With being forced to stay at home and adapt to the changes brought about by the pandemic, many local businesses had to adjust their business structure to still make their products available in the market. Establishing online shops and making use of online platforms to sell their products became their only comforting option to still be able to conduct business without having customers physically visit their shops.
Other than these local business owners, many people who’ve lost their jobs and were striving to find a source of income turned their heads and attention to eCommerce and the opportunities it has to offer. This caused many online shops to pop up everywhere resulting in eCommerce business sales forecasted to reach as much as $4.13 trillion this year to $6.54 trillion in 2022.
ECommerce is a very tempting venture but not everyone knows how to start an eCommerce business. Not Everyone was groomed to become a business owner nor is knowledgeable of the concepts of business. In this article, we will not convince you how easy it is to build an eCommerce business especially if you don’t have prior knowledge about it because that’s the truth. It is not easy to venture into a new career, however, ‘grooming’ is the keyword here. We can always start to learn and build up skills that we need to become successful one day in the eCommerce business.
First, you must know what skills you need to acquire to help you adapt to the world of eCommerce so here goes:
12 Important Skills to Acquire when Managing an ECommerce Business
1. Leadership & Communication
In business, leadership does not only mean to lead other people but most importantly, it means that you need before anyone else to lead yourself. If you can lead yourself well by carrying out your responsibilities, acting on your priorities, and directing your life well to succeed, it will be easier for you to lead others and share your business vision with them.
Having leadership skills will help you to delegate authority and tasks effectively to your subordinates. With high-level leadership skills, you will develop good motivation and boost morale among your employees resulting in mutual trust and a high retention rate.
Learning how to lead means that you also need to learn how to communicate. Of course, being articulate is not enough. Communication skills mean knowing how to express yourself clearly and also giving others a chance to speak while listening attentively. This is an important skill in business because it maintains good teamwork and collaboration among your team. Teach yourself to listen to understand, and not to only respond.
2. Time Management
Time management is a basic skill but many fail to do it. This is mainly because many don’t perceive time as a valuable resource that gets used up. Another reason is, that we have too many distractions that are more enjoyable than hustling and doing more valuable things.
However, time management skill is important to acquire when it comes to managing an eCommerce business. That is because trends are fast-paced, and many business niches die out fast. In an environment where people search for stuff daily and every second, procrastination and delaying tasks for later are counter-productive and will make you lose possible customers that could have been yours instead of your competitors.
3. Problem Solving
Encountering problems in the eCommerce business is inevitable but these challenges have to be accepted. Knowing the problem already solves half part of it so you need to move on fast and face it head-on.
Being resourceful and thinking out of the box can help you solve problems but most of all, it is important to not be hesitant to ask for help from others.
If there is the best strategy on how to solve problems, that is to encounter many of them. Experience is a good teacher but this does not mean that you need to be intentionally reckless and neglectful of your tasks. Rather, be intentional in finding possible problems even in your basic workflow and improve it. Seeing the problems within your business means you are involved in it. Only when you are committed to learning about your business that it easier to find solutions to counter it and prevent it from even occurring.
Business involves money. To run an eCommerce business, you need to have at least basic accounting skills. You need to learn how to compute your profits and losses, and even forecast your finances in the future. All your expenditures must be recorded so that you will know whether your business is gaining profits or not. So if you do not know how to calculate these, it’s good to start learning basic accounting now even before you start a business so you can account for everything from your initial investments and expenses until your business gains conversions and succeeds.
5. Technical Skills
6. Skills in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
As we already know, search engines are the platforms we use to get information from the millions of information on the internet. This means that this is also where you can get your websites to be found by many people and gain customers for your eCommerce website.
However, doing this isn’t an easy feat and you need to implement many strategies and campaigns to get your eCommerce store to be found on the first page of the search engine results pages.
This idea might come out with SEO more like knowledge rather than skill. But yes, SEO is knowledge, however, as time passes, and your competition gets more challenging, you’ll know that being knowledgeable about SEO strategies won’t be enough. You will need to be more creative and strategic than your competitors; and how to get it done and succeed, will be up to your SEO knowledge plus your other skills that you can integrate with it.
