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What’s it like to be a Product Designer in eCommerce?

Care to share?

You’ve probably heard that eCommerce is a fast growing industry. It’s safe to say that the demand for experts will not end soon. However, that’s not the only reason you should consider working in this field. eCommerce can be challenging but also very satisfying, and it allows you to learn new things at light speed.

In the next couple of blog posts, we’ll explore what advantages and challenges different professions have to deal with while working at an eCommerce company. This time, we asked our colleagues Svetlana and Agnieszka how they became Product Designers at an eCommerce company.

Both of them had a different journey. Agnieszka worked on CRMs and Svetlana’s career began in international business communications. They both have different backgrounds and interests, but both have flourished as Product Designers. This shows that eCommerce benefits from diversity and provides an opportunity and an important role to more people than those that are just tech-oriented.

“I’ve been working at Divante for three years now. It’s my first eCommerce job. Early, I realized that typical office work, like dealing with documents, is not for me. Fortunately, while working in the field of business communication, I’ve gained knowledge of psychology and intercultural communication. This allowed me to find a remote job at an American startup before Divante hired me. It’s a new field for me, but that’s exactly what I like about it!” – Svetlana, Senior Product Designer   

“Before Divante, I worked as a Project Manager. While overlooking a CRM development project, I became interested in IT products and design. I started to build my portfolio, quit my job to focus on learning, and in a couple of months, I was hired at Divante. It’s my second year here. My beginnings were quite challenging to be honest. A new company, new people, but that was also very exciting.” – Agnieszka, Product Designer 

A day in the life of a Product Designer

At an eCommerce company, no two days are alike. Well, maybe that’s true about the whole IT world. In eCommerce, you deal with different projects and clients, and you need to respond and adjust to new situations on the go.

“Currently, my workday consists of meetings, meetings, and more meetings. I talk with executives to show them my proposals and with developers who tell me whether they think we might run into some obstacles during the development of the solution I’m proposing. Each day is different because of the different clients we work for. Sometimes, I work on designs from scratch, and sometimes on the designs provided by the customer.” – Agnieszka 

“My typical day depends on the project and the stage it’s in. As soon as you have a new project, you have a lot of different calls, new meetings, and workshops. As the project progresses, you have more focused work. Our clients are mostly big companies, so they don’t have much time for micromanaging. They trust us as an expert and don’t need to control our every step. When I worked at startups, I noticed that everyone was more hands-on because they felt the company was their “baby.” It was overwhelming at times. 

“At first, I worked on more than one project, but I prefer to have one client at a time, and that’s how it looks today. If you have several projects, it’s sometimes hard to get into the flow.” – Svetlana

Product Designer + eCommerce = love? 

Sure, Product Designers are passionate people about technology, beautiful interfaces, and trends. However, they’re the most passionate about helping the user and providing them with usable products that they’ll enjoy using. They’re involved in the project from the beginning and provide audits and research  Often, they know the user better than the client. 

“I like working as a Product Designer at an eCommerce company because I was always good at structuring information and visualizing data. My notes at school were always very structured, so everyone wanted to borrow them from me. It’s also an opportunity for me to work on my communication skills. With different projects, you always see the results of your work at the end of the day. It’s very fulfilling. Especially with modern careers, people are depressed because they don’t see it. Also, I love helping the users and making their life better.” – Svetlana

“There are times when we have easy, fun projects, e.g., in fashion or beauty, but then you get a project that is a huge B2B marketplace with a lot of analytical thinking and logic, and foreseeing what the user has to do. This diversity, in my opinion, is good because you don’t do the same things all the time. Of course, the products are similar in some ways, but easy and more demanding projects intertwine. That’s a cure for stagnation and gets you moving in the right direction.” – Agnieszka

The biggest obstacles a Product Designer faces is that they are not taken seriously and they are invited to work on a project in the late stages of development. Their role is seen solely as visual. Tweak the colors and maybe redesign a button or two. In eCommerce, they play a vital role from the earliest stages. They’re even involved in the sales process by providing thorough research and preparing audits and proposals on how the client’s conversion can increase.

“I think that when you work well, you get noticed. I’m using all my experience and connections for the work, especially for research. I want our clients to feel that I know their users better than they do. I do not base my opinions on myself but on research and data. This also lets me learn more about making videos  because it’s better not to talk, but to show.” – Svetlana

“Our team is involved from the start of the project. Most commonly, the more experienced designer is assigned to work with the sales team. Of course, it depends on the project. As I’m not so business-oriented, I join the project later, e.g., conducting workshops with the client.” – Agnieszka

The challenges of eCommerce

We’re not going to sugarcoat it for you. We love eCommerce, but at the same time, we’re aware of the challenges. Every project and client is different, and you need to start learning from the beginning every time. Each has different needs and different levels of logic in their platforms. This can be challenging at times.

“You’ll find a lot of different projects here, and you can really work on your skills. It’s a rough start, but you’ll become an expert. It’s quite challenging, but rewarding at the same time. 

“To thrive in eCommerce you need to learn how to listen to people and not pretend you know it all. You need to be open, also to criticism. If you know how to do it, as long as you listen well, it’s easy.” – Svetlana

Listening is a crucial factor if you want to connect with the client and learn from them. It’s also essential for effective teamwork, especially if you change your teams often or your current team is continually growing. 

“It’s a challenge to work in such a big team and  learn how to communicate and work together. The main challenge for the whole team is to organize our work. Every technology is different, and we must adjust to the team we are joining. Don’t forget, we are all human and we need some rest, and we need to develop our skills and gain new knowledge.” Agnieszka 

Your job is to grow

The biggest advantage of working in eCommerce is the steep learning curve. It’s a place where you need to constantly learn new skills. The feedback you get from customers can’t be overestimated. You learn from it and then quickly come up with different approaches and methods. The ability to test new ideas and receive real-time results pushes you forward and keeps you on your toes. It’s anything but boring.

“When I started at Divante, I was learning a lot of new tools and software for making videos, prototyping, wireframing, and illustration. I also had to learn about eCommerce. When I felt I had the full package, I focused more on psychology and understanding why we do what we do. Psychology is a fork for the clients, users, and yourself to be a happy person.” – Svetlana 

“Right now, my educational goal at Divante is to learn how to conduct workshops with clients. There are thousands of methods, and you need to be able to move around different styles.” – Agnieszka

Something that allows for faster growth is a lot of inspiration. It’s the Product Designers’ fuel. While working on different projects with various clients, you get plenty of that. For Svetlana, the best inspiration is bad design. It’s true that sometimes it’s hard for us to explain why a certain website or logo doesn’t work. But we always know why it just doesn’t.

“Bad design inspires me the most. When I come to a bad website, I think about how to improve it. It’s amazing what is possible with just some small change. Of course in search of inspiration, I frequently visit websites for professionals, such as Behance or Awwwards.” – Svetlana

“My friends and colleagues at work are my greatest inspiration. We often discuss the issues they’re having. I try to help them. I believe it’s easier to come up with a solution together, even with a simple conversation, rather than alone.” – Agnieszka

eCommerce lets you improve your people and managerial skills, and that can be beneficial for your overall career path.

The takeaway

eCommerce is not only on the rise now, but we also see evidence that it’s going to continue growing on a global scale. This means that if you decide to work for an eCommerce company, you can be very flexible with your time and the place you do your job. It can also be a good choice for those who have family or study needs. You can travel more freely, too!

If you want to join the eCommerce world, be sure to check out our current offers at https://divante.com/career

Published April 21, 2021