Ecommerce involves selling products via a website. This involves many different business functions and roles, depending on the size of the company.
What do ecommerce workers do?
Ecommerce can involve many different roles, depending on the size of the company.
You need energy and drive to succeed in this fast-paced business.
One of the most important parts of any internet business is creating a brand with its own personality, look and feel, which must be consistent.
This might involve:
- working with graphic designers to design a jewellery company's website, logo, and marketing materials such as business cards
- using software like Photoshop to edit and manipulate images
- assisting with the preparation of text for the website or blog
- helping to design packaging.
What is the job like?
Your duties might include:
- helping to make sure the right messages get to the right people
- using online media such as Facebook and Twitter to post relevant and interesting updates and tweets, which your customers will in turn share with their friends
- working with advertising sales staff to place advertisements for magazines
- evaluating the success of marketing and advertising campaigns
- working with experts in internet search engine optimisation (SEO) to ensure that the internet business has a prominent place on Google
- helping to plan successful marketing campaigns, such as customer loyalty rewards or special offers.
Dealing with customers
Your work might involve:
- answering enquiries via email and over the phone
- handling any returns or damaged goods
- building relationships with customers over time to ensure customer loyalty.
Dealing with suppliers
Your duties might include:
- working with suppliers from the UK and overseas and building working relationships with them
- ensuring demand for orders can be met
- using various methods to find new suppliers, such as attending wholesale jewellery fairs, using online wholesalers, and using catalogues.
This might involve working with logistics staff. Your work might include:
- receiving orders via email, often worldwide
- picking and packing the order, and possibly gift-wrapping items
- sending silver items received from overseas to be hallmarked
- ensuring there is sufficient stock at the required times, not only of the jewellery products, but also the packaging.
Your duties can involve:
- paying bills
- helping to manage cash-flow
- assisting with budget management and financial forecasting.
All the roles in ecommerce involve extensive use of IT, such as spreadsheets for financial management.
There is often the opportunity to get involved in more advanced work, such as managing the content of a website.
How do I get into ecommerce?
There is no set route into this career. A background in business studies or finance is helpful, and a background in jewellery design is also useful.
All the roles in ecommerce involve extensive use of IT.
Numeracy is one of the most important skills you will need, as well as an interest in working with IT systems and computers.
You also need energy and drive to succeed in this fast-paced business.
What training and qualifications do I need?
Qualifications, training or experience in business are all very useful for a career in ecommerce. Expertise in web technologies, IT applications and tools for the internet are also highly valued.
Relevant courses include:
- a BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Business – a two year course where you will need four GCSEs at grade C or above (including English and maths), or equivalent qualifications such as the BTEC First Diploma
- an HND in Business Studies or Computer Studies – entry is usually with one to two A levels or an equivalent qualification, such as a BTEC National Diploma, along with GCSEs at C or above in English, maths and normally three other subjects
- degree courses – useful subjects include Business Studies, Computer Science, Business Computing, Internet Computing, Web Development and IT with Business – entry is usually with two or three A levels or an equivalent qualification, and GCSEs at C or above in English and maths. Courses are listed on the UCAS website. Foundation degrees in Business Studies or Computing are also available.
- IT qualifications such as the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL). Colleges also offer a wide range of other relevant short courses, such as IT for Business.
Qualifications or expertise in web technologies are also sought after, such as content management systems and new media. College and university courses in computer studies and related subjects will often include these areas.
An apprenticeship could be a good way to gain the experience and skills you will need to find work in ecommerce.
Vacancies are shown on the Government's apprenticeships website. Look at the Information and Communication Technology section, where you will find information on apprenticeships for IT Software, Web and Telecoms Professionals.
Apprenticeships are available at three levels: intermediate, advanced and higher.
What can I earn?
Salaries often start at around £15,000 per year and rise to £20,000 for someone with more experience. For those with additional experience and skills, salaries can rise considerably to £30,000 and beyond.