eCommerce, otherwise known as electronic commerce, is quite simply the process of online businesses and websites trading products and/or services, via the internet using technologies like electronic funds transfer, mobile commerce, internet marketing, online transaction processing, supply chain management and electronic data interchange. eCommerce is one of the most effective ways of conducting trade, as such is has quickly become one of the most effective business models.
In order to excel in the industry and have one of the most efficient business models in place, it is essential that you fully understand the eCommerce processes and procedures, becoming an expert in the subject yourself. In order to become a specialist eCommerce expert there are some essential key skills that you will need to form and develop upon, these skills are diverse and it is important that you ensure you develop the full range of skills you require, as they are all equally crucial. Here are some of the most important skills you will require:
1) Marketing and Sales knowledge:
though you don’t need to be an expert in marketing, it is important to have a firm understanding of the marketing concepts, along with a good understanding of your customers, what they want etc. You will need to understand margins so that you can ensure your business is always profitable, and as your main role is effectively that of salesperson, you will need a firm understanding of how to sell your goods and/or services.
2) Search Engine Optimisation:
it is absolutely essential to have a good deal of search engine optimisation (or SEO) knowledge, no online business can thrive without this, particularly an eCommerce site. If you don’t know much about SEO, it is advisable to work closely with an SEO expert, someone who can help to make your website unique and fill it with lots of content that will attract customers. By having excellent SEO content on your website you are attracting a higher number of customers to your site, by showing in the organic search results of search engines such as google. Not only does this increase your website audience, it also transfers more audience into customers as it attracts more relevant customers, thus improving upon how well your website and business performs. Partnering with an SEO expert can greatly increase your sales both in the short and long-term.
though you will have your SEO expert in place and be showing much more on organic searches, you probably will still need to have some paid advertising in place. As an eCommerce expert you should have some experience with paid advertising platforms such as Google AdWords. Again, you can hire a Google AdWords professional, though it would be much easier and cheaper for you if you were able to become AdWords qualified yourself, as PPC is something you will need on-going help with. Gaining a qualification in Google AdWords is simple, for more information check our guide on how to apply and pass Google AdWords examination.
4) Technical skills:
you don’t need to be a technical genius to be able to effectively run an eCommerce site, however, there are some basic things that you should make yourself familiar with, particularly understanding the major eCommerce platforms such as Magento, Shopify and WooCommerce. You should also be familiar with things like using analytics to analyse the effectiveness of your website, be able to use online text editor and have basic HTML knowledge, be able to make simple changes to your site, understand the difference between different types of hosting and be able to re-size photo’s to add to your site, these are just some on the many technical problems you could potentially be faced with and therefore should gain an understanding of.
5) Copywriting skills:
eCommerce copywriting skills are slightly different to the standard, it requires a different perspective and a unique style of writing. Therefore you should make an effort to understand how to write effectively for your eCommerce site so that you can create product descriptions that are highly effective and attract more customers. You can of course, hire an SEO writer who is an expert in eCommerce, however, if you do this, make sure they do have a firm level of knowledge and have a detailed level of understanding when it comes to writing content specifically for eCommerce.
along with new skills specific to this business model, you also need to have a good understanding of the traditional retail skills as many of these will be applicable to eCommerce.
7) Understanding distribution networks:
this is essential for an eCommerce site as you will need to ensure that your goods/services can be delivered to the customer quickly and cheaply. Therefore, before you start your eCommerce business first gain a detailed understanding of the distribution network and how it will work for your business.
after you’ve set-up your eCommerce website, you will need to be able to analyse it to ensure it is working efficiently and effectively, in order to do this you need to be familiar with analysing software, such as Google Analytics. By doing this you will be able to see where your site is working effectively, and the areas it needs to be improved upon, enabling you to continue to increase the number of visitors to your site and therefore the number of audience you transform into customers.
If you don’t have the time or the inclination to learn all about eCommerce, then you can out-source the role and employ a specialised eCommerce expert to work on your site for you. If you do decide to do this, do some research first and make sure you hire a professional, someone with good feedback from previous clients and a wealth of knowledge in the subject of eCommerce. Avoid hiring the cheapest eCommerce expert you can find, the phrase “you get what you pay for” is particularly true here, the success of your business hinges on having an eCommerce expert on hand, so it is very important to hire the best.
Global eCommerce statistics
UK is one of the leading countries when it comes to eCommerce, and in the recent years we’ve seen a significant increase in online transactions while the traditional retail continues to decline.
Data Driven Ecommerce Infographic by the team at AmeriCommerce
As you can see the potential for business as well as a career opportunity in eCommerce is phenomenal. We are also very pleased to see the very positive and encouraging data on the UK market.