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Starting an online business and running an e-commerce website can be a successful business plan. On top of that, it is possible to run your business on your own without needing a dedicated team of employees or staff. However, operating as a one-person team can become increasingly difficult as your business grows and you have more responsibilities to manage. For some guidance, this article will provide some background on the topic and explain whether you need employees to run your New Zealand e-commerce website.

Running an E-Commerce Website

There are many different aspects to running an e-commerce website, and their range of complexity can vary. Some parts of this process include:

  • building and maintaining your e-commerce website/online store;
  • engaging with and responding to customers;
  • managing social media profiles;
  • marketing online;
  • promoting advertising and SEO success;
  • liaising with suppliers and other businesses;
  • sourcing product;
  • managing inventory or service provision;
  • developing appropriate legal documentation;
  • managing your privacy obligations (both national and international);
  • complying with consumer law;
  • implementing appropriate cybersecurity measures;
  • managing payment portals; and
  • facilitating shipping and returns.

How labour intensive running your e-commerce site is will depend on what proportion of your business you conduct online. The size of your business will also influence how much work your e-commerce website is and the nature of the goods or services you provide.

Fortunately, you can take advantage of the many online tools to help you run your e-commerce business and lighten your workload. For example, e-commerce platforms like Shopify, or online marketplaces like TradeMe, supply many technical or commercial tools that can help your e-commerce business grow.

Do I Need Employees?

It is possible to run an e-commerce website on your own, especially if you are just starting out and do not intend to grow your business beyond your initial setup. However, as you grow more popular and successful, you may find the responsibilities of running an e-commerce business grow too much for you to handle alone. 

If you find yourself overwhelmed by your work, this can lead to increased stress and mistakes. For instance, if you have more product orders coming in than you can handle, this can lead to customers frustrated over long processing times.

Therefore, hiring an employee to help out can lessen your workload and improve your business. This fact is especially true if you:

  • want to provide services based on skills you do not have;
  • intend to grow your business and reach a larger market;
  • are lacking in certain business areas, such as good customer service;
  • are generating enough revenue that you want to put back into the business, rather than in your own pocket; and
  • need more time to focus on the business itself rather than your e-commerce website specifically.

For example, say that you started with a simple template e-commerce website, but you want to design it into something more bespoke. However, you lack the technical know-how to do this yourself. In this case, you can hire an employee with web development skills to provide this service and maintain your website for you.

What Employees Do I Need?

If you do decide that you want to hire a new employee or employees, you need to plan for the kind of people you want to look for and hire. As such, you need to consider:

  • whether you want to hire full-time, casual, or part-time employees;
  • the kinds of skills or experience you are looking for;
  • how many hours a week it would take to do the work you want to hire someone for;
  • what responsibilities you want to delegate, and how much;
  • whether you can train your employees, or you need to;
  • salary expectations;
  • whether your employees will work remotely or come to you; and
  • your legal obligations as an employer.

How many employees and the exact roles you need will depend on the above considerations. However, some potential roles to hire for include a:

  • general manager;
  • customer service worker;
  • digital marketer;
  • content creator;
  • accountant;
  • supply chain specialist;
  • software engineer;
  • business strategist; or
  • channel lead.

Your Responsibilities as an Employer

Hiring employees can ultimately bring success to your business, but you must meet your legal obligations as an employer to avoid complications down the road. Such obligations can include:

  • treating employees fairly;
  • paying employees on time and with the correct amount;
  • maintaining various important employee records;
  • managing PAYE and other tax obligations;
  • protecting employee privacy;
  • supplying leave and holidays appropriately; and
  • meeting health and safety requirements.

Key Takeaways

You can start and run an e-commerce website on your own. However, once you grow and diversify your business, you may find that the workload becomes too much for you alone to manage. Therefore, it may be time to look into hiring skilled employees to improve your business. If you would like more information or help with employees for your e-commerce website, contact LegalVision’s e-commerce lawyers on 0800 005 570 or fill out the forms on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start an e-commerce website?

If you want to start an e-commerce website, you need a clear plan of what you will sell, who you are going to sell it to, and how you will do so. Then, you need to determine what kind of e-commerce website you want to create. Many online platforms provide templates and plans for completing this process.

Do I need employees to run my e-commerce website?

You can certainly run an e-commerce website on your own, but you may find that the workload becomes too much for you alone to manage once business picks up. Therefore, in these situations, hiring an employee may be wise.

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