Marketing Skills E-commerce Managers Must Master In 2022 


Samantha Breske, Senior Director, Client Strategy at X Agency

Gone are the days of brick and mortar stores representing the retail buying experience. With online retail representing approximately 11% of all retail sales, digital buyers are expected to grow by over 13% in the next 3 years. With this sort of non-stop growth, e-commerce managers find themselves in an increasingly change-filled and fast-paced industry. To succeed where others fail, an e-commerce manager needs to master several crucial skills in this arena.

The Power of the Pivot

Perhaps the most important skill any marketing manager needs to master is learning how to pivot quickly and strategically when faced with new challenges. Continued inventory backorders, shipping delays, and inflation are only a handful of the issues plaguing e-commerce retailers recently. Pivoting here might mean asking whether another product line can be promoted instead of the backordered one. A delay can be used strategically to engage customers further, or build a distribution list. Reduced packaging or lot amounts can be leveraged to address supplier inflation concerns.

When in Doubt, Test

iOS 14’s privacy settings changed the rules of the game for many things and put many marketers on their back feet. It changed how the industry thinks about ad targeting. Now while attempting something entirely new and untested might seem counterintuitive at first, the persistent testing of new advertising initiatives – with a strategic and methodical approach – will frequently uncover opportunities for higher revenue, a higher return on advertising spend (ROAS), lower cost per click (CPC), or all of these together.

The More that One Learns, the More Places one Goes

The rollout of Google’s Performance Max campaigns and the sunsetting of their Expanded Text Ads both display in high relief the reality that the platforms that e-commerce managers use every day are constantly in flux, whether via feature improvements or through retirements. How does one best respond to these constant updates? Stay up to date with upcoming changes by reading industry and vendor blogs, visiting Reddit or YouTube, or observing competitors. These are great ways to acquire new skills and refine existing ones, as well as to understand how to adapt to variable environments.

Time Keeps on Ticking – Into the Future

When considering all the necessary marketing tasks to be completed, it is evident that there are a lot of moving parts to working in e-commerce. Organizing and prioritizing tasks strategically will effectively aid the manager in completing the necessary work efficiently. Be willing to place every task on the calendar, no matter how small or insignificant. As the saying goes, if it isn’t scheduled, it won’t get done.

Once every task is in its place, ruthlessly avoid distractions, especially those from social media. The latter is often a great source of marketing research, but it will reduce value instead of increasing it if not carefully budgeted. By keeping one’s attention on one project at a time, one sees that focused and undistracted work is always more productive than intermittent work. 

The More Data the Better 

Although not the sole source of marketing truth 100% of the time, using various forms of data to inform marketing strategy and improve business direction usually produces more successful outcomes in the long run. Whether it is demographic and lifestyle data, in-house or third party data, new surveys or analysis of existing data – this information will guide the company’s marketing and business planning and ensure that the decisions made are accurate, objective, and successful. What the manager wants to avoid at all costs is “shooting in the dark.” Instead of relying on gut feelings, creative flair, or the newest ‘shiny object’, using data to discover what actually works will always be vital to any e-commerce business. 

Fortune Favors the Brave, or At Least, the Growth-Oriented

The fast-pace of an increasingly complex online retail environment means that e-commerce managers must adapt, and quickly, to new products, new economic headwinds, new tools, and new ways of organizing it to maintain a successful internet presence. Improving in multiple skill sets will be necessary for a marketer for years to come. Adaptable pivoting, persistent testing, and data-driven decision-making are just a few of the skills an e-commerce marketer must be mastering in order to remain successful in an ever-changing digital buying world.