A friend who knows that I worked as a Product Manager in an eCommerce company with customers in 130+ countries asked me the other day: “So what is the role of a Product Manager in an eCommerce company and how is it different from, for example, a Product Manager in a software company?” This is actually a great question because it’s not necessarily obvious what “product” means in the eCommerce context and how you “manage” it.
In an eCommerce company, the “product” is not only what the customer buys online, which may be a physical product or a service or application or some other digital content. The “product” also includes the complete user experience from finding the site, to browsing, to ordering, to receiving a package at your doorstep or an application on your device. In many cases, unless the company is vertically oriented and makes their own branded products, the user experience is the single biggest success factor for the business.
The article “What has Product Management got to do with Ecommerce?” has a lists of 15 areas that an eCommerce Product Manager needs to pay attention to:
- on-site search
- search engine optimization
- persistent shopping carts
- multiple sites and user communication and more
- deals to product sales and expanding to new categories
- controllable v/s non-controllable factors
- payment gateways
- cash on delivery and logistics
- track performance of every property owned
- affiliate marketing
- email marketing
- product recommendations
- behavioral data trends and creating marketable insights
- and even the team structure
I encourage you to read this article to get more detail.
So what about the difference between an eCommerce Product Manager and a Product Manager in a software company? My answer to this would be that responsibilities of these two roles always overlap, but the size of the overlap ranges from quite small to quite large, depending on which two companies may be compared (their nature, size, organisational structures, etc etc).