December 28, 2011, 4:27 PM

Customer retention specialists are in big demand by online retailers

The salaries offered can be 20% higher than a year ago.

Mark Brohan

Research Director

Lead Photo

Employees with specialized skills that can help web retailers continue to drive higher customer retention rates and repeat business will be in big demand in 2012 and beyond, says one e-commerce recruiting specialist. For employees with certain skills that can help a web retailing organization draw more traffic, deliver higher conversion rates and generate bigger repeat orders, employers also are willing to pay sharply higher annual compensation.

Next year e-commerce employees such as senior web site designers, information architects, business specialists and analytics specialists will be especially sought after by online retailers, says Harry Joiner, founder and operator of EcommerceRecruiter.com, which conducts about 150 searches per year for online retailers and other e-commerce organizations. “Everyone is looking to attract, develop and retain the talent that will help the company grow customer retention and increase up-selling and cross-selling opportunities,” Joiner says.

In the recent past the employees most wanted by online retailers were workers such as database managers, e-mail marketing specialists and affiliate and search engine marketing program managers that could help an organization acquire new customers, Joiner says.

But now as the online retail industry matures and the costs of acquiring new customers escalates, web merchants are shifting more focus to developing employees that can help them retain more customers and increase sales. “The people that are getting the best offers and becoming more strategically important to online retailers are the workers that can help the retailer develop a better user experience that keeps customers coming back,” Joiner says. “We are seeing a lot of demand for specialized job titles such as senior information architect, e-commerce business process lead and e-commerce user experience specialist.’’

E-commerce hiring remains brisk across the board, he says. “We will handle about 150 searches in 2011, up about 30% from 115 in 2010,” Joiner says. But for specialized employees with the right level of skills and experience, salary offers are running about 20% and higher than a year ago, Joiner says. “The total annual compensation offers for very specialized employees that web retailers need to hit higher customer retention goals are running from $90,000 to $110,000 per year,” he says. “That’s up from a range of $75,000 to $90,000 about a year ago.”

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