As B2B companies launch or upgrade ecommerce technology, they vie with rivals — and woo candidates — for the right teams of digital experts. The recently released 2023 Ecommerce Platforms Report covers the challenges in deploying ecommerce teams and other trends and data related to ecommerce technology for B2B and retail companies.

When Bradley Corp. prepares to an upgrade of its B2B ecommerce site, Ron Flynn gets to work putting together the right team of digital technology experts.

It’s a task that has become more challenging in recent years.

The holy grail is a candidate with one bucket in business and the other bucket in technology and data and analytics.
Jerry Bernhart, principal and founder
Bernhart Associates Executive Search

In 2021, in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bradley decided to replace a legacy digital commerce technology platform with a more flexible, customizable and scalable system running on headless commerce technology. The new platform’s higher level of customization — based partly on the extensive use of application programming interfaces (APIs) to connect the independent, highly customizable customer-facing interface with the ecommerce engine — required a high level of expertise from technology pros accustomed to headless designs.


Ron Flynn, manager, web systems/integrations, Bradley Corp.

But the manufacturer of industrial washroom and safety equipment temporarily lost the availability of some of its IT workers, at a time when it could take three to four months to find the most qualified people to join its digital technology team, says Flynn, who handled the project as Bradley’s manager of web systems/integrations.


Forging ahead with a mixed internal/external staff

Nonetheless, it forged ahead with a mix of internal staff, experts from a third-party consulting firm, and assistance from Amla Commerce, the technology vendor behind Bradley’s new Znode headless commerce platform, he says.

The new platform project moved along without major interruption, bringing Bradley a better technology base for interacting with and managing online commerce with sales reps, distributors and customers, says Dave Leannah, Bradley’s senior vice president of I.T.

But Bradley also used the experience to get better prepared for the next time a major project coincides with unexpected changes in technology staff.

“That kind of opened our eyes a little bit to make sure that we try to stay balanced,” Flynn says, adding, “Today, we’re very well balanced.”


While maintaining strong relationships with its consulting firm and Amla, Bradley has trained more internal staff on the Znode technology, building on the skills many of its tech team brought over from the legacy platform, which also relied on APIs for software integration.

Bradley’s run-in with a changing technology market is not uncommon at a time when many companies are launching, upgrading or expanding their digital commerce technology and ecommerce market presence amid extensive changes in the technology job market. More than 25% of ecommerce companies want to switch ecommerce platforms despite the costs, according to data in the 2023 Ecommerce Platforms Report, which covers the digital commerce technology trends for B2B and retail companies.

Digital technology companies from Inc. and Salesforce Inc. to SAP SE and BigCommerce have slashed their staffs as 2022 turned to 2023, and recruiters who specialized in ecommerce jobs say they’re as busy as ever matching employers with job candidates.

As companies focus on digital, IT salaries rise

Salaries for I.T. executives and technicians, meanwhile, are rising steadily, according to a recent survey from Janco Associates Inc. Average salaries this year are up year over year about 3% to $180,626 for I.T. executives at large enterprises, where I.T. staff salaries are up 5% to $82,636, Janco says. The same positions at mid-size companies rose about 9% to $159,925 and about 7% to  $83,296, respectively.


Business have driven up I.T. salaries as they they’ve increased investment in information technology in recent years, emphasizing ecommerce and mobile computing. And now senior technology executives are stepping up investments as well as online security to guard against cyber attacks and data breaches, Janco says.

The year ahead doesn’t promise to let up on the pressure on the personnel front. Among its Top 10 strategic predictions for 2023 and beyond, technology research and advisory firm Gartner Inc. says that 40% of business organizations will experience a loss of talent in their workforces by 2025 “due to labor volatility.”


Jerry Bernhart, principal, Bernhart Associates Executive Search

Jerry Bernhart, principal and founder of Bernhart Associates Executive Search, specializes in helping employers hire executives to lead ecommerce and I.T. departments. He says he’s seen an increase in demand over the past two years from small- to mid-sized B2B employers — ranging in annual revenue from under $10 million to about $500 million — who are going more digital and need ecommerce business and technology executives who can help a traditional business launch or expand a digital commerce operation.


Cement and chemical companies want digital experts

“A lot of what I’m doing is very transformational in nature,” he says. “I’m getting all these calls from more traditional businesses, a cement company, a chemical company, a company that manufactures food-processing equipment, a pest-control business manufacturer, and now I’m working with a company that provides first responder supplies and equipment.

“Digitization is an important mandate for them, and if they haven’t already moved in that direction, they’re certainly starting to do it now.”

Even with the increase in that activity from employers, however, Bernhart says he now gets about five inquiries from job candidates for every one employer looking to recruit.

Regarding candidates with the most in-demand skills, “the holy grail is a candidate with one bucket in business and the other bucket in technology and data and analytics,” Bernhart says.


Harry Joiner, founder,

Harry Joiner, the founder of, says he seeks candidates who blend those skills and insights, which makes it more likely they’ll grow a client employer’s business with online features and services that make commerce easier and more personalized for customers. Unlike personnel candidates more narrowly focused on either technology or marketing, “they don’t treat customers like an annoyance,” he says.

He adds that, while many online companies fail to offer enough personal service — “in B2B, you can’t get away with that. It’s all about the customer intimacy.”

Joiner notes that his recruiting reputation is built on how he’s brought his client companies ecommerce experts who bring value to their new employer far beyond his recruitment fee of 20% of their first-year base salary. So, he interviews job candidates to grasp the scope of their ability to understand what it takes to grow a business, like increasing customer retention rates.


“That’s what I’m looking for,” he says.

Sifting through a flood of workers

At Bradley, Flynn says his company is positioned well to continue adding features to its Znode headless commerce platform based on an understanding of customers’ needs.

While many experts caution that highly customizable headless platforms can be more laborious to modify compared to a conventional “off-the-shelf” ecommerce software that comes with many pre-built applications, “I would say it’s quite the opposite,” he says. “If you’re going to tailor an application specifically for your business, an out-of-the-box program is not going to work for you.”


Still, finding and hiring people with the right skill sets to maintain effective staffing levels is a crucial task made more challenging by workforce trends. The recent layoffs by large technology companies have thrust tens of thousands into the market, but that flood of candidates can make it more difficult to zero in on the right ones.

“Now we have to be extra diligent to make sure that we’re not getting talent that might not be the level that we require,” Flynn says.

Learn more

Flynn will speak at the EnvisionB2B 2023 Conference & Exhibition on integrating ecommerce technology with enterprise resource planning and product information management Bernhart will speak at the conference on building an B2B ecommerce “dream team.”

The 2023 Ecommerce Platforms Report is available as a downloadable PDF for $399. We also include it in Gold and Platinum memberships, which provide full access to all of Digital Commerce 360’s published reports and certain online retailer databases.


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