Who is an e-commerce operations assistant?

Definition, duties and responsibilities

An e-commerce operations assistant is a worker who is responsible for the smooth functioning of the basic processes of an e-commerce business. These processes include:

  • Stock management, including products purchasing and logistics organizing around it; 
  • Orders fulfilment, including preparing the goods for departure and contact forwarding companies; 
  • Monitoring and analyzing e-commerce performance and reporting a manager if something went wrong.

An e-commerce operations assistant is usually needed when an e-commerce manager a) is no longer able to maintain operations on their own, b) has grown sick of operations, c) wants to invest more time in developing the e-commerce business, d) a combination of some or all of these reasons. In this case, an operations assistant is a person who can ensure that the workflow of an e-commerce business runs smoothly that customers receive all e-commerce services or products on time and that they are of the highest quality.

Depending on a workload the duties of an e-commerce operations assistant can be extended to:

  • Products listing and website maintenance, including bugs reporting and keeping all the information on webpages up to date;
  • Customer service providing. In other words following clients from their first touch with e-commerce to aftersale communication; 
  • Digital marketing management, making sure a company follows its marketing strategy and content plan.
  • Manage customers complaints and possible orders returns.
Analysis of duties and responsibilities the UK e-commerce companies mention when looking for e-commerce operations assistant.
Analysis of duties and responsibilities the UK e-commerce companies mention when looking for e-commerce operations assistant.

Qualities and skills of a good e-commerce operations assistant

You don’t necessarily need creativity or strategic thinking from this position. The best candidate for an e-commerce operations assistant position is a person with:

  • Strong attention to detail: This person will spend a lot of time working with figures and emails. They can issue invoices or organise deliveries. Nobody wants an order to be underpaid or delivered to the wrong address. 
  • High level of responsibility: An operations assistant should be someone you can rely on. That means this person must be able to take responsibility for the overall operations. The last thing a manager wants to see is their operations collapsing and the assistant behind it getting blamed for the outcome, but not himself.
  • Stress tolerance: E-commerce operations and high stress levels are linked. When faced with stressful situations, an e-commerce operations assistant must keep going rather than becoming paralysed and watching everything crumble around them.
  • Can-do attitude: E-commerce operations can sometimes involve unexpected and unusual circumstances, such as a demanding customer or faulty products. And an operations assistant must be able to resolve such issues on their own. No one wants someone who is afraid to make decisions and needs to confirm every step with their supervisor.
  • Multitasking skills: Operations consists of various tasks such as communication with customers, forwarders, warehouse staff, dealing with reclamations, etc. That’s why the person who you hire as your e-commerce operations assistant must be able to carry out multiple tasks with a minimum loss of concentration. Fortunately, there are people out there who are adept at this.
  • Strong communication skills: Operations includes extensive communication with supervisors, customers, colleagues, shipping companies, marketing agencies and so on. So, your operations manager should be a strong communicator, polite, understandable and brief. Since most communications are done via messengers and emails, an e-commerce operations assistant must be able to type quickly.
  • E-commerce business understanding: If you work in e-commerce, you should have a general understanding of how it works. Some basic knowledge of online marketing, web development, Google tools, MS Office and online communication is a must-have for any e-commerce operations assistant.

It goes without saying that an operations assistant is usually one of the most important positions in any e-commerce business as they bring stability that allows the operations to develop and grow. 

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