I want to boost my in-house digital team. What should I be looking for?

Ensure your social media and customer service teams are communicating

Many retailers are looking to boost their in-house digital expertise, especially in areas such as search and social media. But the first thing to remember is that digital touches every part of the business.

Amanda Davie, managing director of digital consultancy Reform, says it’s essential to understand where the company currently stands in its digital journey.

“Where do you have digital expertise at present? Are your teams in silos? How does online fit into your business culture, revenue models and so on?” she points out.

Retailers will then need to think about where in the business their current digital expertise sits.

Is it part of the marketing team, the IT team or somewhere else? Different business units have different digital needs, whether they’re in product development, fulfilment, customer service, marketing or PR. They all need to be encouraged to work together and that has to come from the top.

“For instance, your inventory management needs to be aligned with your ecommerce,” says Davie. “If you have a search or affiliates programme driving product sales online, you need to ensure the keywords match what you actually have in stock.

Also, are your social media and customer service teams talking to each other, to ensure you spot disgruntled customers and react swiftly?”

So ultimately, if you are looking to boost your in-house digital team, don’t just hire a 23-year-old who knows a thing or two about Twitter.

The best social media experts have traditional marketing skills as well. Data analytics is also vital, so good analysts are worth their weight in gold.

“Above all, it’s about understanding that boosting your in-house team will mean not only hiring new talent, but reassessing and realigning every part of your business,” says Davie.