the existing workforce. By building this internal capability, you can establish a solid foundation of loyal employees with specific skills and knowledge of the sectors or verticals you’re working in.
While the pandemic has made it imperative to build more capable workforces, it’s simultaneously hindering efforts to upskill because of remote-working and physical-distancing requirements. Therefore, you need to evolve your digital delivery to build capabilities at a distance, which, beneficially, is highly scalable. Innovating post-COVID, the demand for Inside Agency has rapidly grown as more and more brands are adopting a model that provides capacity and capability at speed. There are no hiring delays compared with conventional recruitment in the market, especially for specific roles like engineers in commerce. Where traditional hiring models fail to provide specialty roles – or cover employees that have left with intellectual property – eWave’s Inside Agency model can easily recruit highly trained and motivated employees to replace team members within weeks.
Commerce capability case study
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One global commerce giant that anticipated the technical talent squeeze, is Kellogg’s. The food and beverage category has seen some of the greatest gains in retail ecommerce sales growth as more consumers have become comfortable shopping online throughout the pandemic. While ecommerce in consumer packaged goods (CPG) and B2B is still a growing space, Kellogg’s was already executing a digital transformation strategy despite the challenges of recruiting in the food and beverage industry.
Kellogg’s chief global digital customer and consumer experience officer, Julie Bowerman, understood the importance of fostering talent that understand the unique CPG model, but also have the ecommerce experience and the digital acumen to be able to transform and lead an organisation. Kellogg’s didn’t just bring in new specialists to build capability, but also focused on training its existing employees to be well-versed in the digital space and understand the fundamentals of ecommerce.
Getting ahead of this has enabled Kellogg’s to build a new global ecommerce B2B platform, allowing its customers in different markets to implement and execute ecommerce more seamlessly by digitising the backend and having centralised capability.
Ongoing tech talent shortage
The digital talent pool, especially in South East Asia, is still lagging behind ecommerce needs and there’s an enormous opportunity for the companies that adapt fastest and overcome these challenges. Significant skills gaps in several areas already exist, including platforms and products, customer experience, data management and cloud, and we can expect them to become more severe over time. This isn’t going to change any time soon, which is why it’s so important to focus on closing the skill gap in your company's workforce.
Building out internal commerce capabilities effectively will establish your business as a leader in the space, which will in turn help to attract fresh and experienced digital talent, creating a positive feedback effect that helps overcome the long term challenges of recruiting technical teams.
Inside Agency: eWave’s capability solution
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At eWave, we’ve witnessed the seismic shift in consumer behaviours and digital transformation strategies for over a decade. This is why we developed a model specifically to help brands navigate the digital landscape and deliver ecommerce solutions at speed.
The Inside Agency is a new business management strategy that promotes agility, enabling brands to react rapidly to the changing demands of consumers. How does it work? eWave builds specialised teams around the specific needs and objectives of a business, allowing them to scale and grow the business at speed from the inside. The expert teams can be virtual, physical or a combination, building your internal capability efficiently.
The fact that we’re highly specialised in commerce means our consultants are able to provide an unparalleled understanding of a rapidly evolving digital landscape. Whether it’s capability or capacity challenges, the Inside Agency model is responsive to change and enables businesses to add the required skill sets as and when they need it, while remaining independent and in control.
Brands still struggling to build internal capability can bridge the gap with eWave’s Inside Agency. Take the strategic approach to cement your brand’s global success. Inside Agency establishes the capability and capacity for impressive innovation and faster growth.
About the Author
An industry-leading strategist in the commerce space, Karl’s vision and passion for delivering brand transformations has earned him a reputation as one of the most sought after experts in his field.