7. Content Writing
Having a strong grasp of grammar, and knowing how to simplify information and persuade visitors to buy your products through writing is an essential skill in eCommerce. Written content is a way to not only strengthen your SEO strategies but also keep your customers and visitors updated about your shop. Persuading product descriptions and engaging content can encourage your shop visitors to buy your products and believe in what you and your products can offer.
8. Graphic Design
Images and illustrations have a lot to do with things about the internet; much so when it comes to managing an eCommerce shop. Visuals give a better impact to written content, good product images make it more encouraging to be purchased, image banners help you explain better about your shop and products, and good campaign images will be better received by consumers. That is why, you need to have at least basic skills in graphic design, on how to put elements together and make images that will keep people engaged.
Needless to say, this is a skill that every eCommerce business owner must have. Without hesitations, one must market his/her products and develop strategies and campaigns to encourage people to take a look and keep them interested.
Marketing is the application and implementation of strategies derived from learning about SEO, content writing, graphic design, communication, and even collaboration skills. It can be done using various platforms from your eCommerce shop, other websites, social media, ads, and even your local advertisers would there be target consumers in your local area?
There are many ways and strategies to market products online but it’s best to read from many resources and business magazines to learn about them. It is also good to follow and observe closely the strategies of brands that you like. What made you like them in the first place? If you know why then you can understand how their marketing strategy goes. Assess them and see if you can apply their strategies to your own.
There might come a time when you might need to get a larger audience that might be interested in your products but hasn’t reached them yet. For example, you are selling digital recipes for baking and already have sold to many customers and homemakers who love to bake. However, you’ve decided to expand your reach and want to target everyone else who loves to cook. And so to not start from scratch, you have to collaborate with other business owners and cooking enthusiasts and borrow their influence, who, at the same time, also needs to borrow yours.
Knowing how to negotiate and collaborate with people is a special skill that will help you gain web traffic and audience with possibly small effort and still achieve great results.
11. Analytical Skills
Every effort that you make, with every result you achieve, every website traffic you gain, and every movement on the internet, can be analyzed. Of course, it’s not always that easy. But just by knowing this, means that you can evaluate your efforts in managing your eCommerce business and predict certain outcomes. Knowing what to analyze, what to do with empirical data, and implementing strategies based on them can greatly impact the success of your business.
You can integrate with your website, tools that can give you data about your website performance. These are Google Analytics and Google Search Console. For SEO, you’ll have a lot of options like SEMRush, Ubersuggest, and Ahrefs and they will assist you with your efforts to rank on the first page of search engine results. Lastly, to help you forecast future trends you can use Google Trends and eRank.
Finally, the skill that you must learn to manage your eCommerce business well is to be resourceful. Working hard is good but to make space and time for improvements, you need to work smart. You don’t have to do everything manually when there are a lot of applications and tools that are more efficient and can help you improve your workflow. Being resourceful can back your skills and will make you a more productive and effective business manager.
Here are some tools and applications that can assist you in managing your eCommerce business:
- Trello: You can use this tool for project management and collaboration. With this tool, you can list all your tasks, create a checklist, and monitor your campaigns.
- Removal.AI: This tool is a photo editing solution for eCommerce and can automatically remove backgrounds using AI technology. It also has a bulk background removal for the eCommerce function where you can upload multiple backgrounds at once and have them processed. This will be perfect for your eCommerce product images.
- Grammarly: You can use this tool to ensure that your written content has good grammar.
Third-Party ECommerce Platforms. Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce are some of the eCommerce platforms that will help you build an eCommerce shop without having to write a single code.
Learning both soft and technical skills are important in managing an eCommerce shop and this article only shows you the tip of the iceberg. There are still a lot of skills that you need to learn but they can also be acquired as you start and manage your business.
Be eager to learn and improve, and don’t mind failure.
As said, venturing into the eCommerce business is not as easy as one can imagine especially for ones who do not have prior knowledge about this career path. But not knowing about it right now does not mean that you cannot learn and improve on it. Begin by educating yourself, and test the waters by starting with online selling platforms like Etsy or Facebook Shops. Also, do not be afraid to fail. Experience can teach us a lot but we have to give it a chance.